There are many like it, but this one is mine.
I’ve watched it through warm autumn days and balmy summer nights.
I’ve kept it company through snowy winter mornings and even snowier winter midnights.
Sometimes I play it songs.
(Though my limited musical repertoire means it gets to hear Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday and Do-Re-Mi (of the “Do, a deer” fame) a lot.)
Sometimes I look at it from another angle.
Who says mountains need to be pyramidal in shape, anyway?
Sometimes I spin it like a top.
My mountain thinks deep thoughts and sometimes speaks to me of how it feels.
And sometimes it wonders:
Then I went for dinner and left it alone for an hour.
And when I find the god who flung these things into my mountain, that bastard is going to pay.
Seriously, get your own damn mountain.
Anyone remember the pet rock craze?
Mountain reminds me somewhat of that.
Said pet rock was gifted by Doone, as I’m certainly not the sort to buy this sort of “program” (I can’t call it a game, because a game implies -some- interactivity.)
Is it a toy? I guess it could be, if you treat it like one.
Is it art?
There’s the caveat that all art is subjective.
My interpretation? Not so much in the sense of being impressive on a graphical or technical skill scale – I’ve seen much better landscapes, and much better pixel art for that matter.
Mountain very much gives me the impression that someone wanted to make something, a game, a Tamagotchi pet, whatever, but only had very basic 3D modelling skills – enough to code and cobble together a randomized mountain slope, dot it with procedural trees (same model, just rotated and sized differently) and rocks. A little advanced tutorial work for clouds and sky and stars and changing lighting to simulate day and night, another short exercise to create a winter snow landscape, yet another programming exercise to allow keyboard keys to play musical notes… and then with imagination running dry and idle hands, comes the sudden inspiration to toss premade 3D models like a ball or a gramophone or something equally incongruous into the mountainside.
For all we know, maybe Mountain really -is- someone’s school project or programming / graphical art practice exercise.
I suppose what I’m more impressed with is the capacity of humanity to invest -anything- with meaning or to construct some kind of story or narrative out of it.
The act of choosing to run the program and watching the mountain change over time rather reminds me of the ongoing discussion on the GW2 Reddit about the Lion’s Arch changes (“No other game welcomes returning players with their favorite city in ruins.”)
What’s interesting in that Reddit thread is that the top comment shares the story that this scene that they’re seeing now is the -improved- version of the Lion’s Arch ruins. Yes, Lion’s Arch was even more ruined before (and on fire, besides.) Following it are comments that lament missing the occurrences, the events, the changes, as well as serious nostalgia from the players who were THERE, plus some expressed fascination with hearing these veterans’ stories.
The act of change over time creates HISTORY.
And because I’m sort of a crusty cynical pessimist on the outside, with a hefty helping of paranoia, I have this sneaking suspicion that my mountain is not going to stay the same forever. Even in geologic time, mountains erode. Or explode. Or something.
And I suppose the time invested into “growing” this mountain (in the sense that starting ProgressQuest is leveling up a character, anyway) will result in some kind of attachment and feeling of loss when the mountain eventually goes away.
Inasmuch as Mountain can provoke these sort of reflective thoughts, I daresay from a certain angle, one might call it art.
(But not art I’d personally pay for, to be honest. If someone gives it to you for free though, it won’t hurt to adopt a pet mountain for a while.)