Tamagotchis have a unique charm and personality that brighten everyday life. Their chirpy beeps and dancing pixelated characters give a little bit of happiness and a break from reality when you need it the most. The amount of attention given to your Tamagotchi determines the type of character it turns into when it grows up. It’s like raising a kid, without worrying about screwing it up permanently. If you manage to create a monster, you can just hit the reset button and try again from the beginning. Having this type of influence on an otherwise inanimate object gives a strange sense of control, responsibility, and attachment. The mere fact that a keychain-sized bundle of pixels and beeps can make such an impact on peoples’ well-being is reason for recognition. The passive game play of tamagotchi’s have revolutionized what it means to play video games.
We’ve started to narrow down and deepen our concept, with our Tamagotchi monument representing more than just play, but specifically the marked beginning of interactive, passive, but intensely involved play.
[…] Some of the key elements of Tamagotchi anticipated many of the most successful games in the emerging mobile and social gaming space.
[…] Tamagotchi anticipated a new paradigm, one where the gamer doesn’t so much play a game as “tend” it. Each Tamagotchi (an egg shaped keychain with an LED screen) gave the owner the experience of owning a virtual pet. The pet had to be fed, cleaned, and cared for. It was a keychain, so it was always in your pocket. None of the “gameplay” was complex, but this sense of responsibility and ownership coupled with the portability and “always on” nature of the Tamagotchi’s internal clock was a powerful draw.
[…] Tamagotchi’s basic formula – a simple mobile experience that a player engages with in several short sessions a day – is all around us. […] Gamers are relating to games in a new way. This low-impact/frequent engagement model is perfect for the mobile market, where – like Tamagotchi – games are often something used to kill time while riding the bus or waiting for food at a restaurant. Tamagotchi is primitive in terms of technology, but the fundamental relationship it establishes with the gamer is the same as many of today’s mobile blockbusters.
[…] Sometimes a cheap little plastic keychain really can change the world.
What separates the Tamagotch (as it is known in Japan) from other electronic gadgets is the human-like demands it makes on its owners. “It is dependent on you — that’s one reason it became so popular,” the childless creator says. “I think it’s very important for humans to find joy caring for something.”
[…] Maita took Tamagotchi prototypes to the streets of Tokyo’s Shibuya district for a consumer test. She handed them out to about 200 high-school girls. “Their eyes instantly lit up,” she reports.
The Tamagotchi is more than just a plaything. It’s a part of our lives, whether we actively pursue the Tamagotchi itself or not. And that’s what we’re celebrating; the idea of interactive play that started with the Tamagotchi.
As for formal explorations, we’re definitely thinking of an interactive monument, where the pets’ health and wellbeing is dependent on people nearby. We are thinking of setting up a type of projection system, much like Keetra Dean Dixon’s “Plug-in-Play” experience. Ours will be different in that it will span the globe. Activities from the oversized pet in Tokyo will be displayed in New York. And vice-versa, perhaps. There will be more than just interaction with pets, but interaction of cultures as well. A truly inter-active experience.
Lots of great technological innovations were born in the 90s. The Pentium processor, the world wide web, and virtual pets.
As everyone knows by now, I’m an avid Tamagotchi collector. I have been since they were first released in the US in 1997. I now own over 50 pets (although I only ever raise one or two at a time). The reason why I’m so passionate about them is because their unique charm and personality brighten my everyday life. Their chirpy beeps and dancing pixelated characters give me a little bit of happiness and a break from reality when I need it the most. The amount of attention I give to my Tamagotchi determines the type of character it turns into when it grows up. It’s like raising a kid, without worrying about screwing it up permanently. If I manage to create a monster, I can just hit the reset button and try again from the beginning. Having this type of influence on an otherwise inanimate object gives me a strange sense of control, responsibility, and attachment.
The emotional attachment to virtual pets (and, more recently, artificially intelligent robots) has been officially named the Tamagotchi effect or Tamagotchi syndrome. The mere fact that a keychain-sized bundle of pixels and beeps can make such an impact on peoples’ well-being is reason for recognition.
So, Erica Downing and I are creating a monument dedicated to the warm, chirpy happiness that is the Tamagotchi and its history and influence on society.
We are planning on somehow juxtaposing a larger-than-life original 1996-model Tamagotchi with a large 2012-model one. Both will be interactive, full-featured pets that rely on the people of Tokyo for their care.
As good designers, we tend to unconsciously incorporate Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles of Design into our work. It’s common sense to us. Although the list is applied to design, it can be connected with so much more—such as us. Not us as designers, but us as people—contributors to society. Looking into human behavior, it’s quite funny how the idea of the principles seem to vanish in many cases. It’s as if ignoring common sense is just human nature.
Human Nature is a proposed exhibit that notes Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles of Design by showcasing the opposite meaning through people. The principles are divided throughout the area that the Artspace provides. Each principle is displayed through different environments, experiences, and people. That’s right—guests won’t have a smartphone in front of their faces at all times, nor will they be forced to read never-ending amounts of information plastered onto walls.
Human Nature uses real people as ways of learning, communication, and overall interaction. In fact,
visitors must interact with the people of the exhibit in order to determine what principle each group misrepresents.
Lillie and I have been brainstorming and refining our concept quite a bit. We’ve narrowed it down to focusing on contradictions to the 10 principles, using types of people as the theme.
We want to push the idea that the 10 principles of design are very important, and that you don’t really notice how important they are until they’re eliminated or disregarded. And we want to use people to make it a more emotionally-driven experience.
