As art studio Red Paper Heart explains, “Playing pinball is as much a game as it is a performance. People come to watch, they offer advice, they ooh and ahh when you hit the rare pins.” Unfortunately, this type of interaction has largely been lost to home game consoles, and other more solitary forms of entertainment.
Many of these tables currently sit in warehouses, maybe even in disrepair, but the Red Paper Heart team has come up with a new use for them. Their solution outfits a classic Gottlieb 1974 electromechanical pinball cabinet with extra sensors in order to display corresponding visuals on multiple screens.
As you play the pinball machine, art and sound begin to surround you. Each pin you hit builds ever more intense animations. Colors change, new art emerges, all matching the intensity of your gameplay. This art system turns you into a virtuoso performer, creating art for the crowd around you.
This beautifully enhanced pinball table, now a digital art installation, has been seen at the Panorama Music Festival in Randalls Island, New York, as well as an HP Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. More destinations are in the planning stages, so perhaps you’ll get to participate in this performance yourself!
This Machine Turns Pinball Wizards Into Virtuoso Performers was originally published in Hackster’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.