Life is For Sharing and Making Commercials Out Of

It's called Life is for sharing, and, yes, it's a T-Mobile Advert, very, very much in the spirit of the nobly playful antics of Improv Everywhere. Very, very.

And intriguingly commercial. Something so, well, upliftingly fun, and yet so unflinchingly commercial that you'd expect to read about in Elyon, yes, DeKoven's Ad Consumer Experience blog.

It's playful, all right, but it's play for a purpose. Which is OK, actually. Good to see, even, for all it's high-powered derivitivity. It's fun. It sells. So, well, without condoning or condemning, I'd like to at least draw the distinction between that, and this.


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Hi8us Interruptus - The Ad Consumer Experience

We interrupt this hiatus for a special message.

Any attempt to bring humor, lightheartedness, laughter into this world - even when it is supported by the most blatant of commercial exigencies, is worthy of note. Especially when it takes the form of an interactive weblog. And even more especially when that blog is written by my son, Elyon.

The ethno-Judaic expression for my personal experience in reading this blog is nachas†(the Yiddish meaning, as opposed to the purported Mexican slang). His blog, the†Ad Consumer Experience, reports on signs of commercially-inspired compassion, caring, playfulness, and humor.†

What he brings to light is rare enough in any context, and particularly inspiring to find in a world dedicated pretty much solely to making money. †

It's a good read. Noteworthy. Inspiring even. He's a fun son. I'm a glad dad.

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Kids invited to make movement fun

I received the following, and am passing it on to you, as is my wont:
Ruckus Nation is an 'online competition to get kids moving.' Ruckus Nation takes an innovative approach to combating the devastating effects of childhood obesity by challenging participants to imagine fun, engaging new products that will increase physical activity in young people. Since its launch September 18, 2007, Ruckus Nation has captured the attention of people across the United States and around the world.

So far, over 750 teams of contestants have registered for Ruckus Nation:
  • Representing 49 U.S. states and the District of Columbia
  • Hailing from 52 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America
  • Ranging in age from 9 to 76 years old
Members of the public are invited to help select competition winners by registering to be Ruckus Nation judges at. Those interested in submitting an idea and competing in Ruckus Nation have until the November 20 submission date to register at the site. Competition winners will share in more than $300,000 in cash and prizes, including a grand prize of more than $75,000.

The competition is sponsored by the nonprofit HopeLab and cosponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Ultimately, HopeLab will develop, test and distribute effective products based on the best ideas from Ruckus Nation. HopeLab previously produced Re-Mission, a breakthrough video game for young people with cancer that has been scientifically proven to improve health outcomes of patients.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Online Catalog at Play

The Hema department store has created what might arguably be the most playfully frame-breaking vision of an online catalog absolutely ever, so far. Click, watch, and, in a most Rubenesquely Goldebergish manner, be amused.

More about the store here


via metafilter

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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poking fun

Crush the Screaming Beans. Go ahead. Crush them. Smush them. With your finger, smush you them.

It will make you laugh, and there will be much poking of the fun kind.

You could think, if you wanted to, about the secret joys of bean-smushing, and how it even more secretly appealed to that previously hidden bean-smushing part of your essential reptilian psyche. But that'd be missing the point. The point is: it will make you laugh. And there will be much fun poking. The first time you play.

You're not going to play this a lot, so it's not exactly what you'd call a game. Not like what you'd call these, really. More of one of those interactive flash-like things. Pointless, in a way. Except for two things: it will make you laugh, and the fun poking.

via Metafilter

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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gameLab, Arcadia, Blix and Loop

Combine games research with the development of innovative digital games and people games, and you get gameLab. gameLab was co-founded by Eric Zimmerman and Peter Lee. Eric, whose articles appear in Brenda Laurel's Design Research, writes in his Play as Research: The Iterative Process: "In iterative design, there is a blending of designer and user, of creator and player. It is a process of design through the reinvention of play. Through iterative design, designers create systems and play with them. They become participants, but do so in order to critique their creations, to bend them, break them, and re-fashion them into something new. And in these procedures of investigation and experimentation, a special form of research takes place. The process of iteration, of design through play, is a way of discovering the answers to questions you didnít even know were there."

Before you read Eric's fascinating, informed, and insightful description of the iterative design process (which I still believe, despite all the filmic complexity of multimediation, is the best and really only way to design a game), try a game of Loop. It will not only help you understand better what he's talking about, it will also help you understand why you want to read what he has to say.

Or, maybe start with a simpler game concept like Arcadia. Have you ever tried playing two arcade games at once? Just to keep from getting bored? And discovered how such a simple idea, like playing two at once, makes both games suddenly worth playing again? Almost as if you'd created a whole new game simply by combining a couple? Well, Arcadia combines four different arcade games, and paces each so that it's actually almost possible to play them all simultaneously, without losing your mind. Go ahead. Give it a try. I'd start out with the easiest version if I were you.

Then there's Blix, which reminds me a little of the first game I designed for the TRS-80, can you believe, and the Commodore Pet, and later the 64 and even the Atari VCS. It was called "Ricochet." Which is maybe why I'm not as objective about the elegant wonders of Blix as I can be the others. Which is also why gameLab has been inducted into the Major FUN Hall of Fame. Let me know if it's as fun as I think it is, will you?

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Pop Earns First Major Fun Advergame Award

I am apparently about to grant the coveted, and also first Major FUN Award for Advergame Design to a company called "Pop."

Advergame? Well, we're certainly not talking infotainment here. We're talking genuine game, with all the fascination and replay value therein implied, designed specifically to promote a commercial product. Like, for example, the cybersolitaire game RSVP and the evermore puzzling Open House, both created for Lifetime Television. Not to mention the lightning fast poker-like game of Lucky 8s created for Puma. Each uniquely hypermediated. Each significantly playworthy.

It's an amazing feat of game design, really, when you can make a commercially-supported game that respects its players - offering genuine invitations to play, and yet clearly inviting the player to think about the product or company sponsoring the whole experience. It restoreth the soul almost as much as it filleth the wallet.

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