So, here’s some of the stuff we talked about:
brainstorming what kinds of people to depict in our exhibit
The most substantial thing that I’ve gained from this class is simply thinking outside my little digital box, and thinking in the context of space. I had spent a lot of my time in this department thinking in flat layers or shallow depth. Making the switch to an immersive experience really changed the way I think about spatial design. It’s not just putting up a sign with an arrow, herding people like cattle through a space; it’s about a whole experience literally created around the viewer. It’s not a one-way experience either; I’m not just shoving information down their throats. It can be a rich, fulfilling, all-encompassing, interactive moment.
Spatial experience isn’t just 3-dimensional. It’s also temporal, interactive, and informative as well. And the biggest challenge is taking all of that into consideration.
Our wayfinding concept is heavily influenced by KCAI’s informal voice and personality. We decided to focus on the unexpected moments that people may encounter when they visit or study at KCAI. We embrace the lighthearted humor and celebrate all things out-of-the-ordinary. We embrace the fact that we are not an ordinary school. We aren’t pristine or overly formal. We aren’t stuffy or uptight. We aren’t dry or shallow. We are brimming with creativity. The wayfinding should reflect that of those who inhabit it. The day to day people It should respect the space that the students call home in personality. However, it should function normally.
Kansas City is an eclectic city, and KCAI is no exception to this. Its history is diverse and long. The history is in the material. KCAI’s rich history is celebrated in its existing structures that reflect the resources and time periods from which they were made.
north facing building means maximum natural light! so beautiful.
It’s crazy to think that this was originally meant to allow natural light to come through. It’s pretty sad that it is now completely covered off.
While I was out sick, Jessie Ren came up with an idea that we both ended up getting really excited about. She explained her thinking on her blog:
One of the first impressions I got from this school after transferring from a pretty standard university…was how irreverant, how informal, how casual this school was. It was an inviting ambience, a break from formality, a glimpse of the humor, the not-take-yourself-too-seriously vibe that art school is not usually all about. Modernist architecture still pervades itself in academia, and yes there is something cold about that. At the same time, some Louis Kahn respect can be held; respect the material. The material of this school is the history. the school building material bears the weight of its history, the modernist ideals of its time. There is something spiritual to respect about it. It’s a beautiful, unapologetic statement of “I am what I am, take it or leave it”. It’s inspiring. So much so, that why can’t the wayfinding do just that? The wayfinding should respect that. It should be a perfected form. Respect the people who occupy it? The people who labor till the early hours of the morning in the spaces, now and 40 years ago. These people are not dry, these people are brimming with creativity. They are talented, technical, ironic, cheeky, rebellious. We want to reflect that in the wayfinding.
This still works with our original concept of appreciating the old and new aspects of the school, while finally bringing in an interesting visual language. We came up with the rounded arrow element as a reference to the school’s rounded brick walls at the corner of 44th & Warwick and 44th and Oak, as well as referencing the K in KCAI.
The arrow element (as you’ll see below) is a flexible graphic that can be used to communicate multiple messages.
Below are just process of the concept, we will be refining hardcore soon.
Jessie Ren and I have made quite a bit of progress since last week.
We’ve updated our map to be easier to read and easier to use for our mockups.
We’ve been developing an icon set for our wayfinding system. Icons will be used for identifying places within the context of the map, and for wayfinding elements in the space itself.
We started to mock up some signage ideas too. We want to juxtapose the history of KCAI with the idea of KCAI’s pioneering and bold nature.
We’ve also been discussing the possibility of integrating technology into the wayfinding experience. Interactive maps would display dynamic content, such as campus alerts, event information, and even a walk-time calculator that shows how how long it takes to get to a certain place on campus (this is helpful for students or visitors who need to make a trek to another part of campus in a short amount of time).
This is an example of the walk-time thing:
The point of using technology in the wayfinding experience is to further push the idea of juxtaposing the old/historic characteristics of KCAI with the progressive and innovative nature of the students here.
We really want to utilize dimensionality in a way that neither of us have ever thought about before (hooray for branching out!). We want to make wayfinding elements like directionals flow around corners and utilize how people walk along hallways and forked paths. We want to take advantage of how people use the space to provide solutions to common wayfinding problems.
We quickly delved into the process of marking site identifiers, but also generally getting a feel for the campus as a whole. We began to think about the unique aspects of the school and how to translate that in the signage. Words like energetic, insightful, innovative, non-traditional, creative, and unique were all found in KCAI’s identity guide. To us, all these words signified one thing:
KCAI is Eclectic.
From the architecture on campus to the students and departments who make up our school, KCAI like Kansas City, enjoys the juxtaposition of the modern and the historical, the simple and the ornate, the natural and the artificial. It’s really a beautiful collage of history, diversely transformed, if you ask us. So our concepts came from this inspiration.
concept 1: Materials (History)
Much of the architecture found at KCAI is a mixture of original styles and modern renovations. No building is the same, and each has a unique history.
juxtaposing the natural wood against the modern industrial steel
nodding to the hand by using “hand rendered” typography
concept 2: People (Innovation)
The students innovate and keep the school relevant
dense architectural landscape, a lot of beautiful details means a nice juxtaposition of minimalist style signage application
bright pops of color that symbolize the four schools within KCAI
updated futura typeface
concept 3: Representing each department as parts as a whole (unification)
using materials and techniques specific to each department to produce a system for the entire school
unifying the system as a whole
some quick site identification
As we continued to study the KCAI, we also searched for “unconventional” signage to draw inspiration from. Way finding inspiration below: