Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

My talk at Ignite Amsterdam 4

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.

Cardboard tube fighting

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.

Neo Tokyo

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.

Ocean's 11

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.

Bar Karma

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.

Woodthorpe Grange Park

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.

The Office

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.

PLAY Pilots concept sketches

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…

PLAY Pilots live games

…and end­ed up as three live games cre­at­ed by three Utrecht-based stu­dios for three love­ly festivals.

Wip 'n' Kip

Wip 'n' Kip on PLAY Pilots site

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.

De Stereoscoop

De Stereoscoop on PLAY Pilots 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.


Bandjesland on PLAY Pilots site

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.

PLAY Pilots online game

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.

Doom Patrol's magic bus

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!

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