Taxi Driver With Storyboards

There’s a discussion going on over at IxDA about whether an interaction design can create great interaction without great visual design skills.

My answer is “It depends”. The two are overlapping areas and whilst some interactions are really helped or hindered by the visuals, it’s also possible to have something almost entirely visually driven or entirely interaction driven. In service design, the designed interactions are often human-to-human and have no designed visual element at all.

It also depends on who you are working with too. I remember reading Scorsese on Scorsese when I was studying film and being surprised and rather relieved that Scorsese’s storyboards for Taxi Driver were pretty much just stick men drawings and very rough sketches. Michael Chapman’s cinematography brought to life the miserable rain-soaked loneliness of late-night New York and Travis’s unstable life.

Thanks to the wonder that is YouTube, you can watch a side-by-side comparison.

The Unfinished Swan

The Unfinished Swan is a still in-development game set in an entirely white world. Instead of splattering the blood of monsters around the walls, the player splatters black ink to find their way through “an unusual garden”. Apart from looking stunning in its simplicity (and somewhat like Sin City), there are some nice twists when, for example, the entire scene is in the dark and thus blacked out.

It’s the second such game I’ve seen recently that uses this kind of lateral thinking approach to the play. Portal uses a simple idea – a gun that can fire portals onto a wall – to develop what is, by all accounts, a very compelling game. You can watch the trailer on YouTube – ignore the irritating 1990s robo-voice though. (There is also a fan-made Flash version of Portal if you want to get the idea).

What I like about both of these is that they really force you to think in a completely different way from the usual first person shooter, even though they’re essentially existing in the same paradigm. Intelligent play. I like it.

(Via Crackunit).

Twittering Mad Men


What a weird meta media world we live in. I tweeted that I was off to watch Mad Men only to find this morning that I am being followed on Twitter by Peggy Olson from We Are Sterling Cooper.

I’m obviously way behind in this story, apparently AMC did the usual “Take it down! No, wait, apparently you young folk love it!” our-lawyers-have-no-idea-what-they-are-doing dance a while back.

(I bet the real Sterling Cooper – “consulting mechanical engineers” (as opposed ones who just go around mechanically engineering stuff without asking?) – have seen their web traffic rise. Shame their website is straight out of 1995).

Energy Shoes


NTT’s energy-generating shoes (above) are amongst the many similar ideas I had and never did anything about. Sigh. Here’s the proof from 9 years ago.

Mine wouldn’t have looked like I’d just stepped in a puddle of glue and then into a pile of old circuit boards though, unlike those ones above.

The idea was that they would clip into “conduit clothing” so that you could power up anything anywhere on your person. They also had an optional “heel plug” so that you leech power from public spaces where there were outlets for the cleaners’ vacuum cleaners.

(I just realised I didn’t have any of this old writing uploaded from when I moved hosts years ago. The true historical proof is at

Bandai Pedometer Games


Get off your ass. Assuming that is a donkey there, you’ll need to walk to move through the levels in these new handheld pedometer games by Bandai (warning: awful Google translation ahead).

The games are targeted, strangely, at 30-somethings, which is good because I imagine the first thing a teenager would do is attach it to the family dog to level up quickly.

(Via CScout Japan and Gizmodo).

(And what do you call someone who is really into these gadgets? Pedophile seems just wrong.)

Palin Bingo


A variant of bullshit bingo, Jesper Juul played Palin Bingo during the vice presidential debate (did she really never mention her family?).

I like “Air Space” over her picture in the middle spot.

And in the spirit of the classic <a href=”””>Living Books interactive storybooks, be sure to play Palin as President. It’s quite depressing, especially as she’s going for vice president. You know, the position where its de rigeur to be an idiot and do arms deals on the side.

(Via The Ludologist)