Monday, 19 July 2010

IGLAB - workshop

Another weekend another gaming experience. This time we managed to get to IGLAB's games workshop. We went to Bristol to take part in making some games. The workshop started at 10am and then went on until around 5ish. A long day but it flew by and I would recommend the workshop to anyone wanting to get into gaming or even those who have loads of experience to check the workshops out.

We started the day with a game of Sneaks and Blaggers. We used slightly different rules to the original game but it was a really engrossing game and one of those perfect balances of random and familiar.

iglab weekend

After this first game we then went on to start designing our own games. There was only a small number of us. so we split up into two groups and both started to create a game. The first one was ours and was like a physical board game. It was pretty dull and not the best but I think there were some interesting ideas that could be developed in the future. We then tried the other groups game which was alot more physical. after lunch we discussed the games and also designed some new games.

Finally we had a pint to end the day. A great day and another massive leap in our learning about gaming.

iglab weekend

iglab weekend

Simon working through the theory of gaming. Very insightful and easy to understand. Got me thinking about alot of recent work we have been going through in ARK.

iglab weekend

Thursday, 15 July 2010

What is gaming design?

Following our weekly wednesday club meeting last night on the theme of pervasive gaming and how ARK could use games to influence human behaviour I thought I should do some research as its an area I know very little about. So to kick things off here is a few things I have found so far:

Design with Intent - a great little article here on learning from game design

Playful - Described as 'a day of cross disciplinary frolicking'

Please post any other links below of other projects or games you have heard about and if any gamers out there would like to get involved in the project please get in contact.

A Weekend of Play - Hide & Seek

I have always loved games ever since I was little and I think to some degree we all do. There is something that draws us to 'play' that is mysteriously undefinable - the thrill and excitement of being part of something that has it's own set of rules and boundaries, a shared knowledge and experience that draws players together coupled with the joyful element of risk. You can win all or lose all in a multitude of board games or graze knees and hands on tarmac playgrounds and yet despite the risks we all continue to play on.


And play on we did at Hide & Seek's Weekender held at the National Theatre on London's South Bank. Since 2007 Hide & Seek have been enticing people of all ages (but mainly adults) with their annual weekender event of social games and playful experiences where you can expect 'paranoia, glee, new connections and fun'. Armed with our programme of events for Saturday we headed for the booking desk and put our names down for a mixture of games (which we'd eagerly chosen the night before over a magnum ice cream) Unfortunately we could only book two main games for the day to allow fair capacity throughout the day but there were many other 'drop in' games you could take part in or be a wiley spectator.

Here are two of my highlights from the day:

International Playtime; 45 minutes of fun run around was at this point I realised that I was wearing the most inappropriate footwear for the day but to my delight I was not the only one! This game slot was quite an interesting one for me as most of the games were ones I have played or facilitated within a theatrical context so I was completely in my comfort zone but what made it fun and interesting for me was watching other people's reactions and interactions with the game and the other participants. Within 45mins a group of complete strangers are immediately connected in a way that would only ever happen through play and not real life.

Time Trial Badge

Time Trails - The second game we played was one of my favourites of the day. The game required participants to download an app on the iphone called Place Whispers which plotted various whispers around the South Bank. Basically a hi-tec treasure hunt with a wonderful twist. In addition we had a paper map that plotted the original route of the Festival of Britain. I absolutely loved this game - I've been to the South Bank quite a few times and have always stuck to the main path and never really ventured beyond but this game took us to some beautiful hidden places which felt like we had suddenly stepped back in time.


At the beginning of the day I really didn't know what to expect, in some ways I was expecting something new but realised fundamentally all games are seeded from a handful of what I would describe as traditional games that are made different by space, time, rules and ultimately the participants. I think games and play are so important and have an eternally vital role, they are uniquely social, they bring people together often making new and surprising connections. I really enjoyed the Hide & Seek experience and I think the ethos of the weekend is shared by Ark Lab. So let's see if we can play!

And at the end of a very long, hot but fun day there was still a little time to shop......... ;-)

Divine Shoes

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Hide & Seek - weekender 2010


This weekend was hot and rushed, but I had a fascinating day at Hide & Seek's weekender. I believe this is the fourth year in a row that they have held the event and although the output is different, the idea of bringing a diverse group of people together to create something is very in keeping with ThinkARK and ARK LAB. In many ways ThinkARK is The Sandpit and ARK LAB is Hide & Seek. As we work more and more through projects I think for me that the way ARK LAB is structured is very similar to a Theatre type set up. With the theatre putting on productions that are helped through involving a wide range of people that work to put on an event.

Beyond these similarities we visited the event to look at what is going on in the world of gaming in the UK at the moment. There was a lot of different games available on saturday, so we were excited to get onto as many as possible. I guess that was the only disappointment of the day that we were informed we could only book two games during the day. Yet others seem to be able to book more?

Beyond this however there were a number of smaller games that you could drop into at any time so we still had loads to do. So starting off with 'International playtime' by The Fun Fed, which was a collection of various type clown and acting games. They were fun and I managed to get quite sweaty running around in the mid day sun (what's that quote about sun and englishmen???). Next I wanted a more 'designed' game if you like so we got our map for the 'Time*Trials' By Michael Dales and Sophie Sampson. We were encouraged to download an App called placewhisper for our iPhone and go on a fact finding mission around London. The more you explore the more places you find and the more points you get.

Suffering in the heat try to chase virtual information in the Time*Trials game.

I thought this was a really interesting way of looking at a city and places I would not have gone to before were revealed. We were happy to learn we even earned a sticker due to us scoring a staggering 180 points. Next off the bat was The Zemblan Ambassador Will Make a Brief Statement By Ben Henley which was a bit like a mixture of Mock the Week and call my bluff. Very enjoyable 3o minutes.

So to sum up, great day, very hot, think we could definitely use gaming techniques within ARK to bring new audiences and break down barriers through play.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Very Rough First edit of the weekend film

Hopefully this will give you some idea of what went on during the ARKADE empty shop at Castle Arcade in Cardiff, last weekend. It's pretty rough edit but I wanted to get something out to see what people thought about it. In particular does it convey what happened and the vibrancy of the three days?

Also you can see some fantastic shots taken by Jorge below. Really nice slideshow of the events that went on.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

itv Wales coverage

Some new coverage of the arcades and a bit about the project. We just hope that it encourages people to come and visit the great shops but more importantly the great people who make up the arcades.

FINAL DAY - Mini film festival

ARKADE Cinema schedule

It's our final day but we are going to have a great day starting from 1pm you can see what's going on from the schedule above come along to watch some great films.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Guardian Cardiff coverage

We have had some great responses on our first day today the workshop's seemed to go well and we got some great support from Guardian Cardiff where you can see this report and the Echo had a double page article about the Arcades and also a bit about our empty shop project. We feel that all of this press is fantastic not for us (although nice) but more for the Arcade's which will hopefully setup for a more vibrant future.

We have also setup a blog following up the business clinic for the members of the arcades which we hope will be allow them to start a number of collaborative project's together in the future. The first workshop of the day surrounding the community groups also seemed to go down well, we will have to work on this a lot more to see what will happen for the future.

We should be uploading some video and pictures later in the week (once the dust settles).

Finally I just found this we got an amazing piece by Ed Walker which you can find here