Yay! We got invited to participate in this cool game design trip to the Maldives.

Amani Naseem of the Collective has invited a group of international game designers to go and design games and make playful events in the capital city of the Maldives, Malé. We will work with key artists, thinkers and organizers in the Maldives and create a playful event in the public spaces of Malé.

Image courtesy of Ida Marie Toft

There are more reasons why we go to the Maldives of all places in the world. Firstly; Amani is from there. She has family there.and knows a lot of the local community. Secondly, Amani was invited to join the Maldivian pavilion for this year’s Venice Biennale and decided to invite designers to do collaborative game design events in the Maldives and in Venice.

When people hear of the Maldives, they think of white sandy beaches, clear blue water and beautiful resorts. A perfect place for a honey moon. They might also think of the Maldives as being in the forefront on the fight against global warming. However, since the military coup of 7 February 2012 the streets of Malé have seen much violence, and all expression is heavily politicized and polarized.

This is why we’re going to Malé. To create fun and playful experiences together with local artists, thinkers and organizers. By being there, talking and working with the local people, we hope to learn how we can create experiences that through playing and games could make people come together in a neutral and explorative space. We think that through carefully crafted game mechanics and game settings, the people will experience their city in a different way and get personal experiences that will move them, in one way or another.

The games will be played in public spaces around Malé as well as on the preview days and opening of the Venice Biennale. A film about the project – recorded while we are there – will be shown at the opening of the Venice Biennale and throughout the Biennale period at the Maldivian Pavilion.

I, Patrick Jarnfelt, will go there with a clean slate, but a couple of technological gadgets (see image below) and a willingness and passion to do some good. I have some simple game inklings (wouldn’t call them ideas yet) and hopefully they will form when I meet the team and we get to soak in the Maldives (and in the Maldivian sea). I am really looking forward to meeting the crew there and to talk to the local community. I have already made contact to a local robotics engineer and talked about some mods for the AR.Drone that I’m bringing. I hope that the Drone will make the trip to the Maldives in my suitcase. It made it home from the US with only a few bruises, so I’m sure it will.

Gadgets I bring, excluding a kinect camera and my macbook air o_O

During our stay in the Maldives, Amani and I will write our experiences as blog posts. We will keep it as a quick and rough web journal and post them here. The idea is posting as quickly as possible while it’s all still fresh in our minds.

Look forward to read posts about the the Maldivian culture and situation, our personal experiences and the design processes in our teams and about the games.

The First days
Boat, water and island games
The games