CoLab: Urban Gaming

CoLab: Urban Gaming

In the summer of 2013, La MaMa’s CultureHub introduced CoLab, a series of intensive workshops focusing on a variety of art forms and creative technologies for young and emerging artists. Four modules were offered:

Module 1: Poetry, Beatmaking and Found Sounds Poetry and hip-hop sound engineering collided, exposing artists to myriad possibilities for fusing diverse lyrics, beats and recording styles. Through the course of the workshop the participants remixed self-produced and found sounds to create and represent their own flavor of recording.

Module 2: Motion and Animation In Motion and Animation, participants told stories using self-designed avatars. Mentored by a choreographer, master puppet maker, and animator, participants collaboratively created and debuted performances that showcased innovative animations, and shared their work online.

Module 3: Urban Gaming Giving young people a more active and physical alternative to pre-designed multiplayer games, Urban Gaming transformed everyday surroundings into an interactive experience. While participating in interactive play, budding game designers learned game theory, mechanics, and strategic design.

Module 4: kinect_hacks In kinect_hacks, artists reverse engineered the camera and motion sensor of the XBox Kinect in order to observe the world around them through a new lens. Participants designed sophisticated and intriguing visual experiences, joining the next generation of 3D and motion-capture artists.

Each of the four modules provided a unique and fun opportunity for young artists to connect, ideate, prototype, and pilot their own projects. Under the mentorship of a diverse team of professional artists and digital media technologists, participants learned to create and innovate in a dynamic, hands-on environment, engaging in the creative process from inception to execution.

The Urban Gaming module was taught by Josephine Dorado & Becky Heritage. The participants in the Urban Gaming module got a taste of what it was like to be a game designer by creating games that utilized the urban environment as the playing field, so the the city, in effect, became the board game. We used a platform called 7Scenes to create games that took place in the surrounding neighborhood, and marked points on the a map where key moments of gameplay occurred. Some of our gamers choose to map imaginary events to a real urban space, such as this Silence of the Meepers game:

7Scenes: COLAB games

Some created games from real, historical events and locations from the past, like this one showing the history of land and cityscape of lower Manhattan:

7Scenes: History of Lower Manhattan game

We also explored other forms of game development that reference gameplay in a more classic way. Craftyy is a browser-based game program. You can code a game from scratch, or you can remix a version of another game, like this Adventure Time-inspired game which is very similar to Angry Birds:

Craftyy game creation

Another program we explored is called GameSalad, and we remixed an arcade game. GameSalad is also free, and you can download and remix classic arcade games, or create something completely original. Who recognizes what game is being remixed in the image below?

Game Salad - game creation

These days, both game design and games, are much more accessible, and with so many DIY (Do-It-Yourself) platforms available, you can be both designer and player all at once.

June-July 2013