Searchlight is a co-operative, physical game for two players, created for the Hide&Seek Weekender 2012. Though it’s a physical game, played with wooden blocks and balls, it’s facilitated through technology: a Kinect and a projector, connected to a computer.
Two players work together to pick up objects that have been placed around the floor, and move them away from the central, lit area. A beam of light is projected onto the floor and objects, and players have to avoid the light or freeze when it hits them. Those who collect all the objects before time runs out win; but those who aren’t careful get caught moving by the searchlight and lose.
Searchlight was designed to be fun for children playing with their parents, but also has enough strategy and challenge to provide deep appeal for experienced adult players. The rules are easy to grasp – don’t get caught moving by the light – so children as young as four and five can easily pick up the basics. Skilled players can come back time and again to beat their (and other players’) times, developing strategies about when to freeze and when to run, which blocks to pick up first, and how to shave seconds off their result.
The game builds upon the work in The Building Is…, exploring the role of technology within real-world and pervasive games, and in particular, how to keep such games entertaining without making them about the technology itself.