The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


     Blip The Digital Game by Tommy appeared in 1977-78 (Japan). It was
based on Pong and similar early computer games. There are three buttons on
each side; when the "ball" comes towards one of them, the player presses
that particular button (if she can) to send it back. The ball is actually
an LED, and the entire game is mechanical, complete with a wind-up knob.
It takes two batteries for the LED. Blip is quite difficult to play;
Foofwa d'Imobilite told me he had one as a child and loved it. The
mechanism that moves the LED back and forth is hidden behind dark plastic;
only the red light shines through. This is an early analog mimicry of an
early digital game based on analog ping-pong. The type-face is close to
the same font used by early card-readers. So here is a mapping, which, by
virtue of the noise embodied in the hidden mechanism, seems actually
harder to play than its digital counterpart. It's a bit eerie, given the
later development of handhelds. I hope, by virtue of this video, to give
you some idea of the excitement of the simulacra of early gaming, as well
as stimulate a vigorous debate on the relationship of digital and analogic
phenomena to the exigencies of flesh.


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