All Blogposts from March 2011

  • Tate Trumps wins at Guardian Megas!

    25 March 2011 | by | 0 comments

    We’re very excited to announce that Tate Trumps won its category of Culture & The Arts at the Media Guardian Innovation Awards last night.

    Tate Trumps is, of course, our iOS app that turns the permanent collection of Tate Modern into a game. If you’ve not played the game, there’s no better time to check it out next time you’re at the gallery. It’s available now in the iTunes App Store – and it’s entirely free.

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  • Being George Osborne

    22 March 2011 | by | 0 comments

    Remember the Boardgame Remix Kit, our ebook/app/book/set of cards with new rules for old boardgames? At the end we included a list of games we’d had an idea for (NOTE: this actually means “made up a name for”), but which hadn’t quite got round to designing. One of these was the Monopoly variant Being George Osborne.

    Well, we didn’t design the game, but enterprising reader Jacob Biddulph liked the idea and made up his own rules, then tried them out with his friends. We’re now delighted to present his ruleset, just in time for budget day. If you’ve got a Monopoly set, and want to try playing, plotting, evicting imaginary tenants and trying to spend all your imaginary money, then try out Jacob’s game…

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  • H&S Elsewhere On The Internet

    21 March 2011 | by Holly Gramazio | 0 comments

    While the usual Hide&Seek bustle has been filling the office over the last few weeks, we’ve still found time to sneak off and write things elsewhere on the internet…

    Margaret’s most recent Gamasutra column looks at Sword & Poker, and the ways that game time can be strangely different from real world time. Elsewhere, she seems to have accidentally started a tumblr: Games I Like That You Might Like. Sample sentence: It’s Demon Souls for clever, busy, old people.

    And I’ve written up the rules for Review!: the Game, a game for anyone who wants to re-enact a panel discussion show like The Review Show (formerly Newsnight Review) in their own living room. Sample sentence: You get a point every time you use a phrase in a language other than English.

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  • Games in London

    16 March 2011 | by Holly Gramazio | 0 comments

    There’s another couple of interesting games things coming up… first off, TONIGHT (yes that’s TONIGHT, unless you’re reading this on Thursday in which case it was yesterday, or any time after that in which case it’s even further back in the past), the lovely A Door In A Wall are running an evening of experimental games.

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  • Books on the Hide&Seek Shelves: Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialities

    15 March 2011 | by Holly Gramazio | 5 comments

    The Hide&Seek bookshelves have been growing slowly over the almost-a-year since we moved into our lovely new office. There’s the obvious stuff: rulesets, game design books, playground play anthologies, board games, word games, games and play and more games. And there’s the less obvious stuff: spies, anthologies of Tamil pulp fiction, MFK Fisher’s The Art of Eating, Scheonberg’s Fundamentals of Music Composition.

    So what better to do than to go through the shelves, have a closer look at a different book every week, and try to explain why on earth we have it? And where better to start than with Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialities and Costumes?

    It’s a facsimile of a 1930 sales catalogue for devices, usually electrified, that can be used in initiation ceremonies for “fraternal organisations”. Hence, above, a cannon that shoots baseballs at cowering victims, complete with enormous bang and clouds of smoke. “The action is intensified”, the text below reads, “by the use of electric chair”.

    Electricity is a constant theme, in fact:

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  • Oranges and Lemons

    14 March 2011 | by Holly Gramazio | 2 comments

    Apparently orange is fashionable this spring.

    Which is good! Because orange (or “coral rose”, as the official Pantone designation appparently has it) is great.

    And also bad! Because it completely ruins a game I’ve been idly enjoying over the past year.

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  • Review: Sound & Silents, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 11 March 2011

    13 March 2011 | by Alex Fleetwood | 0 comments

    (This is a response to a evening of of live music scores to silent film. The evening was produced as part of the Birds Eye View festival, which is directed by my wife, Rachel. You might be forgiven for wondering what such a post is doing on the Hide&Seek blog which is, you know, mostly about games, but hopefully I can explain that as I go along. Also, clearly, bias – AF)

    Birds Eye View is a festival that showcases the work of women film-makers from around the world. It was founded as a positive response to the statistic that only 7% of film directors are women. Part of the festival is a series of commissions for contemporary musicians to compose and perform new scores to silent films. The event on Friday featured a programme of immense depth and talent. The first half featured Micachu making unsettling scritches, wobbles and squeeps to Lottie Reiniger’s Hansel & Gretel; Seaming utilising her unbelievable range of skills in a rich and measured response to Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon; and Tara Busch going all-out with vocals and electronics to bring the wild anxiety of early thriller Suspense to life. All were marvellous.

