Here’s a selection of the 20 pictures I showed at Ignite Amsterdam 4, and the words I managed to cram into the 5 minutes I had available to me. It’s about some of the things that excite me, some of our recent work (most notably PLAY Pilots) and some of our new projects on the horizon.
It was a swell evening, with Mediamatic’s exhibition of arcade machines of various vintages serving as a fitting backdrop. Sitting in the front row, watching lots of clever folk talk about all kinds of games-related stuff was a rare treat. Thanks to Evelyn for inviting me.
Hi there, I’m Kars. I’m the founder of Hubbub, we’re a design studio for physical social games in public space, based in Utrecht. We make physical games, we want to make games that are embodied. That make use of people’s experience of physical reality, and their social lives. Such as cardboard tube fighting.
And we are very interested in doing this for the city of tomorrow, so we have a keen interest in urban life and how it is shaped by technology in the near future.
We’re organized according to something we’ve come to call “the heist model”, inspired by films such as Ocean’s 11. That means each Hubbub project is run by a team of independent specialists that converge around a shared interest.
So I want to start by sharing some things that excite me at the moment. The fact that Will Wright – of Sim City, The Sims – is doing a TV show called Bar Karma in stead of a game for instance.
Or Keita Takahashi – creator of Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy – designing a playground. He’s not just designing for humans, but also for animals.
Trans-species interaction is something that we’re doing some work on ourselves. Such as a project codenamed Buta commissioned by the Utrecht School of the Arts, where we’re designing play between humans and domestic pig.
Other work on the horizon for us is a pervasive game for a large government service. The game will be used to affect the behavior of its employees and bring a little light in an office environment. Much like our friend David Brent is doing here.
More things that excite me: NIDHOGG is a two-player indie video game that is played on big screens for large audiences. Play as performance. I though it always requires a physical act, turns out screen-based interaction can have that quality too. Genius.
A big chunk of our time this year was taken up by a project that was about play as performance a lot. It’s called PLAY Pilots. You may have heard of it. This started out as an investigation I did into the opportunities for playful additions to the major cultural events in Utrecht…
…and ended up as three live games created by three Utrecht-based studios for three lovely festivals.
The first one you’ll hear more about, that’s Wip ‘n’ Kip by FourceLabs for Stekker Fest. A spring rider race with physical chickens and a digital race track on a big screen. All players got a little code with which they could claim their race times and see a slow-motion video of their race on our site.
The second game was made by Zesbaans for the Netherlands Film Festival. It’s called De Stereoscoop and is like a set of turn tables with which you can scratch and mix a huge database of clips from Dutch films from the last 30 years. De Stereoscoop printed receipts when you unlocked a badge because you made an interesting mix. You could claim these online and see what films you used to get it.
And finally, Monobanda made Bandjesland for Le Guess Who? It’s like this loop-based sequencer that uses old fashioned cassette tapes with newfangled RFIDs inside of them. And a lot of blacklight. We recorded most of the “music” people made during the play sessions and put those on SoundCloud. We also stored all separate samples and made those available too.
To tie it all together we came up with a social game that’s about dueling with your friends using moves from various subcultures. It’s a sort of competitive slot machine that piggybacks on Twitter.
And finally, in 2011, we hope to take these games, and new ones, and go on a tour of the country in our very own magic bus. So we hope to see you there!