By now I have little doubt that the Nintendo DS is a work of interactive design genius, and that Nintendo’s brave new plan is working and is brilliant. In our little household, Animal Crossing has even managed to win over a videogame luddite. It seems that the DS just invites people to pick it up and start prodding and pushing (and shouting and blowing and scratching) at it to see what it will do.

Latest is Electroplankton (flash site), a little explorative sound and music thing. You play with lots of little microscopic particles swimming about in petri dish by poking at them with your stylus, and they make sounds. That’s it. Its loads of fun. It’s not a game in the sense of something to be beaten or overcome, but an object play with, to explore and just enjoy.

The game is designed by Toshio Iwai (whose talk at Futuresonic this year I just missed, which I really regret now). I love the inlay card that comes with the game, which explains how he came up with the idea:

Electroplankton manual

Just for fun, here are some MP3s I recorded while playing with Electroplankton: Luminaria, Lumiloop, Hanenbow, Marinesnow. And a rare bonus track from my Electroplankton avant-garde period: all of them at the same time.

— 13 Dec 2006