A recent project I worked on with my good friend Jonathan Séguin, entitled “Super Conveniently Head-Controlled Face Fighter 10987654321” (and yes, I know that’s a mouthful).
Face Fighter attempts to transform traditional views of retro and retro-styled video games by means of a non- conventional control interface. Because modern mainstream video games typically use advanced game engines, 3D graphics, and rely on powerful machines to run – retro-styled games are denounced, sanctioned off for independent developers working on low-budget projects, only for their work to be consumed by the nostalgic. We propose a video game that harmonizes new technologies with retro aesthetics. Face Fighter is an old-school “shoot’em up” that is controlled not with a d-pad, but with your face.
The premise of Face Fighter is simple. The player controls a combat ship flying through outer space, being mindful of incoming asteroids (and a dominant “boss” figure, which happens to be a face itself). Instead of using a game controller to influence gameplay, the player controls their ship through a purely camera-based, continuous interface.
Software tracks the player’s head and creates coordinates in the software space, directly corresponding to the direction and speed the ship flies in at any given time. To shoot, the player tilts his or her head downward. This non-conventional interface is juxtaposed with aging visual and audible cues to create an entirely new experience for the participant.