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Art and Games of Place

Projects that play with our relationship to social, digital, urban and natural environments.

Many of these use Free and Open Source Software and/or participatory processes inspired by surrounding cultures. Some cause us to reflect on and rehearse how we take decisions individually or  together that effect our societies and environments.

Germination X

Germination X a game about permaculture by

Germination X a game about permaculture by

Borrowed Scenery

Borrowed Scenery a mystical mapping of urban plant life – joining physical and imaginary worlds together with images and stories.

Naked on Pluto

Naked on Pluto – a glorious critique of our economies of heedless over-sharing in consumer society AND (with a little commitment) a good, game. The game-world is  “a capital of convenience, a non stop 24hr zone of endless pleasure, provided by Pluto’s huge entertainment corporations”.The critique resonates through every moment of interaction of the game (the interface, the gameplay, the rewards and results). By Dave Griffiths, Aymeric Mansoux and Marloes de Valk, licenced Copyleft


agoraXchange, initiated and coordinated by Jackie Stevens and Natalie Bookchin, went online on March 15, 2004 (commissioned by the Tate) as a  repository of ideas for a global politics game with four basic decrees that upend current institutions sustaining nationalism and inequality. 1. Citizenship by Choice, 2. No Inheritance, 3. No Marriage, 4. No Private Landrights
In the first version participants answered brainstorming questions, for instance, “What should be the object of the game?” “Should there be points?” And then, from thousands of responses, a wiki was used to turn these into multiple choice questions. This project distinguishes itself from simulation games such as Ultima Online and Civilization in that it sets out to create the conditions for a new model of the world to be invented and inhabited.

The World Game

Buckminster Fuller’s world peace logistics game. A tool to support a collective process for designing the future of the world. Based on Fuller’s contention that now only a systems approach “that deals with the world as a whole, and not a piece meal approach” will steer spaceship earth and make “the world work, for 100% of humanity…through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or disadvantage to anyone”.

Buckminster Fuller Earth Observatory and Global Stategic Gaming Complex from

Infinite Blank

Infinite Blank by Evan Balster is a massively multiplayer online canvas.
“The game’s world is endless, because players draw all of it. Anyone can draw a new piece in a blank spot. It then becomes a permanent part of the map. The world grows as people play, and they can explore it together. The goal is simple: creativity and exploration.”

Free Rider

Free Rider HD
Players ride a bike on tracks drawn by other players. It’s entirely written in JavaScript & HTML5, using the new <canvas> element.  Gratifying on many many levels. The drawings operate as representations of landscapes, places, things, moments at the same time as providing tracks of travel for a cyclist that displays v. attractive physical qualities. It’s gorgeous!

Draw a Stickman

Draw a Stickman
Off topic, not open- but an interesting contrast to the above. Preset story in which you provide the drawing of the character who encounters hazards and obstacles – really a pretext to have you print a t-shirt, mug etc and buy the app.


Pachube by Usman Haque – connecting up and mapping the world.
A web service available that enables you to store, share & discover realtime sensor, energy and environment data from objects, devices & buildings around the world. Pachube is a secure & scalable platform that helps you connect to & build the ‘internet of things’.


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This work by Local Play (based on a collaboration between Ruth Catlow and Dr Mary
Flanagan) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License

The free software, that enables anyone to draw, make and play their own platform game levels, developed with Soda was first published to Github October 2013