Having returned from my trip to Geneva – and a short stay with a friend in Frankfurt, where I stood on top of skyscrapers and ate a lot of sausage – I plunged into a week that was for the most part taken up by events and publicity.
Niels put me in touch with a radio reporter who was doing a piece on Zombies, Run! – an iPhone game that uses a story about a zombie apocalypse to motivate you to run. I took the app for a spin, running through the center of Utrecht while being pursued by zombies, and immediately afterwards talked to the reporter. The game’s creators Six to Start are friends, so I’m a bit biased, but I think this is an interesting entry into the “gamification” of everyday activities as it uses narrative to add meaning to incentives that would otherwise be meaningless. The resulting radio item, with me sounding a bit out of breath and hyper, is available online.
More radio-making happened on Tuesday, when I had the pleasure of spending an hour with Clemens and Irene in the Red Light Radio studio for a Pig Chase special broadcast of Rick’s ‘Kimchi’-show. This was a real joy as we could play a selection of music we’d brought, and talk about the project at a leisurely pace in between. Mr. Dick van der Vegt, the farmer we worked with for the video, allowed us to call him live on the show for a few questions (he was witty and thoughtful as always). To round it all out the show ended with the end title music from Blade Runner, probably my favorite film of all time, which is loosely thematically linked to the project through its discussions of real and artificial animals and empathy towards them. The whole show is available on Soundcloud.
We also had our very first Amsterdam edition of This happened, hosted by the lovely Brakke Grond, with great talks from Unfold, Edo Paulus, LUSTlab and Tim Knapen. The event was sold out, we had a nice turnout, and it was encouraging to see both familiar faces from the Utrecht editions and new ones in the audience.
We also announced Utrecht #13, which will take place in little under four weeks. It’ll be my last edition, as I am stepping down from organizing. Wether there will be subsequent events either in Utrecht, Amsterdam, or both depends on a variety of factors, which are under consideration at the moment. Once we’ve made up our minds, we’ll share our thoughts on this. Keep an eye on thishappened.org for that.
On the Saba front, we worked to analyze all the findings from the playtest which took place the previous week, and produced a report that synthesized the major ones. On wednesday I discussed the report with the museum and we were more or less on the same page, with is good. We can basically move ahead to the development of a first digital prototype and just need to keep an eye on a few things, but nothing major. We also took stock of what we’ll need to get this digital prototype up and running as soon as possible.
Other than this I spent some time teaching – I had my first meetings with the interaction and game design master students I’ll be coaching the coming half year at the HKU. I also provided a guest lecture on my background in interaction design and how it influences my work on games for the very first batch of a new performance design master at the HKU’s faculty of theatre.