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Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

Drawing Games


Paper is pretty neat: cheap, portable, foldable, strong, easy to decorate, easy to tear. You don’t need to get it made specially from scratch. You don’t need to teach players what it does.

For New York University’s No Quarter, coming up at Starr Space Gallery on 28 October, we’ve made a set of games that explore paper as a medium. We’re looking specifically at the interaction between gameplay, rules and drawing, trying to create games where people’s responses to the rules create both a gameplay experience and a visual artefact. The games themselves are pretty different – a set of three two-player strategy games, a game of communal drawing over an evening, and a multiplayer party game – but they all come out of this area of overlap.

Games, Physical, Site-specific

One Easy Step installation

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As part of King’s College London’s Arts and Humanities Festival, we’ve created One Easy Step, an installation running in the Quad from 10-21 October.

We’ve created a series of patterns on the ground designed to invite playful interactions, following a period of playtesting and observation over the summer. And within these patterns, we’ve placed five mirrored plinths, each one gently glowing and with a purpose-designed game that passers-by are invited to play. Perhaps they’ll need to solve a maze; perhaps they’ll be invited to ask a question about the future, or race to spot particular objects in the world around them.

Alongside the installation, we’re currently working on a report into public play based on interviews and our observations, which will be published later in October.

Events, Games, Physical, Research

The Scientific Village Fete at New Scientist Live

click through gallery above

From 22 to 25 September, we ran the Scientific Village Fete at New Scientist Live, a four-day festival of ideas and discovery.

Our corner of the festival invited passers-by to play traditional village-fete-style games – but with an astronomical twist.

In the Planet Shy, people threw balls coconut-shy style – but their aim was to knock down a scale model of the Solar System.

In The Two-Body Problem, a classic demonstration of how gravity works became a head-to-head challenge, as groups of players rolled marbles planets into orbit.

In Space on Earth, a co-operative game created by Saffron Parker, players put their hands into simulated spacesuit gloves and had to try to screw on nuts and bolts and tie ropes together.

And in game-show-style So Wrong It’s Right, performers drew the crowds before challenging players to go head-to-head against the quirks of their own brain, with a challenge that used the Stroop Effect to turn something quite simple (say seven random words) into a real challenge.

The games drew thousands of players over four days – including real live astronaut Al Worden, shown playing here with Sumit Paul-Choudhury, the festival director (and editor-in-chief of New Scientist).