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Tag: J.S. Joust

Play Journal: November 2014

Ah, Novemeberr, the misspelled month. The cold carefully creeps closer and my alliterations are clearly cleverly cunning as ever. What does this have to do with the Play Journal? Nothing, of course. Should I actually be writing my term paper? Yes, but let’s just get this over with. If, for some reason, you want more once you’re done here, check out my BlackBox CPH post, which was originally part of this post. Blablablablabla! Aaaaand here’s stuff I’ve played in Novemibör 2014.

teddy

November means the teddy is back at one of the stops of my commute.

Prototype tests:
November saw our game design group move into full, actual production. In keeping with our sacred bible and guiding star, Tracy Fullerton’s Game Design Workshop, we went for an early playtest. We’ve also made sure to test a bit for the other groups, both for the goodwill (favors for favors etc.), but also because it’s exciting to test clunky shit and then watch as it grows (or slowly folds into a miserable little pile of secrets)

My words exactly! – I am so used to playtests being an exercise in civility/not crushing someone’s hopes all too much that I was pleasantly surprised by this prototype. Not only is it one of the few (if not the only) boardgame designs among all of the game design teams, it’s also really good and has been good from very early on. Second playthrough wasn’t as smooth as the first one, though. This was mainly the fault of feature creep probably brought on by the game being more or less finished at such an early stage. Idle hands and so on and so on.
My Words Exactly! is a word association game with a couple of clever twists. Not only do you try and get a player to guess what word is currently ”taboo”, you also try to predict what words other players will use to try and make the guesser get to the right word. If you predict well enough, you get the chance to basically steal the initiative and lead the guesser towards the taboo word, scoring points for both of you.
This is a game I’d really like to play with people (no, I don’t consider other game design students people, #sorrynotsorry). It has the tension of time-attack games, the deliberation and strategy of a tactical and competitive game, and the maniacal laughter of people (i.e. not game designers) I usually only meet in dreams.
KobraKitez – One thing I really appreciate in a design is when it’s clear that the people behind it have made an effort to use the platform’s affordances to their advantage. KobraKitez (apparently only a working title) does this in a couple of different ways. In this handheld touchscreen game, two players face off in a sort of “coopetition” where they try to gather as many points as possible by shooting creeps spawning all around the screen, shoot ’em up-style. The big twist is that if either of the spaceships are destroyed, the game is over for both players. A second, tinier twist is that at certain points, the game allows for the view of the game to be rotated by the two players actually rotating. This comes in handy in boss fights, where the main creep actually has to be avoided by rotating.
It’s been exciting to see this thing grow and become a game in its own right, rather than a 2P version of one of the most classic game types there is.

sketch2

Concept art for You & Eye. You’ll get the pun if you disregard the upper pair of doodles.

You & Eye – This is my group’s game. It’s a local multiplayer game for 2-8 players, supposed to be played in a party setting or wherever local multiplayer nerds gather. The main version of the game pits you and a teammate against a team made up of two other players. You share a controller with your teammate and use one stick each to control an end of an elastic rope. Together, you swing, roll, jump and tumble around trying to kill the other team, get through their levels and make it all the way to the end with a McGuffin-thingy.
We brought christmas beer for the Alpha test, but our professor didn’t drink it. He did hold it, though, and we’ve made our other testers hold cans as well… as a proof of concept, I guess. Though we have a couple of technical issues, the core gameplay is solid, hectic and makes people scream. These are all good things.

error

The joys of playtesting

Nordic Game Day 2014:
As w00t Pop-Up‘s first official gig, we headed to Vallensbæk library to play games with people there as part of the Nordic Game Day. Apart from some technical setbacks, it went well.

ngdBaking

Baking with Friends. Cake in the making.

Baking with Friends – I wrote about this game last month, and apart from me being a bit better at it (I actually made a cake instead of a hotdog this time!), not much has changed. That is to say: I still like it a lot.

ngdLAZA

The magnificent Babycade!

LAZA KNITEZ!! – We brought the trusty ol’ Babycade with us to Vallensbæk and I managed to play a couple of games before the whole thing crashed due to USB hub overload bullshit. I’ve mentioned before, and it’s still true, that I have a hard time giving n00bs a fair game in LAZA KNITEZ!!. I usually am OK at feigning incompetence (haha, yeah… I’m “feigning”), but I think that the fact that you always move forward in LK makes it harder to stay passive. This is of course part of the wonder of the game as you’re forced into tense situations all the time, but I’ve beaten people even when I didn’t use the controller AT ALL (!!).
JS Joust – I would probably skip saying much of anything if it hadn’t been for these guys taking jousting to the next level:

ngdJoust

OK. ’nuff said about Joust. Moving on!

Towerfall: Ascension – One of the mainstays of the indie Local Multiplayer scene, Towerfall is basically required play for our game design group. This was the first time I tried the game with four people, but I don’t feel I have enough experience with it to say much of anything.

Speedrunners – Another LMP game we tried out for our game design. This was interesting, but like with Towerfall, I’d like to play it a bit more before saying much. It sounds like I need to throw a ITU LMP party.

Luftrausers – For procrastination time, make it Luftrausers time. That is all.

Paraversume – Tried it for potential use in my term paper, but it hadn’t stolen the stuff from its predecessor (The recently shut down Shadow Cities) I was hoping for, so I decided not to use it.

Arcana – Tried it for potential use in my term paper, but decided not to use it. Won’t play again.

Nidhogg – Our game is turning out to take quite some inspiration from Nidhogg, so some of the development time is spent playing and analysing it to better understand our own game.

kapital

Just had to put this somewhere. It has nothing to do with anything in this post. You’re welcome.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl – I finished a narrative analysis of S:SoC for school early in Novemibherrr and didn’t play it more after that, but I could probably lose myself in this game if I had the time. I could even forgive the use of the fucking amnesia trope.

Toca Boca stuff (4 games) – First off: a wonderful thing about the Toca Boca apps is that their designers call themselves play designers rather than game designers. It shows in the games. Second, these apps are a whole bag of fun. I spent a good part of an evening getting into all of them myself. The music band app is crazy, and it fits the age category very well.

mdomino

Pictured: not a toca boca thingy

Malmö Play Club Session – I finally, finally, finally made it to another Play Club session. I seem to average on less than once a month, and that’s just too seldom. Here’s a list of games I remember us playing, but don’t feel like explaining:
Sound and Fury. Bleed tag; 1,2 looking for 3, 4 for 5,6; Chip Chipoing; Bleed Tag + ambulance; Sausages/Fläsk; Say Yes!; Wink Murder.

