When you load into a game world, how often do you just stop and take it all in?
Off Map is a new magazine collecting video game photography and short writing that aims to explore outside the bounds of normal video game discourse and has just launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
Drew Taylor, editor and curator of Off Map, said this project started when he curated an exhibit of in-game photography from Guerilla’s Horizon Zero Dawn at PAX Australia 2017 and was a diary of how conversations have shifted around games in the last twenty years.
“Art-inspired game culture and commentary exploded onto the scene in the early 2000s, but it’s taken much longer for it to be embraced by the players,” said Taylor.
“Game (or Virtual) Photography has been a large part of that transition, and it’s exciting to see how photo modes and micro-writing is changing the way we think and talk about games.”
More than thirty writers have contributed to issue zero exploring Blizzard’s blockbuster first person shooter Overwatch, including Jennifer Scheurle, Leena Van Deventer and Jason Imms, and their writing will be paired with in-game photographs from the game.
“[The writer’s] brief was very simple, and deliberately open-ended. They had a word limit and were asked to: “Write about Overwatch. You can write whatever you like in whatever style you like. That’s it." The submissions were wonderful; when collated together, they create an insightful – and frequently honest and personal – editorial about the game.”
“Fast-paced shooters such as Overwatch are usually only seen through the blur of the action, and I wanted to show how striking and visually compelling the game could be in its quieter moments. There’s so much that the player just doesn’t see when they’re playing.”
For Taylor Off Map combines both an appreciation of video games themselves as well as the art made in the creation of those games.
“There is so much about game photography – and the incredibly supportive community that surrounds it – that connects with me creatively and emotionally.”
“But, perhaps, more than anything it lets me combine my love of games (over numerous decades) and my love of art. Game worlds become even more real to me through game photography and, in the search for meaningful and beautiful photographs, I often find myself.”
Off Map is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter with a AU$27,500 goal and with publication planned for around 4-6 issues published each year.