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.