Hide&Seek – inventing new kinds of play

Hide&Seek describes itself as “a game design studio dedicated to inventing new kinds of play.”

I was first introduced to their work when I learned of their Boardgame Remix Kit “turning games you own into games you love” – a booklet, app, deck of cards to help people bring new life, and new fun, to traditional board games. I was so excited by how this simple concept could empower players to create their own board game variations, how effective their execution was, and how much I personally believe in giving people the permission and guidance they need to focus on their own sense of fun, that I gave them an enthusiastic endorsement on my Deep Fun site.

This led me to wanting to learn more about the inventors, and their organization. I discovered that the Boardgame Remix Kit is only one of many of their projects combining many different forms of play (game design, theater, social games, board games), and that each project invites social interaction, creativity, and joyful personal engagement. Hide&Seek being an organization who’s purpose is, as they claim, to “expand the boundaries of play” and the people who get to participate in them.

This is the first Defender of the Playful award going to an entire organization. And Hide&Seek seems to me to be indeed the very kind of organization that merits the establishment of this precedent. They are far more than a game design company. They are a company of “artists, game designers and players” who work together, and obviously play together. They “…founded the UK’s first festival of pervasive games in London in 2007, which is now the Hide&Seek Weekender, taking place every summer on London’s South Bank…run the Sandpit, a series of events around the UK and a thriving network of artists, game designers and players. And…create social games and playful experiences for clients in the commercial, public and cultural sectors.”

I was especially moved by their value statement, probably because it so clearly echoes the thinking behind my personal dedication to making the world more fun: “our values are centred around our belief that play, as a theme, a way of being, and design tool, is integral to understanding how culture will develop in the 21st century.”

They’ve made a lovely little film (about a half-hour) to describe at least some of their work/play. If you can take the time to watch it, their mission, and playfulness, will both become a bit more vivid.

Not only are they helping understand how culture will develop, they are actively engaging in changing the culture – helping to create a more playful and playworthy future. Hide&Seek – Defenders of the Playful.

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