Mutant: År Noll – My one continuing RPG campaign continued with a session wherein we used our mutations a lot more than ever before. This pushes the system to a point where I wish it would push back, but the consequences seem a bit too weak. Every time you push a roll (rerolling), you run the “risk” of getting more mutation points, but once you reach the max (10) points, nothing really meaningful happens. Aaanyway, the system has a couple of strange holes that keeps bothering me, but I get to play with good people and that makes up for it.
This session was climactic in several ways. The first, and a bit less interesting, was that I finally changed character archetype from “mutant with dog” to… Zonstrykare (basically a STALKER) Which I reckon will be a bit more useful. The second big and amazing thing that happened was that one of my fellow players drove a PC-PC conflict pretty hard and it ended up in him retiring his character. My mutant and his came to blows (almost physical) on a lot of issues that we both feel has been the result of the system and color of the game basically encouraging PC psychopathy. This is a thing we reveled in throughout the first couple of sessions, but once it became clear that we weren’t getting stopped by NPCs, we realized that in order for our characters to become playable, we had to push for that ourselves. So, the result was bittersweet and satisfying in that things were resolved without actually reaching much of a conclusion.

mcards1

Hit the Hat – This was probably the one of the first proper games for lil’ M. We play with cards and memory bricks all the time, but the focus is mostly on learning numbers and colors of cards or building farms (yes, for toy animals) out of the bricks. A funny and fun thing about playing more structured games with kids (this one being 3,5 yrs) is that it forces you to reevaluate what you think is most important about the game. It’s not always what it says in the manual. This time (and most times, I hope), it drew me towards finding the well-played game. Doing this is helpful for anybody exploring games and what makes people play them, but doing it with little kids doesn’t leave you any choice but to play along, as it were. If you don’t, they’ll adjust by either finding a strategy that works within the game or leaving.

HitHat

Hit the Hat!

If you’ve read this far you’ve… read this far, I guess. The map is the territory and so on and so on, right?

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Play Journal: May-September Mega Recap

As part of my continued effort to bring back the Play Journal, here’s a mega recap of what I’ve been up to in May, June, July, August and September.

Here goes…

May

Nordic Game Conference
Indie Night – I didn’t play all that much, but I did get to go to a wonderful thai place and watch some people play Bounden.
LMP Arena – This was the thing I was most deeply involved with at NGC and it worked out fine. The LMP arena was hidden away, so it didn’t get the love it deserved, but the ones who did find it enjoyed it. Also, the party wasn’t close to last year’s NGC madness. Did get to play Super Pole Riders and Joust.

NGC

Nordic Game Conference 2014

Arabic Game Jam – I organized a pre-event in Helsingborg. It was awesome apart from the fact that not one person showed up (I’m not going to miss this part of my job). We played Joust and the Sportsfriends games. Also, I tried some horribly broken prototypes at the main event later that same month. It’s all good.

avatar controller

The Avatar Controller

w00t 2014 – This festival was just as good as I had hoped. A bit more polished than last year’s (doesn’t say much, as that was held in what was basically a huge sandpit, but still), but not too strictly scheduled. On the first day of June, we ran our game A Drift for real for the first time. I had previously done a playtest on my own in Malmö and we managed to run through the whole thing twice in one afternoon. It felt very good. Some of the explorations and events will stay with me for a very long time.
At w00t I also played: City Dash (great fun, even though our team spent a quarter of the game outside the play area), The Avatar Controller, Political Volleyball, Push Me, Pull You as well as Sync at the All the Rave night session, Ordnungswissenschaft, The Great Gottlieb, Nowhere I’d Rather Be, and Triolectical Football. Finally, I hade the pleasure and honor to play some games with the great Bernie DeKoven, who was the guest of honor at w00t. Some people look at cool indie people making strange stuff and wish they were more like them. Me? I want to be Bernie.

Bonus: NIN Concert in Copenhagen – I know I’m an idiot for including these things in my Play Journal, but I really think that the element of play is essential at a concert of this kind. I need to have an excuse to submit that fully to a cultural experience and I don’t know what to call it if it isn’t play. Good atmosphere in the moshpit, though it took a while to really get it started.

TWD S01E01

Guests at my place, playing The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead.

June
Mutant: År Noll – a reboot of an old classic in Swedish RPGs, Mutant: År Noll goes for more grime, more brooding, and more metaplot. So far, so good —this is in line with most popculture, after all. My feeling, ultimately, is that this is two games presented as one. There’s the game-as-system, dealing with the struggles of a post-apocalyptic society while slowly being broken down by “the zone”. In parallell, there’s also the game-as-setting where complete and utter psychos kill each other for the most inane reasons, even though their supposed society is only made up by 200 people. I think that an RPGs example characters should basically be plug-and-play for the first session, but when we used the examples in the book we ended up with the worst kind of insane collection of narcissistic and murderous dipshits imaginable. As we play, we try to work against this to some extent, but it’s really not easy.
The group is really what saves this game. We play well together and we laugh our asses off the whole way through the session. Our GM needs to push a bit more against our rampaging and megalomaniacal PCs, though. And not just by saying “no, you can’t do that”. I think all of our characters should be shot at in the next session (writing this in october, a couple of sessions into the game).

glitchrun

Played some more Sorcerer. I couldn’t shake the feeling that we’re doing it wrong, that I’m not pushing hard enough or that something is just a tiny bit… off.

Bounden – I like it, but I suck at it.

I also went to a con and tried to get kids to make cosplay stuff and play games with me. The big hit was Starwahl, but Joust was also a winner.

kodachicon

KodachiCon

July
Ingress – As soon as it came out, I tried Ingress for iPhone. It’s so utterly uninteresting that I uninstalled it after three days. It’s really a shame, because I consider myself very much up for pervasive gaming experiences, but this sort of layered reality stuff is not for me.

Trail of Cthulhu – Attempted to start an Armitage Files campaign. The first session was unpleasant (and not in a good way). I won’t write more about it, but safe to say is that I didn’t feel like keeping the game going after this first game night. My guess is that the group was a) too big (six players is too much for my tastes) and b) not in agreement as to what sort of play was expected or desirable. No real disagreements were had, no hard feelings expressed. To me, it was simply evident that people in the group were looking for very different play experiences and that I wasn’t feeling up for catering to all of them.

glitchball

Container – This is the best con I know with some of the best people I know. I had the immense pleasure to get acquainted with the crazy board game Camel Cup. I don’t know when I saw a group of players that invested in a game, while still having an amazing time. We were repeatedly asked to be a bit more quiet, but we couldn’t contain ourselves.
Just like last year, I also played Shadow Hunters. I liked it last year, but the experience was unfortunately ruined by the sorest winner I’ve encountered since I was a kid. He played in the game this time around as well, was plenty annoying, but didn’t win and couldn’t really gloat. Thank Jebus for that.

playtest

Kulturrådsträff Can’t be bothered to write about the actual meeting (because who gives a fuck, right?), but I went to Jönköping for one and during breaks we played Coup. I’m a fan of the Resistance from way back, but Coup is interesting on another level (several levels, actually). I especially like how the game changes with different sizes of the player group.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown – I tried XCOM but couldn’t get into it. Seriously, I will never have the time to get into this game.

August
SydCon 2014 Somehow (a.k.a. “because I’m really just a primate in a man-suit”) I got involved in organizing a con. This meant I didn’t play all that much. What I did play was: Joust and Papers. Joust you know from before, but Papers was a whole lot of fun. It’s a larp about how absurd life at the office can be. I ran it with the game’s author Petter Karlsson. I strongly suspect that this game was written as much for the GMs as it was written for the players. We had a lot of room to improvise and riff off of each other and I think it went very well. Download it and run it as soon as you can.

Otherplace – Malmö’s very own public play event! Otherplace was a one-day event that I helped organize and this is what I played: a short Malmö Play Club session, DimensionZ, Floraspeak, Create Clouds, Psi Ctrl, Glitch Wizard.
Also, I ran a session of A Drift and I took part of a sort of performance meant to market the event through the Malmö Festival. I got a moustache and a lab coat, played a serious play researcher and evaluated people’s creativity in weird ways.

