Game Science Center Berlin

I’m back from Berlin, and I saw a lot of great stuff there: one of the biggest zoos in Europe, a small Legoland, built just to advertise the actual Legoland, etc. Oh yeah, there was also the Game Science Center. It is a museum of indie games that use innovative technology. It’s quite impressive, and I will support this statement by writing about only some of the exhibits.

Pong Invaders Reality

Pong Invaders Reality is Space Invaders, but with real-life ping pong mixed in.

The invaders have descended upon Earth yet again, this time to steal four ping-pong bats (?), and only you can stop them, using your table tennis skills. You have to shoot ping-pong balls with your bat at the invaders, to stop them from getting to the bottom of the screen. Sounds simple, right. It is, actually… If you spend 27 hours a day practicing your ping-pong skills. If not, get ready to duck under the table, getting the ball. But even though it’s extremely hard, Pong Invaders Reality is great fun.

The Choosatron

The Choosatron is a machine that plays choose-your-own-adventure books/games, which is nice, since there were a lot of projects with specific setups which played arcade games, yet none for books.

But this one is different from other similar devices: it doesn’t have a screen. Instead, it prints a receipt of the story. I.e. print beginning of story, make choice, print output. This way, you can take the receipt and keep it, to brag to your friends (if you brag to your friends about a choose-your-own-adventure book, that is sad).

Alphabet

Unlike the other exhibits, Alphabet doesn’t need any specific hardware, it can work on your run-of-the-mill computer.

It is a one-tap platformer, but with a twist: It isn’t exactly one-tap, since you control multiple characters of the alphabet (or all of them, in the later levels) each character on the keyboard controlling the corresponding letter — tap to jump, hold to run. Despite sounding simple, Alphabet is pretty hard, not because the levels are tricky, but because you probably don’t have enough fingers and coordination skills to control all of the characters at once.

Zwoboter

Zwoboter (‘Two bots’ in German) is a game for 2 players.

They play as hexagons, each divided into 6 different-colored slices. The players must bump into the small ball (which is also a hexagon) to get points, the player with most points wins. But, the slices on the hexagons are not there just for the looks — the machine Zwoboter runs on gives 6 buttons per player, each colored like one of the slices. So when a button is pushed, a slice activates and acts as a thruster. This makes for some pretty intense duels, since half of the time you won’t even understand what’s going on.

Le fin

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