The Artifex is a narrative-based game exploring how objects, specifically trash, can be used as a medium for storytelling. You play as a researcher and have been tasked with inspecting scans of spaces and artifacts of ruined lands. The player’s goal is to uncover lost or obscured narratives through the examination of these discovered artifacts, things that have been left behind.
Often overlooked and considered as something gross, trash, waste, garbage, remains, leftovers—whatever you want to call it—is actually a lot more interesting than one would think. Rather than a type of object, “trash” can be more accurately thought of as a description of the state of an object. Before becoming “trash”, things always embody a different identity. And so instead of thinking about trash as just “trash”, trash becomes something that’s no longer wanted or needed, something that’s been left behind, discarded or removed. In telling a story, whats’s not there is just as important as what is. This isn’t a new concept or perspective. Garbage and remains are key components in the work of archaeologists, acting as important tools for understanding how people lived and how societies functioned.
This is what I was drawn to: the unique storytelling capabilities of trash. I wanted to create an experience to explore this concept of trash as a narrative tool.
The game and narrative are experienced through exploring different spaces—as scans files of the ruins— and inspecting artifacts found within those spaces. The goal is to discover the story of each location through the objects, and maybe even uncover a conspiracy across the different locations. Visual navigation is done from an isometric perspective to get a better sense of the whole space. Discovering artifacts logs them into your notebook, where players will need to determine what this object is, how it might have been made, what its function was, and how it contributes to the canon of this location.
There are 4 different spaces to explore. Found in each are unique sets of artifacts containing the story of that location.