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Tiny Games and the idea of facilitation

11/04/2013 09:17

There is an increasingly valid question emerging from the more experimental fringes of the interactive entertainment sector: what exactly is a video game? What are the essential components? And where does gaming meet simple social interaction – or even theatre? With experimental 'social gaming' projects such as Johann Sebastian Joust and physical interaction concepts like Bennett Foddy's climbing simulator, Mega Girp, the display is fading into the background, or even being removed altogether. So when does a video game become, well, a game?
London-based studio Hide&Seek has always pushed and prodded at this question. Its output has ranged from live urban gaming events to treasure hunts to Facebook titles, and it has won various awards in the process. It has also happily taken up interesting commercial and client projects, one of which, 99 Tiny Games, placed the rules for a series of playful social participations around London as part of the city's 2012 festival. Now the team has expanded that project – into what could be one the most interesting smartphone gaming concepts ever devised. That's as long as their Kickstarter campaign, which finishes on Friday, makes its target – which is a familiar refrain in today's games industry where increasing numbers of small studios are turning to crown funding sites for financial backing.
So okay, here's the concept. Tiny Games is essentially a huge collection of, erm, tiny games, provided on an iPhone app and designed to be played in a variety of social situations. They're not actually games as such, but rule systems, which facilitate play. So if you're in a pub, one game named Chip Stew challenges players to construct the most revolting dish possible out of words on the menu. Whoever comes up with the least appetising concept wins. "The 'baby' in 'baby carrots' lends all kinds of possibilities," says studio director Alex Fleetwood, as we chat about the project in the pub next to his office in Farringdon. "Salad with mashed baby, for example. But there are more cerebral games as well"

Source: https://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2013/apr/10/tiny-games-and-facilitation

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