Call and Return and the Ludogeographers

On the 19th of September, players of Call and Return will start to tackle a series of creative missions that will send them out across the city exploring places, materials and the way contemporary culture permeates through them.

The city in question could be Birmingham or Tokyo, Bristol or Kyoto, and as well as negotiating their immediate surrounding, players must also negotiate interactions with other people across different geographies, languages and time zones.

An avatar explores the streets of San Francisco

Call and Return is the second in the Emergent Game series: projects that investigate group dynamics, collaborative creativity and the use of digital technologies to adjust how we relate to public spaces.

Missions are not location-specific, so players can be based anywhere: all you need is access to an internet connection, a sense of humour and a soft toy to represent you in the game (we play anonymously).

Instructions on how to sign up can be found here:
(don’t worry, this is the most complicated bit of the process – it gets easier from here on in!)

To complement activities taking place on-line (once again most of the conversation will take place via there are opportunities to get involved in various events:

Monday 8th of September
Workshop at hanare, Kyoto

Saturday 13th of September
Workshop as part of the Dislocate08 festival, ZAIM, Yokohama

Then we pull together the contributions from the workshops and on-line conversations in a weekend of creative missions as part of a festival of pervasive games in Bristol:

Friday 19th – Sunday 21st September
igfest, Bristol

Loki and Yohmoh explain emergent game to Simon at igfest

It doesn’t matter if you can’t make it in person to any of these events – remote players have an equally important role to contribute. Sign up now to join the conversation and influence the directions the game goes in. For a flavour of what it might evolve into, see the Emergent Game website for what happened last time.


Call and Return is a project initiated by The Ludogeographic Society. The Ludogeographic Society grew from collaborations central to the development of the first Emergent Game earlier this year: Ana Benlloch, Stuart Tait and myself.

To coincide with Call and Return, we are also launching where we will document the activities of the Society. Likewise for if you use Twitter follow @ludogeography for updates on what we are doing, or perhaps just subscribe to the RSS feed.

Call and Return is supported by:
Arts Council England
Dislocate 08
hanare project

Thanks also to Antonio Roberts and the igfest volunteers for helping to staff the Bristol activities.

Emergent Game: Call and Return

A few months ago, myself, Ana Benlloch, a swathe of other collaborators and a posse of participants designed, shaped and played Emergent Game.

This was an amazing experience in itself, but to turn it into Learning we are doing it again.

Next month Ana and I will fly out to Japan where we will be contributing to the Dislocate08 festival.

Dislocate is an ongoing project examining the relationship between art, technology and locality. Exploring the impact of new media upon our experience and expression of place, Dislocate08 examines the creative potential of the technologies which surround us to heighten our awareness of our locality, transforming our encounter with our direct environment and the manner in which we attempt to communicate this to elsewhere.

There’s a pdf overview of intent and participating artists here.

Being in Japan also gives us the opportunity to work with hanare: a sort of artist-led space/meeting space/café space in Kyoto. (You may remember the 4649 project.)

On the 8th of September we’ll be doing a workshop at hanare, and on the 13th of September we’ll be doing a workshop as part of Dislocate. We’ll be using these workshops to shape the Japanese component of a long weekend of Emergent Gaming happening on the 19th, 20th and 21st of September. Why? Because Emergent Game has also been accepted as part of igfest (Interesting Game Festival) in Bristol.

So, coming up is the second iteration of Emergent Game in which we’ll be investigating what happens when you have two groups of players exploring places separated by differences in language, culture, geography and timezone.

As some of the players will be in the UK and some in Japan; some having online access and some not; there will be variations in what is possible: part of the game experience will be how your avatar negotiates this. Perhaps you will make friends with a player in another country and barter things with them by post; perhaps you will be a ‘lone avatari’ with a mission of your own; perhaps you will find new spaces online where participants can interact.

We’re still negotiating the starting points for these activities and, of course, the eventual shape of them will largely be determined by those who get involved. But for now the initial instructions from the first game apply to the one coming up in September.

We’d quite like players based in the UK (or elsewhere) to get involved (online) in the two workshops on the 8th and 13th and we definitely want you guys involved in the weekend of the game itself (19th-21st) which is when we’ll be running the mission challenges. The way we see it working is that you now have a few weeks to find a toy to represent you, set up a Twitter account for it and to start some conversations with other players. Be sure to set the location in the Twitter settings to “emergent game” and to follow the likes of @yohmoh and the other soft toys located in emergent game. The rest will take care of itself.

This headstart will substitute for the workshops we’ll be doing with the players in Japan, so use this time productively…

The Ludogeographic Society

During the course of the first Emergent Game, a new collaborative group was formed between myself and two other artists I worked very closely with to realise the project: the aforementioned Ana Benlloch and also Stuart Tait. The Ludogeographic Society will be an identity we will use for future collaborations that explore similar territory to Emergent Game so this upcoming game will be realised as a project under the name of the Society, rather than under my name alone.

We’ll let you know when The Ludogeographic Society’s website is up and running, but in the meantime announcements will be made here and via the usual channels.

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