After Swiss animator Michael Frei noticed that people liked to bounce around the timelines of his videos instead of watching them straight through, he decided to give viewers more control over his next creations. Collaborating with game developer Mario von Rickenbach, Frei transformed Plug & Play, his film about human and machine relationships, into a smartphone game.
"The contents of Plug & Play itself are very minimal, there are actually not more than a handful of objects throughout the entire game,” explains von Rickenbach. “That made it interesting, because it meant the little objects we have need to behave perfectly, there is nothing to cover up imperfections.” Frei drew every frame of the film individually on his trackpad because, he states, “it just made sense to draw a digital film describing a binary world by using my finger to turn pixels on or off."
In the end, Frei admits that he retains a bit of control over the audience because his new experience doesn't allow viewers to "skip" without interacting with it. Plug & Play, which has been nominated for an IGF Award, was just released for iPad and iPhone. See the trailer below, alongside images of how the project evolved from a film into an interactive experience.
Click here to check out Plug & Play in the App Store.