Thanks to endless internet content that showcases the corgi as a wild ball of fluff, you could be forgiven for thinking that their only purpose is to be adorable and amuse us with their attempts to manoeuvre stairs. Originally though, these stumpy little delights were bred for herding cattle. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s true.
So, if the definition of a good corgi is one that’s able to efficiently and benignly herd cattle and keep order, you can probably guess what the idea behind the game Bad Corgi is. Cause chaos. Bad Corgi is a mobile game created by New York artist Ian Cheng as a digital commission for the Serpentine Gallery in London. When it comes to creating games and art, Cheng’s primary influences are his education in Cognitive Science and a fascination with the dynamics of unpredictable systems.
In the game players take up the role of a corgi and they’re forced to go against their given task by polluting the herd, losing points, losing control and giving themselves up to chaos. It’s a cute scenario, and the game’s appearance reinforces its sense of fun, but considering that on iTunes the game is categorised as a health and fitness app, it’s clear that Cheng has deeper intentions with Bad Corgi than harmless fun.
Cheng says of his work:
“I see my simulations as a kind of neurological gym in which art becomes a means to deliberately exercise the feelings of confusion, anxiety and cognitive dissonance that can accompany life in a world of intense change and uncertainty. In this way Bad Corgi functions as a shadowy mindfulness tool about refusing to eradicate stress and anxiety, and instead learning to deliberately setup and collaborate with those bad-feeling feelings.”
The game never grants the player complete control and it has to be said there is a certain feeling of catharsis watching the herd run wild and seeing your perfection rating drop rapidly. It’s oddly freeing and interesting to play through a situation where everything is falling out of your control and the only thing you can do is accept it and, in a way, embrace the negativity.
Whether you consider Bad Corgi an accurate reflection on “the human mind’s mercurial states of focus, distraction, discipline and uncanny ability to become possessed by an inner impulsive autopilot” or not, it’s an enjoyable experience and absolutely worth downloading for free from iTunes.