• A game with the main character as the physical controller

  • Screenshots from the game: Collecting acorns (+1), running into obstacles (-1)

  • Arduino Leonardo & light sensor inside

  • The light sensor is used to measure the distance the squirrel jumps

Category free time project

Year 2013, 2014

Plush squirrel as user interface

Video games usually live in the digital sphere. The user interacts with a game controller and that's about it. When I saw the game Skylanders where you buy different figurines along with the game to be able to play different characters or regions in the game, I thought you could take this paradigm further:

To bring the characters back into the physical world.


I made a 2D jump 'n run game in Unity3D where the player runs through a forest and collects acorns while avoiding obstacles. The controller is a physical plush squirrel which I sewed. Inside the squirrel is an Arduino Leonardo which connects to the computer. Via a light sensor, the Leonardo detects when the user lifts the squirrel to jump over obstacles or to collect an accorn.
Unlike in Skylanders, the main characters ( = the controller) is not represented in the game. It lives in the real world alongside the player and controls the digital world.

The title is a little play on an academic paper with the title "Rubber shark as user interface".