• Art of Inspiration

    • Designers from utswo created this entirely surreal and altogether entertaining app that simulates the drawings of M.C. Escher.

    Monument Valley, Escher’s mathematical aesthetic in an iPad app / 

    This could easily be the most aesthetical app of 2014. A good videogame should, like any other form of fiction, transport its audience to another world. One that has its own set of laws and specific kind of beauty. This is exactly what happens in Monument Valley, by utswo. This is an iPad app that transports the user to the impossible architecture in the drawings of M.C. Escher. The app is also a type of exploration into the type of work Escher would be producing if he was alive today and worked with digital interactive media.

    The graphics are completely surreal; they include, for example, the Penrose triangles, inverted stairs and impossible towers. “It turns out that the way Escher thought was very similar to the way computer graphics are designed,” explains Monument Valley’s artist and designer Ken Wong. “Both involve illusion and deceiving the eye as well as deal with the nature of geometry and math in a visual form.”

    The apparently easy task of the player is guiding a tiny person to the top of the tower. The problem is, of course, the architecture. Its strangeness makes it impossible, unless you find a way to turn and pull the different pieces that enable you to build bridges and platforms. The best part of the game is that finally getting to the top inevitably makes you feel a little smarter and daring.  

    “We hope it's both a visual and interactive journey, and when players are done, they feel like they've witnessed something quite special in the medium of games,” Wong writes. So, in Monument Valley, each riddle is a mathematical problem we can solve almost intuitively, whether we understand it or not. 

    Tagged: MC Escher, mathematics, apps, iPad apps