PSP SSS (Site Specific System)

Although one of the features of the PlayStation Portable is the ability to play against other people wirelessly, with this 'un-plugged' gaming feature you are in danger of losing the benefits of the forced physical connectedness between players.

We have thought about play in general, and about the fact that, even with computer games, there is a degree of physical competition. It's not just about the interaction that's happening within the virtual ‘gamespace’, it's about everything that's going on outside the screen too; it's about distraction tactics, kicking and punching, small-scale torture between friends...

Taking this idea of the physical interaction to an extreme design conclusion, we have imagined specific structures in specific places in the city for specific PSP communities. Rather than sitting in the comfort of your home playing against other people who are physically distant, the Site Specific System provides a platform for the ultimate physical-virtual gaming session. In the example we show, we have designed a platform built above a road that is particularly suitable for people to play racing games. Here you can come and compete against other gamers while real traffic races along beneath you

The System takes on the characteristics of a high tech factory processing machine, containing thick steel panels that move via pneumatic pistons. The player is taken down into the system by a one-person lift and then positioned in their seat, the panels move in around them so that they fit neatly around the player like a glove. There being no room for discrepancies, a panel is then catapulted away from under their feet, leaving their feet dangling to feel the swirling air and amplified noise of the heavy traffic below. Each player has an additional set of buttons attached to their PlayStation Portable, which allow them to control the panels of their opponents. Game play becomes a complex distraction of extreme real space, intense virtual space and aggressive, competitive body contact.

With thanks to Bruce Bell, Jason Iftakhar, Dominic Robson and Noam Toran.