If you want to make a game based on Transformers, you make a video game. That's obvious. But if you want to make a game based on Gene Hackman's 1974 film "The Conversation", you have to think a little harder.

That's why New York artist Rivane Neuenschwander based a game last week at the New Museum in New York on something a little less digital. The Conversation is a movie about a bugging expert who goes bonkers thinking he's been bugged. It's a great film, but one that wouldn't exactly lend itself to a traditional video game (or board game, for that matter) adaptation.

Neuenschwander instead built a game for herself recreating the movie's climax, where Hackman tears his apartment apart looking for bugs. She had a security team fill a room in the museum with small microphones, then locked herself in and set about trying to find them all. These microphones recorded her scrabblings.

"Remember that wonderful last scene [in The Conversation], where Gene Hackman destroys his apartment looking for a microphone, a bug?" she told the New York Times. "That kind of paranoia interests me, and thus this work is a mixture of chance and control. It is not preconfigured but is instead rather like a game, and it ends only when I have found all the microphones, which will then be replaced with speakers to play back the sounds of my destruction of this space."

Great idea. Though now she brings it up, I'd now like to see a game based on the movie, with a little 8-bit Gene Hackman slouched against the wall with his little 8-bit saxophone, GAME OVER flashing in bright white letters on the screen....


A Brazilian Makes Playful but Serious Art [New York Times]