All Blogposts tagged as 'the dark'

  • 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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