A few years back I remember reading a few news pieces about a new arcade game Sega had made that used sand. It was a kid’s game, available in a bunch of sites in Japan. A trailer was released and it was pretty clear that this was never going to make it to Europe. It never did. What a crying shame.
Seriously, this game looks wonderful. You have a little tray of special sand that doesn’t stick to you and get annoying. You move the sand around and an overhead projection system of some kind reads the sand and turns it into landscapes in real time. Dig a trench and the projector will turn it into a river. Dig a mountain and you’ll get grass on the slopes and all that jazz.
This is very special, I think. There is something about games that seem to focus on playing rather than anything like rules. There is something about games that encourage you to lose yourself in the moment. I can still imagine picking up lumps of sand and making boulders, spending hours on a landscape and then sweeping it away.