You can now experience what it's like to be a struggling artist without quitting your day job.
In Passpartout, a new interactive art game created by Flamebait Games, users toil away on virtual paintings and attempt to sell them. The art gallery simulator is as simple as messing around in Microsoft Paint, with some added business savvy: price the painting too high and nobody will buy it, price it too low and you won't be able to pay your work expenses.
My expenses, including rent, food, wine, and union fees, came to €633 ($694) in a week. The goal of the game is to stay afloat as an artist by selling your paintings for more than your costs, as you ascend to higher levels of fame.
Potential virtual art buyers wander the gallery and offer a variety of often ruthless reasons for purchasing or not purchasing work, from prices, to art titles, which the game allows you to edit before putting the painting up for sale.
"The masses want better names on their paintings," was a common complaint of my work in the game.
Most of my lower-priced paintings sold pretty easily (my masterpiece Chill Ass Panda sold for €30, or $33 for example) but when I tried to price a work consisting of just several lines at random (a piece I titled Le Parallelisme) at € 50,000, or $55,000, most gallery-goers were insulted, and it never sold.
After scrambling to make enough paintings to fill the walls as quickly as possible, I found myself unable to sell any. Potential buyers walked around muttering, "This guy really is a nobody," and commenting that the art was too hastily made.
The game ended after my rank depleted from "Unknown Rookie" to "Fan Artist," as a slid further into debt and faded away into obscurity. The virtual art world is cruel, man. The game can be downloaded for free and is currently a prototype version.