Column is a monthly feature that explores the world
of creativity and aesthetics.
Want to take a ride?
de Sousa, Director, AbleStable
My son said "so, what are you supposed to
I looked across. He'd already figured out: "Oh,
I see, now you push the play button".
The next moment we were both hooked. I asked him
to send the URL my way. We then spent the next
two hours playing. Line Rider has one
editorial tool, a pencil. This simple webtoy
is not only a great challenge, it's also a perfect
example to illustrate the creative process...
do not have clear aims like a game, but rather
play. There's no high score to beat in Line Rider,
no particular goal to achieve, and although you
define your own challenge, the true purpose
of any toy is to
have fun. The more fun you have, the more fun
you'll want to have. Toys at their best fixate
player draws and designs a toboggan ride
one line at a time, and as they draw they
often surprising ways, to affect the movement
of their rider.
An Example I made of a Line Rider
a Line Rider player you'll create a series
of lines that scoot your rider along a roller
coaster ride. Loop the loop, have your rider
dive and jump through hoops, across ravines,
over, under, the direction and the journey
is very much up to you.
I played I began to ask
myself why this particular toy was so much
fun, and why I was driven to create the perfect
ride - which thankfully continues to allude me
at a Distance
and foremost we are physical animals. We have
an inbuilt need to observe and relish movement. Understanding
movement helps us survive as we become more expert
in flight and fight. It is why sport attracts us, the slow
motion reply serving a deep instinctive need to learn
and appreciate a body in motion. The runner, racket, arc of a ball, the interplay
of mind and muscle, the forces of nature, mastered, the competitive edge,
sharpened. All these and more come into play as we play, but
at a safe, secure, and comforting distance.
Rider provides a self contained environment
that mirrors the physics of our daily experience.
Create a line that travels steeply downwards
and your rider will pick up speed and jump
across wide spaces, but travel too fast across
terrain and your rider will
be thrown from his toboggan.
you become increasingly ambitious within the
world of the Line Rider you'll push
the boundaries of what is possible.
There is no adversary, no challenge other
than that of making the ride better. This vicarious
rush fires your desire for just one more
ride as your toboggan is thrown back, tilts
close to the edge, and explodes outward, far
beyond the stage.
The rider hits a line at high speed catapults
high, twists, and then is pulled, downward into
a bed of vertical lines that shoots him first
like a doll shaken by some great beast. Soon
the rider is in freefall, no line in sight, like
an astronaut, graceful, weightless against
the white, the opposite of night.
detail too. Your rider's arms and legs move
with limbs that eco faint familiar forms. The
white and red scarf, blown by an unknown wind.
from the lower stage a line comes into view,
and then another long and smooth,
against the edge, slowing as the line decreases
angle, sitting up the rider blinks, the ride
is over, or so the player thinks...
is playing God. Being in control. Whether painting,
designing, directing, writing, whatever the medium,
the creative act asserts our will. After the
assertion is complete, the next stage is to communicate
our work with others.
Rider, with its easy rules of engagement,
shows how even the simplest of actions: the
creation of a single line, encourages
a rich creative experience. There is no need
for complex three dimensional graphics financed
by multi-million dollar budgets to
satisfy our curiosity or creative desire.
a scene in the film Contact when Dr. Ellie Arroway,
a brilliant young scientist working
on the SETI programme, believes all is lost.
She feels everything she had worked for was
for naught when the machine which was to transport
a single person to make first contact with an
alien species is sabotaged. I won't spoil the
movie for those who haven't seen it by saying
what happens, but as I played with Line Rider,
I was reminded of that movie. To me the creative
adventure is as much defined by what is implied
is concrete. Imagination, expectation, anticipation.
Line Rider at AbleStable and get
ready for the ride of your life...
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