Null Island Wherecamp Time Machine Game

Here’s the outline of a totally analog, social geography game that I tested out for the first time today at #wherecamp 2011.
It turned out to be incredibly easy to operate, self organizing, relatively quick, and fun.

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1. Get a group of people in a field or any open space, the more the better.

2. Tell everyone, “This field is a world map, go stand on the city where you currently live.” I found it was helpful to mark out the “latitude 0, longitude 0″ as a center point of the map (ideally you can use a Null Island t-shirt to mark this) and some kind of boundaries so people don’t go off too far (keeping them in voice shot is important).

3. After people are settled yell out the new date, and tell people to move to the city they lived in during that time. We did 5 year increments and it ended up lasting about 15 minutes, adjust as desired.

4. Give people enough time to find the cities and talk for a few minutes with the people there, and enough time to notice patterns that may be happening.

5. Repeat till someone says “hey where do i go if i don’t exist anymore?” – instruct them to stand on the “0,0″ marker

6. Keep repeating and watch as everyone gradually migrates to the pre-conception null island.

7. The game is over when everyone has moved off the map.

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(thx mpanighetti for catching this great pic of the prebirth island zone)

@paigesaez suggested adding some physical artifacts to the game to help visualize and physicalize the data patterns, perhaps allowing people to physically mark the cities with mats, or stakes, perhaps to tie strings to the stakes that follow you from city to city, also adding obstacles and entanglements. Maybe just bags of sand and everyone dump a handful on each city?

Anyway, play around, try it out, meet new people and see new connections between you and your world.

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