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Great Street Games
Great Street Games

Speaking of augmented game spaces, here is an interesting interactive installation set to come online at the end of the month in three UK cities. Created by KMA, Great Street Games [dead link] will be a “huge, participatory, high-tech athletics tournament” in which participants in Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough compete against each other virtually in real-time using the city as platform.

KMA will use projected light and thermal-imaging technology to create interactive 'courts' in which human movement triggers light effects. The physical movements of players determine the outcome the games, which will run on ten-minute cycles. Participants develop their game-playing skills as they progress through a number of levels to help their area to victory or to simply have fun.

The parameters of this urban sport are described thus:

The ‘courts’ created by projected light; each court comprising a central playing area and two zones representing the other two locations. Balls of light appear from the centre of each court – these projected images can be moved by players physically ‘touching’ them. The aim of the first game is for each location to gain points by moving as many balls as possible to the other locations. Games last 90 seconds and 5 games make a series – through which the games increase in complexity as players become more familiar with the rules. The town or city with the most points at the end wins.

It reminds one of the telepresent urban spaces of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

Great Street Games

You're walking home alone one night through pedestrian unfriendly, darkly lit corridors. All of a sudden, you trigger a sensor and projectors spray the pavement with technicolor lights. Ebullient geometries seemingly float above the asphalt.

“Wanna play,” a disembodied voice rings out from a speaker.

“Umm, sure,” you instinctively respond, even if you don't how to play what is to be played. “I'll learn along the way,” you say to yourself.

And then it's hours later; the sun is about to rise and wash out the lights. The two of you promise to return the following night (tonight, actually) to continue the game, with friends to make it a team competition. It'll be Chicago vs. Manchester.

“Is this some sort of a next generation MMORPG game?” you wonder.

A week or two later, you find out on Twitter that there are other similar game spaces installed throughout the city, but their locations are a secret. There's no iPhone app for it yet. So you set on a walkabout, hoping that you might again trigger a sensor.

  • The Straight Torquer
  • October 22, 2009 at 10:56:00 AM CDT
  • I love this idea. I think it's part of a new movement in video gaming that is starting to insert the virtual environment into the space of the actual world. Another example is a game on my gps enabled smartphone called "zombie run!" in which you run through the actual city while watching little red dots on your phone's satellite map. If the red dot catches your location on the screen, you die. So you have to keep running in the real world in order to update the gps image on the device to stay away from the red dots and stay alive.

  • Anonymous
  • October 28, 2009 at 7:40:00 AM CDT
  • Think this is a great innitative - just wish I was anywhere nearby to try it out.

    Think AR has potential to go beyond gaming - in how the public can interact with anything from public spaces, shops or even brands.

    The 2012 organising committe should be thinking about how this can be incorporated!

    - Luke -

  • Anonymous
  • October 28, 2009 at 12:44:00 PM CDT
  • see

    the game was being tested last night - launches tomorrow

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