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Posted on Tue 8 Aug 2017


Free Ice Cream have re-launched IGLAB in order to give designers and audiences a place to test, play and develop new real-world games.



The Interesting Games Lab IGLAB is a place to test and play new games. especially games that are played in the real world rather than via a console or screen, that are social, fun, and possibly absurd.

IGLAB 01 happened! The first event in a series of six at the Pervasive Media Studio had an incredible turnout of around 50 participants not including the many helpers.

Free Ice Cream have re-launched IGLAB in order to give designers and audiences a place to test, play and develop new real-world games. Now that IGLAB is back on the map there's no better time to tell the story of IGLAB for those of you that missed it the first time around. 


In the early days of the Pervasive Media Studio Simon Johnson had just come from working for Blast Theory. As the studio gathered its first residents, Simon was talking a lot about the need for a testing ground for new types of real-world games. As one could expect of the Pervasive Media Studio, he was met with widespread enthusiasm, so the idea rapidly became a reality and the world’s first ‘pervasive games' testing lab was born. The idea was to popularise this form of games and to encourage experimentation in other artists and designers. 

At IGLAB new technologies were utilised to create novel experiences, but a lot was also made from card and gaffer tape. Rapid prototyping and fast iteration was the order of the day. The monthly games event offered the community of designers a chance to hone their skills, and the space to figure out what works - and what doesn’t. 

A quick round of I Am The Weather warmed everyone up before a mass decampment to the old town for Give Us A Smile Love, made by Rosie Poebright (Splash & Ripple). This game responded to our 'Whose Rules: A Feminist Approach to Play' theme, addressing catcalling and general street intimidation by giving those usually at the receiving end the chance to turn the tables. Loosely inspired by Naomi Alderman's excellent novel 'The Power', Rosie tested the limits of people's willingness to be vulnerable (or to take advantage of the vulnerable), and those who wanted to opt out played a round of Grasshoppers (Greg Trefry), a simple chalk-and-street-furniture game.

Then it was onto Sneaks & Blaggers - the old IGLAB favourite where sneaks collect tokens hidden around town while trying to avoid being caught by the dreaded blaggers.  As a way to get to know the hidden nooks and crannies of the city, it loosely falls under the theme of 'What Lies Beneath: What games tell us about the rules of the city' (But we know you can do better: submit your game idea here)

Oh. And Simon rigged a rope swing from the studio rafters.  A little taster of what we'll be up to in September 28. 


If you want to stay in the loop, be sure to follow IGLAB on Twitter and Facebook.

Project blog by Sookie Greene

Posted on Thu 10 Aug 2017

IGLAB is back! After a few years on pause, the Studio's infamous and much loved 'Interesting Games Lab' returned with a vengeance on 25 July 2017.