Pirate Jam 2020: Heisenberg’s Uncertain Pinball

“Heisenberg’s Uncertain Pinball” by Andrew C. Wang.

“In this psychedelic particle-based pinball game, you control the bumpers with your eyebrows. You can toggle between two views of the pinball playfield: [Either] see the motion of the pinball and its collisions but not know exactly where the pinball is, or see a still screen of where everything is but not see any motion.”

To play “Heisenberg’s Uncertain Pinball”, you will need just some minutes of your time and a working webcam. The webcam is needed because this crazy pinball video game monitors your eyebrow movements and lets the bumpers react to them. However, that is not the only strange as well as amazing innovation.

As the title already implies, the physics in “Heisenberg’s Uncertain Pinball” work in an unconventional way based on the infamous uncertainity principle. For anyone who is unsure what that one meant, here is a short summarization from Wikipedia: “[The] uncertainty principle states that the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be predicted from initial conditions, and vice versa.” That means in its extreme version, that you can either know the position or the momentum of something for sure, but never both at the same time.

“Heisenberg’s Uncertain Pinball” visualizes this principle perfectly: While playing, you can switch in one of two modes. Either you see the trails of the pinball movement, but be unsure where exactly it is in the exact moment, or you freeze time and thereby the motion, but you are able to see precisely where the pinball is right now. You should start training your eyebrow muscles right now to become the best human pinball bumper controller ever to react quickly, so that you can succeed in this oddly wild and stylish game. [PLAY]