So after 30 odd days, TribevTribe v0.1 has finished. Game Over. What worked well?
- People played together. Families; we saw mother, daughter, and grandma playing together a couple of times. Was TribevTribe mostly played by women? Seems so, though that’s not data we recorded. Friends; we saw small groups trying to outplay each other, too. On different sides.
- People played as much or as little as they wanted. Some people tried to visit every venue, some tried to find every badge, some played for the whole month, getting tactical towards the end. Some people dipped in for a day, on a daytrip, down from London or on a day off work.
- People found new places, or found that TribevTribe gave them an excuse to go to places they wouldn’t normally go. Richard said he’d found the Shell Grotto by playing, and a couple said they’d had their first pints in The Quarterdeck when they went there to play.
- All the stuff looked good. People liked the Dead Letter Boxes, log books and Chance cards. The mix of designed but homemade appealed; the lo-fi, some people said, made the game feel a bit edgy and underground. People nicked bits of the game to take home and keep.
- We let the Big Boys mess around. We hijacked a locker at Turner Contemporary and hid stuff in Dreamland. At both venues, staff seemed to enjoy the oddness, and were obviously excited or amused by players turning up. They delighted in making grown-ups say a silly password to get the Dead Letter Box.
- The history stuff got people talking. Places displaying posters for old gigs had conversations with their customers about those gigs, about memories, about what went before. People weren’t sure what was real, what was made up. Lines blurred.
- That and the Chance cards made people look a little harder, linger, even go back to find things they’d missed.
- People added bits, Children left drawings in Dead Letter Boxes. Other people added sweets. The boxes looked after themselves, or rather – people looked after them. Nothing went missing, nobody stole all the badges.
- We made things equal. Turner Contemporary got the same from the game as Breuer & Dawson, Rat Race was as important as Dreamland. Old places like The Shell Grotto were on the same level as new places like the Street Art Boutique.
- Players could cheat. Well, they described it as cheating; I think they hacked the game. Found ways to visit more places, found stooges to take their place for a day to score more, found ways to sign other people up for their team. It was a game that belonged to the players, not the referees.
- The Tribes Festival felt bigger because of the game. We took in more players, added a layer, got the places we were using talking about each other and about the game. TribevTribe was an effective amplifier.
- Bolting on things like the Wide Eyed Theatre workshop added layers to the game – even if that workshop had a low signup. Perhaps those things need a bit more integration to really work.
- We opened up Marine Studios. This place is a brilliant space. It’s got room for bumbling artists and anarchic thinkers, even while the main resident company are stretching themselves on a big pitch to an overseas client. More people came in, saw the place, and signed up as coworkers. The building, the space, was adaptable, agile, hackable and professional. We gave something back to the space by being there, too.
- It made me think, to look at my own work differently, to see a new angle on what I’d been doing for years.
- It was all done cheap, fast and dirty. We had about three weeks from the Green Light to having people playing. The budget covered a few days work, but people gave lots more because they were enjoying it.
- As well as TribevTribe, other work was made. Megan the producer made a series of drawings of the places in the game, and there will be more work for her from that. David joined us on work experience, shot a great bunch of pictures for his portfolio, was forced out of his comfort zone and got an exhibition.
- All that and it’s all only beta, test, trial, This version of TribevTribe is just the start. Imagine it with a budget and time.