Projects 2008 > Swarm > Journal
We've been testing our latest game 'The comfort of Strangers' over the last few weeks, with greater and lesser success. We played a great couple of games in broadmead today. There were only six of us playing so we didn't reach the swarm levels we aim for with the game, but as a proof of principal the game was a great success. The most fun was had when we headed indoors to the galleries shopping center. The game made traveling by lift or escalator a thrill. There was a feeling of secrecy, of being hidden in the crowd. There was also the curious experience of silence. OK, broadmead on a Saturday was not silent, but the game acts as a kind of 6th sense. It endows you with the mysterious ability to aurally detect people at a distance. This aural adaptation was the focus of my attention in the galleries today. As the contact is intermittent, the game voice (Jenny Agutter) only pipes up from time to time, leaving the focus of your attention on a kind of silent space of expectation.
I tend to avoid broadmead generally at these busy times. But today these random strangers born of this city did indeed bring me comfort. Today I relished the throng of the crown, the bottleneck at the lift, the gaggle of teenagers and the prams wheedled like charriots. Infact I got to enjoy them all twice. When I got back to the lab, I got to read the bluetooth logs with lists of all the devices encountered during the game, players and non-players. Here are some of the device names that frequently crossed my path: "asbo", "monks babe", "pronged fork", "Iwonka", "MRS Willy", "numba1hustle", "Whats This?", "Am so fly. . .", "Ports", "G@Y", "DeadPoetic" and " k800i". There were more a lot more in fact there were so many that the bluetooth struggled to keep track of them all and connection to others came in bursts(not very good for the game…). There are a couple of alternate technologies we might use for the game to get over some of the drawbacks presented by bluetooth. We will in all likelihood abandon bluetooth now. But in terms of immersion in a cultural soup bluetooth is a winner.
heres a vid