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"A small virtual wooden box filled with objects that, juxtaposed next to each other, remind the player of their mortality."


Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 4 February 2010

At the occasion of the Art History of Games symposium, opening tonight in Atlanta, Tale of Tales launches its first iPhone app. Vanitas is a small virtual wooden box filled with objects that, juxtaposed next to each other, remind the player of their mortality. It's a meditative piece without rules or rewards, apart, perhaps, from the golden star the player receives when three identical objects appear in the box. Zoë Keating, from Rasputina fame, added musical ambience on solo cello.

As of today, Vanitas can be purchased in Apple's App Store for a single US Dollar.

Trailer, screenshots, information and credits are available on http://Tale-of-Tales.com/Vanitas

"Despite using contemporary technology, we are artistically inspired mostly by pre-modern art," admit creators Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn. "In the 16th and 17th centuries, many Dutch and Flemish painters created still lives with symbols that referred to man's mortality. They were named after a famous quotation from the Bible by Ecclesiastes:

"Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas". Or "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity", implying that everything we do in life is without meaning.

Creating a "Vanitas" painting for the iPhone felt like the appropriate response to the commission by Ian Bogost and John Sharp."

Next to Vanitas, two other games were commissioned by the Savannah College of Art and Design and the Georgia Institute of Technology Program in Digital Media. A PC game by Jason Rohrer, entitled "Sleep is Death (Geisterfahrer)", and a life-size board game by Nathalie Pozzi and Eric Zimmerman, entitled "Sixteen Tons". All three games will be exhibited at Kai Lin Art in Atlanta from Thursday, February 4 until Tuesday, March 2. The Art History of Games symposium takes place in in the High Museum of Art from February 4 to 6 and includes presentations by John Romero, Brenda Brathwaite, Jesper Juul, Frank Lantz, Celia Pearce and Christiane Paul.

More information on


Tale of Tales is an independent studio based in Belgium, founded by new media artists Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn in 2003. Last year, they published their critically acclaimed take on Little Red Ridinghood, The Path, and a controversial exploration of the legend of Salome, Fatale.

The year before that, The Graveyard was introduced to a baffled gamer audience. Despite Tale of Tales' explicit rejection of videogames as goal-oriented rule systems, their work has been selected multiple times by the Independent Games Festival and Indiecade, while simultaneously being featured in media art festivals throughout the world.



Promotional Codes are available for reviewing Vanitas for free. Please send a message to press@tale-of-tales.com to obtain one.

Designers Auriea Harvey & Michael Samyn are also available for interviews, preferably via email.

Screenshots are available from http://Tale-of-Tales.com/Vanitas The HD trailer for Vanitas can be shared and downloaded from


For further information contact: press@tale-of-tales.com


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