PlaygroundPong is a proof of concept for inverting Avatar & Playground. The player cannot move the paddles at all like in a regular Pong game. The ball seems to move from side to side but clearly it does not! The player cannot identify with the avatar (playing object), he or she has to get to terms with moving the background (from left to right, right to left, top to bottom and bottom to top) in order to bring the paddles in a position where they manage to hit the ball back. The paddles themselves slightly move up and down according to what direction the player moves the playground to. An utterly unfamiliar set up for a player who expects to play and navigate an avatar. He or she now plays the playground and tries to keep avatars and object in position. The player needs to rewire his or her brain before succeeding with the inverted gameplay.
This reminded me of two fine ↑Quake-related Chuck-Norris jokes: ‘When Chuck Norris rocket jumps, he doesn’t launch up, the map moves down’ and ‘Chuck Norris doesn’t need to move, map moves for him.’
But isn’t that almost always the case, at least with the absolute majority of 3D-games? When playing Quake my crosshairs are fixed to the middle of the screen. When I hit ‘jump’ neither my screen nor the crosshairs attached to it move upwards, rather the representation of the map moves downwards on my screen. Same for all other directions of movement.
I hate to say that, but in this respect we all are Chuck Norris.
This somewhat awkward fact is covered by the design of gameplay mechanics, foremost by inversion of controls: when I hit ‘right’ the map moves to the left, etc.
And while we are at it, all this also reminded me of an almost six years old idea of mine, which in a way fits into the games with defects philosophy: ↵second person view.