Please Stand By

A fully interactive 1951 Capehart TV exploring the US relationship with war via a series of interactive vignettes.

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Please Stand By is an interactive story about the past, using the body of a vintage 1951 Capehart television and its dozen-plus controls as an expressive medium, including adjusting the rabbit ears and physically striking the device. It is designed to be physically engaging, and challenge the user to remember lessons learned, while not being afraid to explore and try something new.

The story told is through historical breadcrumbs, offering small samples of the unstable and complicated relationship the United States has had with the world through conflict, beginning in the 1950s, jumping from decade to decade. It is about the power of information and owning the eyes of a nation. It is about trust and how we decide what truth is. Is remembering our past enough to learn from it?

Across the channels of Please Stand By are a collection of interactive vignettes interspersed with propaganda from the decade each scene represents. Each contains a series of actions and light puzzles for the player to discover and manipulate to move each scene forward. Players leave with a collection of sounds and images to sort through and interpret, or to discuss with or even research on their own.

The beautiful thing about the past is we can explore it without the limitations of linear experience. It was important while designing this game for me to capture the fears and feelings of different times, how they differ, and how similar they can feel. The disconnected quality of the television from events is to connect with the unsettling feels associated with, not being in war, but at war.