On Tuesday, March 24, Trust in Play hosted an online game jam to keep our creative juices running, get together and explore how to make the best out of some of the new realities of Coronaworld.
Around 25 participants connected via zoom, formed teams to work in smaller groups, assembling at the half way point and at the end of the jam to playtest and discuss the developed formats.
We were very happy to welcome a lovely mixed group of trainees, independent participants from the training week and some completely new guests that dropped in.
Most of the developed formats explored how to make use of the grid interface that comes with video conferencing tools like zoom or jitsi.
During the final playtest, we played a poetic indoor psychogeography game where players gave each other simple personal tasks that everyone performed in parallel in the grid; a sneaky/goofy performative dancing game about figuring out who is dancing to the same tune as you are; and an experiment in using Live-Action Roleplaying in a teleconferencing setting.
You can find detailed instructions for the pyschogeography game and the LARP on the itchio page for the jam. The dancing game was based off of an existing little mobile dancing game by Simon Johnson that you can find here.
Learnings for the next Quarantine Jam:
- Even though everyone was apart, the basic dynamics, struggles, joys of game jamming were still surprisingly recognisable. This was totally a game jam!
- But being on zoom with 25 people for around 8 hours gets very tiring – make sure to add enough long breaks and moments where you work away from the screen!
- Sadly participants cannot move freely between break out rooms in zoom and need to be allocated by the hosts – we need a different setup for next time – perhaps a combination of zoom and jitsi.
- Understandably, all of the games developed reacted in some way to the telefoncerencing setup. Once people are more used to this, it will be interesting to focus on ways of playing with other parts of reality, for example by working on other ways to engage with the indoor spaces and the people that are there, or by making use of the outdoors inside the given limitations that vary from place to place
As a school, we are planning to continue with these types online experiments, highlighting the creative and social resillience that are strong in our community and in the wider urban play field.
At the same time, we feel it is important to resist a full “virtualisation” of all activities – and make use of all available tools to continue to push for a world that allows for embodied, physical, diverse forms of participation in the shared spaces we inhabit.
Big thanks to everyone who took part in the jam!