games and things

I'm a game designer. I run Matheson Marcault with Sophie Sampson - we're a new company making games that engage with history, physicality and public space. 

Most of my work is over at the Matheson Marcault website, but there are some personal projects here.

Call for games and game designers...

PLEASE NOTE: This call has now closed! 

On 3 July 2015, Wellcome Collection in London will be open late for a ‘Friday Spectacular’ themed around play, which I’ve been commissioned to curate. We’re hoping to show games and playable work that lets people experience a wide range of different types of play, and invites them to reflect on the role of play. We’re particularly looking for things that are: 

  • quick to play – ideally not much longer than 5 minutes, and definitely not longer than 15
  • quick to grasp – people shouldn’t have to spend more than a minute understanding the rules
  • fun to watch as well as play
  • cover a lot of different types of game - digital, physical, board game, games about wandering around the museum, all sorts

The night is intended to feel fun, open, welcoming, a little like a carnival and a little like an interactive exhibition.  We’re expecting around 1500 people to show up. 

We're currently looking for work to show at the night. If you think you might like to be involved, there are a couple of possible routes. One is to send us details of a game you've made that you think might fit into the event – something short and relatively easy to get into that relates to themes around play. Another is to apply for a mini-residency, where you hang out at Wellcome Collection and create a game especially for the night.

The deadline for applying for either of these is 6pm, Wednesday 22 April (BST) - more details are below, and the application process should take less than 10 minutes.

 

WELLCOME COLLECTION BACKGROUND

Wellcome Collection, a public venue opened in June 2007, takes a thoughtful and experimental look at what connects medicine, life and art, rooting science in the broad context of health and wellbeing. It is the free destination for the incurably curious.

Wellcome Collection events and exhibitions aspire to be inspiring, challenging and thought-provoking.

In August 2013 Wellcome Collection embarked on a major development project to transform  into a bigger and bolder venue. They’ve now opened up more areas to the public, created stronger links to their library, opened a new gallery, a new studio, an interdisciplinary research hub and installed a dramatic new spiral staircase to connect all of the new spaces.

For further information, visit their website.

 

EXISTING GAMES

We'll be selecting 10 to 12 existing games (and other playful works) that articulate ideas around play. We’ll be choosing them with the aim that people who attend will leave the night with a sense of the role of play, different types of play, and how we can relate to ourselves, our bodies and our physical surroundings through play.

We want to include a wide range of work that connects to the theme in different ways, which might be…

  • Games that address themes relating to play e.g. psychological and/or evolutionary theories behind why we play; cultural concepts of what play and leisure is; sport; child versus adult play; animal play; the darker side of play, social aspects of play; role play; the history of play/playtime/games/toys; the relationship between play and health; creativity and play; exploration; gender and play; word play
  • Games where you can change the rules as you play
  • Games that give players a relatively pure experience of one type of play – there’s just one thing you have to understand to play, and then you try to do that thing
  • Games that use play to explore unusual themes through simple mechanics
  • Playable things that you wouldn’t necessarily consider to be games 
  • Playful objects
  • Games where there’s a role for people watching the players
  • Games that relate to the spaces they take place in
  • Activities relating to play in museums, or play for public health
  • Something else entirely

We’re NOT interested in:

  • Games about the conventions of games – eg satires of levelling up systems
  • Games whose only connection to the theme of play is that you – well – play them

What we can provide

We'll pay a small exhibition fee of £50 to show your game if it's selected, and if you're able to attend the night to help to run your game and talk about it to visitors, we'll pay an additional fee of £75.

We’ll have some computers, tables, speakers and so on, and a limited number of facilitators who can help to run games.

We’re also expecting to include a couple of games that require a small production budget for props or performers, so if you have a game that fits this description, just let us know about what the requirements would be. 

How to apply

If you're interested in submitting a game to be shown, please fill in the form here before 6pm 22 April 2015. We'll get back to you by 19 May.

 

MINI-RESIDENCIES

We're also looking for 3-4 game designers for a mini-residency. This will mean hanging out at Wellcome Collection for half a day and exploring the spaces then using this to inspire a game that you'll make to run on the night itself. You can make any sort of game - digital, physical, performative, whatever, anything that works in the context of the late opening. We'll work with you to figure out something you want to make that fits into the space and the night's themes and atmosphere, then you'll make the game and come run it on the night.

This project is for designers to create solo projects (rather than to collaborate with the other designers), but ideally we'll find an initial half-day where we can explore the collection and the spaces together.

What we can provide

We'll pay a fee of £750. There's also a small amount of additional funding available for production costs as-needed (props, equipment hire, etc).

I'll work with all designers throughout to make sure we end up with pieces that make sense in the context of the night and don't overlap too much with each other, that we're presenting each game to its best advantage, that everything's been playtested, etc. Designers of course retain full ownership of their games, though we ask that they aren't made publicly available until after 3 July.

How to apply:

If you'd like to be involved, please fill in this Google form before 6pm 22 April, BST. 

At this stage we don't expect you to have a full idea – we're looking for people rather than proposals. The form should only take 5-10 minutes to complete: we just want to get an idea of why you're interested in making something at Wellcome Collection, and one or two games you've made before. We'll get back to you by 29 April.