Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective
The game's title screen
|Designer(s)||Ben Esposito, Jacob Knipfing, Russell Honor|
|Release||October 4, 2013|
|Genre(s)||Platform game, Art game|
Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective is a browser-based 3D platform video game developed by indie game developer Arcane Kids. Touted as an educational experience, it is a facetious spiritual successor to Bubsy 3D, an entry from the Bubsy series of video games, and was created as a tribute to the game for its 18th anniversary. The game follows Bubsy Bobcat as he travels through a nightmarish scenario upon visiting the real-life retrospective tribute of postmodern artist James Turrell. It was released in autumn 2013 - shortly after the domain name for Bubsy 3D's official website had expired. In 2017, in addition to making a downloadable version of the game available due to the fading support of the browser version of Unity, a remastered version of the game was made available with high-definition graphics and a new epilogue following Bubsy reminiscing over the events of the game and meeting his older self.
Bubsy 3D is highly derivative of Bubsy 3D, a 1996 platformer for the PlayStation, with a primitive graphical style overtly meant to mimic the low-polygon visuals of its respective inspirer. The player controls Bubsy, an orange bobcat, as he explores and progresses through several platforming levels. Controls are made to simulate those of Bubsy 3D's, which have gained infamy for being considered by many as poorly-implemented; Bubsy is able to walk and jump, and can glide in order to fall more slowly and travel long distances mid-air. Several collectibles are scattered throughout the game, of which have no effect on gameplay. The player can also enter various cheat codes from the game's title screen.
The game's plot follows Bubsy as he goes through an out-of-body experience at the James Turrell retrospective exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. After visiting the museum and appreciating Turrell's light-based artworks, Bubsy comes across the exhibit "St. Elmo's Breath". He inadvertently enters the exhibit, having heard it to be a "spiritual experience", and enters a coffin which brings him into the afterlife, where he becomes a fully-grown adult. Surrounded by dancing human skeletons urging him to give into the pressures of capitalism, Bubsy enters the flames of hell, repeating the phrase "No object. No form. No relief. No salvation." before being taken to the deserted parking of an Applebee's restaurant. Bubsy tries to enter the restaurant, only to destroy the building and reveal the word "art" standing within it and flashing colors.
Bubsy 3D was developed and published by Arcane Kids, an independent game developer dedicated to releasing joke video games, and was released in 2013 to commemorate the 18th birthday of the original Bubsy 3D. The game's official website touts itself as an "edutainment experience", asking players to "explore [their] relationship with art" and jokingly urging them to visit a local art museum and fully quit from playing video games after completing the game and further expanding their understanding of art. According to Ben Esposito, a designer at Arcane Kids, the game was meant to use the infamy of the original PlayStation title as "a smokescreen for talking about art," musing that it could get people to consider the concept of art by presenting it in the form of a "poorly executed edutainment".
PC Gamer listed Bubsy 3D as one of the best free online PC games, calling it a "weird art-platformer." Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar has expressed appreciation for the game, praising it for "using this ridiculous pop culture nostalgia to force someone to experience art."
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