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Lost in the Static
November 29, 2007 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Lost in the Static Lost in the Static is a simple little game that uses some surprising aspects of the human perceptual system to create a visible world out of animating static.
Please note that this display is not suitable for everyone! Some people find they get headaches or nausea, or their eyes get "all woggly". If you do not find the experience pleasant, stop playing!

Downloadable .exe. Hello Waxy!
posted by boo_radley (34 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
oh. what a lovely sailboat.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 11:52 AM on November 29, 2007


What, no seizures yet?

If you do not find the experience pleasant...

Can anyone say that they really find it a pleasant experience?
posted by supercres at 12:04 PM on November 29, 2007


McAfee
posted by DU at 12:07 PM on November 29, 2007


or their eyes get "all woggly"

Yes! YES. I'm all over that.

Can anyone say that they really find it a pleasant experience?

I haven't tried it yet, but since I'm just the sort who finds things like this pleasant, I'll just guess and say "Yes, why, yes I do. I like rollercoasters, rolling down hills in barrells, making myself extremely dizzy and otherwise fucking with my perception input channels in a wide variety of ways. It's called novelty and for some of us it's the only thing that makes life worth living."
posted by loquacious at 12:10 PM on November 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


i almost went blind playing this last night.
posted by spish at 12:18 PM on November 29, 2007


McAfee? WTF?
posted by spish at 12:19 PM on November 29, 2007


Oh wow, that was wonderful. Regarding the malware concerns, I can definitely verify that it is a nice, playable game, but I did run it in a virtual machine to be safe.

(Also, the death animation is stunning)
posted by SemiSophos at 12:33 PM on November 29, 2007


I think DU is just suggesting McAfee because the file is an EXE, which could indeed easily contain a malicious payload.

But don't install McAfee. McAfee sucks. So does Norton. If you need antivirus, try NOD32.

*updates nod32, runs game, scans* NOD32 says it's safe.

Also, the game needs to be more disorienting. So far it's too easy.
posted by loquacious at 12:34 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Or Linux. How'm I supposed to know which more-like-winBLOWs-amirite antiviral is least ineffective?
posted by DU at 12:37 PM on November 29, 2007


i almost went blind playing this last night.

I hope you are still talking about the game.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:43 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's a quirk of my visual system, but I personally found the types of areas of static to be completely distinct. So for me, this game was just a black-and-white platform/explorer game.

Unless I'm some sort of mutant (not impossible, but unlikely) it seems to me that being able to distinguish areas of static that have the same color but different patterns isn't just a "quirk" of the human visual system, it is the human visual system.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:51 PM on November 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


I kept seeing turtles. :(
posted by thewalrusispaul at 12:52 PM on November 29, 2007


The computer game was the colour of television tuned to a dead channel.

(Oh and on the second screen my eye started twitching so I thought I had better give it a rest)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:09 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Easy peesy. Though I have to admit, I am now having after-effect vision ghosts.
posted by jkaczor at 1:09 PM on November 29, 2007


The computer game was the colour of television tuned to a dead channel

Completely off topic, I've always wondered if TV manufacturers started using that switch-to-blue-screen-on-static specifically because of the original Gibson line from Neuromancer.

It seems like it was about the right time frame, and it's a very sky blue color that they seemed to universally choose.
posted by quin at 1:30 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ha, my Mario skills are good for something. cool animation.
posted by Bistle at 1:31 PM on November 29, 2007


I saw everything with no problem. I have no headaches, after-images or wobbly eyes. Standard platform game, but fun idea and execution.

I do have the distinct feeling of a phantom limb, however; should I be wary?

heading over to askme
posted by davejay at 1:31 PM on November 29, 2007


Completely off topic, I've always wondered if TV manufacturers started using that switch-to-blue-screen-on-static specifically because of the original Gibson line from Neuromancer.