Proud and Nerdy – My job organized some stuff during Malmö Pride and I played these games: Hot Guys Making Out, Starwhal, Super Pole Riders. I also had the pleasure of hanging out with Avery Mcdaldno and record this cool talk about queer games.

starwahl

Starwahl

Netrunner My co-organizer of SydCon took pity on me and finally introduced me to Netrunner. I like it a lot, but we only played it once and I played as a Runner. I want to try Corp as well.

Canabalt – Was suprised and happy to see the iOS update of Canabalt, but I haven’t really taken the 2-player mode for a spin yet.

September
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter – It looked so promising, but turned out to mostly be reeeeeaaaally pretty to look at. A huge possibility space is implied, but you can really only walk on a path and follow “the story”. The final scene and tracking shot is amazing, though.

ITU Stuff – I took up my studies at ITU again in the end of August and this means some, but not necessarily a lot of, play. Our game design class features it more than anything and I’ve played some sketches and prototypes, but not a lot of finished stuff.

Malmö Play Club – I went to two Play Clubs in september and one of them happened to be on my birthday! I was given a wonderful birthday gift in the form of a special sensory journey and got to play one of my favorites: Chip Chipoi!
On the first Play Club, this was on the menu: Jamaquacks, Sun and Moon (+ Jamaquack version), Evolutionary Rock Paper Scissors, Standoff, Aura (with soundtrack – The Return to Innocence), Everybody’s it freeze tag, Vampire, Rain Game.

 

Recurring in May-September:
I’ve played Super Hexagon (of course), NightSky (played through it in “Alternative mode”!!!), Threes, and Mountain on and off these last few months.
Also, Desert Golfing had some strange sort of appeal. I stopped at 500 holes. Saw one cactus. Cried (no, not really).

Finally, my 3 year-old has shown an interest in handheld games, but so much on the app store is either too complicated, uninteresting or just shit. I’m really trying to find a good racing game that a kid of that age could enjoy. Haven’t had any luck yet.

rubiks

There. Solved it.

Play Journal Update

I haven’t written a whole lot in my Play Journal lately. Actually, a great big chunk of the year has passed and the last thing I did was compile a list of my top ten play experiences of 2013. I’ve had some great experiences so far, for sure, but I haven’t been able to put aside time nor energy to actually write at length about any of them. Time and energy are in short supply, as it is for many of us; I’ve stepped up to working full-time as a project manager (which, in case you didn’t know, always means a bit more than full-time) as well as helping take care of two tiny kids. That’s… why.

As always, I’m writing this more for me than for anyone else, so I really don’t care what you think of my ramblings, but here they are. I will now try to summarize some of the cooler play experiences I’ve had so far. You’re welcome, future list-compiling Thom!

Apocalypse World (January) – crazy campaign just got interesting and then it had to end because one of the players dropped out. Shame. We squeezed some dirty, oozing stuff out of that game while we were at it, though, and I got to confirm what I’ve heard: that Apocalypse World doesn’t really start to sing until maybe session 6 or 7.

Malmö Play Club Club (March 22)- We decided to throw a nightclub but replace the alcohol with play and guess what… it worked beautifully! Four straight hours of play mixed with Danceoke (a first for many, including me) proved to be a great combo. This was the first time that Malmö Play Club charged for an event and our fears that we would scare people off by doing so were swept away by the gusts of love and play that participants brought. I hope and think that this will not be the last of these things we do.

Other Play Club sessions (January – March) – The nightclub experiment was, of course, not the only Play Club session I attended since I last wrote. We’ve been steadily growing in numbers and have even been visited by journalists and photographers. Malmö Play Club isn’t going away, it seems, and I’m very happy about that.

Human Agency playtests (February and March) – It’s really a privilege to get the chance to be part of the development process of this interesting a thing. I really like how Nyxxx are pushing for the uncomfortable, excluding and strange in this one. It’s not extreme in any sense, but it has more of these aspects than the previous Avatar iterations I’ve been part of. A thing I wasn’t expecting was how much of my apparent willingness to take orders it shines a light on. The tension is not only in the interplay between the avatars and the humans but also the avatar player’s own code of behavior and the commands issued through the headphones. More to come on this as the final playtests start next week and the piece premieres shortly thereafter.

A Drift: Playtests (late March) – The first collaboration of a group called Research in Applied Living, of which I make up one third. A lot of the concept was in place at the time, but I appreciate the amount of playstorming that actually went on throughout the process of getting the concept ready for application to w00t 2014. Not only did it work, but in the very first playtest we managed to touch on what I think my partners in play would call the sublime. Bodies flat against the asphalt, staring up at a ten-story building and the clear blue sky above while listening to an ambient and dreamy soundscape… I wasn’t expecting that, but that’s what I was given and I’m thankful for it. More on this one as well, since there will be more playtests and eventually (hopefully) one or more serious runs at w00t and Otherspace.

There. I’m saving some stuff for a Knutpunkt/A Week in Gothenburg post I hope I’ll manage to write up really soon, but here’s a list of other stuff I’ve played since entering 2014:

MOBILE
Super HexagonBit PilotThreesCircle StopFlappy BirdNight SkyCool Pizza, Snek

PC
Konstnärsspelet and it’s English translation Artist Survival SimulatorGods Will Be WatchingRustPapo Y Yo, The Walking DeadNidhoggSamurai GunnPapers PleaseLuftrausers, The Stanely Parable, The Rapture Is Here And You Will Be Forcibly Removed From Your Home, Triad, One.

LIVE/PHYSICAL
Play Club Stuff: Chip Chipoi!; Korven; Hug Tag; Monsters and Critters; Fruit Salad; Capture the Flag; Personal Ads; Vampire; Sound Meme; Sound and the Fury; Knee Slapping Game; Screamless; Murderous Handshake; RPS Tag; Spiral Hug; Everybody’s It Freeze TagWord, Sound, Movement; Echo-hi; Slomo hi-fives; Giants,Goblins and Wizards; Human Compressor; Rain.

Other stuff: JS Joust, Peeker Seeker (Tiny Game), Squeaky Pickle (Sesame Street Tiny Game), GeoCaching.

CONSOLE
Little BigPlanetGTA V.

TABLETOP
Make You Gunfighters, Stone Age, Carcasonne, Uno Spin, Werewolf hack playtest

Top, But Not Top Ten

I’m used to getting maybe five visitors per day when I post stuff on this blog. Yesterday, I posted my look back at 2013 and now I’m past a hundred for only that one post. With this in mind, I want to share some of the stuff that didn’t make the top ten list, but that were pretty close. Follow the links if you’re curious to see what else I wrote about the games in previous Play Journal entries.

Monaco sessions with Josef – We got pretty good at it after a while, but I would have wanted two more players to join to see where the game could really go.

Malmö Playdays – Unfortunately, I was too busy organizing it to get any good play of my own out of this event. I’m still very proud and happy about it, though.

Hamley’s – Playing with kids and staff while visiting London. I know that the staff gets paid to be enthusiastic, but some of them really seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Roskilde – Joust in the rain, Get on Top, Giant Starfish Kraken Rodeo. Also, a million billion drunks.

City Walk / Play Stroll in CPH with Invisible Playground – Very similar to what I’ve wanted to do in Malmö. The Invisible Playground people are great.

