A fast update from Playful 2012


I was lucky enough to go to Playful 2012 on Friday with fellow PHD’ers @anjali28, @aboycalledsu, @Dukes4 and one Rocketeer, @Andrewscrym

There was lots of good stuff, possibly too much to capture in one post. But here are a few immediate takeaways from the day that stood out for me:

–          Mark Sorrell (follow his blog if you don’t already) hinted at the evolution of gaming – computer-mediated gaming – where digital games platforms help to mediate physical games we all play together, where screens are not the focus of our attention. Examples are games like Frobisher Says for the PS Vita or B.U.T.T.O.N, a more indie hack of Xbox.

–          Anab Jain of Superflux showed us the power of using the fantastical to realise or explore what might happen in the future, using future-scaping techniques. Though predicting the future is fraught with difficulty, there is real value in imagining what it could be through play and fantasy. Playful visions of the future are powerful – although fantastical they help us grasp what the future could be like.

–          In a similar vein, Einar Sneve Martinussen railed against an ‘everyday life deficiency’ in the way the future of technology is often portrayed, which ignores how technologies might actually be appropriate by users in daily life – not just European businessmen. They have used playful ideas to show what technology looks like in our everyday lives, even if we can’t see it. A really useful reference point for any tech brand that needs to show in compelling ways how ‘invisible’ tech actually helps people in daily life – NFC springs to mind.

–          Hannah Donovan of This Is My Jam made us all nostalgic for Myspace pages as areas for creative self-expression, arguing that there is a space for digital craft – areas where we can encourage users to play and create within frameworks, something that has arguably been lost with the Facebook revolution. But there are platforms like About.me and New Hive that are starting to do this.

–          Media Molecule are making what looks like an awesome new game for the PS Vita.

–          Bennett Foddy made a compelling argument for the value of pain and frustration in game design. Play his games here and see if you agree…

–          Digits to Widgets seems to be the go-to place for 3D printing and rendering in London.

–          Foundry is a great digital incubation initiative from Mint Digital. Megaprops to them for putting their money where their mouth is and getting new projects/inventions off the ground. I wish more agencies did this. Dough Globe is this year’s project, slightly humbling this was made in 3 weeks by 4 grads.

–          ‘Gamifornication’ is generally a load of over-hyped tosh, but Brainjuicer are doing really interesting things with using games to make market research more lifelike, overcoming the many systematic problems with survey research and attempts to accurately measure perceptual data of brands when we simply don’t really think about our brand choices that hard in real life.

See you next year…

–          Mark W. Holden, Digital Strategist, twitter.com/@holdenmw



  1. Pingback: Some Thanks, URLS & SEE YOU NEXT YEAR | Playful

  2. Pingback: Playful 2012 | MemeMe

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