Ah, spring! It means the return of good weather, picnics in the park and fun, large-scale, live-action games in public places through the summer. (Of course).
ESI Design dove toward summer with the design of new games for the Games for Change Public Arcade at the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair in April. We joined our friends and frequent collaborators from Gigantic Mechanic to run games on behalf of Come Out & Play at the street fair as a lead-up to the big Come Out & Play (COAP) festival later this summer.
It happens to be a special year for COAP, as 2015 brings on their 10th anniversary showcasing original, live-action, physical and social games at public festivals— for free.
The theme for the games at the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair, “Come Out & Play with Your Food,” sparked ESI Design’s playful imaginations to create and serve up two deliciously fun new games to make their debut at the street fair.
The first game, dubbed “On Top of Spaghetti,” takes inspiration from the classic childhood song, and imagines giant, runaway meatballs that must be tossed back to their proper place in big bowls of spaghetti. At the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair, two teams faced off against each other, trying to throw their meatballs into the other team’s bowls without knocking them over or losing the spaghetti inside. The game was a winner with all ages, from little kids who loved the idea of tossing meatballs (and were warned not to try this at home) to adults who recognized the game as a fun-house version of beer pong (which also served as inspiration).
The second game, “Better with Bacon,” has participants race against the clock to see how much bacon kids could pile on top of their parents in 30 seconds. After extensive playtesting, we found that although everyone loves to eat bacon, they don’t really love to wear it (hot grease, sticky residue), so we decided to go with custom-made bacon made from felt instead. Kids and adults both enjoyed the challenge, and the game in action created a ridiculous spectacle for everyone else to witness.
Both games give us the opportunity to do what we love here at ESI Design — turning the familiar into something unexpected, playing with scale (how much bacon? how big a meatball?) and creating an experience that’s as much fun to watch as it is to play.
So, take it from us: Remember to play with your food—and join us for the much bigger, 10th-anniversary celebration of the COAP festival this summer, when ESI Design will once again be running Come Out & Play Family Day, on Saturday, July 18th, on Governors Island.