I was absolutely gutted to miss Playful last year (damn work!) but made up that pesky deadlines didn't get in the way this year. Roo Reynolds has written a good summary of the whole thing here, so I won't do that again, but in typical fashion list out my highlights, interesting bits and thought-starters from the day. So here goes:
Firstly there was a little plug for Wordr at the beginning of the day, which is like twitter but you can only use one word. Reminded me of the 1-track mixtape project that Martin and I never started, where you made MP3 mixtapes on floppy disks (3.44MB is generally enough for one lowish-quality tune).
Roo Reynolds started the day off with an interesting look at films of computer games and vice versa:
But it was a mostly excellent talk because it introduced me to this. The full talk is up on his site (here), it's well worth a listen.
- I liked the idea of a competitive picnic (basically go fish with picnic food) which was from a student project
- The joy that you get from physical gamepieces, the tactile experience, assigning them meaning
- The idea of trying to play a normal game with Guitar Hero/Rock band controller
- The Reverse Geocache Puzzle project by Mikal Hart, where a box is modded so it doesn't open until you reach certain co-ordinates. Read more here
The Reverse Geocache Puzzle Box (pic from here)
Lucy Wurstlin touched on a project by Mudlark to help people access data that's kept on them, for example from their oystercard, and play with it themselves. Also touched on a project to create an binaural game - Papa Sangre. Definitely have to investigate more into both of those.
Robin Burkinshaw was interviewed by Matt Locke about the awesome Alice and Kev, and said one of my favourite quotes of the day: 'Interesting things happen because of the character's free will'. Free will? It's mad to think of video game characters as having free will, but did get me thinking about how video games are changing from a narrative determined by the game-maker to one defined by the gamer. The Sims may be the only game that truly does this now, but most games that exist within a world (such as Grand Theft Auto) allow the user to do their own thing to some extent. I wonder when gamers will be able to create their own story arc, or build their own missions that can be downloaded and played by their peers (it's very likely that this is already possible, I'm just not into those sort of games).
James Bridle's talk was just unbelievably awesome. He recreated MENACE (Matchbox Educable Noughts and Crosses Engine) which is/was an analogue machine that can learn how to play noughts and crosses (I think). I don't think I can really do any better than that so I'll leave you with another of my favourite quotes of the day ('Babbage was really into miracles') and some pictures (more here):
Tired now, going to have to make this a two-parter.
UPDATE 2/11: James has posted his slides and notes here, definitely worth a read.