Game Play the Daily Way

by rebecca

Coming up next weekend is the presentation of a new project we have been working on since June of last summer: a large scale outdoor game, open for play over the course of three days leading up to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. Score!

The site for the game is a wide open parking lot in front of an office tower. The ground thus became the playing field and the building became the scoreboard.

Our exploration into the theory of game play and its relationship to human interaction began by understanding its many components: evolving strategies, playing time, level changes, points and penalties. We quickly came to realize that even seemingly simple games are complex inventions.

Our first objective was to design a game environment that could engage people physically and strategically, ensuring that both body and mind would have to work together to achieve success; we looked to games like Twister and Whack-a-mole for inspiration. We wanted the game to be fun and accessible for both hardcore players and casual passersby.

The game design resulted in a grid of light dots that players could run around and flip to gain points (and stay warm!), which would then be reflected by illuminated window patterns on the building.

An interesting challenge was how to guide players from individual exploration of the game towards a scenario where they would need to work together in order to succeed. Studying the main event—the Super Bowl—we also started to question the relationship between competition and collaboration. How could we create opportunities for teamwork amongst the players while still providing the thrill of a little friendly competition?

Since we wanted the rules to evolve throughout the game we decided to introduce an announcer—a voice that could act as coach, referee and cheerleader all at once. In an exercise of voice-directed play we fine-tuned the word count, tone of voice and level of complexity to achieve the right balance between entertaining commentary and information—ultimately leading players through warm up, collaboration, competition, and celebration!

We recently set up a full scale prototype to test our theories, here is a preview:

The Daily team headed to Minneapolis is excited to brave the cold to start the game setup on-site!

Get ready to play, see you there!