Thinking Mobile

Mob Fest day 1

23 Mar 2011

After arcade machines, consoles, handhelds and installations, we've finally reached the virtual Level 5: Mobile Games. The three-day Mob Fest marks the end of the Arcade exhibition. An Ignite evening consisting of 15 speedy 5-minute talks, and two days of in-depth discussion about and demonstrations of mobile games. Buy a ticket and join us.


immune system - QR Code generated image.


In the last decades we've seen gaming move from huge dedicated cabinets in the physical space of the arcade, to the comfort of our homes, and finally into the mobility of our pockets. Mobile devices have become platforms for mobile and pervasive gaming. Games have broken free from the virtual screenspace and have become embedded in our everyday environments. ‘Mobile gaming’ thus refers to the platforms on which games are played, and the integration of games into the physical environment. Connected to our friends online and our urban surroundings, we play our way through life.

Or so they say. Mobile games represent new ways of playing as well as new ways of using play. But what makes a good mobile game? How can you move beyond collecting points for meaningless whatnot's, and create something that sticks? And how can mobile games contribute to doing good? Are they our next best hope for a better world, like alternate reality game designer Jane McGonigal argues? And what does the future of mobile gaming have in store for us? During Mob Fest we will approach mobile gaming from different cultural, technical and societal angles.

Day 1

During Thinking Mobile we will explore possible directions for mobile gaming that can take this genre beyond the level of ‘play once and never use again’. How can we create durable mobile games; how to create performances, immersion, pictures of the way we live? And what is the role of local culture in developing mobile games? We'll be speaking with Kars Alfrink, Richard Birkin and Duncan Speakman. Michiel de Lange will be hosting the evening.


Kars Alfrink is the founder and designer of Hubbub, a design studio specialized in physical, social games. Kars moves between the lines of interaction- and game design. He seeks ways of integrating people and their surroundings through games. In doing so, he hopes to encourage them to think about the social relevance of their environment and how to make use of it. Good citizenship and cultural participation are keywords while thinking about new applied urban games. For Mob Fest he will provide us with his insightful opinion on what makes a good mobile game. New audiences and social and cultural contexts are key.


Koppelkiek by Hubbub - Couple snapshot from Koppelkiek, a social photo game by Hubbub. Picture found on Hubbub's website.

Richard Birkin is a producer and 'Player Champion' of sorts over at Chromaroma. As you travel around London, your Oyster Card becomes a controller, and the underground a real-life obstacle course. Chromaroma is developed by Mudlark, a cross-platform production company based in the UK. Richard will attempt to explain Chromaroma's success (thousands of players since the launch in December), how they are planning to hold on to their players, and if the game's success is UK-specific.


Chromaroma website - Image of Chromaroma found on Flickr made by birgerking .

Duncan Speakman (UK) is an artist in residence at NIMk. His work explores our use of sound to navigate geographical, personal and political environments, creating experiences that physically and emotionally engage audiences in public spaces. Duncan has also developed Subtlemob, which is, one could say, the opposite of a flashmob.


Subtlemob by Duncan Speakman found on Flickr made by British Council Japan - Sophie Logothetis

More information

Doors open at 8pm, the evening starts at 8.30pm. Location: Mediamatic Bank, Vijzelstraat 68 Amsterdam. A ticket for one evening will set you back €7,-. A 3-day ticket is only €15,-. Buy your ticket online to make sure there's a warm seat waiting for you.

Mob Fest is part of the Arcade exhibition. Arcade is an expanding collection of old and new games and technologies. We kicked off with a collection of arcade video games operating alongside our newly developed interactive installations. Exhibition space meets arcade. Come play with us. The exhibition closes on March 27th. Open from 13:00 - 19:00 during the week, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 13:00 - 18:00.