The Game Parlour as a way of thinking.
Our whole approach derives from the idea that games are a fundamental part of human action and one of the most egalitarian practices when it comes to human interaction, as everybody meets under the same set of rules. Games are able to open up spaces free of consequences, thereby empowering people to test ways of acting within the games boundaries. In a time where the interrelations in the world are seemingly getting more and more confusing and being presented as too complex to get hold of, games are a tool to stay accustomed to making thoughtful predictions and acting upon one’s intuition.
In the beginning, the game parlour was mainly our headquarters during festivals as described below. Meanwhile, the game parlour has become a way of thinking, seeing the chance to change the world by gamification – as we never work with the idea of competition, the classical game theory. Our mechanics are always based on the idea of a post-competitive future, spreading the idea of sharing skills and knowledge in a general way of collaborative behaviour. As we have noticed, the winning and competitiveness are rather the boring part when it comes to playing, all you need is some sort of riddle or task – a gaming provocation. And a new, more complex challenge that appears once you have mastered the first one.
The Game Parlour as our headquarter on festivals (2015/16)
The Game Parlour mainly acts as our headquarters where we store our games, materials and absurdities. The minimal setup would is a counter, storage space and some means to display the games. The games are developed by ourselves, mostly consisting of few, low-threshold rules and are often based on unique items. They mostly change the way the visitors interact, although some are made for the pure purpose of fun.
There are different levels of engagement at the Games Parlour. At first, most people visiting the parlour are expecting to be entertained by us. Although we are happy to serve the casual needs for distraction, we always encourage the visitors to engage with the materials provided to become an actor of their own, as the true strength of our concept is for our guests to be able to enter a state of ecstatic self-forgetfulness.
For visitors who can’t quite grasp our approach at first or for visitors who want to get engaged on a more abstract level, we offer the Game Counseling, an one-to-one conversation, based on a questionnaire asking what types of elements they prefer in games or if they ever made up games on their own. It turns out that practically everybody at least made up games in their head and likes to explain them, if not even craft them on site.
Next to me, core-members of the Game Parlour are Torben Spieker, Miko Hucko and Sarah Klöfer, based in Hamburg and Berlin, Germany. Furthermore, the Chaos Computer Club, Social Space Agency and Virtuelles Theater Berlin are groups, we are enjoying a constant exchange and collaboration with.