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Created in the Master "Experimental Game Cultures" at the University of Applied Arts Vienna

Walking Simulator, Audio-Walk, Decision Game

Controls : WASD + Mouse, PS4 Controller Joysticks




"NPC" is an artgame that explores emotional connections with AI avatars in the realm of dating. In the game, players follow a digital avatar through surreal scenes, guided by an AI voice narration.

As players progress, they may find themselves emotionally attached to the AI avatar, blurring the line between reality and the virtual world. This raises questions about control: are players controlling the character or being influenced by the AI?

The game prompts reflection on the impact of technology on human emotions and relationships. It challenges players to consider their desires and vulnerabilities in a world where the distinction between real and digital is fading. Ultimately, "NPC" invites players to question who is truly in control, sparking curiosity about the role of AI in human connections.

For the game, players can “play” with a virtual representation of myself, also posing the question on the distinction of real-life and digital personas.

In youth culture, the term "NPC," which originally stands for "Non-Player Character" in video games, has evolved to take on a broader, metaphorical meaning. In gaming, an NPC is a character that is not controlled by a human player but is instead governed by the game's AI algorithms. These characters usually have limited, pre-programmed responses and behaviors and serve specific roles in the game environment, such as providing information, quests, or serving as background characters.

In a broader cultural context, especially among the youth, "NPC" has come to describe individuals who appear to lack critical thinking or individuality, seemingly following scripts or social trends without question. This usage implies a lack of depth or autonomy, suggesting that the person is behaving in a predictable, programmed manner, akin to video game NPCs.

Linking this to a dependency on AI algorithms, the metaphor extends to the idea that just as NPCs are governed by the game's programming, individuals might be overly influenced or controlled by digital algorithms in real life.

In each level you will find a question which you have to answer with “yes” or “no”. Depending on your answer, walk through the pink phone beneath the question. You will be transferred to the next level.

The idea for this game came after extensive research on the topics of Virtual Dating, AI Dating Apps & Chatbots.

After writing a thesis with the topic of "Technology as Pharmakon. Using the example of language-based Healthcare Apps like Replika AI" which was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for History of Technology (SHOT) at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the artistic research was reinforced.

The paper aims to draw attention to the ambivalence of health care apps and relate them to the notion of technology as a pharmakon, acting both as a cure and as a poison. The research subject is the controversial app "Replika", which is an AI-based chatbot designed to serve as a therapy substitute while also taking on the role of a companion.

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