If you’re at all excited about the imminent release of the new Sherlock Holmes film ‘Game of Shadows’, once again with heavy steampunk overtones and again starring the estimable Robert Downey Jr and the actor Jude Law, can I recommend that you point your Twitter client at the account of Mr Stephen Fry (@stephenfry), who on Monday will begin tweeting the first in a series of puzzles and clues —
(which I may have had something to do with)
— relating to a competition with prizes including tix to the premiere, and iPads and stuff. UK-only for the prizes but anyone can play along at home.
The game’s afoot!
I need your help. One of my designs has been shortlisted in a competition run by Cadburys the confectionary giant for what they call a ‘pocket game’. The first prize is £3000 ($4500) and more interestingly, thousands of copies of the winning game being given away to the public. The next round of voting is a public vote, and I need yours.
My entry is called ‘Flick Racer’ and it’s about flicking car-counters around a chalk-drawn track. It’s Subbuteo meets Scalextric, or (if you know your games) Carrom meets Formula De, or Carabande with a complete rules overhaul, made small enough to fit in an Altoids tin.
‘Flick Racer’™ was submitted under the pseudonym ‘Martin Adams/Hypergame’, because there are eleven judges for the first round of the competition and five of them know me. But now the shortlist has been announced and it’s a public vote there’s no more need for anonymity. There is, however, an enormous need for your vote.
The voting site is here. You will have to register to vote, or log in using Facebook Connect.
A couple of days later than the promised 1st October—I’ve been busy with funerals and the like—I can finally break the second part of my ARG-related news. Adrian Hon, my colleague at Six to Start, has been working with Cancer Research UK, and has launched a competition to design and run an ARG (‘alternate-reality game‘ for the slow kids at the back) that will help to raise money for the charity and publicise the fight against cancer in a new, unprecedented way. It’s called Let’s Change the Game, and anyone can enter.
What makes Let’s Change the Game particularly exciting is that Cancer Research UK is prepared to throw its considerable weight behind the winning entry. Designers can make use of the charity’s marketing and PR skills, its network of over 600 shops, its live events including the massive Race for Life, and much more. This will certainly be the highest-profile ARG ever run in the UK, possibly the highest-profile ARG anywhere. And you could be behind it. Which is, we reckon, a cool proposition for anyone who fancies themselves a games designer.
Adrian’s tapped some very cool people to help administer and judge Let’s Change the Game, including Sean Stewart, Rhianna Pratchett and Jonathan Waite… and also me. Partly because I know a bit about games, admin and charity fundraising, and partly because last week cancer killed my father. So this is personal. Cancer, you fucker, you’re going down.
Have a look at www.letschangethegame.org and give ten minutes to thinking about how you’d structure an entirely new kind of ARG. You don’t have to be in the UK to enter, and at this stage we only need a 500-word description of your idea—that’s less than a side of A4. Form a team, kick some ideas around, see what surfaces… or simply spread the word about the competition. All the best games, not just ARGs, are about community. So is beating cancer. We’ve been saying for years that games can change the world. Now let’s prove it.