Ravi Thornton's picture

A fascinating and invigorating first day of play:DO HACK WEEK here in Cardiff Bay. First up host and hack-master Julian Sykes took the floor, asking the question: How can we create playful experiences that are not only fun, but that people can actually take things away from, and thereby promote social change? It’s the question that ‘us nine hackers’ will be mulling over for the rest of the week.

Next we spent awhile introducing ourselves and our passions to the rest of the team: with Kev Moss talking about the difference between making things digital and making digital things; John Collingswood talking about mixed-media layering in contemporary dance; Andrew Price mixing up Dylan Thomas and wind speed; Heather Kelley talking about pushing gaming beyond the digital and physical to the sensory; Chris Mog talking about how mistakes can lead to new solutions; Steve Coleman asking where, why and how do we lose the innate creativity of our childhood, and can we bring it back again; Jorge Lizalde showing us memories he’d recreated in real time; me talking about the architecture of cross-media fiction; and Ben Hyde sticking us all together with elbow charge.

A really interesting, passionate and provocative talk by Rosa Robinson of the Climate Change Commission for Wales followed, offering up more challenges for us to think about. And after that it was team time, as we split up into groups of three to create, build and test a game in just a couple of hours.

The games were great fun. And, with this kind of participatory game play being a new kind of storytelling for me, I found it a really useful starting point for navigating this particular arena of thought.

Tomorrow we start on the Hack Week games proper, i.e. games that will be actually be played by the public as part of the playARK festival this coming Saturday. I’ve no idea yet what those games will ultimately be, but it’s certainly going to be quite some journey figuring them out!

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