Now Play This is a festival of experimental game design which runs at Somerset House in London as part of London Games Festival. In 2019 we expect the festival to run over two weekends 6-14 April, with talks and workshops for practitioners on the first weekend, and more family-focused events on the second. Tickets and further details will be available in the new year.

To get an idea of what the festival is like, have a look at this video from the 2018 festival, or the lineups for previous years.

For 2019, we are particularly interested in games and activities that relate to the theme of community. Some different ways that your game might relate to this theme include:

  • It’s a game that was originally made for a very particular context – a family meetup, a group of friends, a particular space.
  • It’s a game about the experience of being within a particular community – this could either be something intended for that community, or to articulate that experience to a wider audience.
  • It’s a game that creates a temporary community around it – this could mean players sharing their experiences, or playing together.

There might also be other ways that your game relates to the theme that we haven’t thought of.

We show playable installations, digital games, interactive books, boardgames, apps, game poems, old games, unreleased games: work from as many different fields as possible, as long as it uses play and game design in an expressive way. We are particularly interested in:

  • Short games that quickly get across an idea and that many people can play in a festival setting
  • Multiplayer games that inspire and bring strangers together
  • Outdoor games

To apply, please fill in the form here. This call is open until the end of 19 December, and we’ll let you know one way or another by the end of January.

If you have any questions, please see FAQs below or get in touch with Holly via email: holly@mathesonmarcault.com

 

Definitions

If you don’t think of your work as a game, but it uses games and play, we’re still interested! In this call we’re using the word “game” throughout because “your game, interactive installation or other playful work” is a bit unwieldy.

Fees

We pay a small honorarium of £75 for all selected games. We also provide all tech and manage setup unless otherwise discussed, and install and run the games throughout. If we show your game you don’t need to be present, though of course if you do want to come you’re very welcome! For workshops, games that do require physical installation by the artist, or anything else that involves being on-site, we also cover production costs, travel and accommodation, and an additional fee.

Single-player vs multiplayer

We’re particularly keen to find out about works that lend themselves well to showing in a busy festival setting, which means it’s great to find out about experiences that can include more than one player at a time, but we do have some space for longer and more solitary games.

New or past work

Your game could be new, or still in development, or it could be something you made a year or ten years ago. If you think it’d be a good fit, let us know about it!

Acceptance rates

Please note that we have limited space at Now Play This and will only be able to include a limited number of the games sent in, probably between two and five percent. This doesn’t mean don’t send us your work! It just means please don’t spend ages writing it up; fill in the questions in the form to tell us a little bit about what it is and how people interact with it, and that’ll do to get started. We’ll drop you a line if we have any questions.