Call of Cthulhu – Scenario: Fall Without End. Not sure what creeped me out so much, but something sure did. A rare treat in a game that more often than not ends up camp and trite rather than unsettling and scary.

The Matrix RPG session – Me and The Matrix have some serious history. Getting to play in that delicious setting was beautiful. Needs a proper Fate hack.

The Stanley Parable HD Remix – One of the few single player experiences on this list. A true sense of awe and discovery. Loads of laughs.

Gone Home – The feels, oh the feels. I do, however, feel like I’m approximately ten years too young for this game to hit home with me.

The Touch of Your Voice – The larp my group created as part of the Larp Exchange Academy. Running it was draining and stressful and hard and awesome and sad and funny and scary and cool.

Spelrum:Digital – The Night Club/Game Nights I helped organize as part of my job (yes, sometimes it’s that awesome). Served as preambles to the Nordic Game Conference afterparty, which actually made onto the top ten list.

Super Hexagon – I play this basically every day, so it’s hard to pinpoint a single instance. If I had too, I’d probably mention the time I beat the final hyper level. I was sitting through one of few boring program items at Knutepunkt and panicked as I realized I was about to beat it and miss the big payoff in the shape of the whole reverse-thingy that happens.

J.S. Joust – Once again, as with Super Hexagon, I’ve played this a lot of times and it’s almost always a fantastic experience. Here’s three: Jousting on the streets of Malmö during the Malmö City Festival (loads of people joined). Jousting at Container, a very summer-campy convention (we tried out almost all special modes and played around with the settings a bunch). Jousting… with swords!!! (Larp swords, but still).

Automat – It’s extra nice to go to these events when you’re not organizing them. Leaves more room for play. Coolest moments: Getting non-gamer friends to play LAZA KNITEZ, setting a new record on the super cool Super Hexagon arcade cabinet, and playing a strange darkroom game with a projector pistol.

Thom’s Top Ten Play Experiences of 2013

A year ago, Douglas Wilson, designer of Johann Sebastian Joust, published his look back at 2012. This is close to how I look at games and so I give you: my top ten play experiences of 2013. Now, I call them “play experiences” instead of games for two reasons. First, some of them are not really games, or even single instances of play, but they’re still playful. Second, I call the journal I keep on this blog my “Play Journal” and I think that this recap should mirror that. Speaking of the journal; I’m going to steal a bunch of stuff I’ve already written in there for this list. You are going to be OK with this.

Before I go on to the actual meat of the list, I want to thank everyone who has played with me this past year. A clear pattern in the experiences listed below is that none of it was achieved by staring at a screen all by my lonesome. Some things (like The Stanley Parable and Gone Home) came pretty close, but ultimately had to give way for more intense, heart-warming, social, spiritual, communal or silly stuff. These sorts of things demand other people willing to open up and be playful in an inviting way, at times challenging and pushing you to do better, at other times making an effort and realizing the gravity of the play at hand. Thank you, everyone.

Hvid Død (September 6)
Short larp for twelve(ish) people. No talking allowed. Played in minimalist setting. Everyone wears black. Loud music plays. Everyone dies. It’s beautiful.

Hvid Død - eat _ Peter Munthe Kaas

Photo: Peter Munthe Kaas

2013 was the year I started larping for real. It’s amazing to me that this did not happen sooner since I’ve been playing RPGs, hung out with larpers and been invited, and pretty close to actually going, to countless games. Other larps will be mentioned below, but Hvid Død was something above and beyond anything I can hope to experience any time soon.

As has been the case with many of my best roleplaying experiences, this game allowed for a collective and temporary falling in love on a group level. A love marked by a feeling of absolute acceptance between the players. Hvid Død is a very physically active game and as I often do with these things (dance, play, moshpits) I went all in. It paid off, big time. There really is no way to have a good experience with this sort of scenario without allowing yourself to be swept away, as well as making sure to do some of that sweeping yourself. I was later asked how much of this scenario is just group hallucination á la The Emperor’s New Clothes, and I guess there’s some of that going on, but if that’s the question you ask during play, this game will suck real bad. This may sound like an attitude more fitting for a christian telling people to pray their problems away, but I think that this scenario absolutely requires an open and honest play attitude to work. First of all, it’s all about body play so there’s no hiding behind words in the way other larps can end up only being about hypothetical and intellectual relationships between fictional characters. This emphasis on body forces the character interactions to also be very personal and physical player interactions. If you, as a player, give and accept what is given at that point, your play is going to be all the better for it.

Hvid Død has provided me with the basics for approaching all larps from a different angle going forward. I’m happy I got to play in it and I hope you take the chance to play it if the opportunity presents itself. This goes for all larpers, even if you’re initially made uncomfortable by the idea of a larp involving physical contact (god knows I would have been had I read a bit more about it beforehand). And hey, make sure to trust the other players and give them reasons to trust you. We’re only in it for the play.

Hvid Død - pray _ Peter Munthe Kaas

Photo: Peter Munthe Kaas

NGC afterparty (May 23)
A party I organized at Moriskan in Malmö. Kick-ass music. Lotsa dancing and playing. Cool projections on stage. Amazing people.

NGC

Photo: Tommy Rousse

I had the great fortune/misfortune to be responsible for organizing (the cool) part of the Nordic Game Conference afterparty and even though I had irregular heartbeats for two days after the event, I’m very glad I did it.

This party was all I had hoped Spelkultur i Skånes Spelrum:Digital night club/game nights would have been. There were retro games, Jousting, kick-ass music, local multiplayer games and a ton of wild dancing.

I jousted with a  whole pack of chatty Brits trying to throw me off by talking — a lot. It worked.
I screamed into a microphone as way of introducing performers.
I struggled to get games running properly on the backdrop screen.

All in all, I had a pretty amazing time. Two moments stand out as top moments of the night:

1. Playing/dancing Go Nuts during the Nordloef/Salkinitzor/Linde gig.
Apart from the game itself, which is actually a pretty simple and solid concept, Go Nuts! also has some seriously trippy graphics. Just check out this screenshot of a three-player game:

The amazingly strange look of this game added a lot to the insane chiptunes performance on stage. After playing it competitively for a while, me and my play partner started using our colorful cubes to make improvised video art. It worked surprisingly well; we used the dash function to accentuate the beats and worked ourselves into the game’s swarm mode (which looks pretty much like in the picture above) to take up a lot of space on screen. This was one of the play highlights of the whole event, for me. It was like we were jamming along with the musicians and the rest of the audience. I think that’s usually called dancing, isn’t it?

2. Going nuts at the Chipzel gig.
I’m a huge fan of Super Hexagon. This is no secret. In welcoming Chipzel on stage, I even said that it was, by far, the GOTY of 2012. An unsurprising part of Chipzel’s performance was her playing the soundtrack of Super Hexagon. Here, I just could not help myself; I had to play. So, there I was, dancing like a madman (one of the skills I’ve put a lot of build points into) while playing the hardest level of Super Hexagon and listening to Chipzel perform the soundtrack live. For me, it was not far from this image, and I’m aware that that might make me look like a complete nerd. Fine. I’m a complete nerd. Also, despite jumping around, I still made it 12 seconds into the level. Neeeeerd.

