Get ready for another exciting edition of Come Out and Play! This New York-based public games festival is gearing up for its 2010 edition, which will be headquartered at the Lyceum in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood June 4-6. The Festival has extended its deadline for submitting games to April 19th, so if you have an idea for a fun game, there’s still time to get involved. The Festival planners are working with game designers to refine their ideas and make sure they fit the location and scope of the event. Past games presented/debuted at COAP include Cruel 2B Kind by Jane McGonigal and Ian Bogost, as well as Jane’s Cryptozoo and the Lost Sport of Olympia, Ken Eklund’s Spy School, and TAH II, which was an extension of TAH, an alternate reality game produced by Cultural Oil.
I spoke recently with Greg Trefry, Festival Co-Founder and the author of “Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in ALL of Us,” to get some details on what to expect this year. Greg says there will be a mix of games requiring tech and not, and is very enthusiastic about location-based games that leverage tech like smartphones and apps for play. Festival sponsor SCVNGR, known for their smartphone based geo-gaming tech platform, will be presenting their own game, but CEO/Chief Ninja Seth Priebatsch was not forthcoming with details. “Well, I can’t tell you too much about what we’re going to be showing off (it’s some sweet new features) but in general it’s in the same vein as what SCVNGR’s all about; making building and playing location-based mobile games fun, quick and easy.”
Greg says that while no games have been officially accepted and announced yet, the popular “Circle Rules Football” from last year’s event will be returning, and he expects a great mix of games, including “weird new sports.” He would love to see submissions for ARGs and games that include ARG elements, as he feels location-based games and ARGs dovetail nicely by using the content of the real world and blurring the lines to enrich the experience of gameplay so you’re “not sure if you’re looking at the game any more.” The real world “is the highest resolution thing you’re gonna play,” he notes.
Come Out and Play is back, baby. After running in Amsterdam last year during PICNIC, the three day festival returns to the Big Apple June 6-8, this time hosted by bookstore Blue Stockings.
They are currently accepting proposals for new games (The application form is on the main page of the web site.) This is your chance to take your dream of running a big street game and make it a reality.
Read ARGN’s report on the 2006 Festival here.
For all those UK residents who wished they could have attended New York’s Come Out And Play Festival, now is your chance to have your own weekend of public gaming fun.
Sponsored by a mysterious benefactor named Gideon Reeling (see here if you want a peek behind the curtain), the Hide and Seek festival promises both new games, such as the London Poetry game, and soon-to-be classics such as Cruel 2 B Kind. There’s even a game done in conjunction with the folks from SFZero and a seminar discussion on why pervasive games are “the new punk rock.” (Full schedule here.)
Alex Fleetwood, one of the festival’s organizers, describes the New York festival as one of the inspirations for the event:
“I attended the Come Out and Play festival in New York and came back inspired. I love ARGs but I’m very attracted to the more user-friendly aspects of pervasive games – you can pick them up for an afternoon and really get something out of them. I wanted to run a game that got people talking to strangers as that was my favourite element of the games at COAP. I’m also hopeful that the open-source translation that the players and the people of London collectively create will be a beautiful thing in itself.”
As for the mysterious Mr. Reeling, Alex can’t tell us much:
“Little is known about Mr Reeling. He describes himself as an adventure capitalist and only communicates via email. We have asked that he tell us more about himself and that he attend the festival in person; watch this space for more news…”
The festival runs Friday through Sunday evening, and all games will begin at the Delegates Centre, BFI South Bank Centre. Readers, if you’re able to attend, please send us your thoughts afterwards!
Will is disdainful. “No way I’m running,” he declares, “I refuse.” We are moving in a group of four, myself, Will, Rose and EGo, trying to find the best way from West 21st to West 32nd, only using our feet or public transportation. We expect to be chased at any moment. We walk quickly, and manage to catch a crosstown bus. We make it to the first checkpoint safely. But then as we move towards Penn Station, we hear a sharp “Hey!” to our left. A man on a bike, with the dreaded yellow caution tape around his arm, has seen us. Will looks over. He stops in his tracks, and then… he starts running, bike man in pursuit. The game is now more real than we ever imagined.
For it is a game, one of many offered last weekend as part of the first Come Out and Play Festival, a celebration of street and other “big” games in New York City. Included in the weekend’s offerings are games of chase, espionage, assassins and familiar video game favorites, expanded and released into various public spaces around the city.
Does playing on a computer cramp your style? Feel restricted by that Monopoly board? Or maybe you’re a Puppetmaster who wants to do more than the usual email and websites with your next ARG. This fall, games will bust out of the screen and the box, and take to the streets in a new, three-day event called the Come Out and Play Festival. Based in Manhattan, the festival “seeks to provide a forum for new types of public games and play. We want to bring together a public eager to rediscover the world around them through play with designers interested in producing innovative new games and experiences. Oh yeah, and we want to have fun.”
Come Out and Play will be held September 22-24, and organizers are currently soliciting applications for games that will be fun and interesting, and make use of public spaces. Organizer Greg Trefry is also interested in submissions related to ARGs, noting that their ability to blur the lines between the screen and the real world fits in nicely with the goals of the festival.
Apply online at the festival website by June 30th.