So many developments on the psychogeographic end have happened this week starting with auditing Will Self's classes. Various students in game design heard about my work on psychogeography in virtual worlds and let me know that the quirky and legendary Will Self is a professor at Brunel. After contacting him, he was kind enough to let me audit his weekly module literally called "Psychogeography" where he trains and takes students on derives. The experience was fantastic! The most fun I've had in a while. I'm so looking forward to Monday mornings.
On the other hand, in Design class, Justin introduced us to the topic of the week: out of the box. We are to create a game without thinking what a game should be. As an example he showed us three videos:
There were many great points made that have stuck with me. 1. Don't give a damn about rules. 2. When you forget the rules and play with your medium, you will fail 99% of the time. But 1% will be amazingly innovative and eventually become mainstream in the medium. 3. There are no rules to being creative. In fact creativity is often so out there that it is dangerous and, quite honestly, scary.
I paired off with Tim for this exercise and suggested an idea: "Let's make the first psychogeographic videogame." There have been movies, there have been drawings, there have been texts. But what would it look like as a digital game? Honestly, one week is not enough to explore this concept but we gave it a full day where we grabbed the metropolitan line all the way to the end, wandered, and then tried to express our observations through gameplay.
So what did we observe? Contradictions. Plenty of ridiculous contradictions. Government signs prohibiting drinking in the streets while two meters away, a barista practiced his juggling skills with a plastic alcohol bottle and cocktail cup. We saw a car park with a big "No Parking" sign. A coffee shop that called itself the Antishop. While Shoreditch puts on a facade of quirky liberation, it is still surrounded by corporate glass high-rises and considered a "good behaviour zone" in the controlling fist of the police.
What game came out of this? One precisely about these contradictions. Tim and I spent two days playing around in MMF and in between we watched Salvador Dali and Luis Bunyuel's L'Age D'Or. We observed that the film is full with meaning, only that they would put the message above anything else, including reality. For example, there is a close up shot of a character who has flies all over his face because he is literally "a piece of crap".
We collaged images from our trip and gave them behaviours to literally represent our observations from our psychogeographic wander. I will not say anymore since I feel this is very much a game that is a game for a reason: it cannot be expressed in anything that is not a game. (Although whether or not this is a game can be really contested. But that was the least of our worries.) You can play the game here.