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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