Slapstream v2.0

The Github repo for this project is located here.

Late last year, I had the opportunity to present an updated version of Slapstream, one of my old projects from my first semester of ITP, at Razorfish’s NY offices as part of Future Interfaces, a one-night technology exhibition run by the NY Media Lab. You can see more details from my older post linked above, but here’s the description from that page:

“Slapstream is a video game where you have to dodge onscreen obstacles by slapping yourself in the face.

It uses a Kinect to track the position and velocity of your hands and their distance from your face. Once it detects a slap, your onscreen character will move in the direction that your face reels. A more powerful slap to the face will result in greater movement onscreen.

The idea came out of my interest in making a novel game interface, and also sort of as an experiment to see how much inconvenience people will put up with for the sake of fun or competition.”

Videogames traditionally never emphasized the means of control as a way to add to the total experience of gaming. At first, controllers were designed to be purely functional. As they evolved, they became more ergonomic, so that the player notices them less and less as they become increasingly immersed in the game’s world. However, more recently there has been a reaction in the opposite direction with innovations such as the Wii and Kinect, where the mode of interaction becomes physical and interfaces with the onscreen world to become part of the experience of play. I designed Slapstream as a different take on this new mode of interaction in order to explore the entertainment value that comes from doing something unexpected and shocking to play an otherwise simplistic game.

I had left the project in an extremely prototypical state, and it was fun to revisit an old project now that I have a little more knowledge about programming. I worked on refining the slapping mechanic, overhauling the interface, outfitting the game with retro-style graphics, and adding a high-score system to encourage competition. You can see the video I made from exhibition footage above.

Update 7/2015: Slapstream has since been shown at Tribeca Film Festival’s Interactive Playground and at NYC Resistor’s annual interactive art show.