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Recentering games by removing the player

Lately I’ve been experimenting with altering how we see landscapes in games. This “recentering” practice recomposes the game's imagery to focus on the environment instead of the player. While most video games are designed to reinforce the feedback loop between the player and their avatar, providing a seamless sense of control, in the recentering practice I disrupt this loop by turning the background into the foreground.

The result is an ambient visual experience where the game is both being played and not-played at the same time. I organize the cropped frames into simple and symmetrical layouts, so that no matter how chaotic the visuals, they remain contained and ordered — hence “recentering”: finding an alternate axis, one emphasizing each game's impression of the more-than-human world, around which to orient our viewpoint.

Intrigued? See what “recentering” is all about in a series of YouTube Live streams on Tuesday nights at 7 PM Pacific time that will feature popular titles like No Man’s Sky, Forza Horizon 5, Starfield, and Flight Simulator, along with independent games and other virtual environments. These will be “no commentary” streams, for a truly ambient experience (feel free to chat, though, and I’ll do my best to respond!). Miss the latest live broadcast? It'll remain available until the next episode releases, after which it will join the complete series available to Patreon subscribers. Hope to see you there!

– Erik

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