Octopad and other indie games will be on view – for playing! – at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s SAAM Arcade 2018 taking place later this month on Sunday July 22 from 11:30AM-7PM.
Octopad is an alternative interface for the Nintendo Entertainment System that divides eight buttons between eight players to transform classic single-player games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Tetris (or Yo! Noid, Gremlins 2, and Hatris) into multi-player puzzles where participants must divvy up tasks, share information, and work together to progress. It’s Tetris as a team sport, complete with callouts, commentary, and crowds!
Inspired by the treasure trove of photoshopped interfaces that Richard van Tol, Barrie Ellis, and Sander Huiberts posted at the Game Accessibility Forums over ten years ago, Octopad reimagines a historic platform in the paradigm of one-switch games—a genre of single-button videogames designed for and by people with limited manual dexterity. Rather than thinking about accessibility as a single-player issue, this controller engages the social, political, and environmental aspects of disability to reimagine how we play.
Here’s a video of some people using the Octopad to play Tetris: