It’s been an eventful weekend, and I’m five days out from running a day-long experimental project here in the UK – more on that further down the line – but I wanted to share some of the excitement from yesterday’s International Games Day at the British Library (BL) in central London.
Gary Green of Surrey Libraries invited me to join the team of volunteers who were running events under the leadership of BL Digital Curator Stella Wisdom.
Stella is co-founder of the BL’s Off the Map video game competition, and Off the Map winners Fancy Crab were there with their offbeat riff on Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. The event was also tied in to this year’s 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, and Ludi Price was in full cosplay mode as Alice herself.
There were video games, board games, and some that were just a little off the wall, including the bizarre German box-stacking game Ordnungswissenschaft:
We were able to play this by repurposing the boxes from the infamous Comic Book Dice, which had also made a visit to the BL.
I got introduced to the German game by gaming aficionado Ross Fowkes. Ross also showed me a digital jousting game which used motion sensors and the music of Bach in multi-player battles.
“Johann Sebastian Joust” was inspired by a party game played with lemons and spoons. One quick trip to the supermarket later and we had unleashed the Lemon Knights in the heart of the library.
Both the BL’s child-friendly daytime sessions and the later evening event were great successes, with lots of visitors trying their hand at games old and new. Stella and her team did an incredible job playing host to a wide range of people and offering some truly bizarre activities. (Libraries are sometimes cautious about wild play, so I was delighted that Stella gave us permission for a full-on lemon battle in the shadow of the venerable stacks).