Play Journal: w00t vol. 3 – Night Games

by Thom Kiraly

Here it is — my final journal entry about w00t. Hope you like it, future me (and two or three other people reading this blog regularly).

Modular Tiles – So, apparently the queen of Denmark has played this and that means… something, I guess. Anyway, Modular Tiles comes from the Center for PlayWare and is similar to one of my favorite iOS games, Bloop. In Modular Tiles, however, you use your feet instead of your fingers to push buttons of your color as fast and often as you can. Adding more and larger parts of the body to the play experience did a whole lot to change the effort, but it didn’t take away any of the enjoyable core of Bloop. That core is, of course, being a bit of a dick (in a playful manner). Pushing, shoving, blocking and tricking your opponent were all permissible actions — just like in Bloop.

Modular Tiles at w00t

Modular Tiles at w00t

Johann Sebastian Joust – For the sake of brevity, I won’t write all that much about Joust this time, but you can check the J.S. Joust tag on this blog to find other stuff I’ve written about it (make sure to check out the time we added boffer swords to the mix!). The play of Joust was as good as any of the other times I’ve played it. The only new thing I picked up on and want to mention is the “in-crowd” already making statements and stances to ironically distance themselves from Joust. I guess this goes mainly for the Copenhagen crowd, since they’ve been there the whole way for the game; from its prototype to the soon-to-be-finished product. My feeling is that the people doing this have nothing against the game as such but that they may feel its getting almost too much play/attention. Now, these are all speculations on my part and I may just be reading stuff all wrong, but up until very recently, playing Joust was an unique experience. I had to go to London to play it, for crying out loud! So, for the sake of people who are new to this amazing game (the words amazing game should, btw, always be sung using the Amazing Grace melody), I hope to hear less sarcasm in the future.

Glowtag – This was funny as hell, but became a little bit predictable after a few rounds. The basics: up to seven players grab a PS Move controller and stick it in their back pocket or simply the back of their pants. The controller’s trigger faces away from the player so other players can press it when that specific controller lights up. As long as a player’s controller is glowing he or she gains points. The person with the highest score at the end of the game — which is reached once everyone has been the target once — wins. So, it’s the objective of everyone else to find who is “it” and press that person’s trigger. Once that’s done, another controller lights up and a new chase is on. Also, you’re not allowed to look at your own controller, so it’s hard to tell when you’re “it”.
The first and last players had a very big advantage (as far as winning went) in that they could use their position in the turn order to their benefit — the first person using the initial confusion and the last person figuring out that he or she is the only player left. Unless you take this game super seriously (like, holding tournaments or something), this shouldn’t be a problem.
Lastly, the attempts from organizers to establish a legal play area were well-intentioned, sweet, but also completely ignored. Part of the challenge of the game actually became finding the best and smartest ways to get away from the other players; hiding behind construction site fences; with complete disregard for the safety of bystanders, or basically anyone, charging into a crowd of onlookers to avoid capture; going full-out parkour on the play area etc.

Stikbold – I’m getting into Stikbold, but I still think it’s got a bit too much going on that feels too arbitrary. I’m OK with some surprises, but some Stikbold games just fall apart as a result of the randomness of intrusive elements. With up to six players on the same court, I think many random elements could be eliminated without losing the chaotic and enjoyable feeling that makes Stikbold cool.
Despite my problems with the game, I did manage to work up a five-game winning streak before walking away from the game. That was pretty cool.

Spaceship With A Mace – Let me just say: this game is hard. Or rather, getting good at it is hard. Most of the time, you end up selfpwning out of the game and when that’s not the case, someone else probably does away with you without you knowing what just happened. Once again, I played the latest version of the game, and, once again, I got on the creator’s case for not having put it online yet. The version you’ll find by finding my link is inferior. I hope he gives in and just does it already. And soon.

Weeping Angels – An adaptation of the Doctor Who characters (or whatever they are, I’ve never actually watched Doctor Who) into a street game made to be played in the dark. Two teams: Companions vs. Weeping Angels. They’re both looking for a precious artifact hidden somewhere in the area, which was rather large. Angels can “kill” companions by touching them, while companions can freeze angels in their place by shining their flashlights on them. Killed companions return as ghosts who are unable to physically interact with the world (i.e. actually pick up a found artifact or freeze angels), but who may shout warnings or give hints to remaining companions. The game ends if the artifact is found or if the angels eliminate all of the companions.

^^^^^^^^^^^^ Our play area for Weeping Angels ^^^^^^^^^^^

I played two games: one as an angel (we won by killing all companions. w00t!) and one as a companion (we won by finding the artifact… in a place I’d looked for it at least three times, of course. w00t!). It was exhilarating and exciting to run around in the dark as a terrifying angel and it was  really cool to work with the other companions as a tight team. I did a lot of searching during both games, but to no avail; it turned out I had no idea where the artifact was or wasn’t hidden. The game allowed for strategic and tactical play on both a team and player level. It also allowed for all plans to fail and for people to freestyle tactics on the spot. The play area was really good with several interesting spots that all shaped play in their own ways: the hedge corridor, which was perfect for ambushes and creating a bottleneck; the backyard of the large building in the centre of the area, which provided a lot of cover and some shelter from the madness outside; the abandoned garages, which seemed like perfect places to hide an important artifact.
As soon as I find an area suitable for this game and enough people to play, I’ll run it somewhere in Malmö.