Tate Trumps is an iOS application which transforms the Tate Modern’s permanent collection into a game. Players are invited to form teams and decide whether they want to experience the gallery in Battle mode, Mood mode or Collector mode. Battle mode challenges players to respond to the physical presence of artworks as they imagine what would happen if they came alive and attacked each other. Mood mode encourages a more contemplative approach, asking players to seek out artworks they think feel particularly exhilarating, menacing or absurd. Collector mode gives players the opportunity to construct their own art gallery, learning about the history and curatorial challenges of housing certain works. Once players have chosen the artworks they think will bring them victory in their chosen mode, they meet up and play out a fast, dynamic card game to discover who has found the best examples from the collection.
Taking advantage of the elegant interface and networking capabilities of the iPhone, the game ensures that players are free to explore and respond directly to artworks throughout the gallery, rather than being focused on their screens. The social element is also crucial, drawing on Hide&Seek’s expertise in using live games to rethink public and cultural spaces.
In January 2012, we added Anywhere Mode to Tate Trumps. This new gameplay mode lets players play Tate Trumps wherever they are – not just in the Tate Modern gallery itself. In Anywhere Mode, players pick works from the virtual gallery wall, and pit them against two other players – human or computerised. Both “Anywhere” and “Gallery” mode are included in the same app.