Jumpsters – A workout game.


Title:                 A simple game exploring physical human interface and game play.

Context:           Experimental Interaction Workshop, Media Lab, Fall 2002

Who:                Outi Kotala (Visual) / Nir Ruckenstein



Two players are provided each with 3 sensitive floor mats. The players need to jump on the mats according to a pattern shown on the screen, showing them where to place their feet. Following the pattern correctly get the player a point and a different pattern. The first player to get to the winning score – wins.


This work was done at the Experimental Interaction Workshop during 5 days. The objectives were to explore a different kind of interface, using sensor technology to involve users in a “physical” way, while learning how to set up and program an interactive installation, and of course, having fun.


We were interested in getting participants physically active. Having the form of a competition, and the need to actively jump got players involved and excited despite the simplicity of the game and its interface. We call it a workout game – the area almost smelt like a gym after a short while.


Educational objectives fulfilled were experimenting with Sensor Technology (the mats), connectivity through ICUBE and MIDI messages and simple programming using Cycling74’s MAX.


This work is a working prototype. It demonstrates the educational and game objectives but misses effort in the interface side, both feature wise (high scores, menus, better stepping feedback, timeouts, start automatically and more) and visually (more engaging graphics accompanying the play, better sounds, possible story).


Different games can be implemented with the same setup. To name a few:

  • Memory game (Simon) – Each player needs to repeat the pattern set by the other player, while adding one step to it.
  • Collaborative game – The two players need to cooperate in following a 6 mat pattern.
  • One player game – One player need to use all six mats.
  • Step variations – Force the user to step only for a short time, clear the carpets for a specified time, change only one foot and keep the other (otherwise goes back one step) and so on.