What Happened? [Part 2]

Playful 09 - 108

11. Robin Burkinshaw & Matt Locke. Blimey. I heard a lot of gasps and little OMGs from the crowd behind me during this one, as Matt Locke read excerts (beautifully) from key points in the Alice & Kev story, asking Robin to give his personal reflections on the project, the process, the meaning, and the future. It turns out that Robin wants to work on more ways to explore homelessness through games, and that Matt (who commissions for Channel 4 Education) is after a project on the subject. Big win for both, and big applause from the crowd. Massive applause, with a couple of “whoops”.

12. James Bridle makes books and the internet into friends. He was going to talk about that, but then realised that James Wallis did so at Playful ’08. So instead he took us on a journey into ‘Awesomeness’. And the journey was awesome, in which we learned that it is possible to make a computer that plays Noughts & Crosses out of 304 matchboxes, but that to make the same machine play Go would end up rather large. Explore for yourself at the wonderfully rendered A New Theory of AWESOMENESS and MIRACLES (Being NOTES and SLIDES on a talk given at PLAYFUL 09, concerning CHARLES BABBAGE, HEATH ROBINSON, MENACE and MAGE). Here’s a photo of James with MENACE (Matchbox Educable Noughts And Crosses Engine) taken by Roo Reynolds:


13. Katy Lindemann hit the spot while talking about changing behaviour using play as a catalyst. Lots of fine examples from the artistic (little robots lost in New York) to the big brand stuff like Fiat’s driving data interface or VW’s recent FunTheory experiments. Katy admirably resisted talking for the entire 20 minutes solely about robots, but robots played a big part in everything, which isn’t a bad thing.

14. Tassos Stevens is a veritable magnet of a man, and without the aid of visuals, talked to us all about cricket being a very ambient, punctuated game unlike any other sport. I don’t like cricket, but I know for a fact I’m not the only one who’ll be tuning into The Ashes whenever it’s next on. The theory is, that it’s a very long game…played over days, so you can’t watch the whole thing anyway. Once you’re over that hurdle, you can dip in and out. You can listen to it on the radio, or tune into a live blog of the action and engage with the audience. Also, the way that cricket is scored means that the end reult can be unpredictable. If a game of footie is 82 minutes in and one side is 3-0 up, they’re generally going to win. But in cricket a good bowler could be a crap batsman, so it could be up to him to save the entire game. It was clearer than that when Tassos said it, honest.

15. Lunch – I was starving by the time lunch came around. There was a bit of jiggling to be done on the laptop to get the Playgroup showreel working properly with the projector versus screensaver, but we got there. There were raffle tickets in each lunch bag, and the winner has been picked here. It wasn’t my number. It never is. Also, apologies to the people on the balcony who got blasted with the new Do Make Say Think album – I didn’t realise how loud the speakers were up there compared to downstairs. Sorry.

16. Russell Davies is known far and wide in the land as a very very interesting chap. His talk was more like stand-up, with the biggest laugh of the day coming from his observation about the Bourne films being only very little about Fighting & Killing, but being mostly about Moody Commuting. Similarly, this is the pie chart representing what you do when you buy a really expensive pilot’s watch:

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The key phrase that hit me from Russell’s slot was “High Pretending Value”, because you can’t go to work dressed as an astronaut, but you can wear lots of velcro and nobody notices you pretending.

17. Molly Ränge came all the way from Stockholm to talk about the Scandinavian serious games scene. This is something I knew nothing about, but it seems that there are groups over there doing great social and political things using playful experiences as the catalyst for public engagement with issues.

18. I really really like old TV. I find most modern TV utterly crap but with high production values. Old tele (and by old, I mean late eighties/early nineties for me) had just the opposite. Low production values, but great and immersive stories. So, when Duncan Gough started talking about how game narratives and game worlds could benefit from being more like Press Gang or Kes, I was hooked. As Leila has since said, “Gough talked about how to render and realise a fictive world so perfectly absorbing that it feels like it’s carrying on around you, even if you stop playing.” See also: Archer’s Goon, Moondial, Watt On Earth.

19. Above is what 40 or so bus stops around London will look like in 2012 when Alfie Dennen & Paula Le Dieu have had their way with them. They’ve just got the go ahead from the Artists Taking The Lead project to turn 40 bus stops around London into a networked LED display system for social art and gaming experiments. They told us about their plans, and made a call out for interested parties to get in touch.

20. Afternoon tea. Can’t beat it. I’m having one right now.

Coming up in Part 3: What happened between Part 2 and the end of the day.

One thought on “What Happened? [Part 2]

  1. Pingback: Playful ‘09 – Roo Reynolds

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