“Our upcoming exhibition at Somerset House, Game Changers: Another Way to Play will show how game makers continue to reinvent familiar and classic games to create new possibilities for playing.
The games you can redesign the most outlandishly and still get people clamouring to play are the ones they remember from childhood. The rules live deep inside you next to your feelings about your first guinea pig and how flying saucer sweets fizz on the tongue.
Hopscotch is another great one for this – it’s been taken as a starting point by so many artists to do crazy things precisely because you don’t need to spend ages explaining the rules to players. They remember how to play with their bodies. And that’s important because games without players, however beautiful, are only half alive.
With hopscotch, as long you get the size of the boxes right in proportion to the size of your players, people understand what they’re supposed to do. They find themselves playing before they’ve thought about it. I’d like to see public squares turned into huge and expansive hopscotch boards because there is nothing more joyful than seeing soberly-dressed grown-ups breaking out into play.”
“I love Angus Hyland’s beautiful new take on Rock, Paper, Scissors, it’ll make a handsome addition to my bookshelf. I’ll buy it and admire it, but I doubt I’ll ever take it out and play it.
I understand why manufacturers and publishers want to reinvent formats but the most enduring games require the simplest equipment – an eight-by-eight board and some counters, a pad and pencil, or just two hands making one of three shapes.
My family probably owns a dozen versions of Monopoly but at Christmas it’s the classic version that sits next to the battered 1970s Scrabble box, my primary school chess set, five dice for Yahtzee, a box of dominoes, and a pack of playing cards.”
“The game I’d love to see reinvented is Top Trumps. Not just for the level of political puns out there right now, but also because of the awesomeness that could come from stretching the potential topics.
Think about how Ladybird books has evolved its “for grown-ups” series, which adds a whole new dimension to the classic brand, or the amazing infographics and big data stats out there at the moment that could feed into a reinvented Top Trumps.”
“The much talked about and testing of British games is called buying a train ticket, surely the one game that is wholly out-of-date and in need of an urgent redesign.
You can almost see the advertising on the box: ‘only the most patient and dexterous can successfully navigate a system aimed to confuse and baffle to the extent that you pay more for a journey than necessary’, or ‘can you get a ticket in time before you miss the train’.
Come on, we live in a connected world with some of the most rudimentary systems called Oyster cards and contactless payment. Can we do it? Yes we can.”
What classic game would you redesign? Let us know in the comments section below.