Monday 29 April 2013

Day by day, room by room

Recently on a night out a group of friends and I got into a debate about whether kids should have limited screen time. Me, I'm confused by how we encourage kids to "get lost" in books but are freaked out when they get lost in an iPad; my friends - the parents amongst us - talked about the "zombie face" they see their kids assume when they become passive ingestors of screen content.

A few days after that, a friend sent me a link to Aaron A. Reed's 18 Cadence, and I've been returning to it over and over again.

18 Cadence tells the story of a house in New York and its occupants over a century. You click through years, rooms, and characters, and learn each person's story and their perception of the other characters along the way. You can also take the objects offered as you move through the years and remix them into your own stories, which can then be shared.

It's designed for the iPad, but I've just been fooling around on my laptop, because I'm more interested in following the story than shaping it for myself (a personal failure - I'm quite a passive reader by nature). Here's a blog post by Reed about the game/story.

I've found 18 Cadence really compelling. It feels like a missing bridge between using your imagination and having the screen give you the story that we debated over dinner. Just like Pippin Barr's games invite you to scrutinise your morals and assumptions, Reed's story invites you to explore and exert your curiosity.


Anonymous said...


The screen time issue reminds me of my childhood and TV. There wasn't as much of it around then, and I strongly believe the scarcities of youth impact greatly on future behaviour. So I became a TV Fiend. For a while.

Myself I favour the over satiation approach:

Courtney Johnston said...

I found that Atlantic article really interesting.

I have to admit, every time I se my little niece pointing at something, I look at her index finger and think "Has that gesture changed, because she spends so much time swiping at screens?" And it is a little unnerving, how easily children use these devices.

But I can't think of a moral panic that's borne out yet (were baby boomers brought to rack and ruin by comic books?). I guess the data will tell, one day.