An homage to the Dada and Fluxus art movements, RainboDisko is a tabletop game for 2+ players to be played on an operating record player. Tension mounts as pieces are placed on the rapidly spinning record, until a clumsy move incites a chain reaction of centrifugal force and flying pieces. This is a game of speed, dexterity, and anarchy.
@DenverCoulson is an independent game developer who does most of his work under 11:11 Studios. His current interests and work have a strong focus on digital sports and mechanics-focused design.
Ben Sironko is a game designer + programmer with an interest in itchy, noisy arcade games. His work can be found at bensironko.com
Equally inspired by the Dada readymades of Marcel Duchamp and the resourceful mutability of folk games, RainboDisko is the outcome of an experiment in designing a game around the ludic potential implicit in a vinyl record player. Not only does a record player offer a wealth of variability -- with its real-time spin, changeable speeds, moving needle arm, and record-sized play space -- but also the culture of sitting around a record player listening to music is quite similar to the culture of sitting around a board playing a game. Through a series of improvisatory design sessions we combined these two cultures, arriving at a chaotic game of physical dexterity and warped sound.
Anarchy is an essential element of RainboDisko. All record players are different, all pieces are different, all records offer different sounds, and as a circular play space, a large number of players can be accommodated and the speed and finesse of turn progression depends entirely on the group. Play consists of quick cycles of mounting tension and clumsy, centrifugal release. Sometimes the flying pieces knock the needle arm, sometimes they cause a chain reaction and all the pieces are flung off the board. Embracing this unpredictability is crucial to the fun and humor of the game.
A final point of interest for us as designers is that a version of this game technologically could have existed as early as the late 1800s/early 1900s, when flat disc recordings began to emerge, but as far as we know it did not. In this sense, RainboDisko can be placed in the steampunk tradition. This leads us to conclude that retro-futurism, examining untapped, anachronistic technologies and repurposing non-ludic objects towards ludic ends are worthwhile, if under-used, approaches to exploratory game design.