The Bloop at Enter the Arena

As a sign of how busy the last few weeks have been, here’s a blog post about something that happened in August…

My game The Bloop had it’s third outing as part of the BARG event Enter the Arena.

I still feel I’m in a play-testing phase with it, with a few areas yet to be cracked.

Far fewer players this time – which I think worked a lot better – and I also moved the ribbon-tagging down to armbands rather than on the inflatable whales and requested the players played in silence. The result was described by Andrew Wilson as “like a bonkers tea dance”. Here’s some video I shot of one of the rounds:

The Bloop at Enter the Arena from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

Yup! That description works for me!

I managed to take a few photos too:

The Bloop

The Bloop

The Bloop

The Bloop

The Bloop

The Bloop

The Bloop

The Bloop

Sas Taylor also got some nice action shots!

Bloop @ Barg

Bloop @ Barg

Photos of Taste the Game

Taste the Game went really well yesterday and I’ve had loads of positive feedback, which is always nice.

Jumping straight in to planning the next one for the 29th though, so here’s a simple slideshow of my photos and video on the basis that it’ll tell you as much as any words I can put together right now will…

A big thank you to everyone to contributed and took part.

Taste the Game

Over the last month I’ve been project managing a commission from the Midlands Arts Centre to deliver 2 pervasive games based events as part of their free summer programme.

Working together with the BARG network and a handful of more seasoned games designers based in London, we’ve put together an afternoon of games and activities for this Sunday that is intended to serve as an introduction to pervasive games.

There are more details about the event and what will be on offer on the BARG website, but basically what you need to know is that it’s free, will run from 2-4 (info desk open from 1:30) and it’s going to be great fun!

As well as the project management side of coordinating a team of eleven across different cities and also liaising with the venue, it’s been interesting spotting where little arty bits have come into it.

The main game of the afternoon, Bull Hunt, needed the construction of a bull’s head mask. A fairly obviously arty activity and one I quite enjoyed doing – I was working quite closely from photos of the bull sculpture outside the BullRing in Birmingham city centre and it was good to have to think in a sculptural way again.

Anyway, you know me, so the really interesting part came last Tuesday when it got it’s first public outing…

Sat with it next to me on one of the sofas in the mac, I found myself constantly talking to strangers. People asking what it was for, spotting what it was modelled on, asking how it was made. There was a fab ‘WOW!’ from a little girl too!

There were also some good conversations with members of staff – we’ve been holding various meetings in the building and I’ve been making sure I speak to the floor managers etc wherever possible. I love the way that novelty objects can so easily mediate interactions.

So, reaction to the bull as a mask was good, but reaction to it as a costume with someone inside it was even better! Thanks to Pete, Ant and Libby for all being game to give it a go.

We got some good photographs and also made a quick video to promote the game:

Bull on a bike.

Bull on a bike.

Have you seen this bull? from BARG on Vimeo.

I generally struggle to find licence free music to use as backing for the videos I make, sites like opsound tending to be a bit too electronic for my purposes. This time however I came across this collection from Kevin MacLeod. Short pieces in different styles just right for testing your resolve in editing down your footage to a minute or two!

Throughout the process of putting this event together it’s also been interesting (sorry I keep using that word, but I wouldn’t want to get stuff written down if it wasn’t!) looking at how I’ve been looking at the space. The mac recently underwent a huge renovation project to the extent that it’s basically a new environment, significantly different to what it was like before. However, I’ve only ever seen the new mac through the eyes of someone planning an event there. What space would be good for what sort of activity? How are people moving through this area? What are the acoustics like here? Where can I put 60 helium balloons and a trestle table?

I’ve been at the mac loads now, but never once stopped to look at the art in the galleries or to check what’s on at the cinema! Different. Eyes.

Another month to go (we’re doing a second event on the 29th of August) and then we’ll see what it looks like after that. I suspect it’ll be another area filled in on the “Own this City” map I’m slowly constructing of places in Birmingham I feel I have some sort of ownership over after having played games there.

