Musical Embrace – musing about newer games

by Bernie DeKoven on July 9, 2012

There’s something like a movement in the gaming world – a movement like New Games was a movement – a movement like New Games. I wrote about it in an article called The New Games Legacy, and I’m realizing I’m going to be writing much more about it. Let’s, for the time being, call it Newer Games.  And, for the sake of further clarity, let’s exemplify this movement with a semi-intimate, somewhat silly game called Musical Embrace.

Musical Embrace is a product of the Exertion Games Lab of RMIT. “Musical Embrace,” explain the Gameful Exerters, is “a digital research game that demonstrates how to use social awkwardness as a successful play element. In Musical Embrace two players are invited to control a pillow, which hangs from the ceiling, with their torsos in order to collaboratively navigate a virtual world filled with sound sources. By exploring uncomfortable interactions such as social awkwardness, we are illustrating the potential benefits of social awkwardness and bodily interactions; along with enriching our understanding of what computer games can and should be in the future.”

Ah, yes, pillow control. Yes, again, “the potential benefits of social awkwardness and bodily interactions.” Quite New Gamish, it seems to me, a direct heir to the spirit of Knots or the Lap Game or People Pass. Socially awkward beneficial bodily interactions. What fun!


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