Individual Work

"Airplay" by Barry Smylie is a series of four games in which users are invited to play good and evil, by participating in a head-to-head competition between God and the Devil. In the first game the player is God trying to make it across the screen without being hit by the Devil's volcanoes. In another, the tables are turned, as the player controls the Devil, dodging God's lightning bolts. In the third, God dribbles a "ball" which is actually the world. He then moves quickly across the page while the player, the Devil, tries to swipe at the Earth with a red-clawed hand. The fourth and most difficult game in the series pits the player as God, who must play a game of paddle ball against the Devil.

At first glance, the clip-art feel, perky techno soundtrack, and simplistic character design of these games give the work a naive and superficial quality. But the very simplistic duality of the piece is what makes it so compelling. The Manichean face-off between good and evil is rendered as a series of silly contests in which distant beings treat the Earth as a play thing. No matter whose side one is playing for, the player still wants to win.