Notes on “Fishpong”

November 9, 2008

Fishpong: Encouraging Human-to-Human Interaction in Informal Social Environments: Jennifer Yoon, Jun Oishi, Jason Nawyn, Kazue Kobayashi, Neeti Gupta

Fishpong is a slow, casual game. An animated table with a display shows water. When someone puts a coffee mug on the table, it generates ripples and a fish. The fish swims in straight lines around the table. With one player, the fish might swim off the table, so the player must block it with his or her mug. With more than one player, it’s a game of pong with the mugs as paddles and fish as balls.

The idea is that strangers might spontaneously begin conversations when they find they are inadvertently playing a leisurely game together. This claim has not yet been evaluated.

It’s a clever idea. I’d like to see if it works in a real coffee shop.

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