Till the State Do You Part (March 22)
Short larp about speed-dating in a dystopian future Sweden. A Sweden where your worth as a citizen is arrived at in curious ways.

Till the State Do You Part - Getting Married

I’ve written at some length about this larp in a previous Play Journal entry, so I’ll keep it shorter here. I think that some of the reason I have for putting this game on my list for 2013 is how surprised I was at how well some of the stuff worked. I was part of genuinely touching and heartfelt moments and some of the people I played with really made an honest effort. In a larp, you’ve come a long way if you only have that.

w00t CPH (May 25)
Copenhagen public play festival. Ran for two days, right after Nordic Game Conference. I was there the first day only.

Inte nudda mark

Ever since I went to my first Hide & Seek Weekender, I’ve wanted to attend other events like it. w00t was Copenhagen’s first public play festival and it turned out great. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend one of the days, but that turned out to be plenty. I wrote three different posts about all the stuff I played there, so I’ll point out the two games that still stand out for me:

1. The Ground Is Lava
Remember this game from when you were a kid? You’re not allowed to touch the ground because it’s super toxic or lava or just plain dangerous for whatever reason (as if you need one). When we played this as kids, we did it indoors and used furniture to move around. At w00t, we played it outdoors and used waste from some sort of construction site to step or climb on: pieces of metal, planks (complete with rusty nails and all), pallets etc.

This game had us in a continual and concentrated state of play for a good hour or so and it just felt really silly and really good.

2. Weeping Angels
Street game, in the dark, with flashlights, lotsa runnin and screaming and hiding and sneaking, teamwork – what’s not to like? Great play area, great players. Read more in the third post from w00t.

Limbo (April 16)
Abstract and elegant larp about the space between life and death. Played it on a genuine vintage tram riding through a foggy Oslo. 

20130420-205110.jpg

Limbo is a very elegant and hackable game. It can be, and has in fact been, adapted to many different contexts and venues. The larp was originally written as a chamber larp, but it has also been played as a larp/dance mashup and in the week leading up to this year’s Knutepunkt it was played as a tram larp.

There’s a lot to say about this game, but for the sake of brevity I’ll summarize what I’ve already written.

The pre-game is great because it gives you the opportunity to choose how close to yourself you want to play. It also demands that you examine our own views on death and reflect on where they come from. The setup, through the use of unfulfilled wishes, provided me and my character with something to play towards. It also used colored pipe-cleaners to signal common experiences between the characters. Not much else was needed to get people talking and having a clear drive behind their play.

This scenario is very much about that unknown nowhere between life and death and riding in an old tram through a strange city covered in fog helped to drive this home. At times, it all felt very, very surreal and these were the moment when the game really worked for me.

What is really clever about Limbo is how players are encouraged and allowed to play towards completely different goals without necessarily breaking the game or the experience of for each other. I played my character for tragedy, but there was no problem with people having characters embrace the situation and, in some cases, finding it amusing or soothing. Limbo was simply a place where all of these attitudes were to be expected.

In the end, this game didn’t leave me with an emotional puzzle to be struggled with for days or weeks. Rather, it was really easy to enjoy while playing and I appreciate how well it navigated its own meta-levels of play.

Hemligheten (June 6 – 7)
Interactive theater play about the persecution of immigrants in Sweden. Most scenes were set on the streets of Malmö. It ran over two days.

Me, wearing a mask

This is one, I haven’t written about at all in the Play Journal. I was planning on making it a separate post and, as is so often the case with those particular plans, that didn’t happen.

This play (I don’t know what else to call it) took place on the streets of Malmö and had groups of players (once again, that’s the best way to describe the audience of this play) run around town trying to locate and help two children who were in Sweden “illegally”, i.e. without papers. In Sweden, immigration is a hot topic and has been for some time. The theme of this play followed years of scandals and abuse coming from and perpetrated by the state as well as citizens of Sweden. We (V and me) managed to get into the run that started on Sweden’s national day and ended on our oldest kid’s second birthday. These two dates became significant in their own ways as the story progressed. National day in Sweden is not a widely celebrated event and Swedish nationalism takes on nasty forms when allowed to go unchecked. Partaking in a story with this theme while seeing people waving Swedish flags added to the disgust we felt at the mistreatment of the children in it. The play ended with a surreal birthday party for the absent boy and this coincided with our own kid’s birthday, twisting the knife of feels a couple of extra times.

Hemligheten was well-executed, well-measured in terms of interaction and felt relevant. Also, I got to use my roleplaying and gamer skills in making sure our group kept moving forward (while trying not to dominate it, as that was the story’s job). Using these same things, I tried to help the cast by acting on their cues (like actually running down the street, urging everyone else to follow, when we were supposedly being chased by one of the main villains).

Big up to Teater Insite for putting this thing together.

Playing with Lil’ M
Not that complicated, really.

Photo 2013-03-21 18 28 43

OK, so this one’s cheating a bit, but playing with my kid is a whole fairybag of fun. Hide and seek, peekabo, playing with words and songs, playing with toys and just generally being silly is great, great stuff and it makes for wonderful play. Being a big part of someone else’s play development is priceless.

Improvised ritual at Knutepunkt (April 16)
Improvised movement and sounds performed in groups inside an old mausoleum in Oslo proved more powerful and draining than expected.

The  Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum

The Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum, in only a small part of its glory.

Apparently rituals are a big thing in Norway (at least in the larp community) and this, of course, means that we had to have one before Knutepunkt. A real one. An actual, serious ritual in an actual, serious place. The whole thing was built around improvised sound and movement with the sound being a sort of chant jam and the movement being an easy version of contact impro dance. The details are boring, but the result was kinda cool.

The mausoleum turned out to be one of the strangest places I have ever visited. A lot of that feeling is, of course, related to the context of the visit, but I can imagine that the scary, strangely erotic, somewhat depressing mausoleum is all of those things regardless of the reason for your visit.

All in all, the ritual turned out to be quite a draining experience, both physically and mentally. After the initial rocky start, the four small groups we found ourselves in started interacting and playing off of each other. The end result was an experience, which for me bordered on the sacrilegious and divine at the same time.

Leaving the mausoleum, walking through the cold rain, I felt both strengthened and very fragile. I think that the exhaustion of work  both before and during the Larp Exchange Academy, of which I had been part, and play had caught up to me. Add to this a pinch of old memories from my time as a christian and you’ve got yourself a cocktail filled to the brim with staring-into-thin-air-not-knowing-what-to-make-of-things. I really made a conscious effort to get carried away, but I didn’t quite expect it to work as well as it did. I guess I need to stop being so surprised these things actually work.

Malmö Play Club Deluxe Summer Sessions
Public play sessions in Malmö’s finest park. The first serious steps towards building a stable play community in Malmö. Featured everything from kids’ games and reality games to jousting and New Gamesy games.

A team in Rock, Paper, Scissors tag deciding what sign to throw.

A team in Rock, Paper, Scissors tag deciding what sign to throw.

I’ve written a lot in the Play Journal about Malmö Play Club and that has not been without good reason. In the Play Club, we have created a tool and opportunity for building a local play community. I hope we are able to continue and develop this in 2014.

The Deluxe sessions were especially great because they saw our numbers bump up from our usual maximum of 10-15 people to around 40. The variety of games that we were able to try out because of this was really inspiring and, finally, the play talks that were given in connection to some of the sessions were really interesting and thought-provoking.

