Google’s doodle today is especially awesome today, paying homage to Star Trek’s original series through a sequence of interactive animations. If you miss it, you can still check it out at Google’s Doodles page.
This morning my brother told me to google “zerg rush,” which, to anyone who doesn’t play Starcraft, means complete gibberish. Still unsure if it was work-friendly or if Zerg was a word for some kind of freaky porn, I decided to take the risk and do it anyway. For the ladies in the house who don’t dork out on the regsies: zerg rush is a Starcraft reference for battling insectoids.
When you google ‘zerg rush,’ the O’s from Google’s logo launch an attack on your search results, eating them up unless you have extraordinary index finger strength to click them all away before they do any damage. Even if this is true, you will still lose, I don’t care how good you are at Starcraft. When the deed is done, you have the option to submit, share, and compare your score with others.
This is the first instance of interactive search engines that I’ve ever seen, and it means exciting things for the future. What if you were to launch a completely interactive search engine? What is the intention and reward from doing this? Well, in Google’s case, it does a few things: 1. They’ve pioneered the interactive search engine style, claiming it as theirs. 2. They will draw even more people to their site while this goes viral, attracting fringe audiences, gamers, and nerds. 3. They can test out interaction on google to see how well it does, how many people it draws, and as a result, it serves as a prototype for future interactive implementation. So, it could and probably will be a huge moneymaker for them.
Google didn’t really need to test this out, since it’s pretty obvious that adding interactivity to any commercial product will take you straight to the bank. We can’t help it-we’re a curious species and we’ve been wanting to push random buttons since we were toddlers (how often did you argue with siblings over who gets to push the elevator button…?). But I’m glad they did, because they are giving us a taste of what’s yet to come, and I can’t wait to see more.
Rumpetroll is fantastic in its utilization of social media in an interactive HTML5 environment. Twitter users become little tadpoles who swim in an infinitely vast pond, moving by pressing their mouse and able to communicate with other twitter users they pass via typing. Think of it as a blend of Twitter and Chat Roulette, with more user navigation and simple, straight-forward design. Aren’t we all just tadpoles in a big pond after all? Visit the site here.
It was kind of tough coming up with a title for this one-How do you even begin describe Bla Bla? For starters, it came away from SXSW with an Interactive award for the art category, so you know it’s good. The non-linear story is broken up into numbered segments, and the story progresses once you extinguish your clicking options or decide you’re bored and force the progression by clicking on the next segment’s number. However, I found that these storylines are perfectly timed out even for the ADD-riddled brain. You won’t be bored!
Since there’s no clear plot or narration, it’s tough to tell exactly what it is that draws you into this site. One thing that’s surely responsible is the character, who displays from the start a wide range of emotions. As a participant, you start to wonder how much control you have over this big-headed little guy and how he’s going to react to your initially apathetic clicks. Yet as the chapters progress, your clicks become more and more sympathetic, as you start to care about him just a little bit. Will this click make him angry? Maybe. Will this click make him happy? There’s only one way to know for sure.
One thing I really liked about this project is how easy it is to navigate–you never get the feeling that you’ve left a stone unturned. Since the content itself is non-linear, it was important for Vince Morriset to make a linear structure in which the story could be told. This kept me from getting frustrated, which is a common experience for interactive websites that don’t provide any direction or site map. Well executed, sir! Now everyone, go experience Bla Bla here.
If you’d like to read more about it after trying out Bla Bla for yourself, click here to visit the Canadian Animation Interviews blog. Here are some more stills from my playtime:
Besides the fact that my browser hated me for loading this interactive site and crashed with about 30 seconds left in the “Lights” experience, this piece is extraordinary. It’s everything you wanted that swirling-lights Mac screensaver to be, plus way more (hence the reason I had to double my weekly website find-sometimes ya gotta!). Take control of the mouse and dive into this visual landscape of color and motion-while of course listening to the fantastic vocal stylings of Ellie Goulding’s lights. Would love to see this up on a projector with some big speakers blasting heavy bass. Like the one I just posted, this project came away from SXSW Interactive with an award for the Motion Graphics category. All the credit goes to HelloEnjoy, a company that “creates high-end interactive 3d for the web and mobile.” Here are some stills from my experience:
“Take this Lollipop” won the Experimental category at this years SXSW interactive awards, and all with good reason: it challenges your beliefs on social networking and privacy while both humoring and scaring the living crap out of you. Here’s the trailer:
All you have to do is go to www.takethislollipop.com, allow momentary access to your Facebook (you can trust these people, they won at SXSW for christ’s sake), and then sit back and watch as the next minute sends chills up your spine. You won’t believe your eyes. It’s an editing and interactive feat directed by Jason Zada. I wonder what Mark Zuckerberg thought of this.
Frustrating, humorous, straight forward, and soothing–these are all the qualities of playing Little Alchemy. It’s a simple game of combining objects to make new objects (à la MineCraft), and so on and so on until you have items like “Cow” and “Ice Cream” from only four elements: water, fire, earth, and air. Sort of like Legos, except without the rectangular constraints. There are 240 possible combinations in total, with the option of using cheats and hints. Yes, I’ve been cheating. The best part? You can save your progress, so you don’t need to start from scratch every time you have a few minutes to kill.
Check out the game here: Little Alchemy
This interactive website is the coolest, freshest thing I’ve seen in a long time. It uses a webcam to detect levels of light in your room, and once you turn off the lights (assumedly to go to sleep) your character’s head explodes with dreams. Don’t cheat though–or you might wake up in the middle of your REM cycle.
Here’s a visual walkthrough, but if you’d prefer to be surprised click here to experience it firsthand.
And if you turn on a light (or in my case, moved your hand from blocking the webcam):
And you’re back to square one. I believe the dream sequence enters some kind of varying loop after a while. Try it out the next time you’re feeling like an insomniac. This was made by Rostlaub, a company that “combine[s] art, design, music, and state-of-the-art programming in a way you have never seen before.” That’s true. I’ll definitely be checking out their site again.
Source: Ana Somnia
This webby award winning interactive comic called NAWLZ takes you on a trip through the cerebral technology-dominated future. Kind of abstract but it keeps you clicking along, and the interactive graphics suit the cyborg-like content pretty well. So far I gather it’s about imagining whales in a whale-less future (THANKS Japan*).
*scroll down for rants on Japan
*I love Japanese culture. But while we’re talking about needlessly killing intelligent mammals: watch The Cove to get educated on what Japan’s government is allowing its fisherman to do. Here’s a picture of it, not for the faint of heart mind you)
I realize I never posted this…but it’s fantastic, charming, and educational. Oh, and of course advertising for Nissan. Someone’s got to pay for this stuff though!