4 Minutes, 33 Seconds of Uniqueness | Uncommon Assembly

4 Minutes, 33 Seconds of Uniqueness


One of the more notable results of the 2009 Global Game Jam, was 4 Minutes, 33 Seconds of Uniqueness. It was developed by Petri Purho (and team), who also created the clever indie breakout hit Crayon Physics Deluxe under his Kloonigames moniker. The game was created within a 24-our window and was provided by the competition with the theme “As long as we have each other, we’ll never run out of problems“.

Purho’s solution was to create a black screen that slowly fills up with white, from left to right, taking 4 minutes and 33 seconds. There are no controls, and no user interaction. If the screen fills up with white, you win. But if another individual anywhere in the world starts up the game, you both lose. You can only win if you are the sole unique player of this game for 4′ 33″.


The game takes it’s name from a controversial musical composition for piano created in 1952 by experimental composer John Cage. Cage composed a score that was completely silent, lasting 4 minutes and 33 seconds. Sometimes called Silence, 4’33″, or 4’33″ of Silence. The inaugural performance was carried out by famed pianist David Tudor, who sat in front of a piano with a stopwatch, with the keyboard closed, periodically turning the pages of the score. Cage’s 4’33″ was generally intended to challenge the very definition of a “performance”.

I found the graphics for 4’33″ the game to be reminiscent of abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko’s “Multiform” paintings from the same era… striking blocks of opposing colors and values. Though, being dynamic, the game gives an additional sense of urgency:

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Works by Mark Rothko

4 Minutes, 33 Seconds of Uniqueness can be downloaded at the Nordic Game Jam site. In the Global Game Jam tradition, all games created for the competition are free. Just wait a few minutes, so I can finish my game.

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