Unique creation of gaming, music and art to be showcased exclusively on the Virgin Media stand
Take one dilapidated upright piano, purchased for £30; rewire the keys to control the action in a game of classic shooter Doom; embed a screen into the middle of the instrument and what do you get? Doom Piano. The ingenious mash-up, developed into a full version of the iconic game, is gaining critical acclaim across the gaming industry.
Doom Piano was an idea first conceived ahead of a two day developers’ Arcade Game Jam to mark the final week of the Virgin Media Game Space, but was initially dismissed as something which just couldn’t be done on the cheap and within the time they had to build it.
David Hayward, curator and event producer said, “The idea first came about from Ricky Haggett at Honeyslug, who was part of our initial period of throwing around ideas. During the build we had the basic prototype running after about 12 hours of dismantling, planning, soldering, taping and gluing. It needed more work to get into a playable state, so a lot more work went into it, including recompiling Doom from source to work with such short key presses.
“Every single one of the 85 hammers inside the piano, while remaining functional, has been modified to also work as switches. We didn’t think that’d be possible in the time we had, but in about 36 hours we had it in a fully working state.”
After a vote as to where Doom Piano should be played next, it’s been revealed it will be available to play at Eurogamer this week on the Virgin Media stand where over 70,000 people are due to visit over the four days.
David Hayward, added, “Arcade jams and custom machines are partly about designers breaking away from nostalgia to invent something new, but also about the experience you’re giving players. When you build something that’s specific to a location or event, you can do really special things aren’t possible at home and change a player’s relationship with the game and that’s what we did here.”
It wasn’t just the infamous Doom Piano that was developed across the two days of jamming; the team of seven developers built four incredible customised arcade machines from scrap materials, including:
- Doom Piano – Never before has a rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star wrecked so much havoc
- Garden Party – Flower power to the extreme – five real posies in pots form the controllers for an addictive five-player racing game called Uprok by Joseph Bain. Squeeze a leaf or a petal to control your character’s trajectory. Incredible use of simple circuitry, where your touch of the plants completes a loop!
- RGBriefcase – The mystery of an old fashioned briefcase procured from a Bethnal Green junk shop is intensified by the addition some arcade buttons and a code-cracking puzzle communicated by a telephone.
- Maximum Fives – You must don a glove and cradle a toy car to perform an automotive high five with your partner. Using an old Gametrak PS2 device, the makers turn the glove and car into handheld motion controllers, testing your co-ordination in guiding on-screen cars towards a giant-handed high five.
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