Emergent Game website relocated

Gosh, 2 years since I started sending people around the city seeing things from the perspective of soft toys.

The original Emergent Game website has now been archived at http://emergentgame.npugh.co.uk/

Pirates with parrots and rabbits with robots,
Witty repartee and elegant sub-plots,
Yellow fluff furballs that hang down on strings,
These are a few of my favorit things.

Angry triangles and dogs that do scuba,
Tractors and raptors and rum straight from Cuba,
Avataris that fly with a cape, no wings,
These are a few of my favorit things.

Overnight braveness in frizzers and fridges,
Ventures to Edinbra and bartrin’ for bidges,
Rodent detectors with baubles and springs,
These are a few of my favorit things.

When the peas talk,
When the bots bork,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorit things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Egor Beaver, My favorit things

My favorit things from Egor Beaver on Vimeo.

London and Tokyo, via Bournville village green.

Since doing an exchange visit there in 2005, my contact with Joshibi University of Art and Design and its students has included: helping to host their exchange students coming to Birmingham; effectively working there as a technician for a month; countless days just sort of hanging out there; keeping in contact with several pupils and alumni, including visiting their homes and having them stay with me in the UK; and hearing from alumni friends their tales of working as artists post-graduation and their encounters with graduates from other universities. As a result, I have a pretty well-formed idea of some of the things I would like to do to shake things up a bit, beyond my low-level “So, have you ever considered showing your work, outside of a gallery context” vibrations.

In 2006, 2007 and 2008 I also coordinated and delivered the social programme as part of the annual Joshibi Summer School. This involved sorting out all the pastoral and evening/weekend social stuff for the 30-or-so students who would spend a month based at Bournville Centre for the Visual Arts (BCVA).

We’ve had many conversations about how the Summer School programme could be improved. The main problems from my point of view are that the students arrive as a group; take over a block in a halls of residence as a group; are the only group studying at Bournville over the summer; have an interpreter with them the whole time; and have negligible contact with anyone outside of the staff and the other Summer School students. They may get to experience something of a different way of approaching art education, but there’s a lot missing in terms of cultural exchange and development of language skills.

I decided I didn’t want to work on the social programme this year, but was later invited to provide a day’s teaching for the Summer School. Based on last year’s werewolf success, and my recent work with BARG, there was no doubt that a game would be involved.

dead pikachu

My contribution was to form a starting point for a larger project where the students would go on to develop work that contrasts London and Tokyo. I ran two workshops in the morning where we compared the places in Japan they recommended I visited to the places that actually had meaning to them in their day-to-day lives. This got us from guidebook staples such as the Emperor’s Palace and Kiyomizu-dera to stories of favourite ice-cream shops, overheard sounds of children playing in campsites and stars as seen above car parks.

We also looked at the landmarks that we give significance to in our journeys through landscapes that we are very familiar with. Taking our journeys to university as an example, we drew maps and uncovered more stories. I’m familiar enough with the bus ride to the Joshibi Sagamihara campus that I could recount my personal map of that journey and compare it to theirs. This experience lasting only a few seconds is so completely and vividly on my map that I’m genuinely shocked to realise now that it’s a memory from 4 years ago.

As expected, the smell of the chicken farms featured prominently in the cycled versions of the journey…

question card

For the afternoon, I’d prepared a scavenger hunt around Bournville Green and the surrounding area.

This was designed as a team game, but with significant components where each student would be very much working alone (…unless they plucked up the courage to ask passers by for assistance!). Use of the Japanese language was, of course, banned throughout.

consultation

The students randomly selected a question to tackle and then had some time to discuss it with their team mates. The questions were worded to avoid typical Japanese constructions of English. I also tried to avoid making them so simple that no discussion was needed to fully understand them.

Examples include.

