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.
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.
Our publisher @RawFury is hosting a virtual art gallery featuring early concept sketches, reference photos, and finalized pixel art from NORCO. The content will also be featured in a digital art book that you can purchase alongside the game. More here: https://t.co/rW9vyp7AFv pic.twitter.com/due13mSHX1— geographyofrobots (@roboticgeo) February 28, 2022
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.