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Finally, A Serious Critique Of iPhone Fart Apps

What happens when you have one of the most famous game designers of all time critique $1 fart apps? Hilarity, grounded in plenty of sound lessons about design.

Finally, A Serious Critique Of iPhone Fart Apps

Peter Molyneux has always pushed the boundaries of game design, whether it was creating an entire genre of “god games” like Dungeon Keeper or Populous, or redefining role-playing as a more human experience through Fable. Video game fans have come to appreciate both his uncanny ability to innovate virtual worlds and his unrivaled gift of gab.

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In this clip, he puts both skills to excellent use, because the publication Gameinformer gave him a deliciously wicked task: To choose the best of three push-to-fart apps for iOS–namely Atomic Fart, Fart!!, and iFart.

Molyneux’s critique is as hilarious as one might expect, but I’d argue that it’s actually not tongue-in-cheek at all. Rather, he subjects these fart apps to the same critique he might lob at any product his own studio develops. And because of that, there are some legitimately revealing moments in the clip above that give us a peek inside Molyneux’s own approach to game design.

Before the testing even begins, Molyneux insists on establishing his audience. “Is this for you, or are you using it for inspiration for something you’re going to do?” he asks. Then he breaks down how the optimal tone of the fart might vary, whether its audience is a colleague or a lover (for colleagues, it shouldn’t be too wet–for lovers, it needs a “follow through,” which we assume means a lasting confidence, much like a relationship).


He concludes that the “slip out” is the best fart for its intended purpose to make a few peers laugh–you know, the accidental fart that can grab a giggle at a meeting or a bar–but goes on to appreciate the delight provided by other farts, like what he calls a two-tone fart, a fart that a person might hear and ask “is it over?” before being greeted with a “surprise ending” that raises in pitch as it trails off.

And while Molyneux wants no part of sheer novelties like a fart-based drumset, he strongly argues the merits of a random-fart-generator button. “There could be some joy in that,” he insists. And that’s the real beauty of this clip. With each and every fart, Molyneux is filtering for a level of realism or humanity. He’s making sure that each fart remains relatable, but at the same time, he’s demanding a twist–a bit of surprise that transforms the experience of a fart into a delight.

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In a fantastic payoff, toward the end of the interview, Molyneux suggests a few fart app designs that are actually pretty fantastic. We won’t spoil the ending. But his idea would certainly get…pfffffftttsqueeeeee…our $1.

See more here.

[Hat tip: poeTV]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day.

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