  • There is a car park at the Western edge of the park. Around it, with one end in the ground, are wooden “dragon’s teeth”. How many dragon’s teeth are there?
  • Stand between the Porter’s Lodge and the church. Look at the church. Can you see the carved wooden panel? How many flowers does it have? What is the man holding in his left hand?
  • Go to the chemists and find a lilac-coloured dog hanging up by a door. What colour is his collar, and how many diamonds are on the front of it?
  • In the alleyway between the chemists and Louise’s, there are some old style posters. What is the name of a UK city written on one of them?
  • Go to the butchers shop. What is the name of the sheep on the counter near the window?
  • Go to the Wyevale garden centre. There is a scarecrow near one of the doors. How much did his hat cost?

There were a range of strategies employed in designing the questions. Some of them, such as the sheep’s name question above, could only be answered if the student asked the appropriate question of the relevant shop keeper. Others would be made infinitely easier if they asked a member of the public for help in explaining what a particular word refers to (e.g. dragon’s teeth).

The other major aim was to get the students out and into parts of Bournville that they would never normally go to. This had the intended bonus of meaning that I had to seek out these places first. I was a student at BCVA for 5 years, and yet there were so many places in that tiny area that I had never been to until the planning stages of this game. I had lots of adventures and conversations: so much of Bournville is hidden away in a secret second-layer-back, and there are some truly class acts working there.

I was also determined that I would work with what was already in situ, and not parachute in any foreign bodies to plant for the game. The sharks, Iggle Piggles and Bill Oddies were all there already, waiting to be discovered and played with.

Right, so we had the basic mechanism of having to go to places and find answers to questions. The other aspect of the game design was about how to make this an intense, sometimes visceral experience.

tech amnesty

Prior to explaining the game rules, we’d confiscated (in a nice way!) all their mobile phones, electronic dictionaries and phrasebooks. This was originally done to ensure that looking things up didn’t replace discussion, but I think it also had quite a wrenching effect, because this technology is usually very heavily relied upon.

maybe the man with the plant knows where the garden centre is

I deliberately made it so that, after the initial discussion phase, each player then had to go off independently to find the answer. This took away another safety net of group decision making.

The other thing to do was to add a magic vest in the form of some hats for the players to wear whist they were out and about.

consulting the map

This covered my usual criterion for having an element of silliness involved in order to break down a few barriers, but as Holly Gramazio pointed out at Hide and Speak, your players look like criminals and, if the students were going to be in the bank counting CCTV cameras, I wanted it to be clear that they probably weren’t dangerous! The “help me find stuff” labels on the hats were intended as an invitation for people not involved in the game to approach the students and initiate conversations.

The weather was drizzly, the students were extremely tired after spending a long weekend in London (not to mention the jet lag!), energy levels were low, and I had to tweak some stuff on the fly to increase the pacing, but it all worked! It worked a treat!

magic hat and green

run

It was great to see the balloons bobbing around on the green and in front of the parade of shops. It was fun to see the teams playing jan-ken-pon to decide the next runner, but substituting diddle-diddle-dum lyrics so as to avoid the 50 point fine for speaking Japanese. It was satisfying to hear small groups of students with nothing to do standing around and chatting in English. It was worrying to hear that one girl hadn’t been seen for 25 minutes, but heart-warming to hear from the search party that she’d been found in the park with a gang of kids around her trying to help her solve her clue. We giggled to hear the story of people offering to help count dragon’s teeth. It did nothing less than warm my cockles to hear someone describe the hats as being magic, a comfort, and to thank me for making them wear them.

relocation of the Bournville factory, as explained through the medium of leaves

thinking hat

changeover

All three teams did really well and the rain mostly stayed away until we had finished playing. The final scores were in the region of 120 points (average 10 points per question) with only maybe 4 failed questions per team.

I finished off the day with a more formal presentation about the use of mechanisms and rule sets to instigate interactions with spaces; how presenting something as a game contrasts with presenting it as a piece of performance artwork; the importance of stories; the importance of magic vests/hats; the importance of silliness (and how it’s easier to be part of a large group doing silly things rather than being by yourself doing silly things) and how doing projects in public spaces confers ownership of that space to you (in the sense of responsibility and empathy, rather than of power).

