It’s always an indulgence to be asked to give your ‘top five’ for awards, all a bit if-I-ruled-the-universe. I have no problem with this – mainly because I plan on ruling the universe by next Thursday. (All going well, and no-one discovers that the glorious robot dawn is… A story for another time perhaps.) I also don’t have a problem with only choosing my top three and forgetting about the other two. When you rule the universe, such trifles are of little concern.
So without further ado: in first place, it’s Nike+ Kinect Training.
There is much awe-inspiring technology in the world that is simply underused – made gimmick for the lack of appropriate application, answers waiting for the relevant questions. For me, Kinect was such an answer: waiting. One that Nike+ Kinect Training has answered so fully, that if you still lack a reason to own an Xbox, this is it. An adaptive, intelligent, observant, motivating and accessible personal trainer. For everyone. At any time. More accurate than a human trainer, and far easier to schedule, this is a technology improving me. And a brand contributing to my life in a positive way. Job done.
One job that, fortunately for us, wasn’t done, is the subject of my next choice: Clouds Over Cuba is awesome (and I use this word as it was originally meant). Very, very rarely am I engaged by interactive content. Too often my attention is interrupted by loading screens or, worse still, ‘extras’ popping up. Clouds Over Cuba, created for the JFK Presidential Library and Museum, is a beautifully considered and engineered exploration of the Cuban Missile Crisis. And while its design, interaction, tools and experience are all award-worthy in their own right, its true power is revealed when historical fact is effortlessly combined with one of the most compelling ‘what if?’ alternative realities I have ever seen, on or offline. Watch it. Use it. Share it.
So, from one way everyone could’ve died as a direct result of stupidity, to some more… Getting accidentally run over by a train is possibly one of the dumbest ways to go. It’s not like you didn’t have any warning; the massive train tracks are a bit of a giveaway. It’s like standing on a motorway and being surprised when a lorry hits you. In recognition of this fact (and indeed the adjoining fact that a great many people still fail to appreciate the first fact and thus end up as jam), Metro Trains Melbourne created the gorgeously morbid safety message, ‘Dumb Ways To Die’. So far it’s contributed to a 30 per cent reduction in accidents. Sweet. Like jam! Except jam jam. Not people jam. I’ll shut up.