My brothers and I are in the process of developing a concept that we hope to bring to a festival in Australia next year. Given that between us, we have a game designer, a videographer and graphic designer, and a playwright and dramaturge, we thought we might be able to come up with an interesting concept based around play in public spaces.

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Day 42: Festival Games

When participants arrive at the festival, there are given a coloured wristband, which identifies them as being on one of two teams. Apart from this, the players are given no other instructions. However, around the festival there are scattered signs which describe various activities that can be performed, such as lying down on the ground with three other people at the same time, or getting a piggyback from a stranger. Without knowing it, if a person completes one of these tasks, their team will gain points. These are displayed in real time on screens around the festival, so players might be able to work out that performing these tasks is good for their team if they are paying attention.

The activities are meant to embrace the analogue, the physical world, and to provide people a way to experience their surroundings in new and surprising ways. At regular time intervals, we are hoping that the screens can announce that a certain team (who is leading at the time) has won a reward, and that the first 15 people or so who arrive at a particular place can enjoy a secret show, or some other experience. It could even work that other acts in the festival could reference the winning team in their works, or interact with the teams in different ways, depending on their current standing in the ‘competition’.

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While this is not quite fully fleshed out, we are hoping to grow the idea and see what real live audiences might make of an immersive experience like this one. In any case, I for one am interested in seeing how far you can stretch the concept of play into ordinary life, and to see how ordinary participants feel about such an idea. Would you like to be part of something like this, or would you improve it in some way?