Tiny Games
Simple and brilliant play tool from the superpowered Hide&Seek people. Best game app of the year. Almost none of the play is screen-centered.

Tiny Games - Cucumber Race

Me, trying to get a slice of cucumber from my forehead to my mouth as fast as possible. Because an app told me to… and because it sounded like a good idea.

Tiny Games was the best thing to come out for iOS in 2013. I’ve played with it at home, at events, at the office, during walks. The one I would point to as my best Tiny Game happened with my colleague Chris while we were waiting to be interviewed on live radio about Malmö Playdays. We were in the empty staff cafeteria and we played a color finding game, ran our asses off and laughed more than you’re probably allowed to at a radio station.

There’s really something to having an app that lets you fire up a game instantly, no pretensions, no hassle, no problems. All you need is a playful attitude and a mind set on fun and you’re ready to go.

That last part goes for most kinds of play, BTW.

Play Journal: December 16 – 31

First things first: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD! I usually don’t warn people, but you know… I know how to be nice on the Internet.  A rare, but valuable skill. The spoilers are for Season 2, Episode 1 of The Walking Dead from Telltale Games. It’s at the end of the post. Second things second: my top ten play experiences list is still upcoming. I wanted to be all done with 2013 before looking back on it.

Samurai Gunn – Tried two quick games. Got my ass handed to me by V. I was better with the magic fire thingy, but she always got the drop on me. I want to try it with four players. That’s all for now.

Gaby Gaby Gaby – best score: 29. Don’t know what made me think of and play this. I’m not disrespecting, I just genuinely don’t know what’s going on in my head and I want you to know this. 

Super Hexagon – As always, there’s some Hexagon being played. Nowadays, I’m back at the hardest level, trying to beat my high score. I came very close before the year was over.

Malmö Play Club: The last  Play Club session before the winter break saw more players than ever before attend an indoors event. We weren’t prepared, but thanks to our having built up a way of playing and running games together it wasn’t really a problem. I got the chance to use the line: “Welcome to Malmö Play Club. If it’s your first night at Play Club… you have to play”. As you can guess, I felt rather clever. In hindsight, I feel stupid for not having thought of it earlier. Writing this, I’m not sure I haven’t actually thought about it before. “Know thyself”, said Socrates (and a bunch of other people). “OK… Ehrm. How does ‘thy’ do that, exactly?” would be my response. Anyway, below are the games I played.
Ninja, Tomato (a welcome addition to our often prop-less play), Turtle Wushu, J.S. Joust, Group Sync (This is one of those games I struggle with because the only way to play the game is to break the rules and go against what it supposedly is about. Once someone does this, the rest soon follow and I sometimes feel like we jump too far ahead in the game instead of letting it develop. I guess it’s a good gauge on who’s the most impatient or uncomfortable).

Gislaved

Gislaved, the place I’ve gone to play games every year right after christmas for ten years.

CrossCon: This may have been the very last CrossCon. Ever. That’s a very melancholic thing to write, but it was even worse being there. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun and it’s always nice to run into all the old characters. I just feel… old. We started this con 10 years ago. At the time, we were 15-18 years old. Now, we’re all grown up, I rarely talk to or see many of the people organizing the con, though some of them are very near and dear to me. To really celebrate, everyone attending was treated to a full course dinner and I took the opportunity to say a few words about what CrossCon has meant to me. I hope some of it got through. 
In terms of games, I tried not signing up for everything, to leave room for talking and simply hanging out. This worked out well. Nowadays, I always seem to have a purpose when I go to cons, but just hanging out with your friends not really doing anything for an hour or two is sometimes just as fun as playing games. In other words: It’s always the people, never the games. 
Saboteur (for once, I made a perfect play in a social bluffing game, and it paid off big. This game is all about finding the exact right moment to strike and betray the others and, boy was it satisfying to get to perform that backstab!),
J.S. Joust (lots of kids in the two Joust games I hosted at the con. I’m not sure, but I think that this was part of the reason these the games most accompanied by crying I’ve ever run. Mostly, it was no big deals and the crying passed as quickly as it arrived. I did, however, manage to twist my shoulder into the face of a fellow player (don’t worry, he was as big as I am), giving him a nosebleed. He took it well, though and seemed to have enjoyed the game.),
Trail of Cthulhu (first time as a non-GM player and it was enjoyable, though our group was a bit on the large end for my tastes (6 players + GM). I really enjoy the clever ways ToC gets around some stuff which tends to annoy me about CoC. We played in the Bookhounds of London setting and I was a hobo, which worked out surprisingly well),
Twilight Struggle (the last game of the con, I lost big to the Soviets pretty early on. In my defense, we played while tending the kitchen/snack bar; it took us two hours to get through the first two rounds. We started at half past midnight and were done at four a.m.),
Shot Shot Shoot (first time I actually got someone to play this with me for more than a couple of games. It really is a beauty. When in doubt, do what this game does and create two (or so) opposing strategies for getting the win. When playing ShotShotShoot, you’re constantly struggling not to use one strategy too much, while gauging what your opponent is up to and adjusting. The game starts and once the first shot is fired, everything else just flows from that shot),
Tag (hosting Joust, I managed to acquire a fan club of kids who constantly asked when the next game would be. They dragged me into a game of tag using strange rules involving a paper plane. It seemed that the one hit by the plane was tagged and became ‘it’, but the kids also competed to pick up the plane when it missed its target, thus tagging themselves. Being ‘it’ is a big part of the fun in Tag, so this makes complete sense, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it at the time).

CrossCon dinner

The CrossCon crew, making speeches at the big dinner. Some of the real good guys are in this pictures.

The Walking Dead – Finally, TWD is back in the only form I can stand it: a videogame from Telltale Games. I’m not going to spoil it too much, but playing Clementine turned out to work better than I had feared, though they had to use a time jump to avoid having her be all too small and helpless. Instead, she was about as helpless as most people. 
Two things:
1. The stitching scene really hurt. I didn’t think I would, but I did cringe again and again as I had her thrust the needle into and through her own flesh. This was good , fulfilling pain. This is how you do payoffs, not through stupid points or achievements.  
2. Letting Clementine be quiet a lot and having adults abuse their position of power in their interactions with her is very powerful. She just sits there and takes it while these grown-ups just won’t let up. I sound like a sadist, but it’s not her suffering I enjoy, it’s how fucking nasty the other characters look and feel when I let them.

Play Journal: October 14 – 27

The Stanley Parable - Mind Control Facility

The Stanley Parable (Mod, Demo and HD Remix)
Mod (as part of a workshop) – the class guided Stanley to the ending where the other narrator stops the action and tells us to turn off the game.
Demo – Without a doubt the best demo I’ve ever played. I pushed 8. A lot.
Full game – Spent 3 hours straight playing this. It is a very tight design while still managing to be silly and strange and that’s an achievement in and of itself. The focus + silliness combo works all the way down even to the achievements (have you tried to get the room 430 one? It’s wonderful) and the fact that there are achievements at all in this game.
As a player, you can rest assured that most, if not all, possibilities are covered and have been prepared for you. Discovering this is a big part of the enjoyment. Every time I tried to break the game or go against it, I just enjoyed it more. I guess you can’t break a broken game anyway, though.

