Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

Week 161

Week one-hun­dred-six­ty-one was a long one. It effec­tive­ly ran from Mon­day to Mon­day. I caught my breath yes­ter­day and am back in the sad­dle now. Let’s see what hap­pened.

Kohi sketching, Sake playtesting & Saba filming

It all start­ed a bit sub opti­mal with myself being a bit under the weath­er. How­ev­er, there was a sig­nif­i­cant amount of prepa­ra­tion ahead of me for the Hide&Seek Week­ender, so I sol­diered on.

On Mon­day I did some sketch­ing for KOHI, so that Alper could con­tin­ue to build and Simon could get start­ed on the graph­ic design. The result was a larg­er stack of sketch­es than I had expect­ed so they’ve got their work cut our for them.

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I worked on prepar­ing my Hide&Seek lec­ture. Wrote an out­line, got some feed­back on it from Alper and also from Alex which was all encour­ag­ing.

On Tues­day I head­ed to Ams­ter­dam for anoth­er SAKE meet­ing with the Gids edi­tors. I brought a paper pro­to­type and had them play through it with some fun and inter­est­ing results. The first mechan­ics seem to work but they do need some com­ple­men­tary ones to pre­vent the whole thing from spi­ral­ing out of con­trol.

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After the playtest we met with writ­ers who had expressed inter­est in par­tic­i­pat­ing. We ran through our plans and answered their ques­tions. A num­ber have since com­mit­ted to the project, so that’s encour­ag­ing. Our crew is almost com­plete.

On Wednes­day I head­ed to the Uni­ver­siteitsmu­se­um to assist Stef with the Beesten­bende (SABA) pro­mo­tion­al video shoot. We had three love­ly fam­i­lies who played part of the game as we fol­lowed them, and answered some ques­tions on cam­era. That should give us enough mate­r­i­al to cut togeth­er a nice short clip that will hope­ful­ly con­vince lots of fam­i­lies to come and play.

I should also men­tion we’ve sub­mit­ted Beesten­bende for a Dutch Game Award in the cat­e­go­ry best seri­ous game. I think we’ve done some­thing spe­cial in the games-for-muse­ums space and I hope it will be rec­og­nized by what is the most impor­tant indus­try award of the Nether­lands.

Hide&Seek Weekender

The rest of my time before fly­ing to Lon­don on Fri­day was tak­en up with prepa­ra­tions for Cer­e­mo­ny of Sur­prise. Print­ing and cut­ting cards, mak­ing hand­outs, and keep­ing in touch with Tim as he ran around the city pur­chas­ing the last of our par­ty items.

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Once we’d arrived on Fri­day after­noon I killed a few hours in our hotel room mak­ing slides as Tim explored Lon­don. In the evening we head­ed to the South­bank Cen­tre for the first evening of the Hide&Seek Week­ender. Games I played includ­ed Dis­co­tect, Ord­nungswis­senschaft and Search­light. We end­ed the day eat­ing a bur­ri­to from Waha­ca and hav­ing a real ale at the Harp.

On Sat­ur­day I fin­ished my slides as Tim went out hunt­ing for cake. In the after­noon we played more games at the Week­ender — Killer Queen was a high­light for me — and sat in the sun eat­ing var­i­ous tasty dish­es pro­cured from the Real Food Mar­ket. We killed anoth­er hour or two play­ing a game of new Netrun­ner in a qui­et cor­ner of the South­bank Cen­tre, which Tim had brought to try out.

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In the evening we played more games at the Hide&Seek par­ty, includ­ing the mind-bend­ing Who Took The Apple?, the chaot­ic Do Move Say and the awk­ward Sword­fight. I also enjoyed catch­ing up with var­i­ous lumi­nar­ies from the Lon­don games scene.

On Sun­day, we ran Cer­e­mo­ny of Sur­prise from 1–6pm at the Week­ender and had a blast. We end­ed up run­ning eight games, each last­ing around 45 min­utes. Groups ranged from eight to fif­teen play­ers. I par­tic­u­lar­ly enjoyed how the game con­sis­tent­ly built up towards an actu­al par­ty atmos­phere. Peo­ple singing to each, shar­ing cake and so on, seem­ing­ly for­get­ting they were on a podi­um in a huge fes­ti­val hall.1

At the end of Sun­day Tim hopped on a plane home and I returned to the hotel, tired but sat­is­fied.

And on Mon­day I had the plea­sure of attend­ing Play­ing in Pub­lic, the con­fer­ence that round­ed out the week­end. I was real­ly impressed with the thought­ful treat­ment of the top­ic by every­one involved, bal­anc­ing ide­al­ism with prag­ma­tism with not a hint of cyn­i­cism to be found.

I par­tic­u­lar­ly enjoyed Pat Kane’s analy­sis of the olympics as mas­sive pub­lic event with a play­ful under­cur­rent, and Clare Reddington’s thoughts on design­ing pub­lic play that were firm­ly ground­ed in the Per­va­sive Media Studio’s prac­tice. Oth­er high­lights includ­ed the heart­warm­ing pan­el on regen­er­a­tion games, Ben­nett Foddy’s slight­ly sadis­tic med­i­ta­tion on suf­fer­ing in the olympics and Jason Anthony’s ideas about slow tech­nol­o­gy.

My own con­tri­bu­tion con­sist­ed of around 20 min­utes of ram­bling about the weird, leg­i­bil­i­ty and the use­ful vs. use­less games dichoto­my. It got a nice write­up at Wired UK if you’re curi­ous. I’ll post slides and notes soon(ish).

If you can’t tell this was a smash­ing week­end and I am super hap­py to have been part of it. Thanks to Alex, Hol­ly, Sarah, Bron­wyn, Tom and the rest of the Hide&Seek crew for hav­ing me.

Now to squeeze as much as I can from what remains of this week.

  1. The rules and card PDFs have been updat­ed, by the way. So I invite you to make your own set, invite some friends and give the game a go. If you do, let us know how it went. []
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