You remember the retro mobile game “Snake,” right? That highly addictive time-killer with the pixilated blocks lengthening and snaking across the screen until everything fell apart with one fateful collision against an obstacle? Well, Australia’s Publicis Mojo, Mobile Projection Unit, and production company Finch have teamed to reinvent the classic as “Snake the Planet!,” a nod to the original game but on a far grander and more technologically advanced scale.
This version projects the pixilated action onto the surface of your choice (e.g., the side of a building or an apartment wall), scans the facade for potential obstacles like a door or window frame, and then transforms them into viable boundaries to avoid. You can even customize the level with strategically placed objects or even people. The technology behind “Snake the Planet!” relies on blob detection, a basic element of computational design that analyzes the features of a surface and pinpoints its contrasting properties. MPU, et al. have taken computer vision 101 and married it to the simplest of games, which has become an ideal representation of MPU’s mission to bring interactive experiences directly onto urban landscapes.
“Snake the Planet!” has been selected to feature at Vivid Sydney, an 18-day multimedia outdoor festival of creativity and innovation on display throughout the city. It’s great MPU’s endeavor is already generating some well-deserved buzz, but we’d like to propose a little New York City challenge: “Snake the Planet!” against the Flatiron Building. GO!