100 Days of Play – Blog

Hooray for… Escape Rooms

Hooray for… Escape Rooms

It feels like art mimicking life mimicking art. A new series of The Crystal Maze has been announced, after nostalgia prompted the building of a crowd-funded experience. And I think that this (momentous) event owes a lot to the craze for Escape Rooms.

If you’ve not been to one of these the concept is straightforward. You’re locked in a room and have an hour to figure out the puzzles and escape. Generally this is framed around some fantasy / sci-fi / mystery / espionage narrative, where an unseen antagonist hinders your fight for freedom.

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Hooray for… the Board Game Renaissance

Hooray for… the Board Game Renaissance

Maybe you’re aware of it. Maybe you’re not. But a board game renaissance is currently happening.
These board games – aka ‘tabletop games’ – are showing an unparalleled level of innovation in terms of both topics and dynamics. You might be exploring a forbidden island or conducting a seance to find a killer; identifying your hidden secret agents or relating the miserable tales of gothic families before their horrible deaths.

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How do you know when it’s time to stop playing?

How do you know when it’s time to stop playing?

One of the key elements that people who theorise about play point to is that when playing people want it to continue. ‘Just ten more minutes…’ is the refrain that tells you your kids are playing.

As someone who strongly advocates for play for people of all ages, you might think that I’d say the time to stop playing is never. And in a sense I certainly do say that. There’s no age at which you should stop playing – in fact I believe it’s vital that that age never arrives.

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Play is Failing, Safely

Play is Failing, Safely

I’ve written before about the notion that Play is in some way a simulation of more serious activities in the real world, but expressed discomfort with the notion that that makes it a ‘dry run’. For one thing, loss in a game does hurt; for another we can be playful about very serious things in real life.

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Play is a Better Driver of Innovation

Play is a Better Driver of Innovation

I went to see Steven Johnson talk about his new book, Wonderland, all about how Play has spurred innovation throughout history. It was a fascinating talk, and like all the great ideas, once explained it felt obviously true.

He shared just a few examples of the stories that appear in the book – each a twist on the received understanding of how new technology arises.

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Remix Play: the Role of Play in Higher Education

Remix Play: the Role of Play in Higher Education

15th February took me to the Remix Play conference at the University of Coventry’s Distributive Media Learning Lab. The one-day conference explored how playfulness could improve higher education, and provide a better learning experience for students.

The day was both enormously interesting and, as I hope one might expect to be the case for a festival about play, a great deal of fun.

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