‘I realised that the skills I had developed in the virtual world were useless in the real world. I wanted to make them useful,’ says the 27-year-old [Lee Wei Chen].
So, as any self-respecting 27-year-old design student would, he clamped a game onto a washing machine, as Design Week reports.
The machine looks like an arcade style video console – but the bottom half of the unit is a washing machine, with the components’ circuitry linked together. Therefore, the washing cycle is dependent on the success of the person playing the game, meaning that if they struggle, extra coins are needed to make sure the washing cycle is completed.
While the idea might seem halfway funny at first, it becomes clear that Chen obviously doesn't have to wash clothes himself:
Despite the genius behind the idea, it seems Chen is still far from becoming a domestic god, remaining blissfully unaware of the nuances of actually washing clothes.
‘I don’t even know how to choose the programme,’ he says.
Well yeah – why would you redesign something that can be left alone most of the time as it does its work so that you have to stand right beside it the whole time?
Redesign something boring that actually requires attendance during its process – now that would make a lot more sense.
Once again shows that just slamming a game onto everything to make it "fun" (a.k.a. "gamification") is not such a sure-fire recipe as some people would want you to believe.
[found via BoingBoing]
Are games just mere entertainment? Or can they be more? Obviously, I strive for the second part – and here is why I might not be that wrong.
This year, for the first time, a video game will appear on the syllabus of a course required for all students at Wabash College, where I teach. For me - and for a traditional liberal arts college founded in 1832 - this is a big deal.
Alongside Gilgamesh, Aristotle's Politics, John Donne's poetry, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the Tao Te Ching, freshmen at Wabash will also encounter a video game called Portal.
This comes, of course, from the Brainy Gamer, Michael Abbott. And it is a logical consequence: games are becoming more and more mainstream. Practically all kids that are just a bit younger than I am (and a lot of my own generation) have grown up with games, they know the game's language, they can read those texts1.
But most of the time, they can not analyse it. Just as you have to re-learn to read literature and watch films in university, you have to re-learn to play games.
And they understand it differently than, for example, the people from the Vereinigung gegen mediale Gewalt, who never learned to read games and, obviously, have no intention to do so. It is much easier to confine yourself to banning something you do not understand. ↩
I must admit, I am really tempted to send the latest XKCD comic to the administration team of the Zurich University of Arts … it just feels way too familiar to be a coincidence.
They prefer the label transdisciplinary though, so it is closer to transcendental, in order to make all the touchy-feely artists feel included, too.