January 18, 2009

An Opertoon Moment

by Andrew Stern · , 6:50 pm

For a few months now my electronic life has been all iPhone all the time, whether it’s reading news and blogs, developing a game, even the occasional phone call. If I had time to play games though, I’m not sure the iPhone would fit the bill just yet. There may be 4000 game apps currently available, but I’m still waiting for that breakthrough app that appeals to me, top-selling fart simulators notwithstanding.


So I was happy to upload $2.99 for Erik Loyer’s Ruben & Lullaby yesterday. Apple may have rejected Gabo (why??!!??) but they have let this one through. As you might expect, a “story you can play” about a couple embroiled in a fight, where you influence if they stay together or break up, appealed to my sensibilities. ;-)

I enjoyed Ruben & Lullaby. It me took a few tries to get a hang of the controls, and the agency is a bit muddled (a familiar critique), but I did manage to get the couple to stay together after a few tries.

I met Erik last May at the ELO conference, and he mentioned he was working on a piece like this, originally for the Wii. It’s cool to see it come to life on the iPhone — had it been for the Wii I wouldn’t be able to play it.

I’d love to see more interactive art/story experiments like this on the iPhone. It truly does seem like an opportune moment for micro-transactions for interactive art. (Ian, I’m waiting for the first iPhone antigame!) But Gabo‘s rejection is pretty disconcerting. Then again, it took Apple months before they let loose the fart apps… so maybe “unpleasant” interactive art won’t be too far behind.

On the other hand, fart apps have made Apple hundreds of thousands of dollars; perhaps that’s why they weren’t held in any longer.