Punch the Custard and One Dimensional Pong

Image of a computer screen, that reads "Punch the custard" on a table with two bowls of custard, scribbled scores, and a touch-pad of tin-foil that completes a circuit when punching the custard.

Following my mention of Hide and Seek and social public gaming, I wanted to post two games that fit this mould, that are effectively one-switch games: Punch the Custard and One Dimensional Pong.

Punch the Custard takes one of the oldest one-switch games (played on calculators by pressing 1,+,+ then mashing the = button), and makes it messier and much funnier.

One Dimensional Pong takes Pong, reduces it down to one-button each, and sprawls it in beautiful light across five metres of living space. Take a look at the videos below to see for yourselves.


ExPlay 12

At the recent ExPlay 12 event I learnt a lot being on stage as part of the game accessibility panel. I'm such a public speaking light-weight (I'd rather crack on with projects that didn't involve taking six Kalms tablets to keep nerves in check), but it wasn't so bad I was surprised to find. It did help to be amongst such knowledgeable and likeable people, and to have a receptive crowd to speak to. Ian Hamilton who was also on the panel hung about later to find out if it had been useful to anyone, and turned these up:

1. The designer who had been struggling with how to make Qube colour blind friendly, but now had the answer

2. The studio director who wants to start pushing some best practices as an insurance policy for when he's an elderly gamer himself

3. The artist with a history of colour blind family members, who had previously had no idea that there was something he could do to help them

4. The designer who now understood that he should be designing for gamers, not designing for himself

5. The developer frustrated that he wasn't taught about accessibility in his Abertay degree, and wants to get a guest lecture set up

6. The final year student stunned by what could be possible just through adding a little flexibility: "my mind has been blown, and I will never think about games in the same way again"

I learnt loads as a member of the audience too. I especially enjoyed one of the final talks, given by Alex Fleetwood of Hide and Seek on social games in public spaces. This was particularly relevant as Johann Sebastian Joust was being hosted at the event to raise funds for SpecialEffect with special thanks to Leanne Baley of Remode and PlayMob.com.

Social public gaming is something I remember well, with kids crowding around multi-player video games in amusement arcades in the late '70s and early '80s. Access is a big issue for the likes of JS Joust, but it doesn't have to be, as Dimitris Grammenos demonstrates with his Shaking Things Up article. 


Digital Death

GAME OVER.... PRESS START.... Screen shot from the Atari game BattleZone from 1980.

BBC's Radio 4 ran a fascinating piece on Digital Death earlier this week as part of their Digital Human thread. Alex Krotoski (who introduced me to the IGDA GASIG many years back) investigates what it means to live and die in the digital world.

"The distinction between our physical selves and mental states is a philosophical construction, but it signifies a line in the sand between those who believe our bodies make us human and those who define humanity by our thoughts and social lives. But after our death can our persisting digital selves continue our presence for those left behind?"

Many thanks to Mick Donegan of SpecialEffect for the link.

EDIT: I'll schedule a post for this nearer the time, but I very much like Kate Aherne's tribute to her sister Stacey who died in 2008. Kate has set up a site called Stacey's Serve-a-thon. It remembers her, whilst encouraging people to donate an hour of their time or an hour's wage to any good cause of their choice, in tribute to her memory.

The Tomorrow People



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