Can a Video Game Make You Belatedly Appreciate Brutalism?

Postscript is Cameron Kunzelman's weekly column about endings, apocalypses, deaths, bosses, and all sorts of other finalities.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Oh hey, I was about to mention how this piece reminds me of a game I really like called NaissanceE, which is also very much interested in architecture and especially brutalism, when I noticed one of the games by Moshe Linke is a fanmade sequel:

I’m excited to try some of their games! I’d also recommend if anyone is interested in reading more games crit about digital architecture & virtual environments to go check out Heterotopias. There’s some excellent stuff on there and one of their zines includes a great piece (and interview) on the aforementioned NaissanceE game.


I really like the idea of friction in video game spaces, and for instance, the difference in how you experience the spaces in a game like Prey vs a game like Fugue in Void. I feel like No Man’s Sky is also an interesting part of this conversation.

I’ll have to check out Heterotopias again, although I remember bouncing off of the first issue for some reason.

While I like the idea of friction in video game spaces, especially when it promotes a sense of place - but aesthetically I kind of bounce off Brutalism (as an architectural style) hard. As an architectural style, it feels extremely totalitarian. It’s like something that would be invented by an architect who fell through a portal from Airstrip One into our world, found a job as an architect here, and came up with the Brutalist style because The State had ground the ability to do anything else out of them.

So, if a game is using Brutalism to help show how the world the game is set is a totalitarian dystopia, then that will work for me, as that heightens the sense of place. However, if it’s just as a general anaesthetic choice, then for me not to bounce off, the game would have to present some sort of really spectacular mechanic or narrative to keep me hooked.

Brutalism as an art form makes me happy so I don’t need a game to make me belatedly appreciate it :wink:

Fugue in Void sound slike a very interesting experience, though – I will have to look into it.