Drinking About Museums: Boston January, February and March. Oh my!

I’ve been remiss in keeping up with all the good socializing and networking going on.  So here’s three months of updates.
January (courtesy of Jenn Schmitt)
We gathered at he Toursphere offices (thanks for hosting!) for an hour-long Gaming Workshop run by Green Door Labs’ Kellian Adams and Marleigh Norton.  Participants learned about what makes a game fun or not fun by inventing our own games.
Kellian ran the workshop starting with about 6 different games.  We played in teams of 3 shifting games every 5 minutes.  While playing we wrote down things we liked on pink post-its and things we didn’t like on blue ones.  After three or four game switches, we took all the post-its and  lumped the pink together, building strings of similar comments, and same with the blue to see what common themes emerged.

Things that make a game fun:

  • Early success, low barriers to entry
  • Collaborative effort
  • Tactile qualities
  • Puzzles – challenging but not impossible
  • Different levels for different ages

Things that make games not fun:

  • So many instructions that you can’t start right away
  • One game got the comment “Less fun than traffic” because it was too hard from the start with too many directions.
  • Get frustrated, feel stupid

From there we were give index cards in different categories – client, goal, resources, restrictions and wild cards.  Our teams of three had 15 minutes to create a game that satisfied the requirements on the cards.

Our team started off slow.  We had a large corporate client with a product to sell, who wanted to reach athletic college students, and must include dancing and deer, we created “Don’t scare the deer”.  At college football game tailgate parties we decided Budweiser would want to engage this audience in a fun activity.   Using sensor pads like Dance Dance Revolution you would have 2 people trying to perform dances, if you did well you could get close to a deer (on a digital flatscreen in front of you).  If you did poorly, you would scare the deer.  The closer to the deer, the more points.

Another team had the challenges of a non-profit fund raiser needed a game for their big event.  They had lots of interns and a good staff support.  Thus was born “Robo-Zoni”.  On the Frog Pond in Boston, mini-zamboni robots would compete on an obstacle course.  Teams would pay to enter, each mini-zamboni would leave a colored trail behind so you could see the path for each team.  The prize would be a ride on a real zamboni.

All this took about 90 minutes and I think everyone took something fun away from the workshop.  Gaming doesn’t have to be expensive, hard, or high tech.  Just take the parameters that exist and find a way to have fun with them.
And on that note we adjourned to drink and nosh and generally enjoy excellent company. Proof follows:
Things that work to make a game fun
Things that work to make a game fun
Reviewing game ideas
Reviewing game ideas
Don't scare the deer.
Don’t scare the deer.
Am I bitter that I had the flu and missed all this great fun? No, not much. Well, maybe a little. Grr….
At the beginning of the month, our local maker space, Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville hosted a workshop on making a maker space, starring Dale Dougherty and other Maker luminaries.  Liz Neeley and Miriam Langer were both in town for the event, so we had an impromptu Drinking About Museums in their honor.   We started out at the Asgard in Central Square, until the band started warming up, and then moved to the quieter confines of the Field.
Dinner beforehand.
Dinner beforehand.
When the band plunked this down next to Liz' chair, we knew it was time to leave.
When the band plunked this down next to Liz’ chair, we knew it was time to leave.
Later this month…
Our regular Drinking About Museums is scheduled for February 28th. It’ll be simple and social. We’ll meet at Cambridge Brewing Company at 5:30pm til whenever.  If you’re around, you should come!
We’re hoping to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in March. If you haven’t yet seen their new addition, you should!
Looking ahead
But wait, there’s more! Potential future guests include Sharna Jackson from the Tate (April) and Regan Forrest (August)! Woot!

One comment

  1. I can imagine college students having a blast trying not to scare the deer while they dance! It sounds like a game about anything can be fun, as long as you keep the user experience in mind and make it the right level of challenging.


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