re/medation is a simple locative media game based on the childhood game of Red Light, Green Light. I got the idea to send groups of players on a mission to interact with as many people as possible on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus because it’s big, barren, and appears to be a series of corridors. There is very little space on campus for public gathering.
In preparation for this game, I did a photographic study of the campus. You can view the best of the photographs in a Google map here.
As a commuter school built after the student riots that took place here in 1970, there was an intentional attempt to keep that kind of violence from occurring again. Unfortunately, the design principles used to achieve these preventative measures also killed much of the kind of open space typical of the American university, which is an essential component of campus civic life. Evidence of this in the evolution of the campus’s physical master plan, which was initially devised in the late 60s and shifts as time progresses.
The game requires players to subscribe to a SMS feed controlled by a game master, who calls “red light” or “green light” just like the childhood game. When the light is green, they can move. When the light is red, they must freeze. The major difference is that, instead of reaching the caller as fast as possible, teams of players must reach the caller with the biggest team. They may use up to, but no more than, the amount of time allotted, or else their team is disqualified.
Not only do re/medation‘s rules cause a bit of a stir with large groups of people roaming around and freezing at seeming random intervals, it also requires players to talk to the people around them — and in order to win, talk to people they may have never met before.
re/medation was run as a project for Stephanie Rothenberg’s Designed Play course. Video stills courtesy of Alice Alexandrescu.
A team attempts to recruit new players in Knox Hall
A team freezes in the hallway between Knox and the Union