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.