Freeplay 18: Get In, Get Out Talk Notes

I had a great time this week speaking at the Freeplay festival! Freeplay is Australia’s longest-running and largest independent games festival, and it focuses on “fringes, spotlights grassroots makers, and acts as a response to and critique of the status quo.”

I participated remotely from Portland, where it was midnight. My talk partner Elie Abraham called in from Helsinki, where it was 9am. And our audience in Australia was watching at 5pm their time.

You can check out the talk here:

There’s also this amazing sketchnote, an illustrative record of the talk drawn as it was happening, by Jennifer Reuter from Melbourne (seen in the header of this post).

Below, you can find links and more information for all of the things I referenced during the conversation. Thanks for tuning in!

Meridian Adventure Company / 60 Minutes to Escape
Our puzzle and game company in Portland, Oregon. Sign up for the newsletter to hear more about our new games later this year!

Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs)
A text-based, online role-playing game (Wikipedia link). I used to play Achaea, now one of the longest-running MUDs and one of the first online games in the world to introduce the concept of what we now know as “in-app purchasing”. Before that, I played “door games” like Legend of the Red Dragon by dialing into my local BBS.

Alternate Reality Games
Ever seen the movie The Game? ARGs were online treasure hunts that played out in the real world, too. The first one I encountered was I Love Bees.

Puzzled Pint
A fun monthly drink-and-solve event on the second Tuesday of each month, now with events in many cities around the world! If there isn’t one near you, maybe you’d be interested in hosting one?

Spark of Resistance (2014)
Our first escape room game, created in Portland, Oregon in 2014.

Sleep No More
A live, immersive performance of Macbeth in NYC.

The Headlands Gamble
An interactive, immersive weekend adventure in San Francisco.

Adventure Design Group
A regular meetup and talk series in San Francisco.

80s TV shows / The Crystal Maze
Hosted by Richard O’Brien, this is the reason every currently working game designer in the UK got into the business.

Legend of the Hidden Temple
A 90s Nickelodeon TV show featuring a nearly impossible final task.

Meow Wolf
A massive immersive art installation in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Cognitive load
Check out my GDC talk on how cognitive load affects players in real world spaces and what that means for VR.

Looking too much at detail


Two Rooms and a Boom
Very fun game for large groups in real world spaces.

I gave a talk about the importance of reducing friction in environmental narrative at the Immersive Design Summit earlier this year. Here are my quick tips:

Paradox of the magician
For DelGaudio, “184 Seconds” enacted what he calls “one of magic’s defining paradoxes”: that a magician’s slavishly honed talents of subterfuge must by definition remain invisible to others and thus easy for the uninitiated to dismiss as trivial. “There’s something beautiful about that,” DelGaudio told me, “and there’s something heartbreaking.” (via)

Accessibility design
7 Principles of Universal Design

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. – Arthur C. Clarke”

Crimson Room (2004)
Crimson Room is an all-time-classic escape Flash game developed by Toshimitsu Takagi. It was originally released in 2004. Play here.

SCRAP (San Francisco)
One of, if not the first, escape room companies in the US.

5 Wits (Syracuse)
Long-running puzzle adventure. Often cited as an early example of the genre

Magic Time Machine
Themed restaurant. A nostalgic favorite from my childhood.

Medieval Times
Very fun themed evening with multiple locations. Also a nostalgic favorite from my childhood.

Armchair treasure hunts, Masquerade
Books with illustrations leading to buried treasure.

The Nest (LA)
Intimate immersive piece based in LA, drawing some inspiration from Gone Home.

And you can view more work on my site here and at Timberview Productions, and follow me on Twitter at @lauraehall.

Thank you for watching!

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