NANO is an intuitive and addictive puzzle game created by artist / musician Adrian Johnson (Rustcycle). You slide your finger across the screen to “paint” the flow of the particles through the magnetic field. The six different particle types have different behaviors and masses for interacting with the field. Guide benign particles to the spherical Assembler nodes to activate them, and keep malign particles from them. When all nodes are activated, the level is completed.
Adrian writes: I enjoy watching fish. I tend to work too much, and watching fish when I have the chance helps me unwind. There’s something meditative about moving one’s hand in front of the aquarium and getting the fish to school with you.
What is wonderful about this game, if it can be called such, is that it isÂ completelyÂ open to yourÂ interpretationÂ and understanding of the process. Although rules to passing levels exist, ie some particles are positive, some negative, the path is more about the experience rather than the actual achievement. Â The game is playable without the instructions by pure desire to guide particles to nodes and by doing so generate visual effects and sound.Â SimilarÂ to what Adrian writes about theÂ aquarium, it is not necessarily about the task of getting fish to the particular corner of the tank but the actual process of interaction.
Interestingly this app is is aÂ miniatureÂ version of an installationÂ Adrian isÂ creating. The installation version will be used in standalone mode in a gallery and will be triggered by the motion of people as seen by a ceiling-mounted camera, and will behave very much like this iPhone app, but using a 42″ LCD for display and high quality speakers for the music.
One aspect of installation work that has been frustrating is the inability to sell a derivative work which adequately captures the experience of the installation. I’ve seen single frames extracted from a video-based work and then painted upon, DVD documentaries of a work, and other objects, but typically not interactive items. I’m hoping the iPhone/iPod platform can allow this circumstance to change. It will help enable artists to earn more from their installation concepts, and also allow budding artists to take home something that provides inspiration. Interactive installation art involves a broad range of technical and creative skills, and the genre provides a venue for sparking collaborations.
See screenshots and video below + more info available on the app’s site.