Fun side note: While being interviewed about Malmö Playdays, I got the inevitable question of what my favorite game is. I should have seen this coming, but was unable to produce a good answer, so my colleague snatched Johann Sebastian Joust before I had time to claim it. I ended up going with The Stanley Parable and I feel alright about that.
Let’s be clear: I did not say “Super Hexagon”. That’s says something for The Stanley Parable.

The Stanley Parable - meaningful choices

Dinner Date – Played while waiting for The Stanley Parable to download and install. Seems funny in a way, to play a game about waiting for someone to show up as a way to spend time waiting for a game (that will, as it happens, refuse to deliver as a game) to install. The game tried to tell me that I was to control the main character’s subconscious, but it really did feel like I controlled a bit more than that when I made him crazily flap his arms around by looking at the clock, relaxing and looking at the kitchen counter. I like it and I get it. Clever.

Naya’s Quest – Mind sufficiently fucked, thank you. I’ve never seen isometrics being used like this (up is down or up or sideways???!!?!) in a game before. Combine that with eerie music and a void serving as background and you’ve got something worth spending some time with. I will probably never not try any Terry Cavanagh game.

The Wolf Among Us – Really nails the noir feel. Also, “Glass him”, in the bar scene with the Woodsman, apparently means shove a glass in his face, not make a toast. Aaaawwwkward! (yup, I restarted that whole scene because of it)

Cake Monsters – Kill Screen playlist game. Clever, but not engaging to me. I wish I could care more about all these puzzle games, but I just can’t. Maybe I don’t have the patience, maybe I’m just a little slooooooooooooow.

Super Hexagon – Set new personal records on all levels:
Hexagon – 135:09
Hexagoner – 100:59
Hexagonest – 75:29
Hyper Hexagon – 92:40
Hyper Hexagoner – 129:53
Hyper Hexagonest – 71:22

Malmö play club session:
Chip chipoi!: A game of “not laughing” that actually allows some laughing. Players takes turns sending “chip!” (by saying it) to their left or right. The “chip!” keeps going until someone says “chipoi!” at which point it switches and goes back.
The players are not allowed to show their teeth during the game and this adds a nice twist to the no-laughing genre of games by actually allowing players to laugh, as long as they don’t show their teeth. This, of course, makes them look hilarious and only makes other players laugh harder.
Finally, “chip” and “chipoi” should be used as the silly words they are in order to make other players laugh themselves out of the game. This is done by making funny voices as you say them or modifying the words by, for example, making “chipoi” sound more like “chiiiipoooooiiii”.  A new personal favorite.
Inte nudda mark + throw tag – don’t touch the floor + one person (it) throws chair cushions as a way of tagging other people.
Sausages (aka Fläsk) – I still suck at this game. I still like it a lot.
Tell a story one word at a time – just what it says. Good for relaxing and getting a feel for the group.
Don’t finish that word! – Go around the group, each player adding a letter without finishing a word. If you finish a word, you lose a point/the player before you gets a point/whatever. If someone thinks you’re bluffing, i.e. building a word that cannot ever be finished, they’re free to call your bluff.
I want to try the dyslexia version, where misspellings are aloweed as long as they can make a word in the end.

GlowTag and QuickDraw – Showed this to Gabriel who was in town for Malmö Playdays. Didn’t get very far into them, but at least I figured out how to get the Wild West version of QuickDraw working.

Tiny Games
Hide and seek finally released their Tiny Games app! I’m an idiot for missing out on the Kickstarting etc. but it’s here now and I’ve got all packs + the sesame street version + all packs of the Sesame Street version and I still want moar.
Do yourself a favor and download this thing if you have and iThing. The basic Home pack of games is free, so you’ll at least be able to try it out.
The app’s biggest drawback is the lack of a way to find out what you played recently. Unless you memorize all games, it’s going to be hard to teach them to others. I guess this is part of the deliberate design, but for my purposes, I would like to be able to find stuff inside the app.

Anyway, here are some games I played (due to aforementioned reasons, the names may be a bit off):

Tiny Games - baby game

Cucumber Race – Race to get a slice of cucumber from your forehead into your mouth, only using your facial muscles. I started out not moving my head at all. That turned out to be way too hard, so we stated that some head/neck movement was allowed and that took the total time down to between 0.5 – 1 minute. As fun to watch as it is to play.
Don’t Wake the Baby – I chickened out after we had like five go’s each. I knew I would chicken out first. AND I AM NOT ASHAMED, DAMMIT!
Small Talk – not optimal for two players. I will try it with more sometime.
Fluffier than a Teacup – Strange game of arbitrary associations. I like it.
Colour Match – Played it at the radio station cafeteria with my colleauge, right before heading in to be interviewed about Malmö Playdays.
Heist, Heist, Baby – Played with the same colleague on our way from the radio interview. I had the best con man and safe cracker, my colleague had the best driver and muscle.
Three Things – Don’t even remember which one this is. But I played it, because I tweeted about it.

Tiny Games - Cucumber Race

Malmö Playdays
To no one’s surprise, Malmö Playdays ended up being about a lot of stuff for me, with play just barely being one of them. I’m sad I didn’t try out any of the site-specific games developed by interactions design students as they looked and seemed amazing.
I did participate in a game of Ninja and in some Johann Sebastian Joust games. Here, the last J.S. Joust game stands out as it was the last game of the day to be played and it was played in a dark room just before the library closed. I got to jump in, say thanks, find a Chipzel tune to play the game to and win the game in a cool way in sudden death.
I also sat down with an oculus rift on my head, but the computer wasn’t really up for the challenge that SoundSelf presented. That was a shame.

Vesper.5 – Well, you know. Getting there.

Stuff I’ve played with my kid:
Hide & Seek, Pippi Longstocking (complete with wig-wearing and all), Sleeping Bear + lots of free play (digging in sandboxes, throwing balls around, making noises etc.)

Sandbox

Play Journal: October 7 – 13

HA! I did it! I finished a Play Journal on time. Do I want an award? Do I deserve one? No, but it would be kinda nice. No? I’m not getting one? Maybe just an achievement, then.

Automat – Gothenburg’s Indie Arcade
(the arcade took place on oct 6, so this is actually cheating, but by then I’d already posted that week’s play journal, so… WHAEVA!)
The Room (interaction design student project)
– A guy mapped a virtual room to a corner in an actual room. This can then be interacted with by using a move controller attached to a tiny projector working as a flashlight, illuminating only the part of the wall that’s actually being pointed to. One person controls this flashlight, and the other interacts with objects in the room using another Move controller. The theme is horror and it was cool, but shooting monsters ended up getting in the way rather than being scary. I don’t think it was married to the theme and interaction of projecting light on a surface to advance in the game and I would have hoped that those ideas would be carried through and used to defeat or get rid of monsters as well.
Ultimately, it was a good experience and most definitely unlike anything I’ve ever tried. I hope the guy who made it graduates with honors. Make it happen, Staffan! Just kidding, I know Staffan doesn’t read this.

