DrumBell and Sir BarryBell

Drumbell, along with its counterpart Sir BarryBell originally drew conceptual inspiration from carnival-style strength testers (the type where a player has to hit a lever with enough force to raise a weight to a height where it will strike a bell; thus winning the player a prize). It also drew game play inspiration from the myriad of games which require a player to play along in time with a beat, such as Konami’s DrumMaster (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drummania).

The physical installation consisted, essentially of two input buttons (which were analogous to left and right drum pads), a projection of the character, speakers and a telephone.

After ‘waking’ the character up by hitting either button, a randomly generated beat would play through the speakers. The character animation was synchronised to this beat – indicating that the player should drum along in time. If the player could drum along, consistently in time for long enough (roughly 30 seconds to one minute) the marker animation would raise to the top of the screen, ending the game. At this point the telephone would ring and, when answered, reveal the solve for a clue in the greater LBG.

SCOOT Game Flickr set of SCOOT Side Show Alley Console Games

Observations of player interactions

Drumbell and BarryBell were independent, stand alone installation, situated at different physical locations that used essentially the same game engine with different graphics, animations and audio. Players revelled in this familiarity as it afforded them the opportunity to re-challenge themselves at a newly learned skill, as well as tying the locations together narratively.

Significant ‘replay value’ was observed for both DrumBell and BarryBell. Despite the fact that there was no scoring bonus awarded for faster or more accurate game play, many players enthusiastically replayed the game several times trying to beat their best time. This was no doubt encouraged by the fact that the game engine created was able to dynamically adapt to the player’s skill level by adjusting the complexity and tempo of the beat.

Of all the installations DrumBell/BarryBell was one of the more elaborate physical constructions. It appeared especially to engage the players in the narrative of SCOOT as they could see, interact with and talk to (many younger players talked back to the telephone) characters directly in the virtual world. This could also explain why these particular installations were significant points of introduction to the game for members of the general public. Many non-players were attracted to DrumBell/BarryBell without knowing they were part of the larger LBG before requesting more information. A good number of these people then went on to play the LBG, either immediately or in the following days.

As with all SCOOT games, this work is inspired by particular combination of video arcade and carnival games. It is essential to the success of the game that the aesthetics are consistent and familiar to the player. This eases initial interactions as well as provides a mimetic function enriching the narrative experience.

The DrumBell Versions

Play Drums in time to help DrumBell and BarryBell... then they will call you with a secret Message

DrumBell behind the scene

Behind the scenes: Inspired and ReDesigned