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B.U.G. (Big Urban Game)

Something really interesting is happening in Minneapolis beginning this Wednesday. B.U.G. (the Big Urban Game), a project of the University of Minnesota Design Institute, turns the metro area into a giant board game. Three 26ft high game pieces will race from different starting locations to the Lake Street Bridge. People will be able to call an 800 number or go online and vote for which of two routes each piece should take in each of the 5 days of the race. A knowledge of the city will help players decide which route to take to avoid obstacles and complete the day’s checkpoint in the shortest amount of time.

“It’s a way to raise awareness of the city and what it offers,” said Jan Abrams, the game’s mastermind and director of the design center.

“There’s something extremely valuable about something that’s playful but also has a serious purpose,” said Salen (one of the game’s designers, from NYC), “visiting a part of the city that they’ve never been to, talking to someone they’ve never talked to before.”

What do you guys think about this event? What will people think of the giant game pieces? Will it fulfill it’s goal of raising awareness and bringing people out? Do you want it to happen in your city?

Read more about the event here and participate (if you know the layout of minneapolis) at here.

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PUBLISHED ON Sep.02.2003 BY brook
graham’s comment is:

check this out if this game intrigues-http://www.boylefamily.co.uk/boyle/texts/index.html

On Sep.02.2003 at 09:32 AM
Sarah B’s comment is:

Very cool idea.. very cool. Had I known, I would have loved to attend.....never been!

On Sep.02.2003 at 10:03 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Hmm...you think they'd have put a *bit* more info on their site if they were truly hoping to promote this...

On Sep.02.2003 at 10:45 AM
Sam’s comment is:

Couldn't I play even without a knowledge of Minneapolis? I mean, I like the Replacements too!

On Sep.02.2003 at 10:51 AM
brook’s comment is:

yeah i dont' think anything would stop someone from just choosing one of the paths at random. or looking at maps maybe? but i guess it's the intangibles that would slow the teams down.

sarah- it starts tomorrow, and lasts for 5 more days.

d- i was thinking the exact same thing. i don't really understand why there isn't more info on the bug site. i'm curious what all will be there when it fully launches tomorrow morning. either way, it should be fun to play. i'm going to have to go and look at one of the pieces and all the people wondering what in the world is going on.

but maybe that's the point. keep publicity to a relatively low level and make it more of a happening. those are pretty big these days, right? i think that curiousity will drive more people to communicate with eachother when they happen upon the game pieces.

On Sep.02.2003 at 10:55 AM
Khoi Vinh’s comment is:

A few additional clicks to more information -- not tons more, but a fairly decent overview -- you can get to it at this URL: http://design.umn.edu/go/project/TCDC03.2.BUG. Anyway, what strikes me about this project is that it seems really fun. We need more of that.

On Sep.02.2003 at 12:31 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

is that it seems really fun

Well, I went there today to play. You sign up. And vote for a route. And...well...that's it. Kind of boring, actually.

Seems like it was an interesting idea on paper, and I agree that it's more of a 'happening' if you drive by it, but even so, it just doesn't really seem to deliver a whole lot. I think they could have done a *lot* more with the online component to bring more people into the process of playing.

All IMHO, of course.

On Sep.03.2003 at 02:33 PM
brook’s comment is:

yeah the outside involvement isn't really all that exciting. i think that part of it is very minor, though. i'll try and head out this evening to see if i can catch a peak of a game piece.

On Sep.03.2003 at 05:29 PM
Jen’s comment is:

I think it shows that designers are trying to get city residents involved with something new and something that provides a sense of ownership - false as it may be since the choices are both few and basic. There is also an ongoing Charles Schultz tribute happening there with the Peanuts character sculptures and moving them around both cities. It's this sort of novelty that many residents have indicated they seem to enjoy and makes them feel that the Mpls/St Paul area is really unique. I used to live there and was just back visiting and noticed this.

On Sep.06.2003 at 01:35 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Don't get me started on the whole peanuts thing...


On Sep.06.2003 at 03:59 PM
Berenice’s comment is:

I was on the Red team, and it was a blast. In addition to voting for routes the general public could come along the routes as well as play the dice at the checkpoints. And next year, just go ahead and sign up to be on the teams!

On Sep.09.2003 at 12:47 PM
Armin’s comment is:

(Via Coudal)

Pac-Manhattan is a large-scale urban game that utilizes the New York City grid to recreate the 1980's video game sensation Pac-Man.


A player dressed as Pac-man will run around the Washington square park area of Manhattan while attempting to collect all of the virtual "dots" that run the length of the streets. Four players dressed as the ghosts Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde will attempt to catch Pac-man before all of the dots are collected.

On May.03.2004 at 02:11 PM