Line Rider

by Andy Polaine on October 8, 2006

Line Rider - the best thing since...

Line Rider is possibly one of the coolest toys I have come across for some time since SodaConstructor or some of Fabrica’s toys.

It’s a really great example of an open-ended interactive toy being very engaging indeed. Any competitive elements are really set by yourself, if at all, the ‘rules’ of the system are simple. You draw lines and the little fella rides them like a miniracer car – all gravity-driven.

I challenge you to be bored by it. If you want to see some more complex forms in action you can check out some videos people have made on YouTube.

I wish it wasn’t hosted on the incredibly slow Deviant Art site though.

(Thanks to Monica Monin for the links).

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karl D.D. October 10, 2006 at 4:17 am

I’ll post here, but I think the Line Rider and Play post are very much inter-linked.

Over the weekend I attended a talk by Toshio Iwai in which he demoed his Tenori-on instrument by Yamaha. He talked about the iPod and it’s ever increasing song capacity, juxtaposing having a song for every moment or having the ability to use something akin to the Tennori-on to create yourself.

So to me that is a classic ‘be a consumer or a producer’ argument, although it is never so simple. For mine, I think this passage from the Matt Locke post really sums it up:

“The difference is between an interaction design that is ruthless in its efficiency, and therefore tries to second guess you all the time to prove its intelligence (eg Microsoft Clippy) and one that provides clear, simple functions, yet has an openess that encourages further play and discovery.”

Line Rider is just that, open enough to allow that “how about if I do this…” type of feeling. While I appreciate the play aspect and think it is valuable, beyond that I feel the products (not just interactive ones) to often outplay their role in assuming how the end user will approach and use them.

You only need to watch a few of the Line rider YouTube videos to quickly realise the human element is without doubt the most interesting element in any such open system.

It is the creativity expressed (often through play) which I feel is most useful and a worthwhile goal for interactivity to pursue; at times, as we have discussed here previously, work utilising technology often seems to do so only for the sake of using technology.

2 Andy Polaine October 12, 2006 at 12:50 pm

I think you are totally right here. Toshio Iwai was a big inspiration for antirom because of that sense of playfulness. We really appreciated that this idea was crucial to interactivity.

Line Rider is really fascinating because of the way different people have interpreted the rules of the system. They’re very simple, draw a line and let gravity do its stuff. But some people have let the guy pinball around the place (although he is unconscious) and others have really tried to create something where he remains intact. All of which are perfectly valid, and of course playful.

Thanks for the Tenori On link, I might write something about that because it reminds me very much of the phase toys that Andy Allenson created at Antirom.

3 Kakngft December 4, 2007 at 8:38 pm

PLease put line rider game on site to play

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