For their latest video game INKS, London-based State of Play Games have created a new spin on classic pinball by turning the background of a pinball game into a piece of interactive art. As the ball traverses the course, the bright lights and clanking sounds of traditional pinball are replaced with pockets of watercolor paint that explode into flourishes. The ball in turn leaves trails of color as you solve each level.
State of Play are no strangers to turning a more tactile world into a digital game. You might remember their groundbreaking work in Lumino City (which won a BAFTA award) where real paper sets and characters were filmed and photographed as components of an immersive digital puzzle game. INKS has much of the same polish a detail, though allows for quicker gameplay. One of my favorite details is that every time you complete a level, the game board complete with paint trails is saved as a thumbnail like an artwork. You can even print and share them.
Inspired by artists like Miro, Matisse, Jackson Pollock and Bridget Riley, each table becomes a unique work of art in its own right, sculpted by the player as they fire an ink covered ball around the canvas. The player is encouraged to share their final work of art on social media with the iOS share function. They can even print them out if they like – with the story of their perfect game literally drawn on the canvas in front of them, something to be proud of and share.
Luke Whittaker from State of Play tells us they were partly inspired by Sam van Doom’s ink-based pinball game from 2012. It’s a visually stunning game with some pretty innovative ideas, even if you don’t particularly enjoy pinball. You can download INKS for iOS here.