Games, openFrameworks
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alt ctrl [openFrameworks, Games]


Created by Matt Ruby, ALT CTRL is a series of works that examine the way we interact with digital systems through the use of experimental interfaces. The three major works in this series are Excitebike, Sympathy for Pacman, and Swap Meet. All three works appropriate an early video game: Excitebike, Pacman and Pro Wrestling as the content for interface. The controls of each game have been subverted to create new experiences with these existing systems.

The series builds on the premise that our relationship to the systems that we use is an fundamental part of who we are and how we understand the world. The focus is on experimental interfaces that attempt to push the boundaries of comfortable interaction by challenging the user with foreign and difficult controls. These interfaces provoke foreign and expressive interactions in hopes of inspiring viewers to question their role as participant.

Excitebike is a piece that replaces hand controller with a helmet embedded with a microphone to control original Nintendo game Excitebike. Sound generated by the user is sent to openFrameworks app for analysis. Volume controls the gas buttons and frequency/pitch controls the lanes up and down.

Sympathy for Pacman is a piece that attempts to recreate the life of the Pacman character. Users must turn around the television to rotate the onscreen character, confronted by an oncoming stream of cheese puffs.

Swapmeat is a piece that includes stripped down Nintendo controller requiring user to moist their fingers tips to allow button presses to be registered (if I read this right). In any case, new behaviour requires user to rethink operation of the interface.

More information as it becomes available on

Matt Ruby is a designer living in New York City. He is working towards his MFA at Parsons the New School for Design. Skills include logo, identity, print, web, three-dimensional and interactive design as well as producing fine art.

  • Wait a minute. An oncoming stream of cheese puffs?!