Casting my net a little further – writing, art and e-motion

PlayTime: PerplexCity & Oldton

More from PlayTime, London Games Fringe Festival, 4/10/06

Dan Hon of Mind Candy

Dan Hon introduced us to alternative reality game Perplex City, which seems to be a 360 degree kind of game. There are a number of interactive routes into Perplex City, a world of ‘puzzles, mystery and intrigue’. You can play online or as a board game, you can collect the puzzle cards, buy other products, attend live events, listen to podcasts, receive emails, join the community… Mind Candy seem to have all bases covered, and the options could be bewildering, so what pulls it all together?

A real cash prize of £100,000! It’s a treasure hunt and the search is on for the big prize, a lost cube.

They got the idea from Kit Williams’ Masquerade, an armchair treasure hunt book published in 1979, and also the general love of puzzles as exemplified by the popularity of phenomena such as sudoko, crosswords, computer games such as Myst, and The Da Vinci Code…

Mind Candy say there’s a 50:50 ratio of male and female players across a broad age range from children to older people. A team of 5 to 7 writers, led by Naomi Waldeman, keeps the game going, but what’s interesting is the way the players themselves contribute to and so enrich the gaming experience. For example, quite independently of the game creators, a number of players scanned their map puzzle cards to create a complete map of Perplex City that they mashed up and annotated with Google maps.

Tim Wright’s In Search of Oldton

Players collaborating to create a map of fictitional town is also a defining feature of Tim’s new media work In Search of Oldton, a 90% true story, which also led to a pack of playing cards. The difference here is that the map was created by people contributing ‘memories’ of the fictional town of Oldton to Tim’s blog. Everytime a contributor mentioned a feature or place in the town, Tim added it to the map.

At PlayTime Tim said, ‘The online writer needs to be ahead of the game. You don’t know whether your players/contributors are going to collude with you or sabotage your game – but that’s all part of it.’


27 November 2006 - Posted by | Play

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