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Playable Patterns

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We recently spent a week at QUAD in Derby as part of our digital participatory artist residency. We’ll be going back in February; this post discusses what we’ve been making so far, and the games we’ve been testing out with different groups of players at QUAD.

When we play a digital game, we expect the game to pay attention to us. To know what we’re doing. To respond. Which is reasonable, right?

But the board of a board game doesn’t know what piece you’ve put down (well, with some exceptions). A hopscotch grid chalked on the ground doesn’t light up to let you know where your stone fell.

During our time at QUAD, we’ve been thinking about what happens if you try to make digital games where the play is socially, rather than technologically, mediated. What possibilities exist in this design space that are different from both traditional digital games, and from purely analogue installations?

Playable Patterns is an ongoing experiment in playable digital work where the interaction and play happens purely between people; where the computer doesn’t look at what you’re doing. Specifically, it’s a series of patterns that move and change in particular ways, designed to be projected onto walls or floors in order to enable people to play.

Our Projects

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Since forming in June 2015, we’ve worked on the following projects:

Playable Patterns (ongoing). Digitally created patterns, projected onto walls and floors for physical play. Made as part of a residency at QUAD.

Games We Found at the V&A (2016). A set of boardgames designed to be played on patterns taken from the walls and floor of the V&A.

Drawing Games (2016). Pencil-and-paper games designed to help players create a work of art, created for NYU’s No Quarter exhibition.

The Scientific Village Fete (2016). A set of fairground-style challenges for New Scientist Live, designed to explore ideas around astronomy.

One Easy Step (2016). An ongoing project at King’s College, researching public play and creating an installation for the Quad.

The Wind and the Weather (2016). An online game about Amy Johnson’s pioneering flight from England to Australia.

Now Play This (2016). A three-day festival of play at Somerset House, running as part of the London Games Festival.

Gamechangers: Football! (2015). Ten football variants running in the centre of Nottingham. With GameCity and Nottingham City of Football.

Prediction (2015). A half-article half-game challenging players to find ways to predict their futures. For Hack Circus.

Tweet Like It’s 2099 (2015). A game about writing tweets in a series of distant futures. For New Scientist.

Manifesto! (2015-16). A live manifesto-building game played by passers-by. Made for Frequency Festival, also shown at Beta Public and Game On!

The Light Machine (2015-16). A game that invites players to make pictures with light. Made for the Barbican’s Serious Play weekend, also shown for Discover Story Centre.

Now Play This (2015). A pilot version of Now Play This, our festival of games and play at Somerset House.

Wellcome Play Spectacular (2015). An evening of games for 1500 people at Wellcome Collection.

The Racing Line (2015). A live drawing game for two players, made for Here London.

54 Cities (2015). A set of cards that’s also a puzzle, leading players on a series of walks around Kensington and Chelsea. Made for InTransit festival.