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Rating: 4.3/5 (168 votes)
Comments (23) | Views (14,887)

Avant Garde

elleIn 19th century Paris, the art scene is resplendent with potential. Edgy, innovative new movements bump up and push against the established art salons and academy precepts for acceptable artwork. It's an exciting time to be an artist and, luckily, you are part of it! Rub elbows with Monet and Picasso and participate in the Avant-Garde, improve yourself as an artist and learn more about art history in this narrative simulation/RPG by Lucas Molina, which is currently playable in its alpha version.

Avant-GardeAfter spreading your initial 10 skill points among knowledge in expression, form, color and other artistic aspects, head over to the Atelier to continue practicing and increase your skills. Various subject matters will improve your proficiency in different areas, so select which pieces to create with that in mind. Once you've chosen subject and medium, read the box in the lower corner and, if you're satisfied with the experience it will give, its potential for bringing in income, and its materials cost, click "create." Each action advances time one month and, once a year, you'll be invited to submit a work to the salon for judging, so be sure to save your best for this occasion.

With much practice, money management and strategy, you'll advance from making grotesque and rejected pieces to masterpieces that win gold at the Salon. Winning work is worth more upon selling it, but you can sell anything you create to spend on new materials such as oil paints and canvas, or to take lessons at the Academy. The true Avant-Garde learning, though, takes place at the cafe, where you can chat it up—or drink absinthe—with other artists who, when they're feeling amiable, will teach you their creative secrets in mythological art, impressionism, and so on.

If Avant-Garde feels like missed opportunities, it's because, at the time of this review, it is unfinished, its design still in progress. The potential for so much more keeps Avant-Garde engaging even as you look forward to Molina's completed project. In the meantime, this satisfyingly creative simulation/RPG already has much to entertain and elucidate both the gamer and artist in you.

Play Avant-Garde


I love that this is such a compelling experience -- albeit a bit of a grinder -- that involves no martial conflict, only the internal struggle to improve the self. This is hardcore proof that a game need not be about good guys and bad guys to be worth playing. My favorite aspects of Zelda were always the puzzles; my favorite casual genres are hidden object and escapes; the best platformers are about exploration. More game designers need to be focusing on the less confrontational aspects of "conflict".

Also, I love how the author takes the time to present something intelligent and culturally significant. We are learning great amounts of technical details about creating art and about a hugely important time in western cultural history. The author gives the player credit for being intelligent enough to appreciate this, and with the wikipedia links, credit for being curious enough to want to expand our own experience. How many games just assume that the player needs hand-holding, or that he cannot deal with any greater complexity than "bad guys are bad"?

This is a sterling effort.

throwawayx3t March 15, 2013 1:10 AM

Very cool, and very, very original. I would like more of an experience in the actual creation of the art though.

XyzzySqrl March 15, 2013 2:37 AM

Spent twelve years drinking with various artists, got several thousands in debt, then scrawled terrible naked pictures and sold them until I had drinking money again.

100% accurate simulation of the life of an artist.


Great concept, can't wait to see what more is done with it.
My first character was a classical artist and got works into shows far before they knew how to do good art. They just happened to be into the right style.
It was totally heartbreaking that my second character consistently created masterpieces, experimented with new techniques, and wrote a manifesto for their own revolutionary new style, and died in obscurity.
I wish there was more plot, and perhaps different rewards depending on what decisions you make (some characters could become wealthy and famous, while others might be discovered and celebrated only decades after their deaths).


I like this beautifully made game, but interaction with different characters seems a little limited.
I miss the links to events as the commune of paris in 1871 which had a huge impact on the life of artist (but also to all other inhabitants of paris).


Is it just me (or my firefox, my flash player, whatever)..?
When I create my character, the picture frame doesn't offer any choice, it's empty. I'm faceless..
And as I tried my first picture, there was nothing showing either.. only the comments from the other painters.
Is it the same for everyone, aka the game is constructed like this (a bit meh, and would be weird), or is my browser setting wired wrongly somehow?


@elle: thank you ^^ - true it's alpha. gonna try painting in the dark then XD


Beautiful artwork along with atmosphere. Downside is that I know neither if I am a male or female and what does the respective statistics do. Still, nice game.


Aww it finished. I started over and by the end..when it ended, it makes quite an impact. Having 100 gold stars, 8 gold medal masterpieces, and yet that ending event made all for naught. *** ruins things.


I'm really happy that the game didn't tell me if I was male or female. It allowed me to play an androgynous character, which is something few games do. It, whether intentionally or not, made it more accessible to me as a person who doesn't always feel like the binary male/female dichotomy applies to me.


Won my first medal a month before the end of the game... Awesome.

handmade.mercury March 28, 2013 11:19 PM

I can't figure out how to get my paintings accepted. My first two at the beginning of the game were, but now I've had 200 in a row get rejected.

skittyoung March 29, 2013 2:26 PM

The game doesn't work for me. I get a black background with the words "Paris 1863" and two buttons in the lower right corner-turn off music and go to wikipedia. Nothing else. Clicking on the screen does nothing. Clicking the buttons does turn off the music and open wikipedia. I am using Safari 5.1.8 on Mac OS X 10.6.8. Flash is up to date (11.6.602.180)

skittyoung March 29, 2013 6:05 PM

Tried Firefox, same thing happens. I tried playing the game from newgrounds, and on that site, the background is not completely black, I can see faint shapes, but still nothing. Thanks for your suggestions, though. It sounds like a great game.


I have the same problem - I only see white. Mac, Chrome, latest flash... Oh well. I may switch computers...


Mac, latest Chrome (26.0.1410.43) and the game plays just fine. There is a white screen that displays until the game downloads the loader screen, which is displayed right after the white screen, but the white screen should go away within a few moments (depending on the speed of your Internet connection). The game itself is only a little more than 5MB in size.

I don't know what to suggest because we cannot reproduce the issue you're seeing.

skittyoung April 11, 2013 11:12 PM

Hey, it's working now! I don't know what changed, but it seems as though the game works fine on my Mac now.

skittyoung April 11, 2013 11:14 PM

OMG. It worked, I was on the character creation screen, and I thought I'd post a comment that it was working now, and when I tried again-- no dice. Back to the solid black bg with PARIS 1863. I officially have no idea what's the matter with my computer.


This was pretty difficult at first, especially when I thought the menu screen was a painting I was making a composition for D: In all, before I quit, I lived to be 170 made over a Million in whatever the currency was and made 3 seperate manifesto. Realism gives you prizes!!! Studious and a Loner.


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