Festival

In 2019, Now Play This is focusing on a theme of community. We’re looking at games that create a community around them, like Tale of Tales’ Endless Forest; at games made for a small group or even just one person, like Brenda Romero’s Black Box; at games about the experiences of a particular community, like Mountains’ Florence or Abi Palmer’s Crip Casino; and at different game-making communities and the work that comes out of them, like the different contributions to the gallery space of Zium Garden or like sok-stories, a new game-making tool from sokpop made especially for Now Play This.

A full lineup, including all of our 2019 commissions, will be announced in late February.

Black Box – Brenda Romero

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A single-player, single play game


Black Box is a single-player, single play game. Play is currently in progress and then it will be done.

Brenda Romero is an award-winning game designer, Fulbright scholar, entrepreneur, artist, writer, and creative director who entered the game industry in 1981. She won a BAFTA Special Award in April 2017.

Crip Casino – Abi Palmer

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A series of working fruit machines hacked to offer absurd “exquisite corpse” style wellness regimes, medical diagnoses and physiotherapy tips


An eccentric exploration of the disabled experience through increasingly bizarre gameplay, 'Crip Casino' explores narratives of winning and losing, ritual and luck. Working fruit machines are hacked and altered to perform versions of the surrealist game 'Exquisite Corpse', producing absurdist physiotherapy instructions, medical diagnoses and wellness tips. Featuring Palmer's latest machine '999: My Arm Is Missing' - a brand new commission for Now Play This.

Abi Palmer is an experimental artist and writer. In 2018 she designed 'Crip Casino' - an interactive gambling arcade exploring the disabled body in institutionalised spaces. Her forthcoming book 'Sanatorium' navigates a luxury rehabilitation space in Budapest and an £80 inflatable blue Korean bathtub (Penned in the Margins, 2020).

Endless Forest – Tale of Tales

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A multiplayer online game and social screensaver


The Endless Forest is a multiplayer online game and social screensaver, a virtual place where you can play with your friends. When your computer goes to sleep you appear as a deer in this magical place. There are no goals to achieve or rules to follow. Just run through the forest and see what happens.

Tale of Tales is a videogames development studio, founded in 2003 and run by Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn out of Belgium. We want to create playful experiences that appeal to both gamers and non-gamers. We try to design expressive interfaces to access engaging poetic narratives through simple controls.

Florence – Mountains

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An interactive story about love and life


Florence is a love story, told as an interactive mobile game. Players follow Florence Yeoh, a 25 year old Australian-Chinese woman, and the ups and downs of her first relationship. Each chapter of the game uses bespoke interaction design to convey what emotions the characters are going through.

Mountains is a craft games studio based in Melbourne, Australia. It was founded by Ken Wong, the lead designer of acclaimed mobile game Monument Valley.

sok-stories – Sokpop Collective

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A fun and accessible way to make games


sok-stories is a tool that lets you create simple games by drawing pictures, adding them to a rulebook, and placing them in a world. With sok-stories, we try to introduce a new type of interactive drawings that are easy and fun to both make and play.

Sokpop Collective is a group of four game designers based in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Zium Garden – The Zium Society

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A virtual gallery, bringing together the works of more than fifty artists


The Zium Garden is a sculpture park within your computer. Take a programme, wander out amongst the flowers, and enjoy the artworks. This virtual exhibition brings together a wide range of artists working in and around the independent game scene.

The Zium Garden was curated by Michael Berto, and includes the works of too many others to list here.