A film by Ivo Gormley

Playmakers from thinkpublic on Vimeo.

Playmakers is a groundbreaking documentary about the emerging phenomenon of Pervasive games. Over the last 50 years play has become an increasingly private activity. Now it is bursting back onto our streets. The film features those at the forefront of the pervasive games movement, it includes games designers such as Blast Theory's Matt Adams and Claire Reddington from the Pervasive Media Studio alongside technology heavyweights such as Howard Rheingold and anthropologist Mike Wesch.

Existing on the boundaries of art, games design, theatre and technology pervasive games take many forms - creep through the streets at night tracking down your enemies, hide stashes of treasure, report on the shoddy practices of rival news teams or collapse with laughter with a surrealist version of trivial pursuit. The film explores the implications of reclaiming play into the public domain and shows the possibilities offered by new technologies.

The project was initiated in March 2009, when film-maker Ivo Gormley of thinkpublic and gamemakers Hide&Seek were challenged by NESTA to explore and document new forms of play. Hide&Seek developed a brand new pervasive game, which was playtested over a series of events devoted to new pervasive games. The film follows the progress of Alex Fleetwood and Holly Gramazio as they grapple with the challenge of creating a new game.

Ivo Gormley, director of the film said: “Play has become something quite private over the past few decades. Playmakers is about reclaiming play into the public domain. We need to play, and we naturally want to interact playfully with other people. There are very few ways of doing this at the moment. What this film documents is an important and emerging scene that will reach the mainstream very soon.”

Producer Matan Rochlitz explains that 'the film takes a look at ways in which games can help us take ownership of public space and change the rules with which we operate in the city. It features a game of capture the flag, played in the busy streets around Brick Lane in London. It explores the tensions of trying to ‘change the operating system’ of public space.'

Read below for rules to Scoop - the game which had it's debut in Playmakers:
  • Scoop! is a game for 3 teams of 15 players. It takes about 90 minutes to play. Each team is a rival tv news crew. The Red Team are radical lefties. The Blue Team are staunch conservatives. The Yellow Team are tabloid muck-rakers. Each team has a digital camera, a bag of props & costumes, a mobile phone, two walkie-talkies, and a tip-sheet, and an impossible deadline…
  • The game begins with the presentation of the rules and the tip-sheet – a list of stories that the teams will have to cover. There are two important principles to absorb: If you can’t make the news, fake the news – it’s a cut-throat rolling 24-hr news environment. The story must be got at any cost, even if you have to make it up. Shoddy working practices make great news stories – if you can film your opponents doing anything, that’s a bonus for you and a penalty for them.
  • In addition to the stories on the tipsheet, there are two politicians (one Red, one Blue) out there giving speeches and kissing babies; capture them on camera for bonus points! Once the teams are ready, they start recording on their cameras simultaneously. There are two rounds of filming. After each round, teams return to base and watch the films they have just shot in a live 3-screen presentation, during which their news reports are scored.
Get involved, book your place to play Hide&Seek's new game here