First Person Pinball, 2004
The ////furminator is a pinball machine that puts the player in a first person perspective similar to modern “EGO Shooter” video games. Like being inside a huge VR-helmet, the player’s head is stuck into the ////furminator capsule. His nose is situated right behind the flipper fingers, only centimeters away from the ball. Sealed off from reality and with his head arrested inside a force-feedback-helmet, the sound- and lighteffects, the mechanical noises of the pinball and the absorbing perspective create a highly immersive mechatronic environment.
In the traditional pinball perspective – looking at the playfield from above – the perception of the gameplay is almost two-dimensional. The ////furminator however unifies the origin of visual perception and the physical vanishing point of the ball. Ceaselessly the ball is rolling towards the player’s face which is protected only by a small plastic screen. The high velocity of the approaching ball poses a constant threat to newbies, but the experienced ////furminator pilot will quickly appreciate the improved aiming possibilites the perspective provides.
The main idea behind behind the furminator was to create an immersive space which does not rely on computer generated images. Nowadays, the term “virtual reality” is instantly associated with rendered 3D graphics, projected onto walls surrounding the spectator or displayed on head-mounted LCD screens. Not only do most of these synthetically generated environments look non-real, they also leave most of the spectator’s senses outside in the real world.
By combining the perspective of an EGO-shooter with a mechanical pinball machine the ///furminator creates a “virtual reality” that incorporates the full body of the player. The “man against machine” setup provides an unparalleled experience and the interaction is not limited to pushing buttons: the whole body can be used to move and tilt the pinball until the ////furminator admonishes you to “chill out”.