If a Nintendo Entertainment System and a recording studio mixing board had a baby, it would look a lot like Ming Mecca, which is very likely the weirdest piece of new video game hardware announced this year. Or maybe any year. This trailer teases a new console/game creation tool that uses discrete analog inputs to change up the experience dynamically. Here’s what creative collective Special Stage Systems says:
The world is a patch, and you are its patcher. Ming Mecca brings voltage control to a comprehensive set of classic videogame design parameters, from details like object location and animation, to big-picture elements like game rules and level geography.
Turn off gravity at the flick of a switch, or scroll through seasons at the turn of a knob. Populate your world with exotic creatures, then modulate their identities with random voltage. Set objects in motion and use their collision to trigger cosmological events elsewhere in your modular. Experiment with quantum position, step sequence destructible terrain, and patch wormholes into parallel dimensions. With Ming Mecca, your modular transforms into a reality synthesizer.
I’m not going to lie: what I loved most about the clip above is how it channeled the visual language of early ‘80s music videos and game commercials. Darkly-lit spaces with unexplained fog? Check? Intense close-ups of eyes and TV screens with blocky, abstracted graphics? Yup. It harkens back to when games came into the world as weird artifacts with no explanatory context. Weird—including the weird made by people buying it—will live on this thing.