Anyway, it looks like I may yet end up doing some social stuff with the group on Saturday: I may take the opportunity to quiz them on how the game has affected their perception of Bournville…

loudnoisesandflashinglights

Stuff to follow on from and slot into the Playmakers conversation here and here.

I originally named the Synapse the Synapse because I imagined the arduino-powered, instruction-delivering oojamaflip to be at the head of a chain of people, something a bit like a neuron.

synapse sketch

functions

I’ve just now discovered courtesy of wikipedia that:

The word “synapse” comes from “synaptein”, which Sir Charles Scott Sherrington and colleagues coined from the Greek “syn-” (“together”) and “haptein” (“to clasp”).

Which is even more apt; so if anyone asks, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So right, the question is how to give as many members of the playmakers teams (usually about 15 people, I think) important jobs to do. (NB important does not necessarily equate to sensible.) Rather than thinking of the camera as a huge physical device, I see it more as a large mass of people having to move in unison. On the Ludocity forum I initially suggested remoting the power supply to the video camera so that several people had the responsibility to keep switches closed in order to keep the camera filming. This was an extreme example, and probably not one you’d actually want to do because the stakes are a bit high if someone breaks the circuit and the camera loses power. You’d have to stop play and get things set up to start recording again = too much of a handbrake.

So, back to the old staple of loud noises and flashy lights. Loud noises instantly draw attention to the players both from bystanders and from other teams they may be trying to sneak up on/away from. Flashy lights because if you’re watching playback on 3 screens simultaneously, you’re not going to be able to identify which camera the sound came from.

your players will look like criminals

At tonight’s fizzPOP I hacked together a bike light, an attack alarm and a couple of push-to-break switches to see if the approach looks like it’s got legs. Both switches have to be continuously held down or else lights will flash and noises will be noisy.

After the session the other hackers were kind enough to humour me and help give it a little test. It was raining, but fortunately we were in a building next to a railway viaduct, so we headed for that.

loud noises and flashy lights from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

Can confirm lights are bright enough and noises loud enough.

Prior to going outside, we’d had a really good discussion about the Playmakers project, possible roles of technology and what were appropriate roles of technology.

A really interesting idea that bubbled up was what would the scoring be like if you could use augmented reality software to recognise the presence of players from other teams and therefore automate durational scoring? We imagined ridiculously big It’s a Knockout style marker images being carried around the streets.

Could have some interesting implications for superimposing graphics over the videos during the playback too…

Anyway, back to loud noises and flashy lights. From the test we learned:

  • Switches need to be more tricksy: maybe tilt switches or something that rely on the position of whatever you’re carrying – push buttons as they are are too easy to hold shut.
  • Things will get interesting with upwards of about 5 people in a chain.
  • The camera person needs to be quite a way back from the loud noise and flashy light device…
  • … but I like the way the video shows the team doing stuff, having the camera pointed down the line like this.
  • Croc clips can’t be relied upon if you’re running around!

Synapse

Back in April I finally got to go to play at the Sandpit.

One of the games I played before dashing off to get the last train was Shrine – the 2nd iteration of the Playmakers project to crowd-source contributions towards developing a new pervasive game.

Did I mention the train journey home? Good. It was quite a long one and I had lots of thinking time to mull over what I thought of the game and how it might be improved.

I think the game’s been played several times now with varying rules that I’ve not really been keeping track of. Key components are (I think) 3 teams of about 15 players, each (teams, not the players) with a flip video camera on a large tripod and running around to film different objects/actions/people within a set time to score points. The teams then assemble together to watch all three videos being played back at the same time and some sort of scoring takes place.

BFI, May 2, Playtest #3b from Hide and Seek on Vimeo.

