Twister (networked)

// February 22nd, 2010 // Interactive Television

twister_screenshot

For last week’s class we were asked to build a web interface  to allow viewers to interactive with a 5 minute live program.  Working with Adam Harvey and Si Heun Cho, we created a networked version of twister.  The game streams live through ustream.tv and replaces the wheel that usually decides players moves with an interface that allows viewers to vote on the next move.  The counter resets after every move and voting opens back up.

One of the things that works well in this respect is the number of options for voting.  It creates a greater sense of impact for voters.  At the same time though, this impact diminishes as the scale of the viewership increases.  The game seems as though it would only work well on a smaller scale (say under 50 people) and even better with a viewership that has some sort of relationship with or prior knowledge of the players.  One of the other strengths of this type of idea is the sense of control it creates.  Although shared amongst the collective viewership, the concept of controlling something on the screen as an extension of  what a remote normally allows seems to bridge the gap between performer and audience.

If we were to try this again, I think it would be interesting to try a different game and see how the dynamic changes.  With this version, there is a tendency to vote for the most awkward move or for whatever move would help whoever you are hoping will win.  Instead, an interesting way of changing the dynamic could be choosing a game where the audience doesn’t control the competitors, but instead competes against them.

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