toys

Trick Ink Spot

FunytrickI could not resist buying this vintage Japanese practical joke at the flea market a couple of days ago. It's a dinosaur of a time that does not exist anymore (who uses inkpots nowadays?). The Engrish text is beautiful, too: "Just put this piece apound the mouth of the empty ink-pot tipped. He gets surprised. Try it - Funy Trick! S.T.K. JAPAN"


Pokecondom

Sp_a0355Japan is a fantastic place with fantastic objects. This is a Pikachu condom that I bought in Omotesando. But the weirdest thing is that it seems to be made in Poland. You gotta love globalisation: gotta catch them all!


levelHead by Julian Oliver


The one and only Julian Oliver just released a short video of his latest project, levelHead. This is how it works. You plug a webcam on your computer and you physically move around a little cube. The cube is shown on your computer but, magically, you get to see different rooms inside it and a little character that you control by tilting the cube. The game´s goal is to get the character out of the house. When I was in Madrid a couple of months ago, Julian was working on a prototype but the version on the video is far more advanced. The project as it all: the simplicity of a toy and the fascination of a miniature world that you control with your hand. While nowadays most artists generally go for full body interfaces and giant screens, Julian built a fascinating, tiny little world in a box that is a pleasure to play with. Game art doesn´t get any bigger than this.


FORWARD 40

Mindstorms_turtle_2LOGO just turned 40 years old! It was the first programming language that I learned, using Apple IIe computers at school. Actually, my school was lucky enough to own the robotic, punchcard-operated, turtle. If I´m not wrong, the cards were plastic made and featured bright colors. But I could be wrong since, OMG, this happened about 25 years ago! In any case, we had an incredible amount of fun playing with LOGO. I still remember the thrill when we discovered that we could re-use code! (we were drawing a text banner, so we could print repeated letters without recoding from scratch). And when the LOGO lessons were over, we fired up the computers to play Karateka, one of my favorite games ever. I was lucky enough to meet both Papert and Mechner, the respective authors of LOGO and Karateka and did my best to thank them for making my life so exciting. I don´t really think any author fully realizes the influence that her works can have on people, particularly on children. In my case, not only I ended up turning this early passion into a career but it trully opened my eyes to the possibilities of simulated worlds. Here´s to LOGO, for many more years!


Hi-Yo Silver, Away!

Dscn0294File under weird things from Japan.
These are electrical horse saddles (like electrical rocking horses but without the cool horse depiction). They were on sale at Akihabara and, judging from the variety of models and brands, this looks like it´s more than a weird gadget. My friends told me that it´s an excellent excercise for your abs.