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Sam Hill

8th August 2011

Playmakers is a film on immersive gaming – a collaborative project between Hide & Seek, NESTA and ThinkPublic.

It features a good range of speakers from the sector and contains some interesting insights. It also demonstrates (in a surprisingly frank way) the ad hoc and experimental nature of immersive game development, illustrating why it’s important to remember the KISS principle when orchestrating events that are designed to be engaging and fun.

Some of the other difficulties and objectives of experiential events are outlined – the need to avoid esoterism, the importance of having objectives and narrative seamlessly work together and the psychology of keeping players immersed. Interesting parallels are drawn throughout to other social activities that “share DNA” – protests, carnivals, parkour and theatre. Obviously, theatre is a biggy. Computer games are slightly conspicuous in their exclusion.

An interesting idea is presented near the beginning of the film [01:50] by Hide & Seek’s Alex Fleetwood. He appears to be describing the four quadrants of their interest. Here it is visualised:

It’s a really nice territory for enquiry. What’s more, Alex’s criteria reveal a robust set of parameters when extrapolated:

Immersive gaming incorporates a dedicated core of researchers and creative thinkers. The industry seems to be gaining plenty of momentum and makes an excellent case study for the development of a broader experience culture. A lot can be learned from a decade of keenly analysed experiential events and the potential within the sector remains huge and continuously changing.