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Bennett Foddy. Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy. 2017. Video game software. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the designer. © 2023 Bennett Foddy

Whether you are fighting extraterrestrial invaders, hungrily devouring pellets while avoiding ghosts, creating a new city from scratch, or taking on the Sisyphean task of climbing a mountain of rocks and garbage while stuck in a cauldron, video games offer you a unique opportunity to directly interact with a world designed by someone else, unencumbered by pesky complications like, say, physics or mortality. Yet despite (or, perhaps, because of) the staggering complexity of putting these worlds together, many of us never think about the wild variety of decisions and disruptions that can go into even the simplest video game, from “Which button means ‘jump’?” to “What if there’s no way to win?”

On the occasion of our exhibition Never Alone: Video Games and Other Interactive Design (and in anticipation of our January 26 Member Roundtable on “Video Games and Design”), we asked Bennett Foddy and Nathalie Lawhead, game designers who have both taken the medium well beyond “shoot that alien,” to consider the following question: