Here’s a video game controller for the record books: A 9-foot-tall Atari joystick that plays Centipede and Breakout.
The giant – and functional – joystick, made of wood, rubber and steel is now in the Guinness World Records 2022 as the largest joystick. Dartmouth College professor Mary Flanagan created the joystick, which is nearly 14 times the size of the classic Atari controller, in 2006 to celebrate her childhood gaming history “maniacally” playing Atari 2600 games, she said on Dartmouth’s web site.
Currently housed at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, the joystick has previously been exhibited in Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
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Flanagan created the eight-direction joystick in 2006 with a single red button, which needs two people to operate it, to “investigate the idea of collaboration and the sharing of an otherwise single-person gaming experience, and also to focus on the ‘exploration of the cultural and sociological effects of technology,'” according to Guinness.
“To have this common pop culture artifact just erupt in the middle of a space and allow people to play something familiar, yet not familiar, was exciting,” Flanagan told the Associated Press.
Flanagan, who chairs Dartmouth’s Film and Media Studies department and is the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities, calls the giant joystick a “collaborative social sculpture” in a video you can find on her website and on YouTube.
“In order to play you would have to, as a player, as a participant in the work, get someone to play with you. It’s really impossible to play the game by yourself. You really have to rope another person in,” she said. “So often you could find yourself playing with friends, playing with collaborators, playing with complete strangers. …It’s really a kind of system to bring up the idea of spontaneity and collaboration and group play.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
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