Interesting couple of talks to round off the post-lunch session. Dan Hon walked us through the exploration of new forms of storytelling that have been going on online. Some are facilitated by a coder and writer combo. The development of new tools has lead to new forms of storytelling, from alternate reality games (ARGs) (Hon cites one associated with A.I. he got sucked into in 2001) to people using Twitter and its ilk to create fictional personas and narratives.
However, he suggests that there are significant issues around discovery and participation right now. In particular, as entertainment and information objects make a digital transition, we often lose the context of their design. Book covers become 200 pixel wide icons. TV becomes 640 pixel wide boxes on screen. Everything’s being reduced to icons, to small versions of the physical object it used to be. We lose context.
We need to explore building products that facilitate these new forms of narrative and gaming rather than constantly adapting existing forms and tools.
Meanwhile Kars Alfrink was thinking the other way around – how we bring our understanding of games back into the physical work. In a sense the games of politics are already manifest in our world: there are towns split between countries as a legacy of history. There are fictional and real examples of cities which exist alongside one another without interaction) – The City and The City and Berlin in the post-war cold war era. Areas of London where gang confrontations happen alongside couples eating and drinking at a bistro. In extremes, this leads to riots.
Rules are fundamental to this. The riots highlighted the existence of two different cities in the same place – with different rules. What if we could make those rules more tangible? Simulation fever – the stress of two completing rules sets (games versus reality) He’s not tailing about gamification – by rewarding reciprocity, we suggest there’s not inherent value in it. Mary did a good post about this earlier. Games can bring societies together – like chess in the park – or they can create monocultures. (I suspects FPSes would count here).
Pervasive urban games are part of the routine. Visible Cities – a chase game, with checkpoints in “other cities”. You’re not allowed to interact with people in “different cities”.
Rules as memes. Bookcrossing is a simple ruleset that promotes behaviour. Werewolf amongst geeky circles. Games as social practice. Nomic – a move is to suggest a new rule. Life is roughly a massively parallel game of Nomic. Can we create a game that takes these implicit rules and makes them explicit?