Is a video game still a video game if there’s no… video? Designer Adam Henriksson grabs that question by the horns with Pockit, a game console concept that has no graphics whatsoever. Instead, it’s a Wii-like motion-sensing wand that “encourages everyone to be physical and have a reason to break norms,” he writes. Rather than waving the wand around in front of a screen — which is the only way you get to see what your wand is representing–the Pockit moves that aspect of the game experience into your own mind’s eye. Whether you’ve configured the Pockit to be “running” a swordfighting game or something else, the point is that the players are focusing their attention on each other in real life, not virtualized avatars.
“My project was about encouraging social interaction. To play with friends, family and even strangers,” Henriksson writes. He collaborated with Nicklas Nygren, an independent developer, and the Copenhagen Game Collective to create a “no-graphics duelling game” for the Pockit called Johann Sebastian Joust! The whimsical name fits the schoolyard-like, improvisational gameplay: The goal isn’t to stab or “kill” your opponent, but to trick him into waving his controller around too much, which takes him out of the game. The players do this by fencing or jousting, and trying to parry each other’s moves with as little movement as possible. The speed of movement allowed for each round is defined by a piece of music, Henriksson explains. “Typically, the music plays very slowly, which means the players spend most of their time in slow motion.”
Playing a game like that, it’s hard to imagine not cracking your friends up and having a ball (and also getting a workout). The Pockit is an undeniably weird variation on the meaning of a video game, but maybe Henriksson can hook up with a manufacturer willing to back his risky but innovative design.