Glass Half Empty

A blog about design, culture, and weird thoughts.

Games Played, November 2019

One of my 2019 favorites
Published in

No one asked for my opinions, but here’s my fist Collection post about my favorite games, music, and other stuff. Cause why not? (I'm joking. This series is inspired by Khoi Vinh.)

Sayonara Wild Hearts is a beautifully crafted piece about the journey of heart mending. Who knew that motorcycle racing, electronic pop music, and neon colors would go so well with a story about heartbreak?

The last time I came across a game with such a strong emotional impact was Life is Strange. Sayonara staged the story in an impressionist world with enchanting metaphors. The gold collecting system encourages you to follow your heart to find the way out. The final chapter combats the biggest enemy of heart mending in an unexpectedly sentimental method. The thrilling ride lasted for about an hour, but the aftertaste and the fantastic soundtrack could linger for a long time.

The control wasn’t perfect—I haven’t touched racing games for years, and it’s pretty difficult to complete some levels in one pass. Playing on Apple TV with the tiny remote is straight up painful. I had to skip multiple scenes in the final chapter, a decision I somehow regretted. But it doesn’t matter: you could feel the creativity bursting out of screens when you fly past the cityscape fixing your broken heart. I loved it.

Other Games I Played

  • Assemble with Care. Another nice game on Apple Arcade. The core gameplay is very well designed and memorable. The conventional storytelling is less exciting than I expected though.

Making a Home Tactile Map

Published in
Senior Project

Recommended by Kate Rutter, I took Rob Walker's advice in The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy and mapped out the perception of my home with the sense of touch.

Before I started the investigation, I looked around my house: there is literally no natural objects! Well, except for the last three oranges in the fruit basket. My house suddenly became a depressing place to live in after this realization.

The objects and notes I took when touching them.

Here are some particular observations I have in my investigation.

Representations of micro vs. macro hardness.
  • The first impression of tactile quality sometimes differ from its actual hardness. When I tap on the character sculpture on the TV table, it felt like a soft material. When I press it down, it turned to be harder than I thought. Surprisingly, I found the ceramic cup quite soft in my hands, even though it’s pretty hard. It’s mysterious, but I kept receiving the same feeling after touching the cup multiple times.
  • When I close my eyes and focus at the tactile sense, it’s quite comfortable to touch some objects. (I kept rubbing the blanket in my living room for two minutes.) In my notes, I described it as “friendliness.” It might be a mixture of many variables, and it’s quite magical to imagine if these objects want to be touched by humans or not.
  • When a texture gets too rough on my fingers, it feels as if the object is irritated and angry. I encountered it when I swiped on the dryer sheets.

Based on my feelings (……), I produced a set of overly generalized tactile map of my home.

The tactile map of my home.

The tactile sensation is probably one of the most ignored senses in interaction design, and I’m surprised how powerful it is at producing emotional influence. When I tried to describe the tactile feelings, many of my words are extremely subjective. The physical contact elicits stronger emotion than I anticipated. I’m happy that I picked the investigation and got to be more aware of its significance.