These are the main areas that have been identified as needing some thought (reproduced from the Ludocity forum):

  • So, the video playback – is it fun to watch, should it be more fun? How should people be filming? Is there some way to make the videos… prettier, and if so is that a desirable end, or should the focus be purely on making it easy to score?
  • One of the problems with the basic game is that it’s very open to one player grabbing the tripod and running off, and some of the players feeling peripheral or not having anything to do. Should there be more roles for specific players? Different jobs to do? The traitors were a step towards this, as were the encoded clues, but should it be clearer, more extensive? What should the different team members be doing?
  • How is the game introduced, how should the rules be explained? Should there be actors? Pieces of paper in envelopes? Skywriting (we can’t actually afford this)? Should it be part of the game, or clearly set apart from it?
  • So, there’s a tripod. There’s a video camera. There’s a brightly-coloured feather-duster. But maybe there should be something else… a mobile phone, ringing with extra tasks, or letting teams communicate with each other? Some sort of tiny computer doing… something? GPS tracker?
  • The game will be played at the H&S Weekender around the Southbank Centre, and it’d be nice if the basic game could work in a variety of locations, but what’s happening in the space? How far should people go, and what’s there when they get there? Is there a secret dance extravaganza that they need to find and film? A hot air balloon (this is another thing we can’t actually afford this)? Something happening, something installed, something participatory, something they need to create themselves – what’s there?
  • At the moment, there’s the tripods; there are sports bibs. That doesn’t have to be the case. Maybe there could be different costumes for different roles within a team; or maybe the people presenting the game need costumes, or someone running around the space as a target has a costume, or something else entirely. Maybe the tripod isn’t a tripod, but an enormous teddy-bear. Maybe it’s a balloon that’s gradually inflated over the course of the game. Maybe it’s a perambulator with a goldfish bowl inside, who knows?
  • One problem with the game as it stands is that there’s not that much of a feeling of good gameplay being rewarded. The balance of points for filming targets and opposing teams isn’t right; adding extra ways to get points (for example, by identifying traitors successfully) doesn’t necessarily work with the rest of the game. So, how should scoring work – how many seconds of filming another team’s tripod, for example, should be equal to successfully finding all the targets?
  • How should all these different components fit together?

I like those questions a lot. Seems to me it’s a basic arsenal of interrogation for any game designer to ask of any game they’re designing. Bing! Preserved here for future reference!

In this particular instance though, the two I’ve homed in on are how to make the video work (in terms of making it watchable and also making it scoreable) and also how to ensure that all team members have roles to play.

Meanwhile, I’ve recently made and used The Anticipator. Techy GPS thing hidden innabox in such a way that it becomes a prop for getting a group of people to work together as a team. Round 1 was with primary school children and now I’m thinking about how to apply this to BARG-related stuff.

So, something I want to explore that can easily be attached to a live project with real design criteria and real deadlines.

…I spent the weekend doing some rapid tinkering ahead of meeting up with some of the Hide&Seek folk at an event tonight…

I now have a working prototype for something I’m calling the Synapse. It’s basically a portable arduino-powered device that buzzes and flashes out a sequence of warnings and cues for players to do stuff.

Because the timing is now independent of any filming taking place (when I played Shrine it was done off the flip’s counter: cunning, but caused a few problems) players can take their time to get into position and check the equipment is all working ok. The LEDs and buzzer also make it really easy to sync up multiple films.

The only thing left to do now is to figure out how to use it…

Here’s my first test:

Synapse test #1 from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

I was struggling before with matching up the concept of the film documentation and the style of game-play. They didn’t seem very compatible somehow and the end result was some meandering video that [during the scoring for the version I played in] wasn’t in step with those from the other teams and just wasn’t that interesting to watch[Disclaimer: I haven’t particularly watched any of the video from the other games. They might be very different …or that may underline my point…].

I had a bit of an epiphany when I changed the way I was looking at things and rather than seeing a game followed by a scoring phases that conveniently produced some film documentation too, saw it as teams competing to produce the video that would beat the other videos.

That and seeing the collated videos as a film that therefore needed moments of tension and conflict and suspense in order to keep the audience interested. (Humour’s a given in this situation, I reckon.)

