DOBOTONE – VIDEOGAMO’s parametric party machine

Mixing the lo-fi console gaming of yesteryear with a contemporary physics engine and a mandate to delight, DOBOTONE is a multiplayer game system by the Argentinian duo VIDEOGAMEO. It has (up to) four players wield a simple two button controller and cycle through a selection of Atari/ColecoVision-style games with tweakable meta-parameters that make play chaotic and unpredictable. The VIDEOGAMO team, Hernán Sáez (game design) and Máximo Balestrini (programmer/engineer) gave CAN a guided tour of their console last week at the HSBC Gallery at the TIFF Lightbox, where it is currently installed as part of TIFF Kids International Film Festival’s yearly digiPlaySpace. Enjoyed in the context of that interactive playground, DOBOTONE makes perfect sense; beyond being riotously fun, it’s a marvel with clever interaction paradigms and really smart (basically elastic) level design.

DOBOTONE is a party game that hearkens back to the era of 100-In-1 NES cartridges. Players jump into a multiplayer ruckus that involves simple scenarios like guiding jet pack riders to a target platforms or assembling implausibly large artery clogging sandwiches (egregious BurgerTime reference anyone?). In isolation any one of these games couldn't command a group’s attention for long, but that’s a non-issue as a session is all about players frantically flipping between games – there are six available on the digiPlaySpace version of the console. Beyond changing what is played, the parameters defining how play happens are also tuneable.

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