In a dark room, eight Soundrops
(small keyholders that emit sound when pushed) are hanging from the
roof. Only one of them is lighten up as an invitation to be pushed.
When pushed, all the Soundrops are lighten up and a video of a pre-recorded play of the video game Super Mario Bros. is displayed on the wall.
can be noticed that the video is dark and the background sound is
barely audible. Moreover the sounds related to the actions of Mario himself are muted.
The participant has the possibility to restore the sound and the image to their original settings through the Soundrops (each representing a given action of Mario in the original game and emitting the related sound sample through a built-in speaker) by acting in
synchronization with the actions of the character Mario
on screen. The volume of the background music is gradually
increased and the original luminosity restored each time the
is pushed at
the right instant. If the participant fails to do so,
the background music is decreasing at the same time that the
display becomes gradually darker. The sounds related to the actions of Mario are emitted by the Soundrops themselves. In this manner, in addition to restore/remember the game, the audience reconstructs the soundtrack using the Soundrops as an instrument and the display as a score.
By emitting sound samples of the video game, the Soundrops trigger
memories of the original video game and more precisely memories of
having played the game or just having heard about it. But it will
not necessarily create the urge to play the game itself.
Sonata per Mario
acts in a similar but extended way than the Soundrops by making people interact with a representation of the
video game (pre-recorded plays) if they want to keep it from falling into
oblivion. If they fail to play the instrument constituted by the Soundrops
accordingly to the score that is shown to them, the video game is
gradually distorted, both auditory and visually. Slowly, the
game is fading out from their view, their hearing and eventually their
memory. The audience becomes more of a restorer than a consumer that must call on his/her own memories to keep Mario alive.
was developed using an Arduino
connect the Soundrops
to a computer running an application initially built with the free software Processing
and then ported to openFrameworks
. The lighting (high luminosity LEDs) is controlled by the application.
The pre-recorded plays were recorded using the re-released original video game on a Wii
that is identical to the original game.
by A. Cassinelli
The setup of Sonata per
Mario as an installation is very simple. The interactive part itself is constituted of the Soundrops, a Bluetoooth Arduino,
the power supply and LEDs that are all integrated into a single device
that can be easily hung up. In addition to this interactive part, a
display and speakers are needed. The computer that is communicating
wirelessly through Bluetooth with the Arduino is hidden to the audience.
The audience interact with the installation as follows:
(1) In a dark
environment, a light is illuminating the START Soundrop only, the display is dark and the sound is muted.
(2) As soon as someone pushes the START Soundrop, all the Soundrops
are illuminated, the display is still darken but the character Mario
can be seen and the sound is slightly increased.
(3) The audience can then
interact with the installation for a while before it returns to the
initial state waiting for someone else to push START.
Video 2'09" [640x480 5.6MB wmv
[320x240 4MB mov
] ExhibitionsSonata per Mario
was presented at the Dorkbot Tokyo
A "game" version of Sonata per Mario
developped with all the features of a real game (points, highscores).
The description of this version is available here
Many thanks to Alvaro Cassinelli and Monica Bressaglia
their help, valuable comments and inspiration, and to Thomas for
showing me my first Soundrop.