10 Ideas To Turn Cities Into Playable Games

10 Ideas To Turn Cities Into Playable Games

The first 'Playable City' competition has a shortlist of 10 innovative ideas that will ‘gamify’ Bristol, UK.

Emma Hutchings
  • 17 december 2012

The Watershed, a cultural cinema and digital creativity center in Bristol, UK, has announced the ten shortlisted ideas for its first Playable City award. These aim to turn the city into a game-like environment for residents and visitors. Wired reports that the winning idea (judged by musician Imogen Heap, Tom Uglow from Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney, and Claire Doherty of the art organisation Situations) will be installed in Bristol and its creator will receive £30,000.

Check out the 10 shortlisted ideas below:

‘The Arc Project’ is a series of 3D photo booths that scan people or objects to create models, and then upload them to an augmented reality landscape of the location, which can then be viewed at iPad stations.

These Ideas Turn The City Into A Playable Game

‘Hello Lamp Post!’ is an idea which ‘awakens’ lamp posts, bus stops, post boxes, fire hydrants and more around the city and lets people have conversations with them via text messages. These are posted online and a radio-like interface allows users to “tune” into the various objects around the city to see what they’re saying.

These Ideas Turn The City Into A Playable Game

‘Jolly Brolly Mystery’ is a murder mystery where you use an umbrella as your game assistant. The ‘Jolly Brolly’ features GPS that lets you collect points as you check into different zones, which you can use to buy clues and work out who the murderer is.

‘The Balloon-ometer’ is a colossal crowd-controlled device that uses microphones, balloons and fans to create an engaging spectacle both day and night. Players move the balloon using fans which are controlled via a variety of technologies to enable as wide audience engagement as possible.

‘Cast’ is an ambitious, site-specific, city-centre pavilion, where the form of the structure’s cladding is created from 3D scans of items provided by the public, each of which will represent their own personal relationship with the city.

‘The City You Dreamed Of’ is An open invitation to play, build your dream city, knock it down, and then build it again. Colour it in, move it around, inscribe it with your undying love and share your dreams with the person next to you.

‘Interactive Album’ is a hybrid between light installation, musical performance and generative interface. The “album” consists of eight “tracks” installed in a series of spaces throughout the city. On entering each space, the audience discovers an environment inhabited by music and projected visuals. By stepping into various trigger areas, separate audio-visual elements can be played individually and can also be combined to create a fuller arrangement. As the installation is explored the “track” evolves and builds in a similar way to a piece of dance music.

‘Playscape’ is a network of lightweight, robust digital screens situated around Bristol, acting as a source of many different types of interaction with the city. The aim is to broadcast simple game rule sets – invitations for social play – to passers-by. The rule sets are for games to play right there and then, with no special equipment or preparation, tailored to the affordances of the space where they appear.

‘Robot Runners’ is a game that you play in the real world while your robot clone traces out your path nearby. It combines electronics, geo-location technology and human interaction to create a truly original fun and engaging game.

‘Sing a Little Song’ is designed to bring a new form of birdsong to the city, guided and controlled by online interactions. Eight ‘digital songbirds’ will be built and placed around the city – these small boxes will connect wirelessly to the internet and contain a microcontroller and speaker system for playing simple melodies.

Playable City


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