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  • Games you play in the dark: Blindfolds

    11 March 2011 | by Holly Gramazio | 0 comments

    The title of this post is misleading – blindfold games aren’t games you play in the dark, pretty much by definition. If it was dark anyway, why would you bother putting a blindfold on someone?

    The point of blindfold games is the asymmetry. Blind Man’s Buff, and the mass of other “blind man” Victorian parlour games, all demand that a blindfolded player either catches, or else identifies, someone who can see. There’s an earlier pig-chasing game that was reported at some village fairs, where blindfolded players tried to catch a pig with bells on – and even in this case, where all the players are blindfold, the point of the game depends on some people being able to see; it’s not the sort of thing you’d play without spectators.

    The title of this post is misleading – blindfold games aren’t games you play in the dark, pretty much by definition. If it was dark anyway, why would you bother putting a blindfold on someone?

    The point of blindfold games is the asymmetry. Blind Man’s Buff, and the mass of other “blind man” Victorian parlour games, all demand that a blindfolded player either catches, or else identifies, someone who can see. There’s an earlier pig-chasing game that was reported at some village fairs, where blindfolded players tried to catch a pig with bells on – and even in this case, where all the players are blindfold, the point of the game depends on some people being able to see; it’s not the sort of thing you’d play without spectators.

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  • Games you play in the dark: Focus

    10 March 2011 | by Holly Gramazio | 1 comment

    A lot of in-the-dark games use the absence of visual cues to make sure players concentrate on something else: on sounds, typically, or sometimes touch. Somethin’ Else’s Papa Sangre is the recent, staggeringly successful example. Since it’s an iPhone game it’s not necessarily played in the literaldark, but players have no visual cues at all, and have only sound to respond to; which for a screen-based game is as meaningfully “in the dark” as it gets.

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  • Games you play in the dark: Secrets

    09 March 2011 | by Holly Gramazio | 0 comments

    The dark is great for hiding stuff and keeping it secret, and obviously there’s a big overlap between “games that use the dark to make things secret” and “games that use the dark to make things scary”. Touch Scary Things only works because the dark signals scariness and also conceals the fact that the scary things are toys, kiwifruit and socks. All the Oh No, Someone Might Totally Be Standing Right In Front Of You About To Do Something Alarming-style games, again, use the dark as a way to hide information, and the fact that the dark is scary is partly a result of the fact that that it keeps things secret.

    But the dark is also handy for hiding information independent of any desire to be scary. Waldschattenspiel, pictured above, is a board game where children hide tiny wooden “dwarves” behind boardgame trees, and an adult has to move a candle around to try to reveal them. You need a really dark room for this to work: generally, players report that the adult can see the dwarves a bit, and slightly pretends not to, in order to make the game work. But even when that’s the case, the darkness is still being used to hide information: the fact that the adult knows perfectly well where the dwarves are.

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  • Games you play in the dark: Fear

    08 March 2011 | by Holly Gramazio | 0 comments

    The standard play-in-the-dark game is a children’s game, probably [;ayed outdoors, probably involving a bit of giggling and creeping, probably called something like Ghost or Skeleton Murder or Mother, Mother, I’m Going To Die. The rules are usually pretty straightforward: try to do something easy, but, you know, in the dark. And they’re scary – scary to play, and with scary themes.

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  • Games you play in the dark: Anonymity

    07 March 2011 | by Holly Gramazio | 0 comments

    British Summer Time will be starting soon, and it’s making me think about the Animation Decathlon, a game from Quadratura that I was involved with near the end of March 2009. It was a rush to get it ready by then – really it’d have been better to leave it till April – but we needed to squeeze it in before BST began, because it had to happen while it was still dark in the middle evening. It was for the most trivial of reasons: the game used projections, and they don’t work in the light.

    Which is a bit odd. Usually, games are a thing you play in the light: if it’s too murky, you turn a lamp on so you can see the board better, or you adjust the contrast on the screen. There’s something different about games you play in the dark: stuff that needs projectors, Murder in the Dark, Somethin’ Else’s recent Papa Sangre, Waldschattenspiel.

    I’m not sure, yet, what the differences are; the nature of the specific affordances of the dark. What types of play does it makes possible that can’t be done in the light? In order to think about it in a bit more detail, I’m declaring it GAMES YOU PLAY IN THE DARK week on the Hide&Seek Blog: I’ll be going through five different types of emotion or gameplay that the dark allows, starting off today with anonymity, then running through fear, secrets, focus and shadows.

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  • Nikki Pugh’s Colony Prototype

    03 March 2011 | by Holly Gramazio | 1 comment

    On Tuesday I went to Birmingham, to try out a protoype of Nikki Pugh’s developing project Colony. This mostly involved walking around derelict warehouses and along the side of a trolley-clogged canal, occasionally carrying a great big roll of bubblewrap.

    It was pretty great.

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