Judgement Day for 1st Life Game Figures

Ludic Society, Drake Circus Shopping Centre, 23 & 24 March 2007, commissioned as part of Social Hacking.


The Ludic Society present their Tagged City Play for Real Players in Real Cities, using a Plymouth Road Runner car for the Plymouth Play.

The Pit Stop: “Being Tagged! Tagging!”

Unique to the Plymouth city play is that although it’s a locative play with mobile electronic devices, the players are tagged and become the game- interfaces. The tagged person appears as a life game figure and plays in a real city. Players are provided with a tagging toolbox containing a variety of tag utensils: graffiti, spray stencils, stickers, RFID stickers and implant injection kits. To tag the city, real world objects are subjectively chosen for tagging. The tags are functional but useless (RFID-tags with zero data)! By putting this zero-tag on an object, the Real Players de-valuate real world things into virtual play-objects. If the Real Players find a tagged object with a value assigned to it, they will zap it. The goal of the play is to change the value of tags into the value Zero. To achieve that, Real Players are equipped with “Wunderbäumchen” toy objects. These Wunderbäumchen are technical toys for finding and reading tags and/or emitting a target-oriented EMP (electro magnetic pulse). Tagging is passing a judgement!

A Satellite Map fed by Real Players: A Borgesian Psycho-Active Pata Play Map!

This map is a collectively en-played graphical machine. The display shows the score of each player depending on objects tagged and de-tagged. Depending on each player’s RFID-number, it generates a graphical element to display the routes between tagging actions over a pimped home-brew on-line satellite map. The non-player visitor sees an overview of all the sites of city tags. Each location of a tagging action is marked with a Wunderbäumchen sign, resembling the Wunderbäumchen’s spread throughout the city. The play interface integrates GIS systems such as Google Earth and Wikimapia. The look of the map as game score and display, for uploading subjective play data, forms the uncensored on-line map of “the Internet of things”! The stencil-style satellite game map unmasks the satellite truth. It shows the outdated images of GIS systems, unveils the rules of play of systems such as Wikimapia and Google Earth, the intentionally chosen constructions of certain geographical data companies. The images given to the public are more of a political decision, a purposeful set of rules — but not a game in the sense of a wilfully taken constraint. Nevertheless, a game interface appears as the adequate choice for these new maps of the world.

Drake Circus Shopping Centre: We sell Play — no Games!

The tags are used to judge certain locations of the city. When the game map and Plymouth car are presented at the Drake Circus Shopping Centre, then it is Judgement Day in Plymouth (on 23 and 24 March 2007). Also installed in the shopping centre is the play car - the legendary 1970s muscle car Plymouth Road runner. The difference to existing locative mapping games is that it is no Game, just Play, according to the Ludic Society slogan: “We sell Play — no Games!”. This means that there are no fixed rules or negotiable outcomes of the play, but a clearly defined goal — de-pricing the networked world of marked things, and a flexible tool-kit for the play of tagging the city. The outcome of a tag set on the play-map is open. The Real Player actions cumulate in a collectively constructed Borgesian psycho-active play-map (at 1:1 scale, as large as the territory, which it represents). Displayed is a 1:1 meta-game played in the Reality Engine over the city, blowing up the most tagged sites with the value Zero. The game-play of this Real Play focuses on things we don’t normally name and see as play objects. This absence, marked with RFID stickers, defines the players’ personal game map developed in the course of the play in the city — instead of adding another boring data layer to reality (like most Google Earth/map applications do).