I accidentally’d a game at Update Show and called it #selfiequest

This past Saturday Esther MacCallum-Stewart and myself gave a talk about the state of games education and research in the United Kingdom at Update Show. (There was, of course, a particular shout out to the newly formed DiGRA UK chapter.) I have been informed that the videos of the talk are being edited and will be uploaded shortly.

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As soon as the talks are available, I’ll be sure to link them. This post, however short it might be, is about how I accidentally made a game during the Update Show afterparty. The game, entitled #selfiequest is detailed below. I hope to see some of you playing it this summer!

The Birth of #selfiequest

There is always a strong digital presence at in-the-flesh networking events. Whether this presence takes the form of carefully printed links on business cards, Facebook posts about the event, or quickly snapped selfies, everyone is connected online as they try to establish connections offline. Especially when the bartenders offer free wifi passwords along with free drinks. After 20:00 on Saturday night, my Twitter feed started to flood with pictures like this one:

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I happened to take this picture (and forgot the flash was on, ahem), so I am as guilty as everyone else.

Some folks, researchers included, are troubled by this reliance on digital media- particularly when it seems to supplant ‘normal’ or ‘traditional’ methods- such as talking to people face-to-face. My personal philosophy is that online and offline interactions are two sides of the same coin which blend together to make a cohesive social experience. Saying that, there is always the danger of the formation of cliques.

Perhaps more prevalent in-the-flesh (as people tend to pick a spot in the room and sit there the entire night), there are power structures, hierarchies, fears of rejection, awkwardness, and small talk over who sits where and when and for how long. Sometimes this works out for the best and a former group of strangers sit together, dig their roots in, and form a brand new social group. Often what happens instead, however, is that people coalesce around common contacts and the room quickly turns into a high school cafeteria. This annoys me far more than selfies ever could. So, to fix this, I made a game.

#selfiequest

The Goal

To find an anonymous Twitter user at the same event as you and take an awkward selfie with them (if they consent). Also, to make contacts in-the-flesh as well as through Twitter.

What You Need 

  • A Twitter account
  • A smart phone/tablet with camera
  • An event with 25+ people. This can be a conference, convention, concert, etc.

How to Play

  1. There are two roles: The Quester and The Tweeter. Any time someone tweets a picture of an event, they become The Tweeter (whether they realise it or not) and the game starts. So, log into Twitter and follow the event organiser and/or search relevant hashtags to find the first photo- or become The Tweeter yourself by taking the first photo!
  2. Using only the tweeted event photo, The Tweeter’s user photo/background image, The Quester must embark on an epic mission to find them in the flesh. Use strategy! Use the setting/décor found in the photo to locate the general area The Tweeter might be at or ask random people if they happen to know the user by showing them the tweet.
  3. Once found, the ritual must be completed and the magic circle closed. The Quester must take a selfie with The Tweeter (as long as they consent), and tweet it to show others playing the game that a point was just scored. If The Tweeter does not want to be in the photo, then a simple “I just met The Quester” tweet is sufficient.

The Rules

  1. At any time The Quester may ask anyone at the event for help locating The Tweeter– but The Quester must ask them one-on-one and in-the-flesh. Tweeting for help or shouting is forbidden.
  2. When The Quester asks someone for help, they must introduce themselves and explain the game. This not only widens social circles, but also spreads the game to new players. The more folks playing, the merrier!
  3. If you have played the game before and are approached by a Quester asking after someone you don’t know, you must respond (regardless of gender) “I’m sorry, but your princess is in another castle”. This indicates that you know of, and have played/are playing the game and thus don’t need it explained. Expediency is valuable in the game of tweets.
  4. Once The Quester has found The Tweeter and completed their mission, they must tweet to score points. 1 point is awarded for a confirmation tweet from The Tweeter. For example, “Quester @_____ just found me! Well done!” -OR- 1 point is awarded for a selfie which features The Quester and The Tweeter.
  5. The game ends when the event does. Scores are added by going through past tweets. The winner wins… well, the most new contacts!

Final Thoughts

This game has only been played once, so I’m sure there are a few bugs to work out, but I think the overall concept works well. I hope to see some of you playing #selfiequest during your summer conference and festival adventures. If you do decide to play, tweet me, k? I’d like to see my game-baby grow.

Until next time,

Ashley

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