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Critical Hit 2015: Week 1 Recap

Posted by Jess

Here’s a short recap of what went on over at Critical Hit last week:


The first week of Critical Hit was jam-packed — except that we haven’t started jamming quite yet. Instead, we had a week of workshops, getting to know each other, and play…oh, and a bit of paperwork, of course, but we tried to get that over quickly.

Sixteen participants filed into TAG, most of them starting as strangers. A few were familiar faces from around the city.

We introduced ourselves and started a giant game of Turtle Wushu (Invisible Playground, 2012), led by one of our co-directors, Ida. Afterwards, nineteen people trekked over to the Concordia Visual Arts building lawn to play International Golf Proxy (Simon Katan, 2010), a multiplayer game of golf with an invisible hole, where players must triangulate the hole’s location based on their own shots and information from one other team each round.


Afterwards, we headed back to the lab for a falafel lunch (courtesy of Critical Hit) followed by taking care of paperwork — thankfully, this was accompanied by candy. Once all the paperwork was done, we decided to break a little early to let everyone get to know the city.

Tuesday morning, we had a workshop by Bronson Zgeb (Critical Hit 2013), who helped introduce us to a few of the different technologies that we have around the lab, including the Pebble watch, the Oculus Rift, and a few other hackables and wearables that we have around.

After lunch, we had our first presentations: we asked each participant (and also each of our co-directors and our creative advisor) to prepare a 10-minute presentation about themselves, their projects, their dreams and inspirations.

We then made our first games! Co-director Ida led us in a workshop where we made games specifically for the spaces around us. In total, five games were made, using the underground passageway between the metro and our Library building, the escalators from the metro-level to the first floor of the Engineering and Visual Arts building, the revolving doors around the same area, the elevators, and the ramp between the EV building and the John Molson building. Here are a few videos of the games (click the text to open the video):

Fisherman and Opera game

The Escalator Game

Human Balance Dressage for the Distinguished Brush

Roulez la balle

There was one more game made, involving a hunt for Sacha the Sassy Turtle, but since it took place in the elevators, we didn’t get any footage of it, unfortunately.

On Wednesday, Critical Hit alumni Bronson Zgeb (CH 2013) and Ben Swinden (CH 2014) came and gave us a workshop about sound toys and integrating sound in Unity.

After our presentations that afternoon, we then played around with some strange controllers that had already been made with the Makey Makey, including the blanket controller for Critical Hit 2014 game Mouffe, and a conductive curtain project by co-director Ida Toft and alumnus/creative advisor Kim Hoang, originally showcased at Arcade 11 this year.

We started off with a soft-circuit workshop with SenseLab’s Elio Bidinost. We learned to make circuits on fabric using arduinos and some handy premade program resources.

In the afternoon, Ida gave a mystical workshop about creating magical objects (bodyprops) modeled on Kristina Andersen and Danielle Wilde’s OWL Circle workshop, which you can learn more about here. Everyone chose a basic desire and then created an object from the collection of unusual craft supplies that Ida had collected that tried to assist the user in fulfilling that need. Afterwards, we presented the objects, gave them a name, and demonstrated their use.

On Friday, the participants ran their own workshops: some people learned how to use worbla, a friendly plastic that is easily moldable when heat is applied, others learned how to weave or knit, and still others finished up their soft circuit projects from the day before or just practiced their soldering skills. We then played games suggested by participants, such as “Vampire” and “Spaghetti Standoff.”

In the afternoon, after our final presentations, Lynn Hughes came to talk to us about speculative design and other inspirations as our official keynote! After a bit of a break, we announced our first theme:

Mini & Forbidden.

As of this week, the teams have been formed and we are off and running!
Our first public playtest will be Thursday, the 2nd of July 2015, at 5PM. Hope to see you there!

For the rules of more urban games like the ones included here, visit