Play/ground is a free public workshop about using play for political resistance and building power.

April 14th — 16th @ 2 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn

Sponsored by NYU’s Integrated Digital Media and Game Center Departments

I attended Play/ground today. The event was quite different from what I was expected. I was expecting to see lots of lectures about game design, about mechanism and stuff, but none of those happened today.

Kaho Abe & Ramsey Nasser: :fire::upside_down_face::fire:

The event today was kicked off by Ramsey Nasser and Kaho Abe’s presentation. They made a co-working whiteboard online, just like the one he uses in class, just a web version. In order to differentiate people, users are assigned different color automatically too.

A lot of interesting things happened. In the beginning, people just draw random stuff. But soon, people start to interact with each other, like playing tic tac toe, or drawing illustrations together. Some people even competes with each other and leave two extremely long-neck giraffes.

This reminds me of the Reddit’s Place. People ally and challenge each other anonymously. It is not also and act of fighting but also an act of healing. In between, is the problem of how we are going to stay agent.

Mohini Dutta & Ben Norskov: Framing Playfully

This part was fun too. Attendees were separated into groups, and picked a topic that they feel frustrated. My team picked the topic about Immigrants and Refugees, and view it in both macro and micro way. How are we going to act as individuals as apposed to whole? That is the question we are curious about.

After each team picked their topics, we were given a certain verbs to pair with our topics. Examples are “jumping”, “rock paper scissors”, and ours is “standing and sitting”.

At first glance, we want to pair standing/sitting to action/not-action. The fact that most people are in between, means “squatting”, gave us idea of we should encourage people to take actions.

I wanted to point out something important here. Most of the people are too lazy to act, because they think things don’t happen to them. They see news on the Internet, on Facebook, but until things really happen to them or their close friends, no one really think there’s necessity to act.

I really want to address this point, so I pitched an idea: “People should make decisions before they know if they are going to get deported or not”. We turned this idea into a pattern guessing game; the moderator assigns who’s immigrant and who’s not, but doesn’t tell them. People have to figure out who should stand up and sit down exactly. If the pattern doesn’t match, one of the immigrant will be deported.

Clarinda Mac Low & Lauren Bierly: Incredible Witness

This is a game about experiencing direction loss.

Creator Clarinda invites us into her world of direction loss by designing this game. Even person gets a deck of cards, it is shuffled and we have to follow the instructions on it until we arrive at the destination.

Everyone is assigned the same route and destination, but the cards are different so we all have different experience. The instructions on cards can be hilarious, ranging from hopping in place 10 times to close your eyes for 2 minutes and then walk 10 steps. All of them are designed to simulate a person experiencing direction loss.

It is hilarious to watch 20 people playing this game on the campus of Tandon. Some people pretend to talk on phone and laugh loudly, some people wave at non-existing people far away. But because we know there’s other people playing with us, it is not too embarrass.

The important part of this game is to actually do it as told on the cards. If people cheat, or do nothing when they see a card tell them to walk backwards, then there is no point at all.


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