Irish animator’s video game is the first to qualify for an Oscar

8 Jun 2017

Oscar winners with their statues. Image: Jaguar PS/Shutterstock

Breaking new ground for the video game industry, a game called Everything, animated by Irishman David OReilly, could be up for an Oscar.

Despite a sea change in the public attitude towards video games in the past decade or so – now viewed less as a cheap entertainment pursuit and more as an artistic form – traditional artistic bodies have been slower to recognise the medium in this way.

This appears to be changing. News has emerged that a video game called Everything has made history by becoming the first video game to be eligible for an Oscar.

Designed by US-based Irish animator David OReilly and a small team of colleagues, Everything is a game unlike many others, in that you can play the part of anything in the universe, from the smallest microbe to the most giant planet.

The player can switch between different things in the universe and move them. The game features some intentionally basic moving animations, such as a cow rolling across a field instead of walking.

Throughout the game, the player will hear quotes from the famous philosopher Alan Watts pondering various aspects of life.

OReilly confirmed the Oscars news on Twitter after a video of the game was awarded a jury prize in animation at the Vienna Shorts Festival.

‘Serves a highly educational purpose’

By being awarded a prize at this festival, Everything has become the first video game to potentially be up for an Oscar, with the video qualifying for next year’s Academy Awards in the animated short category.

In a statement about their selection, the Vienna Shorts Festival judges said: “It serves a highly educational purpose, including an important political statement that encourages to let our egos dissolve and gain a new perspective on the world.”

But, despite the game material’s potential for nomination, Kilkenny native OReilly has downplayed the possibility of it actually being nominated.

Regardless, within the gaming industry, praise has already been heaped on Everything, with the website Glixel referring to it as a “dreamlike masterpiece”.

Everything is the second video game that OReilly has worked on. Three years ago, he was behind the release of a game called Mountain, a passive experience that he himself described as a “mountain simulator, relax ’em up, art horror etc”.

Oscar winners with their statues. Image:  Jaguar PS/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic