sisimian.interface++ is a sort of game I always find interesting: a game that takes a single form of interaction and explores what you can do with it. In this particular case, the verb it’s exploring is “calibrate”. On each level, you have a graphical display that moves in some way in response to the mouse, and which you have to bring to some kind of sweet spot via minute tweakings. In the first and simplest form, you have a square that you have to move into a square-shaped frame, but what if the square moves in a different direction than the mouse? What if the square and the frame both move in different ways? What if something moves irregularly or in a sine wave or orbits a point in response to linear motion? What if there are multiple squares and it’s not clear which goes to which frame? What if instead of a square, it’s multiple shapes that fit together to compose a square when they’re in the right position? What if we add orientation to the mix, making the squares spin about their centers in addition to moving around? What if we make motion affect color? What if we move things in three dimensions? What if we just throw a whole bunch of things on the screen that move in different ways and make it unclear what the target position looks like?

There are a lot of games that have some sort of mini-game along these lines, usually to represent some sort of machine calibration, or sometimes lockpicking. I’m pretty sure I’ve also seen a specific case of it, rotating a collection of pieces until they line up to form a picture, spun out into a full game. But I think there’s value in putting a whole lot of variations on the theme together like this.

If it doesn’t explore the entirety of the form’s potential, it’s because it’s keeping things abstract and mainly based around squares and straight lines. So, no levels where the target image is a photograph, or where you’re manipulating the frequency and offset of a waveform. Keeping things simple presumably helps when you finish the levels and try out Endless mode, which seems to generate levels procedurally. I could easily imagine endless mode of this game on a projector at a party, as a toy for introverts that’s also a non-distracting source of varying abstract background visuals.

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