Designed by Robin Baumgarten, Line Wobbler is a one-dimensional arcade game driven by an unconventional display and controller. Utilizing a unique ‘wobble’ controller made out of a jury-rigged door-stopper and a several meter long NeoPixel LED strip, the game’s dead simple gameplay emerge from the constraints (opportunities!) of its assembly. Based on ideas by collaborator Matthias Maschek, UK-based indie dev Robin Baumgarten developed a rudimentary dungeon-crawler where the player navigates obstacles and fights enemies to reach the exit (the top of the LED strip). Movement is controlled by bending the controller left and right, while enemies are attacked by wobbling it. Obstacles such as lava fields, conveyor belts and slopes (which can be modelled according to how the strip is configured) are represented with different LED colours and challenge the player to deftly navigate the obstacles.
Using a spring, an Arduino, an accelerometer and a rigid surface, the game’s controller is a tactile and idiosyncratic joystick with a unique ‘wobble’ action (pull it back and let go, making it oscillate back and forth). The action is central to the game and it emerged from a early prototype made with a shoe-tree. The interaction was refined over time and the current version uses a door-stopper spring. The sound effects are modulations of sine-waves, the frequency of which is tied to the acceleration of the controller. Having exhibited widely over the last two years, Line Wobbler was just shown at GDC in San Francisco and it is presently installed at digiPlaySpace in Toronto.