So, each team has a task to do. It could be filming objects or actions; it could be finding things; it could be collecting objects. It’s the background action of putting balls in holes. (Collecting physical objects would make it a lot easier to score this aspect, rather than the durational stuff we were trying to do in Shrine.)

Interjecting into this are the unnecessaries – the tasks you have to complete when the Synapse gives you a very defined time limit in which to do them in. These are like jousting an invisible opponent – you either have to be the best imaginable or put your fate down to chance… Will it be rock paper scissors, will it be doing the best improvised dance routine or will it be waving a flag at a checkpoint?

The synchronised unnecessaries where each video component goes head-to-head with the others are what potentially start to make the videos into a film.

I have plans for how to develop the synapse as a way for making several people work together, but for now let’s just get some feedback on what we’ve got so far…

Round up

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, here’s why:

w i d e o p e n s p a c e

w i d e o p e n s p a c e from BARG on Vimeo.

A fab afternoon with a great crowd of people. Heather wrote a nice summary of the first section and Nicky Getgood did a great job of capturing the non-games aspect of the afternoon which was to explore, and temporarily reclaim, some neglected urban spaces.

A song for Skatz

I spent 4 days being a secret agent at Linden Primary School.

We investigated, we hypothesised, we made a humming labyrinth, we transported a minstrel over from a parallel dimension where planets were losing their sunlight, and we helped him write a song that contained all the knowledge about light and shadows that they needed to bring the the sun back.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

An excellent project where I was able to draw on a lot of the theory from game design in order to make an immersive experience that each of the 60 pupils could engage with in different ways. I hope to be able to write more about this once I know more about the permissions situation.

Rhubarb Radio

On the 17th of May I was a guest on Steadman and Grimes’ Sunday Social show on Rhubarb Radio. We talked about BARG and the w i d e o p e n s p a c e event. I’ve written the first of two posts on the BARG website that include the audio and a selection of links and further information relating to the things we talked about.

BARG website

barg.org.uk

Now BARG has been running for a few months and we’ve got a feel for what shape it is, pindec and I spent a lot of time last week coding up a website to cater for the different aspects of the network’s activity. Here’s the result: http://barg.org.uk/. We’ve loads more events planned and we’ll be using the website to put out all the details when the times come, so subscribe to the news feed, or make sure you join the mailing list if you want to get information by email.

Post Digital

Mudlark heralded their transfer to Birmingham and their arrival at Fazeley Studios by organising a “day of talks from inspirational friends and allies”.

Post Digital brought together an interesting collection of view-points and practices, to which I added a deliberately lo-fi potted history indicating how I had arrived at a practice where I hack up cardboard and masking-tape interfaces for GPS units.

I ended my presentation by asking what sort of post-digital spaces a pro-am sort of someone like myself might be prodding in a few years’ time…

Howduino

howduino

A brilliant event. I wrote about it on the fizzPOP website.

w i d e o p e n s p a c e

Edit 10th May: Scroll down to the comments to see links to documentation of the event.

w i d e o p e n s p a c e brought to you by BARG Saturday May 9th, 2pm – 7ish suggested donation: £3 per player

w i d e o p e n s p a c e is an afternoon of fun, games and picnics around the Curzon Street area of Birmingham. Come and explore the terrain and its possibilities with us. All are welcome although we ask that parents bringing children keep an especially close watch on them. We’re asking people to make a donation of at least £3 each to help fund future BARG events.

Sign up at http://is.gd/vqYz to let us know if you’re planning to join us.
A .pdf of this information is available for download here.

Programme:

Here are the games we’re planning to run. (But there will also be plenty of opportunities for you to invent your own!)

Hat Snap

(variant of a game designed by Krzysiek “Semp” Bielecki)
The first game runs between 2pm and 3pm, with sign-up in the Bullring shopping centre at the cube seats near Baguette du Monde and Café Rouge (the open-air bit between New Street and Saint Martin’s Square, [1] on the map, see below) between 2 and 2:20.

