Mind the Game - workshop and conference 2015

Mind the Game focused on gamification, a topic that is not yet well-known but emerging in Hungary. The conference concentrated on introducing theoretical and practical gamification initiatives and the potential of games for public participation and education. Besides covering the theory of gamification, demonstrating best practices was an important feature as well as games are, of course, practice orientated. The participants could both learn and experience how knowledge transfer can be rejuvenated through gamification. The conference took place in three main parts: the workshop, the urban game and the conference. 

 

The workshop took place from 6th to 8th of October at H13 Student- and Business Development Center with an interdisciplinary group of 7 to 9 participants. The first day of the workshop was the introduction section where the themes of gamification and the urban game were introduced and discussed. Additionally,  the definition, framework and goals of the urban game for the conference were outlined. On the second day, the urban game was further developed and finalized. The implementation of the urban game design took place on the third day of the workshop in preparation for the game start that evening. Besides the preparation of the game, participants exchanged interesting experiences and case studies in various fields.

The urban game took place on the evening of October 8th. Everyone was welcome to attend, and about 40 participants met in Lumen Café on Mikszáth Kálmán square at 6.30 pm. Teams of 7 or 8 people were formed from the attendees and they set out to search for the diverse stations and challenges of the game. Each team received a “passport” in which they could collect their points and stamps from each game station. The teams had to make their way, in a specific order, to stations throughout the 8th district and upon arrival complete different, playful and funny tasks. Most of the game’s tasks were focused on making the players aware of local knowledge in a fun and creative way without being formal. There were tasks like recognizing plants or historical characters, answering a quiz about the history of Budapest, collecting water from outdoor taps and dancing with pedestrians. 

Furthermore, teams were encouraged to expand the game by involving members of the public in certain tasks. For each completed task, the team received both points and stamps. Finally, the teams arrived back to Lumen Café, where they submitted their “passports”. The results were tabulated and the winners decided on the basis of the delivered “passports”. The game ended with the announcement of the winners in a lively and friendly gathering outside Lumen Cafe. 

The conference took place on the 9th of October also in the H13 Student- and Business Development Center. Approximately 70 people attended the conference including participants from the previous evening’s urban game, professionals, students and various interested members of the public. The presentations where held mainly in Hungarian but there was official English translators for the international audience as well. The venue of H13 with its cafeteria created a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. During the breaks, the participants, presenters and organizers were able to exchange ideas, project information, knowledge, contacts or to simply enjoy a delightful coffee. 

The presentations were about gamification both in theory and in practice, and they demonstrated the motivational power of games. During the conference, excellent international practices from Bratislava and Wroclaw were introduced. The participants got insight into the importance of gamification and relevant knowledge transfer through creative sightseeing tours and an online neighbor platform as well. The entire list of speakers and their presentations is available on the Smart City Budapest website.

Games and fun were essential elements of the last day of the conference as well. When the attention of the attendees began to wane towards the end of the day, the MC  solved this issue through energization of the audience with funny stretching exercises. The fun continued during the stretching after lunch as participants found a blank letter under their seats. They had to write a letter to themselves with their thoughts on what they will be doing, their goals or how their life will be in one year. The letters could be handed in at the after-party at Lumen Café. Mindspace will post all of the submitted letters to their authors in exactly one year. At this time, the participants will likely have forgotten about this unique letter and may well be surprised or even shocked when they read their one-year-old words. After the last fascinating speech of the day, the participants teeming with ideas and information and the speakers with their skills and background could informally exchange experiences and concepts over a cup of coffee in H13. Later in the evening, the attendees could continue conversing and networking at Lumen Café.

Thank you to the Visegrád Fund as without their support and funding, this conference wouldn’t have been possible. Thanks also to the city of Budapest for their support. Special thanks to H13 for  being such warm venue for hosting the event. We hope to continue the conversation next year!

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