As part of our research project for the King’s College London Arts and Humanities Festival, we’ve been interviewing different curators, designers, artists and architects about playful work for public space. This interview is with Greg Trefry, a game designer who co-founded the games festival Come Out & Play (and is director of the New York branch); also co-founded Gigantic Mechanic, which makes games with real-world physical elements; and teaches at NYU.
This is an extract from a longer interview, which will be included in full in a report at the end of our research project. The picture above is from Come Out & Play 2015, taken by Josh Lee.
US: We’ve talked before about people being able to drop in and out of games in public spaces – and not having to install anything, and the difference that makes to persuading people to actually play.
GREG: It’s a weird design problem. Most games – as opposed to playful things – are delimited by time and space. People can push the boundaries on some of those (“oh you can run around anywhere”) but a game still usually starts at a specific time and ends at a specific time, or you’re moving towards a winner and you have to be there at the end of the game to see that.
So how do you make an experience that isn’t ruined if players can drop in and out at any time?