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.
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From the pendulum-based drawing machine by Eske Rex to the art of Tim Knowles who attaches writing implements to trees, I love when the seemingly random lines of chaos (or maybe just physics) are rendered visible using ink or pencil. This latest project titled STYN by Netherlands-based graduate student Sam van Doorn is no exception. Using modified parts from an old pinball machine van Doorn created a one-of-a-kind drawing device that utilizes standard flippers to control a ink-covered sphere that moves across a temporary poster placed on the game surface. He suggets that skill then becomes a factor, as the better you are at pinball the more complex the drawing becomes. See much more on his website, here. My drawing would have a single line that goes between the flippers and then have TILT written all over it.
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