Declan Kolakowski

Creating the Aesthetic Language of NORnS

Added on by Declan Kolakowski.

I recently released a game called NORnS which was praised for its aesthetic language. I released it as part of Ludum Dare 31 the theme of which was “entire game one screen”, I took this to mean only one screen refresh. I allowed screens to change and switched but never once refreshed my drawing canvas. Creating exciting effects like this:


One of the aesthetics which is overused but under utilized is glitch art. Its a form of new media art creation that I love, but actually creating it is often a slightly distancing affair as it often requires converting or corrupting file formats with no real control over what is produced. While there is nothing wrong with aleatoric processes, they are often seen the beginning and end of the creative possibility space in glitch art, and so, in creating NORnS I wanted to try and take a glitch inspired aesthetic but make it accessible.


The idea of a controllable but glitch inspired aesthetic linked perfectly with the theme for the Ludum Dare as it recalled directly all the glitchy problems that used to occur on classics windows machines when they froze up. You could paint around with any still moveable components. I commuted this idea to NORnS thus intertwining glitch aesthetics with actual glitch.

The famous painting with windows screen failure.

The famous painting with windows screen failure.


Furthermore I built the objects that would be smeared across the screen in three dimensions, allowing players to manipulate these objects aesthetically in this space is in many ways a departure from traditional way in which glitch art is created which often in strictly two dimensional projected.