A collaboration by artists Jérémie Cortial Roman Miletitch, Flippaper is an interactive pinball console in which players can draw their own playfield. Four coloured markers sit alongside the console (blue, green, red, and yellow) and a ‘grammar’ of strokes (dots, lines, closed shapes, filled shapes) are used to sketch out flippers, speed boosters, walls, and targets on paper, which is scanned by the console. Using this custom visual language to draw on familiar analogue mechanics, users can prototype as they play and iteratively adjust and tweak their design depending on how it performs.
↑ Green lines speed up the pinball when it contacts them while a filled, closed green shape will teleport the ball elsewhere on the playfield.
Flippaper uses a relatively simple computer vision system with a web camera, video projector, and mirror working in unison through an application coded in Cinder – with Box2D handling physics. Beyond the visceral and immediate satisfaction of gameplay, much of the game’s charm emerges from its retro-style cabinet with a “Nintendo-like” plastic aesthetic that resulted from intricate woodworking and a generous amount of polyester filler. In chatting with Cortial about the console over email he reveals that they “spent hours sanding and hand sculpting most of the details.” For Miletitch, the most rewarding aspect of Flippaper has been watching the emergence of unanticipated interaction patterns from its users. “From drawing alone, drawing in team, tearing down the paper to correct (or tearing from another paper for literal cutting and pasting), to ‘playing’ your own T-shirt. It’s an amazing feeling to see your project living beyond your expectations.”