Jonathan Zawada Brings You Google Street View Through A MechWarrior HUD

<i>Street View / Road to Mecha</i> combines Street View with the cockpits of classic robot war games.

Hong Kong, China

Jonathan Zawada’s Street View / Road to Mecha is kind of a non-sequitur from the rest of his portfolio, which includes album covers for WARP Records artists, paintings, pencil drawings, and a wide-ranging spectrum of excellent design work. Regardless, we totally welcome it.

Combining Google’s Street View with the cockpit interiors from units of classic robotic war games like MechWarrior, Hawken and Miner Wars, Zawada is gifting users the experience of something previously impossible: driving one of these things across any terrain or city in the world (“world” as in wherever Google is actively creeping). Some people now have one less item on their bucket list. 

Varna, Bulgaria

It’s surprising how fun it is to mess around with. You’d think it’d get old quick, since you can’t really interact with the environments, and eventually you realize you’re just spending hours on Google Maps, visiting the same places you did a year ago when you were really into spending hours on Google Maps. For sure, Zawada intended it to be nothing more than a novelty, but you do get that same sense of power usually associated with first-person gaming, especially when you turn a street and everyone’s looking the camera’s way.

Naturally I let my fantasies run wild. I thought, “Hey man, where have you always dreamed of going and threatening people?”  

In my case, I decided to take it to New York first, to scout out apartments I can’t afford, and yell at NYU students that college is a waste of time.

Then I went to Moscow, to hunt for Snowden.

Bringing Matryoshka dolls to Nelson Mandela, in South Africa.

This guy in Jerusalem was pretty into it.

A very straightforward, interactive piece. Maybe this what it’s like to guide drones—without feeling terrible about yourself.