Day 3: Big Fun, Big Learning, Big Keynote

The keynote speaker for the last day of the Symposium was Greg Trefry, game designer for Gamelab and organizer of the Come Out and Play festival. [And I thought I had a cool job!]

Greg talked about Big Games, games that take place in the real world, engage the public (sometimes innocent bystanders), and involve the players in a real life environment -- a street, a neighborhood, an entire city. [By the way, I really like this guy's slides...photos with bold words (is that Impact?), not a bullet point in sight! I'm hoping he links to the presentation soon from his website.]

Big games are a mix of:

  • Folk Games
  • Alternative Reality Games > mostly played on Internet; internet based scavenger hunt like I Love Bees
  • Social experiment > mass pillow fight in Toronto
The Big Game Canon (as of 3 years ago):
  • PacManhattan
  • Mogi-Mogi > cellphone game to collect different stuff
  • Big Urban Game (BUG) > involve entire city of Minneapolis. spectacle! introduced idea of big inflatable pieces
Other games from last year's Come Out festival:
Library content > think of locations, collections, spaces (specific depts, rooms), unique identifiers, tools (copiers, wifi, computers)

5 ideas for libraries: (sketched out)
  • Secret Agent scavenger hunt > secret meeting spots, avoiding detection, collecting codes, level up
  • Then/Now > citywide photo game using historical or digital collections, go collect a photo of how something looks now
  • Rent Control > real real estate game using fire maps or something, take rules from Monopoly
  • Babel > a code breaking game using library's foreign language collection (whoever deciphers the most in a certain amount of time wins)
  • Dewey's Demons > collect creatures, could be a web based game
Make activities out of everyday things. Look around you, give goals to normal activities, and playtest it because games never work the first time around.

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