Digital pinball on an old-fashioned wooden table

Daniel Soltis's Moving Parts project was another standout invention from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program show today. Soltis describes his project as a "two-player hybrid physical/video pinball game that uses variations in game rules to elicit different social interactions between players." For example, you can play against the person at the other end of the table in "competitive" mode by trying to sink his ball, or the two of you can put the machine in "collaborative" mode and both try to keep the balls in play for as long as possible.

The real standout here is not the programming, but the physical/video hybrid that Soltis has created. The program is projected from the ceiling onto a hand-built table that has buttons and a pull-lever just like on a real pinball machine. The program reacts quickly when you push the wooden buttons— that combined with the sound effects makes it feel like you're playng on a real machine. In real life gravity would prevent real balls from working in the same seamless way on a double pinball machine— the project isn't just digital for the sake of being digital, but to provide a one-on-one experience that feels, well, almost old-fashioned.

via Moving Parts