Paloma Dawkins is a cartoon artist who makes video games, and buddy, those video games are wild. She was in New York City the other day, so she came to Kotaku to sit at a table and talk to me about her art. Some cameras recorded the whole thing.
Dawkins’ latest game, Museum of Symmetry, is in VR, and it is exactly like sticking your head inside a cartoon. Heck, it’s even more surreal a cartoon world than Cuphead, and that’s saying something.
I first saw Museum of Symmetry at the A MAZE festival in Berlin last month. I thought, “I gotta try that.” That was naive: too many other people were trying it. I finally got to try it in private at the Kotaku offices while Dawkins was in town. Sometimes, you’re in Berlin, and you see a VR game made by an artist from Montreal, and you have to wait until you’re both in New York to play it.
Dawkins talked to me about all her games to date. She described the experience of working with the National Film Board of Canada to make Museum of Symmetry. I made a joke about maple syrup. She told me about her aspirations to be a fashion designer, and her first job in a hat shop. She did this while wearing octagonal sunglasses she bought in Germany. (The room in which we filmed this interview was bursting full of luscious natural light.)
We talked about the general video game audience’s growing suspicions about VR. Dawkins said that, before making a VR game, she was somewhat “standoffish about VR.”
I told her I think I understand this standoffishness. VR games require you to dedicate a whole room in your house to playing them. You get sweaty. The better the game is, the more tangled up you get in wires.
The hardware is expensive.
This adds up to general skepticism about anything VR-related. So, I asked Dawkins why she made a VR game.
“Because I figure if it exists, there might as well be something nice.”
If you want to experience some of Paloma Dawkins’ interactive art and you don’t have access to VR, you can download her game Palmystery here. It’s not nearly as chilled out as Museum of Symmetry—it’s a psychedelic, confrontationally loud experience—though it’s incredibly interesting. And it’s free.
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