centrifeud is an ipad game for two to four players. it’s like that vacuum game in warioware – each player is trying to collect the most goal tokens, which appear on the screen at random. when a player is holding her button down, her avatar moves in the direction it’s facing, bouncing off of walls and other players, and when she’s not holding her button, her avatar is rotating clockwise in place, changing its direction. a game with a single, binary button per player. the buttons are laid out in the four corners chicanery-style.
so players keep their hands in their own corners, for the most part. but every now and then the chance to handicap an opponent appears: slow down your opponent, or make her veer to the right when she moves, or turn yourself into a ghost, so you can travel right through her. you don’t collect these advantages by moving your in-game avatar onto a power-up item. the words “TOUCH YOURSELF” appear on the screen (i always like when a game is forward) and all players scramble simultaneously to physically touch their avatars. naturally, these are in much closer proximity to each other than the buttons, and a chaos of jostling hands flutters over the game as two or three or four people are suddenly brought into physical contact. and then they go back to their buttons. it’s over in a second.
if there’s anything exciting about touch screen games, it’s that we can do this now: we can control the player’s physical proximity, we can change it in the middle of a game. centrifeud uses it in brief, frantic moments. in the late, lamented pongvaders, two players cooperate, usually autonomously, to destroy alien invaders. but at the end of every stage the players have to physically work together by tilting the ithing to direct the last ball at the last enemy. imagine a game that takes place on a sinking island – as the coasts grow smaller and smaller, the players’ hands are forced to operate closer and closer to each other.