Workshop at PDC16 in Denmark this August

pdc2016-logoGoing to PDC16?  Come and learn with us!  In this half-day learning workshop, you’ll get to prototype with our “game toolkit” on hybrid games, connecting urban furniture to digital flows of communication.  (We’ll also be presenting in a related session on Designing in “Constellations” on Thursday.)

>> Spread the word: Tweet about this workshop and mention the conference Twitter or conference Facebook.  See also our Twitter account.


Hybrid games for stronger neighborhoods: testing new tools to connect residents, art, and sense of place

Led by Benjamin Stokes (American University and co-founder of Games for Change), Karl Baumann (University of Southern California) and François Bar (also of USC).


This half-day “learning workshop” will prototype and advance theory around the participatory design of hybrid games. In contrast to screen-centered games, our game platform makes it easier to repurpose ordinary urban objects – from aging payphones to experimental bus stop displays. Based on three years of experience in South Los Angeles with the Leimert Phone Company, our methods for Participatory Design (PD) combine low and high-tech to leverage local culture.

Key workshop features:

  • The resulting games are hybrids, where the action is alternately woven across the digital and physical.
  • Successful hybrid games offer meaningful choices to players that are immediate and connected to real life, from introducing neighbors (building the social fabric), to photographing street art (documenting local culture), buying from a local business (shifting the economy), and revealing local history.
  • Hidden in each design is a set of technologies (e.g., see some of our hardware) that bridge communication networks, including cell phone SMS and Raspberry Pi computers hidden inside payphones.

Who should register?

  • Requires no technology skills, since the platform seeks to maximize participation in the design process. Participants’ own knowledge of cities and important cultural neighborhoods will be used to create 2-3 semi-functional games.

>> For full details, see our official workshop proposal (a two-page PDF).

Questions? Please feel encouraged to share any ideas, concerns or questions with the three authors as linked above.  To register for the workshop, see the conference website.

See also:

  • Our first game with the system, Sankofa Says, was an official selection at IndieCade 2014 – a leading festival for independent games.
  • Sankofa Red is the most famous rebuilt payphone of the Leimert Phone Company.  Recently it was featured in an art show called SKIN.