Video game interaction and musical practice share the common verb ‘play.’ But what does it mean to play a video game as opposed to a musical piece. How does the state of gameplay change when play is taken to mean ‘perform’ rather than ‘engage with’? What can we learn about the engagement level of a gamer by observing the speed of his button presses and the motion of his controller? How do older gamers ‘perform’ compared to younger ones? Do controllers from older eras of video game history elicit different responses and interactions? What about different genres of video games? How do their gameplay mechanics change the physical actions of the player? Does navigating Portal's Aperture Science Enrichment Center look different than jumping and running through Mario’s World 1-1?

Replay studies the movement and controller use of different levels of video game players (casual to hard-core) and translate that data into a series of audio-visual 'paintings'. These pieces serve both as documentation of the ‘performances’ and highlight the methods used by the players in their pursuit of play, showing the depth of the game engagement and the various themes inherent from each game's mechanics.

Mario Party

Mario Party takes the gameplays of 8 different people playing from the beginning of the original Super Mario Brothers. Every right press of the D-Pad sustains note volume, while any other D-Pad press (including no press) decreases volume. Presses of the A and B buttons trigger notes and filter sweeps, respectively. By overlaying these 8 play-performances over each other and seeing where they contrast and overlap, you get an interesting sense of group movement on a traditionally solo experience.

Portal 2 Decisions

Portal 2 Decisions takes the directional and observational decisions of the player and translates it into abstract lines on the screen, creating an ever-changing landscape of representational material.

Supplemental Material

GitHub Repository

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