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Spotting Real-World Architecture in Monument Valley

Left: Screenshot from Monument Valley, via UsTwo. Right: La Muralla Roja housing project in Spain by Ricardo Bofill. Photo courtesy of Ricardo Bofill, via ArchDaily.

Minimalism in architecture means smooth surfaces, a limited color and materials palette, a refusal to clutter or adorn. Minimalism builds the should-nots into its structure—if you need to #Konmari afterward, you're not listening—setting out a lifestyle that may be difficult but should reward you with a living space of monochrome dishware, right-angled benches, and columns of natural light. It may result in a building that looks of another world, absent the irrationality (and dirt) of what we commonly refer to as real life.

Minimalism in game-making shares many of the same qualities, at least according to Neil McFarland, Director of Games at UsTwo, makers of Monument Valley, the addictive spatial puzzle-solving app that's clocked four million downloads and counting. "There is very little in the levels that is superfluous. There are no achievements in the game, no unlockables, no secrets. We really wanted it to be just about the experience of traveling through those monuments and nothing else."

Minimalism and game play >>