HappyHappyRevolution Demonstration from Colin Budd on Vimeo.

Hello. Welcome to the party. We are only just getting started — what’s that? Oh, no, no, you didn’t miss a thing. Welcome to HappyHappyRevolution. The game where winning makes you happy and happiness makes you win!

In this project, I seek to explore the intricate and curious nature of our human condition as it relates to emotions. So often we are told to “snap out of it” and “fake it to we make it”…but what good are these remarks when depression is so easy to sink in to? Producing a game unlike any other, but exactly like many others (Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, etc.), HappyHappyRevolution turns the experience of emotions and the facial expressions we convey into a game.

While holding a big smile, the player progresses through the levels from Neutral to Happy to Euphoric and beyond, gaining points and become happier and happier until finally winning the game. Conversely, alternative facial expressions are categorized as “Sadness,” dragging the player down from Neutral to Sad to Depressed and then ultimately losing the game after having lost many points. Along the journey in either direction, the player unlocks footage from my personal memory archives. What they face within these archives is not just a reflection of myself, but a literal personal reflection of his/herself through a technique which visually interlaces footage of the player and the archival footage. This results in a completely new memory in which the player now becomes an active component through their interactions and expressions. The way in which the viewer interprets and reacts to the footage can break the user of their streak or further tie together the viewer, their emotions, and my own in an intimate fashion.

Ultimately tongue-in-cheek but technically impressive and intricate, HappyHappyRevolution presents the human condition of emotion in an entirely new form that mimics well our natural tendency to find sadness an easy companion but happiness a lustworthy goal. The difficulty of holding a smile long enough to win the game, and the ease at which one can appear sad and thus lose the game  plays well into the very curious nature of our emotions: happiness is often fleeting and hard to hold, while sadness comes easy and is hard to break. Ultimately, it becomes a choice: happiness or sadness.

Just as in life, the player must decide.


  • Kinect v2 Sensor
  • Windows 8.1
  • Visual Basic Community 2013
  • Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014
  • Adobe After Effects  CC 2014
  • Adobe Illustrator CC 2014
  • Coffee… a lot of coffee


View the set-up action in my post here: Setting up HappyHappyRevolution

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