Can a video game make you more creative? Is art really your thing? Can you draw a scream? All of these questions and more can be answered when you attend Art Sqool (a game for Nintendo)! You are a froshmin, named Froshmin, and under the guidance of your AI professor, Professor Qwertz, you tackle thought-provoking art prompts, such as “draw a bicycle from memory.”
This absolute gem of a game is brought to us by visual artist Julien Glander, whose art style is most known for its bright and shiny color palette and character design that can only be described as precious. You’ll notice as you waddle around your wonderfully strange campus there is no shortage of electric blue and bubble gum pink. The game design is abundantly sweet and delightful—from the upside-down buildings, to the 3D clouds, to Froshmin’s stubby little body and weird diaper butt. Heck yeah, I’d totally go to school there and be friends with that guy, but right now I AM that guy, so let’s go make some art!
The game opens with professor Qwertz giving you your first prompt. Professor Qwertz is an AI unit that has analyzed some of the greatest art in the world. He uses this information to give you art prompts and grade your work. There are over 200 possible prompts and the order in which you receive them is completely random, giving the game great replay value, seeing as you only need to make a passing grade on 50 assignments to graduate. C’s get degrees, baby.
I received my first prompt: “draw your favorite.” I thought that was a weird sentence, but then again, I wasn’t given much time to think. I was immediately thrown into a cotton candy dreamscape suspended in outer space. I was given zero instruction, no tutorial, just a drawing pad and an absolute banger of a theme song. Let the game begin, I guess.
So, let’s look at the big picture (ba dum tsss) as of right now. It’s your first day of Art Sqool, you’re the only person there, you’re optimistic, the sky is pink, and you’ve finished drawing your favorite. Let’s submit it to the professor. You have the option of walking up to one of the many tiny, funky doors, OR you can do what I did and accidentally walk off a cliff. Both options yield the same result. To submit your art to the possibly omnipotent network of intelligence, you can just kill yourself. I feel like that’s a metaphor, but how would I know? I literally dropped out of Art Sqool just now. I let everyone down. I’m so sorry, Froshmin…
… Oh wait, I forgot you get unlimited chances to pass your assignments, and you can’t die. Sick.
Since the game is impossible to lose, there is no risk in taking your time and looking around. Through exploring the campus, you can find cool drawing tools and extra colors for your palette.
Another really cool thing you might be able to find if you’re as good at video games as me is the jump button. I know, wild. It took me until 90% completion of the game to find out that I could have been jumping the whole time. After that, it took me another 5% of play time to realize you can do infinite jumps. I could have been flying around campus the whole time, but like I said, there’s no tutorial so Froshmin had to walk everywhere, like that one guy at your college who’s always sitting on the grass waiting for his ride.
Through my trials, I grew a huge appreciation for this game. The chill environment and slow pace really force you to let yourself go. The arbitrary grading system shows that not everything you work hard on is going to be appreciated. Sometimes in life you really can just scrape by with that one green dot you put in the corner of the page and submitted by accident. Hell, it might be your best work yet.
Art Sqool isn’t about winning or defeating someone or even making good art. It’s about knocking down those boundaries you’ve set for yourself and just creating. I’m not an artist, but I did graduate Art Sqool (hard flex). In honor of this beautiful and liberating game, I would like to present my rendition of a well-known art piece that was also drawn for an art school.
You can probably tell by looking that I’ve had a lot of practice. I will admit that my very last Art Sqool prompt was “draw… a horse? Idk draw a horse lmao”—and I freaking nailed it. If you’re not an artist and you want to improve your skills like I did, OR if you are an artist and have been experiencing creative block, enroll in Art Sqool today! Tuition is only $7 😉