Tri-Tri-Tritournament

Tri-Tri-Tritournament

LAZA KNITEZ – Fun as usual and it was nice being able to show it to old friends… until it started smelling funny and it had to be turned off. TOO MUCH TECHNOFUTURE!!
Chain jam games – The Babycade from Copenhagen featured Chain Jam Games. Most were over before I knew what was going on. Sonar was cool
Super Pole Riders – Squished image and low sound volume. Still a great and strange game.
JS Joust – Somehow, this didn’t feel like the optimal setting for Joust. Maybe I’m still in love with the on-the-streets game we did at Malmöfestivalen in August.
Mrs Dad – Always a blast. Once again, I’m very happy to have played this with people who are important and close to me, but with whom I haven’t played a lot of digital games.
Tri-Tri-Triobelisk – I finished second in the tournament! Mostly because I had played Shot Shot Shoot before, but come on…
Super Hexagon – New High Score!!! 130 secs on 2nd hyper level. I never knew that it switches after 60 secs of hyper. All of a sudden I was in the hardest hyper level and ten seconds later I was out, hands shaking. I’ve, of course, been trying to get to that time on my phone (because that high score needs to be registered on my account) but I haven’t been able to.

Hexagon Pentagon

Super Hexagon high score, in a pentagon

Lekklubben
Name Game – Passing a ball around, just getting a feel for the group and allowing everyone to introduce themselves.
Chinese Whispers/Telephone – Using funny faces instead of words. Basically a simple and good excuse to do loads of funny faces. We also combined this with actual whispers in a variant.
Ball Pass Workout – Stand in line, make a tunnel by standing with your feet far apart, pass ball from the front to the back through the tunnel, person in back runs to the front of the line crossing everyone who has now thrown themselves on the floor. This is apparently an old exercise from the Swedish worker’s movement. It got extra silly when we started shouting “fun” every time we hit the ground. Silly fun.
Red and White Rose/Wars of the Roses – One team hides a small object, the other team searches for it. Also, if a hider is tagged by a searcher, the hider must give a clue as to where the object is hidden. The clues give players a very useful pacing tool. If the game has gone on for too long, just make the clues easier!

Zumbie

My friend, playing Zumbie at Automat in Gothenburg

Weekend workshop
Meet and Greet Bingo – More of an exercise, but it’s still playful. I gamed it and won. A strange but fun thing to do in this setting.
Card Bureaucrats – Group exercise meant top teach you things about collective and group leadership. It involves being very quiet and passing cards according to a strict model. For A (the person at the top of the model), it was a puzzle, for me, it was totally a game. This exercise had such a strange vibe to it that I feel like I want to make it into an absurd larp.
Tiles and Runners – A game preceded by a group exercise where participants, starting out blindfolded and standing along a rope, are tasked with making the rope into a square. Needless to say, communication is key (read that again, by the way. Did I just start a sentence talking about communication by stating that it was needless to say? Yes! Yes, I did!). By the end, we had a nice square, and the instructors randomly distributed tiles (the kind you can use to put on you balcony) with numbers painted on them in the square. Two teams then competed to see which one could, using as many participants as they felt like (but only having one inside the square at any given moment), step on the tiles in numerical order. We set a new record by plotting optimal courses across the field and letting runners do very short runs. Good fun. I’ll probably use it myself some day. Great field game.

15

Tiles & Runners

SuperHot – Creepy vibe. I had somehow gotten the impression that it had much more of a action movie feeling. I don’t know why. Hope it is developed further.
Vesper.5 – Thought I’d be done by now. I’m not. So it goes.


UPDATE:
There’s a video out from the Automat event. Check it out:

Play Journal: August 19 – 25

This past week was all about Malmöfestivalen (the Malmö Festival), a city festival, where all events are free and basically every person in Malmö is out on the streets. My project organized three days focused on DIY aspects of gaming culture; Cosplay day, Box Wars day, and Videogame Day.

Malmöfestivalen:
Box Wars! [Check out this video to see more]
Moshpit Hero [Jonatan and Mads from Glitchnap came over, ran a live game jam and showed some other games. Moshpit Hero was strange and fun, but could use a bit more… feedback. Hard to know what the hell was going on. Great and ridiculous use of ragdoll physics, though! ]
Johann Sebastian Joust [Nighttime joust on a busy street complete with a player looking like he stepped out of Hotline Miami]
Laza Knitez [I beat two beginners by not moving the controller at all. It wasn’t my fault! Really! They kept running into me!]

The stuff from our Videogame Day was made into a video. Can’t embed it, so check it out here: http://vimeo.com/73377171

Invisible Playground - entrance

Invisible Playground Field Office at Metropolis in Copenhagen (These games will all be available at http://ludocity.org/ eventually)
Locked [reality game playing with the idea of the perfect neighborhood and drug use/pushing]
Butchers vs. Bitches [territory control and hand pushing in one and the same game. Also, opportunity for crossdressing, yea!]
Trying to Formulate One Clear Thought [Yes, that’s the title. I’ll run this game next time I have the opportunity. Great use of other non-players as game elements, while also being fairly non-invasive in terms of interaction with non-players]
The game of Jante [A site-specific game played in a parking garage. The parking spaces served as the primary play space and the sensors that indicate if parking spaces are occupied or not were integrated into the core mechanic. The game featured a traitor mechanic, but no one knew how many traitors there were. I thought I was the only one in my group, but it turned out there were two others as well. So… that’s why they behaved so weird. Go figure.]

1e0a83220de011e382a622000aeb4361_7

Other stuff
Super Hexagon
Danish Clapping [Taught it to someone while waiting around for something at Malmöfestivalen]
Dots [New game mode is entertaining, not as stressful and makes it possible to maintain a game over a longer period of time.]
Little Inferno [Not really playing, just going through it to get to the end. I guess the joke is on me, right?]
Vesper.5 [Still getting there. Think I saw an alien a couple of days ago]

Twilight Imperium [Thoughts beforehand: OMFG this is a huge mistake. This is exactly the sort of boardgame I’m not into. Too much fluff, too long, too much all over the place. I’m going to be stuck in an 8-hour game, knowing within 30 mins that I’ll eventually lose and then have to deal with it like an adult. FML
Thoughts after the game: It’s OK, but it’s not worth it. The payoff is too small and it takes too long to get there. I don’t think the systems interact in a very interesting way and the fights are given a disproportionate amount of focus.]

Megaphone 2 - Invisible Playground

Play Journal: August 5 – 11

Power Up 2013 iPad local multiplayer madness
Bloop – [So happy this is now out for Android as well. One of my best vines yet: https://vine.co/v/hbXtQlXDAvz]
Spaceteam – [Massive, mystery and regular modes]
Orbit 1
Ready, Steady, Bang
Shot, Shot, Shoot – [Check out the Vine: https://vine.co/v/hbXVlr92dYt]
Omium

Power Up 2013 Sportsfriends session
Hokra
Super Pole Riders
JS Joust – [Tried almost all settings. They all have their charm, but I’m still undecided on the invincibility mode. People instantly get so much more rough. It’s never something I’d open with unless everyone present was an experienced jouster. Resurrection mode was one of my favorites as it amplifies and messes with the tension between the carefulness and violence in joust.]
QWOP3D – [Check out the vine: https://vine.co/v/hb3UxpeibtK]

QWOP3D

PC stuff
Vesper.5
Pathologic – [THE ANGST! Oh, the wonderful angst!]

iOS stuff
Rymdkapsel
Dots
Canabalt
Impossible Road
Super Hexagon

Rymdkapsel - death

My first death in the wonderful game Rymdkapsel

Oh, BTW 
Oculus Rift – [Roller Coaster demo + Doom 3]