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A quick stroll around Norco's virtual art gallery

A slightly on-the-nose take on games-as-art still does its job.

There's a virtual exhibition for Norco, the extremely moody, murky point-and-click mystery coming at the end of this month, that you can play here on Steam for free.

I've had a little poke around and, alright, it's a room with some game art in it. Stills from Norco's early-game environments, static captures of a scene of a distant, rusty skyline pocked with dead trees, another with plumes of chemical exhaust. Silhouettes of chemical plants, overpass bridges, degrading swamps. Plus a few snapshots of the rooms and places you'll get to poke and prod more thoroughly in the game itself (as I did in my first look at the game), and a secret room I won't spoil.

Norco's Act One demo trailer - you can play this now.

The virtual gallery's running alongside a real one, which has popped up in Gamla Stan, Stockholm and is honestly where I'd much rather be. Taking game art and putting it in an actual gallery is a very literal take on "games as art", but there is something to it, I think. Especially with Norco, which seems to sit at a junction between its creators' experience of one real place in the real American south, and their own virtual, concentrated version of it.

I'd quite like to be in a room looking at pictures of that, of their early pencil sketches and blotted, oily paintings, photographs of the real thing and big, blown-up pixel-art recreations of it. I'd like to be next to real people talking about it as all of that blurs together, given that whole people-responding-to-what-you've-made thing is where the magic really happens.

So yep, a bit literal - a better way to virtually recreate a gallery's whole communal, reaction-to-art thing is probably just to play the game for a shared audience on Twitch - and ultimately yes, also a marketing exercise. But it's worked.

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Chris Tapsell avatar

Chris Tapsell

Reviews Editor

Chris Tapsell is Eurogamer's Reviews Editor and most decorated Football Manager. He used to write guides, and will send you links to his favourite spreadsheets if you ask him about League of Legends or competitive Pokémon.

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