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Awesome Alt Ctrls

In 2019 and 2020, I organized an open list of resources for creating alternative controllers, playful installations and physical-digital hybrids. You can find the full list of resources and more info here.

Are you interested in games that let us play differently? Have you found some intriguing project on Shake That Button and would like to find some extra information to help you start to make your own thing? This community-curated list of resources is here to support you: it is focused on tools, materials, and things that you can use to craft alternative controllers.

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Projects Research

Cook Your Way

This is a game about how immigration systems and capitalist discourses of multiculturalism combine to oppress migrants. Visa applicants (or players) are tasked with cooking a typical dish of their country of origin using a cooking station. Immigration authorities then evaluate applicants according to their efficiency and potential to contribute to the new country’s society. Cooking becomes a standardized test, one step within a longer application process.

The game features a custom cooking station controller.

More information can be found on the game’s website.

The game has been presented at alt.ctrl.GDC 2019. An interview about the project has been published at Gamasutra.

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gambi_abo

gambi_abo is a series of do-it-yourself (DIY) cardboard-based game controllers. Each controller has approachable and accessible building instructions for how to create controllers using easy to find interface devices. With gambi_abo, the public can make controllers for the games you choose, not the ones a certain company decides are the best for its platforms. You can learn more about this project in its website: https://enricllagostera.github.io/gambi_abo/about/.

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Roots

Roots is an on-going collaboration between Rebecca Goodine and Enric Llagostera, started in January 2018. It is a research-creation game design project that actively involves intergenerational players in an experience that cultivates each other’s capabilities for care within a larger community. Gameplay is both haptic and visual in nature, with players working together to grow an onscreen digital garden through an alternative controller resembling an underground roots system. In the current Roots “well” design, players put their hands inside a soft padded well through holes in its sides. The game’s digital garden inside the top of the well can be grown and watered by connecting roots within the well’s interior to a circuit based ground cushion. Each root has a different feel, texture and weight, with softness and tactility acting as invitations into new and unfamiliar learning spaces.

Roots has been exhibited in the following events: 

  • Flop Rooftop Artcade (Montréal, Canada)
  • Different Games 2018 (Worcester, USA)
  • Milieux Expo 2018 (Montréal, Canada)

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Projects

trash fascist posters

A game created for the Anti-fascist Game Jam 2018. You can play the game here. Do not let fascists and racists spread their propaganda. Destroy and cover up their trash. The game’s source code is available here.

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Projects

indie/camp

From 2015 to 2017, indie/camp was a monthly meetup of indie game creators, students and people interested in games in the region of Campinas, São Paulo. It happened at Sesc Campinas and hosted a series of talks and workshops. I co-organized the event for its first set of months together with Anita Cavaleiro, who was its main organizer. I also hosted the talk about alternative controllers (gif above) in the December 2016 edition. The online community of the event can be found here.

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De volta para o futuro

This series of workshops, which I ran in both 2013 and 2016 at Sesc Consolação, São Paulo, is focused on introducing new audiences to the creation of board games. During weekly meetings, participants played existing games, discussed their design and experiences, and developed their own original games.

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Coralina

This is a small digital toy about growing a coral garden. I made it for Ludum Dare 34 game jam in under 4 hours, both programming, design and art. You can play it here.

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Balance the Beam

This alternative controller game was made for the Alt Ctrl Game Jam in 2015. I designed and programmed the game, using an Android controller attached to a broomstick as its controller, connected to a PC running the game logic. Players have to use the broomstick to keep an interstellar portal open and save the spaceships. My goal was to explore existing devices, subverting everyday objects and use them to invite players. You can download it here and there is also a preview video here.

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Tokaido

A game about walking the legendary Tōkaidō road, enjoying the scenery and trying to heal other characters’ emotional issues. Each one has different needs you can talk and try to satisfy. I programmed and designed the game, together with André Asai, Eduardo Emmerich and Gabriel Naro, for the SPJam 2015 game jam.

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Corpos em jogo

In January 2015, Carolina Chmielewski and I organized a three-day free workshop about embodiment and play in Sesc Campinas. It was focused on both online and offline games, as we mixed experimental toy prototypes using smartphone sensors as controllers with traditional folk games and play. We also presented a selection of existing physical digital games, like JS JoustBounden and B.U.T.T.O.N..

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SPIN

In June 2013, I co-organized, together with André Asai, Amora Bettany and Pedro “Santo” Medeiros, the first editions of the SPIN, a free monthly meetup of independent game developers in São Paulo. The event gained momentum later and is now run by larger game developer organizations. It started as an informal meetup between makers who were eager to know their peers. More info about that period of the event can be found here.

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A Duel in Limbo

This local multiplayer game had two players playing asymmetrically: one controlling physical tokens and the other a virtual character. They had to compete and take turns creating a range of virtual obstacles via the physical tokens and escaping that fractured landscape. This game prototype was made for my MSc experimental game design class, and it used computer vision libraries to enable the interaction with the tokens. I made the programming, design and art.

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The Wise Head Says

This game is a local multiplayer game in which players compete to reach the top. However, their only way to go up is by using jetpacks fired by their singing. I made this game as an experiment about shared microphone input and competitive play during my MSc game design class.

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O Argentino

This short film tells the story of an exiled Uruguayan living in Brazil since the days of the military regime. He tries to gather enough courage to go back to his home country, but finds it difficult to tackle his past. The film won the Best Regional Short FilmBest Short Film Director and Audience’s Best Regional Short Film awards at the Paulínia Cinema Festival 2011, in Brazil. I wrote its screenplay.