Musical Embrace is a collaborative two player game that, in a playful and performative manner, explores awkwardness and the sorts of interactions that arise with being in a stranger's personal space.
The game begins by selecting two strangers and guiding them to a overhanging bar which has attached to it a Wii Balance board.
Players will have attached to them pieces of foam so as prevent any kind of risk and will then be encouraged to work alongside their partner to locate the allocated sounds through the process of applying pressure to the various areas of the board.
There will be two very distinct sounds to look out for. Each will be presented to the players prior to play and will impact the number of points received; along with their progress
For each “Good" sound the two collide with, they will then be provided with 2 points. Whilst for each “Bad" sound that the two collide with, a point will be taken away.
So as to make players aware of the sort of invisible playing field that they will be interacting with, a sound will toll each time the two collide with the bordering perimeter; hence informing them to rethink their game plan.
Once time is called and the game concludes, points will be tallied up and presented to each pair.
In order to encourage close collaborations, players will not be allowed to interact with the board with their hands, however will be urged to embrace their partner to apply weight, stead themselves and control movement.
Through "Musical Embrace", we are able to invite individuals who would be uncomfortable with close bodily interaction into an environment that explores awkward interactions as means of breaking down barriers in a lighthearted and performative manner.
The problem with games that encourage uncomfortable bodily interactions between players is because it conflicts with a person's belief of the social boundaries and what should and should not be crossed by a stranger.
In order to address the problem, we designed the game so that it was in a lighthearted and performative manner, not indicative of anything suggestive and focused on collaboratively working together to achieve a common goal.
From our experience in designing "Musical embrace", we have come to realise that by implementing a collaborative and performative aspect that games can be utilised to explore novel and personal bodily interactions between strangers.
Whilst the game may not be world changing, we hope that it will help make aware the social and developmental benefits that come with bypassing the initial awkwardness of close bodily interactions and working co-operatively with another for a common cause.