Tilt The World In Squaresville

The PC is the mother of all game machines. Every other system’s games are made on our wonderful boxes, even the silly systems with odd peripherals and wonky names. They don’t much sillier than Sifteos: little, square interactive, er, things. Plaques? Tiles. I’ll go with tiles. Anyway, these tiles each have a touchscreen display, and motion and proximity sensors. When you play with them, you simply rearrange their positions, angles, orientations, and depending on what’s installed the game will change accordingly. The best thing about Sifteos, though, is there’s a PC emulator for the developer to test games out. Squaresville, a neat little platform game, lets you fiddle with the magic cubes without owning them.

The emulator does a good job of faking the feel of the little tiles. The physics are pleasant enough to play with even before you get to the included game, and it even emulates the click the plastic frames make when they collide. Squaresville was built for the Sifteo Experimental Gameplay Project, and is one of the selected finalists. The smart thing about it is it uses the tiles to build the level, so you can move left or right or up or down out of the current level only if you have a tile for the player to move into. Right away it starts playing with your perceptions of what’s possible, and it’s probably worth watching a minute or so of the developer playthrough below just to give you an idea of what’s possible. Though try it first without looking, just for fun. You can grab it from here.

Here it is in all it’s real-world clicky goodness.

And here’s the developer emulator walkthrough.



  1. Jams O'Donnell says:

    This reminds me very much of something I saw a few years ago which used the Playstation Eye (I think) and some homemade cubes to create a game you could see on-screen but manipulated by moving the cubes around, making a guy walk between rooms that cubes represented. I wish I could find the video, because it was a pretty cool concept.

  2. Gramarye says:

    I entered that contest too, but I had trouble with the hardware limitations. Squaresville deserved to win. It might not seem impressive for a PC game, but for Sifteo cubes, it’s definitely pushing the envelope.

  3. The First Door says:

    Gah! There is a flash game which allows you to move pieces of the world around like this to solve puzzles and I can’t remember the name of it at all. Help, anyone?

  4. Chuckaluphagus says:

    I found a good article a little while back about how the Sifteo hardware was designed. It is impressive how much functionality they get out of what is, by today’s standards, terribly low-end hardware.

  5. Snargelfargen says:

    The Sifteos look really pleasing in a tactile sort of way. Play involving the sense of touch can be very relaxing.

    Not trying to make a dirty joke, but hey, that works too!