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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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The MSTRMND series is loosely based on the 1970’s board game Mastermind. The Mastermind Series is an interactive logic and ear training game that combines echoic (auditory) and iconic (visual) memory to create a multi-sensory cognitive challenge.

The original game Mastermind is a code-breaking game for two players where the code-maker creates a secret code made up of different colored pegs and the code-breaker tries to match the code using logic and deduction. After each move, the code-maker gives feedback clues to their opponent, with black and white pegs, to help them decipher their sequence.

Mastermind Board Game

The series began with Mastermind 2.0, a prototype that encouraged viewers to play with pendulums to replicate an opponents sound and light to evoke a synesthesia like effect.This interaction was intended to develop a conversation between user and machine, as well as between user and user.

Mastermind 2.0

Nonetheless, Mastermind 2.0 ended up further from the game design of original Mastermind than intended so it was back to the drawing board to try some new experiments. I then wanted to re-focus my attention on making the game more mastermind relative, specifically more relative to not knowing your opponents sequence.

I began again with the pendulums, but this time creating a double pendulum where one light source would be the target note and the second light would be the hints, just as in the original game Mastermind. The pendulum would only begin oscillating when a correct note was hit, even if in the incorrect sequence.

Mastermind Experiment 1.1

For the second experiment, I also wanted to keep the aesthetic similar with the curvilinear forms, so I designed a rotating eclipse.. Just like the double pendulum, the motion would begin if a correct note was given, even in the incorrect order.

Mastermind Experiment 1.2

The second experiment ended up instructing the design of Mastermind 3.0. The goal for Mastemind 3.0 was to create an ear-training device that is widely accessible to any and all who may be interested.As a non-musically trained audiophile, I have forever been plagued by this dichotomy of a love for music, but minimal understanding of sound. Therefore, I wanted to design a visual learning system for an ear-training device, by providing average people like me, a new approach to learning sound. My ambition was to design a learning system that could be intuitively understood, by mapping it across multiple sensory modalities.



Finally MSTRMND, is a single or multi-player logic game that tests complex skills and strategies in trials of experimentation and evaluation. Each color, has been encoded to a corresponding synesthetic sound, intended to create cross-sensory associations within the brain. Through this new embodied method, the players entire body becomes the controller of the game. This approach to more embodied sound and color associations is intended to enhance memory by incorporating visuo-spatial associations with multi-sensory processing.



MSTRMND begins by sequentially lighting from red to pink with accompanying synesthetic sound cues, players are then instructed auditorily when they hear, “Level One, Begin”. Players are instructed to repeat the signal they hear using any part of their body to set off the correct light beam. Once the first color has been guessed correctly, the player will advance to level two, where MSTRMND will add one more signal to the existing sequence. MSTRMND will continue lengthening the sequence of signals, when players continue to guess the colors and sounds in the correct order. However, if a player fails to repeat the sequence exactly, MSTRMND will respond by saying “Game Over, Play Again?”. But, if a player succeeds in beating all eight levels of the game, MSTRMND will indicate its defeat by playing a “winning” sound aloud and flashing white throughout the space.