You will need to bring a digital camera or a camera phone and it will be to your advantage to not be carrying too much other stuff. If you’ve brought a big delicious picnic with you, you might want to sign up at the front of Curzon Street Station ([2] on the map) and leave your baggages with our stewards.

Players will rendezvous at the Curzon Street Station building at 2:40 to tally up the points and determine the winner ([2] on the map). Full instructions will be given to you when you sign up; it’s up to you to decide on your strategy…

The Lost Sport

(rediscovered by Jane McGonigal and Kiyash Monsef)
The Lost Sport of Olympia is believed to be a 2500-year-old game invented, and ultimately banned, by the Ancient Greeks.

At 3pm we will move to the Curzon Street car park (probably the bit at the back, between the skaters and the railway lines, [3] on the map) for a team game with no opposing team: listen carefully as your team-mates guide you around a labyrinth. Make sure you’re wearing shoes you can run in.

Picnic

(designed by you!)
Not a game, but still very enjoyable!

Bring some food and join us on the grass area in front of the station building between about 5 and 6 for a leisurely picnic ([4] on the map). Sharing of food and ideas encouraged!

Bocce Drift, Croquet and GPS Sketches

Grab a few friends and have play with these things that will be available after the carpark bit. The rules for Bocce Drift (designed by David Jimison and Jeff Crouse) are here: http://ludocity.org/wiki/Bocce_Drift and we encourage you to invent your own rules for croquet (bear in mind it’s a borrowed set though – please don’t damage it). As an additional challenge, we’re asking for people to bring along random (non-valuable/non-dangerous) spherical objects for some further games improvisation.

2 iPAQs will be available for you to use to record your movements around the area: what pictures can you make? After the event we’ll convert everyone’s tracks to a Google Earth file so we can see what people drew. (You’ll need to leave your credit card or driving licence as a deposit for the iPAQ.)

Human Snake

(designed by Minkette)
You’ve seen the game played on mobile phones, now it’s time to play it in real life. Conga around between 6:30 and 7 to collect the fruit before the other team gets it first.

The Weather

A game of chance.

In the event of bad weather, w i d e o p e n s p a c e will be cancelled. We will announce the final decision on whether it will go ahead or not by 11am on Saturday the 9th of May. The announcement will be made via http://twitter.com/pindec, http://twitter.com/genzaichi, here and http://bargbarg.ning.com/events/w-i-d-e-o-p-e-n-s-p-a-c-e so please be sure to check if the weather looks a bit dodgy.

In the event of good weather, please make sure you bring the appropriate hat/cream/parasol to stop yourself getting sunburnt – there’s not a lot of shade available around Curzon Street.

The Map

(Click to embiggen.)
wide open spaces

The Small Print

w i d e o p e n s p a c e is an exercise in exploring a part of the city that is currently something of a wasteground. We’ll be playing in unloved areas that may be littered with things like rubble and broken glass, so if you’re joining us we ask that you dress appropriately and be especially careful of your safety at all times. Play at your own risk, etc etc, but have fun and spare some time to look at the cityscape in a new way.

BARG is a Birmingham-based network for playful people who like to make and/or play interesting games.

A game for Curzon Street would…

the Curzon Street area

  • A game for Curzon Street would be designed for the Curzon Street area, and for the Curzon Street area only.
  • A game for Curzon Street would make reference to Curzon Street’s past. [wikipedia entry] [rail around Birmingham entry]
  • A game for Curzon Street would make full use of how Curzon Street is now.
  • A game for Curzon Street would make people explore.
  • A game for Curzon Street would make people interact.

The London & Birmingham Railway, Curzon Street Station, 1838

Curzon Street car park

I’d like there to be a game designed specifically for this part of Birmingham.

BARG will be hosting an afternoon of play and picnics in the Curzon Street area (image of the full area) on the afternoon of Saturday the 9th of May. We can playtest either complete games or partial mechanics …or make something up when we’re there.

Consider that a challenge.



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