Last week I went to the London premiere of Playmakers at NESTA. Playmakers is a film by Ivo Gormley that documents the open design process that Alex Fleetwood and Holly Gramazio went through to design Scoop!, a real life game that was played by adults in July 2009 on the South Bank in London. (Some of you may remember Ivo from his previous film about crowdsourcing, Us Now, that I blogged about here). The project was backed by Think Public, NESTA and Hide & Seek.

Holly and Alex are pervasive game designers, and the film traces their journey of designing Scoop! through lessons learnt during other games that the team designed, such as Capture the Flag. As an adult, I see precious little of the fun elements in routine chores because they aren’t designed to be fun, and Playmakers tries to underline how play can make a huge difference to the way we view things. The film also included snippets of interviews with urban design lecturers who said that urban design should encourage play. Sometimes that is all the difference between lacklustre physical spaces and those that encourage positive social behaviour and active participation in society.

Most importantly though, I took home the fact that games are platforms for stories. And anything interesting takes the form of story-telling, really. Ian Drysdale’s tweet sums it up perfectly:

The film will have be available to the public soon, but in the meantime here are the videos made during the project last year, that will give you a taste of what Playmakers is all about.

2 thoughts on “Playmakers

  1. Every one would love the routine if it was made a game. Take for instance, a horror genre lover coming to office could have a spooky sub-way with differently disguised ghosts every day for a walk to the office!

    An adventure lover can have his path designated to workplace as a series of adventures to cover. The winner would report well before the stipulated time and it could become an exciting game with fellow adventure lovers for the commute.

    A treasure hunter could have the route from various hidden clues on the way and finally reach his desk. If every company could design this scheme for coming to work with an incentive program, all the offices in the world would be over-crowded with energetic people!!

    Of course the company should implement all this measures finding every employee’s taste when it comes to working. All of them would be alive and kicking! Economy and turn-over included. If they are willing to go the distance.

  2. Hi Surya Kannan, thanks for your comment. You’ve made some interesting suggestions! Tailoring individual games depending on the employee may be tough to implement practically, but still some element of fun should be introduced in workplaces, you’re quite right!

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