In 2006, before the advent of augmented reality games like Pokémon GO, artist Mary Flanagan wanted to find a way to get random people to play together. Your solution? create a joystick 2.7-metre-tall video game camera — which reached the Guinness World Records 2022, the Book of Records as the biggest of its kind.
The giant controller is nearly 14 times the original size of a classic Atari CX40 controller, according to Flanagan. Ordered for the House of Technology (House of Technology) called Praxis of London, the joystick It was made of wood, steel and rubber.
The item is currently on the ZKM Center for Art and Media (Art and Media Centre) in Karlsruhe, Germany, and has toured Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“The idea was to really take something that was solitary play and make it so big that it required collaboration and brought people together,” said Flanagan, head of the department of Media and Film Studies at Dartmouth College and professor of Digital Humanities.
She has worked with a team of manufacturers specializing in the Brooklyn Navy Yard from New York to create his “engineering wonder,” which breaks up into two giant boxes.
“It’s kind of tricky to even move around,” she told CNN International. “Between shows it was always weird because sometimes I had to keep the controller in a storage unit, sometimes it was being taken in another country between two shows.”
At least two people must operate the joystick, which can play classic Atari games, including “Breakout” and “Centipede”. Although, as a unit, the controller has a small Atari inside, Flanagan said the joystick could technically be connected to any console.
“When you get on it, a really high score on something like ‘Breakout’ or ‘Pong’ is 11 because people don’t move as fast when they have to move their whole body,” she said.
“So, trying to coordinate with different people slows down everyone’s agility in the game, and changes our relationship with this practice of a game familiar. Give some critical distance.”
Flanagan entered the video game market as a game designer for games on CD-ROM in the 1990s. She also created what some consider the first autobiographical video game called “domestic”.
As the author of several books on video games, Flanagan has pursued more creative interpretations of digital culture, such as creating games for social change or addressing social issues — which she believes to be exactly what the joystick he does.
Being presented as a Guinness World Record came as a big shock to Flanagan, who hoped to “produce a childlike scale” and “generate discussion and group play,” according to the Book of Records.
Her goal, she said, in addition to bringing people together, was to make them strange parts of their daily lives.
“There’s something we can all benefit from with artists’ approaches to pop culture, fun things around us, and kind of opening our eyes to new ways of seeing something that’s really familiar,” she said.
Flanagan noted that the joystick it’s not tied to a particular generation, especially when you consider how niche and popular some older video games have recently become. She linked this phenomenon to classic cars, which entered the market, although few people drive them anymore.
But everyone, she admitted, misses playing their first video game.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s ‘World of Warcraft’, ‘Fortnite’, ‘Candy Crush’ or whatever your relationship to the game is. It opens them up to a new way of being in the world, and people remember those moments where they relate to their game, and that’s kind of romantic,” Flanagan said.
Flanagan is currently working on a “feminist artificial intelligence” project that is trained solely in the work of female artists to explore biases in algorithms. She hopes that through her joystick and current projects, video games and their modifications can be crucial tools for stimulating meaningful interaction.
“The games themselves are almost like little universes, and we can invent possible futures in them,” she said. “It’s my hope that maybe we can feel optimistic about the game and maybe break some barriers and stick together.”
(*This text has been translated. Click here to read the original in English)
Reference: CNN Brasil