Thursday, January 12, 2006


and the paper never runs out!

Thanks to Toshio Iwai, my Nintendo DS has taken a huge leap toward being the the tool/toy I've long dreamed of owning. Missing only the ability to preserve for future use the fruits of my labours, the brand new (as of January 10th) Electroplankton provides the most accessibly interactive musical experimentation and creation I have ever seen on an electronic device. And handheld, no less.
My son, stepdaughter, and I have already had some time with it as a group, as have my two older brothers, a mutual friend, and I.
The genius of some of the "plankton" is inspiring and their uses elicit responses ranging from confusion to bubbling laughter.
Not really a "game" in the traditional sense, one finds oneself creating his own games, or responding to others' ideas in a competitive of cooperative way. For example, one of the Plankton can record speech and play it backwards. This led to a lengthy session of attempting to memorize and repeat the backwards version in an accurate enough way that it could be reversed to sound right played forwards. Make sense? Well, it was quite diverting.
The whole process reminds me of a game I used to play in my journal. I would provide a friend (or friends) an array of coloured markers and we would create collaborative doodles on the fly. Most of it was as displeasing to the eye as many of the Electroplankton creations are to the ear. But the odd piece of memorable art managed to spring into creation. So it is with Electroplankton.
As mentioned above, I only wish space were provided to place those rare "wish I could play this for so-and-so" compositions. I will have to settle for the audio jack and my minidisc recorder.

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