Playful things

I was shopping in town yesterday and found something very interesting in the lift in Ted Baker in Manchester (I don’t usually use the lift but having a buggy opens up a whole new range of experiences). Along with the usual floor-related buttons, one wall was covered with around fifty additional identical red buttons, lined up neatly in rows, along with the tempting sign ‘Go on press them, you know you want to.’ Of course I did.

I only got the chance to sample a small selection of the buttons in the short trip down and up again, but each contained a different sound, be it laughter, soundbite, music, drumming, and so on. Part mystery and part silliness, and certainly cheered up a Sunday morning shopping expedition. It reminded me that, for me anyway, playfulness is an important part of games, and one that tends to get lost in the whole ‘serious games’ mantra. We need more of these random playful spaces; bring on ‘frivolous games’ I say.


  1. Scott Hewitt

    they sound great! walking around London I’ve started to see technology been integrated into normal everyday spaces. The most recent was a set of headphones sockets for a film where you could plug in and hear excerpts from the film. A great idea when it appears that nearly everyone on the bus is plugged into headphones!

    I’ve been using warioware smoothgames with people who are interested in games and game based learning to show how quickly you can pick up a game interface and design without needing to know how a huge set of instructions. you can discover for yourself.

    I like your point about ‘serious’ games. It seems that to use games theory within learning we have to tag it as serious – can’t is be enough that is fun! People are allowed to have fun! I think that the serious game tag does confused an already crowded learning environment.

  2. nicola (Post author)

    Thanks for the feedback, I’d not seen smoothgames before, but you’ve just given me yet another reason why I have to treat myself to a Wii :o)

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