Since founding Hide&Seek in 2006, I’ve been thinking about the value of independent public spaces for play. After creating festivals, playtesting events, installations and apps, I’m now thinking about new models for permanent social spaces that act as hubs for play communities, support independent creators, and enable a form of public engagement with contemporary game aesthetics. They’re arcades, kind of - but imagined from the perspective of contemporary technology, culture and business models. In this talk I plan to sketch out what the modern arcade might look like, what it might contain, and what people might do there, and speculate with wild optimism on a future network of arcades that helps address the challenges we face as makers, bridging the gap between our work and a wider community.
I think it’s incredibly important to have spaces were people can turn up and co-exist in the same room and play together, regardless of their background or preferences. I’ve spent my life making work in cultural spaces like arts centres and galleries and I’ve always been frustrated that game culture was essentially excluded from those spaces. I’m inspired by the example of spaces like Indiecade, Wild Rumpus, Babycastles and the Espace Jeux Videos at Gâité Lyrique, and want to add something - an idea that the technological opportunity created by the Internet of Things enables us to create a new infrastructure for game culture that goes right down through the stack of software, platform, hardware, people and public space.