Playful 09 was great.
I really enjoyed Playful 08 so was delighted to be asked back. Last year I demoed my Rock Band MIDI guitar hack. This year, rather than extend my P5 Glove project into another MIDI instrument, I decided to set myself the challenge of talking about games and films. This was perhaps a little foolish, as I know only a little bit about games and barely anything about films. However, the audience were mercifully forgiving of my ill-prepared nonsense and laughed in all the right places.
In case you missed it, here are my slides, complete with dodgy audio recording of the talk.
Thankfully for all concerned, the rest of the day was much better. Here’s some of what happened:
- Leila Johnston talked about Enemy of Chaos (“something for the aging nerd market…”).
- Kareem Ettouney (Media Molecule Art Director) talked about being a servant rather than a director, and the importance of letting people pursue personal projects.
- Daniel Soltis talked about physical computing and games.
- Lucy Wurstlin talked about 4iP.
- Matt Locke interviewed Robin Burkinshaw about his amazing creation Alice and Kev: the story of being homeless in The Sims 3.
- James Bridle not only described but actually showed us a working version of MENACE, Donald Michie’s Matchbox Educable Noughts And Crosses Engine, a physical computer made of 304 matchboxes. (A similar machine for ‘Go’ would be “about the size of the crab nebula”.) His excellent presentation is now online.
- Katy Lindemann showed us how fun and play drive change with some lovely examples (including Vinspired Voicebox, Chore Wars, Didget glucose monitor for DS, Fiat Eco:Drive, Thefuntheory (including the Piano Staircase, Bottle Bank Arcade Machine) and more.
- Tassos Stevens talked about cricket.
- Russell Davies made us agree the foursquare conventions for London (Parks: in, Outdoor markets: in, Small shops: out, Train stations: in, Tube stations: out, Supermarkets: out, Your home: out) and talked about and prototyped ‘barely games’. His presentation is here.
- Molly Range talked about the serious games scene in Scandanavia.
- Duncan Gough wondered what it would be like to play a game of ‘Kes’ (or ‘The Wire’…), and imagined fictive worlds which are somewhere between fantasy and casual games. He also pointed out the ‘the golden age of children’s story-telling’ (Press Gang, Running Scared) was at a time when broadcasters didn’t keep everything. Where’s the archive of those TV programmes? Lost forever?
- Alfie Dennen and Paula Le Dieu talked about Bus-Tops.
- Rex Crowle did live scribblings on an Over Head Projetor and talked about selling his flock of sheep to buy an Amiga.
- Simon Oliver explained that designing games is hard but you can discover the fun through prototyping.
- Tim Wright talked about his Kidmapper project which involved following the route of Robert Louis Stevenson Kidnapped in real time.
- Chris O’Shea finished the day by sharing a portfolio of his work.
More people who have written about it: Suw Charman-Anderson, Leila Johnston, Howard Pull, Adam Davis, Lawrence Chiles, Libby Davy, Daniel Soltis, Priyanka Kanse, Melinda Seckington and more, plus the official record: part 1, part 2 and part 3.
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