Speculation: Television pictures are delivered in red, green and blue phosphors. In some worldwide markets, red is a negative color and green is a positive one; in others, red is a positive color and green is a negative one. So, that leaves blue or some other color requiring a mix, and so blue becomes the easy choice. You'll see the same blue in standard television colorbars, because that's the blue phosphor color.
posted by davejay at 1:34 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


There is that one screen where the static speeds up if you run. That was strange indeed. Quite disorienting.
posted by Fisherkitty at 1:36 PM on November 29, 2007


Also, I can't be the only one who saw
(These are not random dot stereograms. Do not try crossing your eyes.)
and crossed his eyes anyways.
posted by JDHarper at 2:34 PM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


When I was in high school all the computers had software that allowed the IT goons to take screen caps (unlike, say, VNC which lets you watch in near-realtime). I had a plan to write a little javascript app to replace the text on web pages with little animated gifs that used this exact principle (which I found in some visual perception paper) to display the letters (the letter forms are random pixels, but constant, the background is random but changing rapidly). They would see nothing but static, and I could maintain my privacy.
posted by phrontist at 2:45 PM on November 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


loquacious writes "But don't install McAfee. McAfee sucks. So does Norton. If you need antivirus, try NOD32."

tech derail/
Actually, Kaspersky consistently rates higher (and that's one of the few sources I trust for such testing). And right now, Avira and AVK rank even higher, but they are new and may not stand the test of time. But interesting is the ranking of Norton, which does have a very high detection rate, but it's unwieldy and doesn't do a very good job of cleaning, nor playing nice with other software, nor uninstalling. The tests don't rank according to factors like that ...
/derail
posted by krinklyfig at 2:46 PM on November 29, 2007


phrontist: I just had to comment.
What a bizarre idea on the part of the IT goons. Was this recent? It's like taking all the capabilities of a computer and tossing them out the window for a half-assed convenience store camera. I can't count the number of things they could have done instead that would have been smarter and easier to deal with on their end, as well as infallible and complete records.
Oh well. Good idea on your part. I just find it amazing that they were that stupid and draconian about their systems.
posted by dosterm at 3:14 PM on November 29, 2007


I really really really really like this game. It seems to have kind of a hypnotic effect on me.

That and the whole novelty thing loquacious was talking about. I've definitely got the gene.

I do wish it was a bit more difficult though.
posted by mayfly wake at 4:27 PM on November 29, 2007


Beautiful game, and the music was also very nice. Returning to my regular desktop, everything looks crystal clear now... It's a bit psychedelic. 8}
posted by metaplectic at 5:11 PM on November 29, 2007


My entire interface now seems to have more contrast and to be smoother than it had been. Weird.
posted by Grod at 5:43 PM on November 29, 2007


A downloadable .exe where you play a game in static and risk strange neurological side effects...?

GOOD LORD, HAVE NONE OF YOU PEOPLE READ SNOWCRASH!?
posted by spiderwire at 6:56 PM on November 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


I am so disappointed by the ending. Fun tho. :)

Best. Static. Game. Ever.

(only?)
posted by sir_rubixalot at 9:27 PM on November 29, 2007


I didn't play the game all the way through, maybe 8 levels, but I didn't see any static in the game, literally. The background is simply a moving texture and the objects are skinned in a normal non-moving texture. The skins simply have the appearance of static.

Now if you could recreate the game, but have the background, the character and the object actually made out of different types of randomly generated static, that would be cool.
posted by parallax7d at 10:26 PM on November 29, 2007


the colour of television tuned to a dead channel

My wife once tried using that line as an example in a writing workshop. Her students thought it meant it was a bright sunny day.

They'd never seen static on a television before. Dead channels are blue. Like the sky.

Makes me feel SO GODDAMN OLD just thinking about it...
posted by ook at 11:25 PM on November 29, 2007


I too saw parts of the game as distinct from each other. Didn't get past the level with the top shooter though.
posted by divabat at 3:35 AM on November 30, 2007


spiderwire, you beat me to the Snowcrash reference! Now if the main characters name in this game was only Hero Protagonist...
posted by Black_Umbrella at 7:30 AM on November 30, 2007


I'd post a screenshot of the boss battle, but, you know, SPOILERS...
posted by BobInce at 10:07 AM on November 30, 2007


What, you guys didn't watch plain static when you were kids?
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:37 PM on December 23, 2007


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