This article was originally published on December 16, 2014 but we think it still rocks!
Despite the velvet ropes, security guards, and "Do Not Touch" signs, the urge to touch the paintings in an art museum can be hard to resist—or impossible, as in the case of Andrew Shannon, who was convicted in 2014 for giving Monet's Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat a knuckle sandwich at the National Gallery Ireland. Punch a Monet is an in-browser game that lets people safely live out that desire, without the unfortunate moral and judical side-effects.
"The news was kind of weird and interesting, which sparked the idea of creating a browser based mini-game where people would be able to go through the same experience," Tom Galle, one of the game's designers, told The Creators Project. Players navigate a red-walled room, empty save for the titular Monet painting, with the arrow keys and mouse, then tap the spacebar to drive a virtual fist through the canvas. Each tap does a little more than $3 million in damage, causing the frame to fall to the ground after reaching its full $12.5 million dollar value.
Galle and his collaborators, Eiji Muroicci and Dries Depoorter, put the game together using a threejs library in WebGL over the course of a week, receiving a mixed reaction from the internet. "I think most people see the humor behind it, but we also had a few negative reactions of people that felt like we were encouraging the destruction of valuable art," says Galle. "We of course do not in any way want to encourage destroying valuable objects of art."