Last month at Cinematexas, Eddo Stern premiered Darkgame (prototype), a sensory-deprivation game that explores whether a video game can exist without a visual interface. Two opponents have to guide their avatar around a 2D plane, their movements projected against the gallery wall. One person is completely â€œblindâ€?, responding only to nonvisual cues: the vibrations of a headset Stern designed to correspond with the location of the opposing player, and related audio signals. The other character is able to see the action play out in real time, but the field of play becomes obscured when he or she is hit and small patches of grey begin to expand.
“I’m interested in making it a game that blind people and seeing people, for instance, could play together, a game where the abilities of the blind person would become a benefit in the game,” explains Stern in an interview with Thomas Beard. “The game is going to evolve into a 3D game using Torque, which is the same engine we used in Waco, and I’m also going to play around with having the players fluctuate between deprivation and full sensory overload, bombarded by too much information. So for example having them process mental puzzles or challenges or quizzes while performing with hand-eye coordination.”
The approaching ball is experienced by the players purely through sound. They hear a spatially accurate soundscape which is determined by both the orientation of their heads and their position on the court.
Talking about using a Ping Pong paddle as a controller…