Free All Monsters! is a game for children, families and even grown ups.
You'll use a Magical Monstervision Machine to look for invisible monsters living in the streets around you, then answer questions about the monsters to show your monster spotting skills, and set free your own monsters for other players to find.
To play Free All Monsters! you'll need a Magical Monstervision Machine, a Monster Spotter's Guide for the place you want to look for monsters, and some felt tip pens and paper.
Follow the picture clues on your Monster Spotter's Guide, and they will lead you to monsters that live in the streets around you.
Photos of players at Hide and Seek, London, and igfest, Bristol by Liz Milner, Paul Coulton and Andrew Wilson.
When you get close to a monster's lair, use the Magical Monstervision Machine to look for the monster.
When you see the monster, look at it very carefully.
On your Spotter's Guide you will find some questions about the monster, to test your monsterology skills.
First you have to answer a question to show that you have watched the monster carefully, then you have to add scientific knowledge by coming up with a new theory to answer a question such as “ Where does this monster go on holiday and what does it do there?”
Even though some monsters look very fierce and scary, they are really very old creatures who look after the places where they live, so they should never be captured or harmed, just watched.
Every monster that you find was set free by somebody else, and when you have finished looking for monsters you can set free some monsters of your own.
All you need to set free monsters is your imagination and some felt tip pens, paper and anything else you want to use to make a monster.
When you have set free your monster it can be made part of the game for other people to find using the Magical Monstervision Machine.
Where Do Monsters Live?
Monsters live outside, in the streets, squares and parks of the places where you go everyday or go to visit sometimes. The monsters live there all the time, in the cold and wind and rain as well as on warm sunny days.
The places where monsters live are the places where everyone should be able to go, not just real places, but places in their imaginations as well, and the job of the monsters is to guard those places, and make sure they are always open, free and welcoming for anyone who wants to go there.
Wherever you find a monster, it means that somebody cares about that place, and has set free a monster to live there and guard it.
Where Do Monsters Come From?
“No Gods, just Monsters!”
There haven't always been towns and cities, full of people hurrying to and fro to school or work.
Where now stand shops, factories and offices were once streams, woods and hillsides.
And every one of those places, even the loneliest tree standing by itself on the moors, had a monster to guard it.
The place belonged to the monster, and the monster belonged to the place.
So when towns and cities were built, the monsters had to stay, trapped under the tall buildings made of brick and stone and concrete.
And there they remained, for 200 years.
Because the monsters have got very grumpy.
They are fed up of people walking on top of them, and they are really fed up of people squashing them under big, heavy cars.
They want to live on the streets in the places that belong to them, the places where they used to live, a long time ago.
Every time you play Free All Monsters!, whether you are using the Magical Monstervision Machine or setting free your own monsters for other people to find, you are helping to make a world that has monsters living in it again.
And that is a much better place for people to live in as well!
Children, families and grown ups have been setting free monsters in Manchester, in London at Sandpit and Hide and Seek, in Bristol at igfest, in Austin, and in Leeds at Pavilion gallery.
I had a fantastic time doing Free London's Monsters! at Sandpit #8 at the ICA.
There was the usual SMS gateway failure
of course - never work with children, animals or cheap SMS gateways in
time sensitive contexts - which meant that the 50 monsters sent by text
message didn't show up on Thumbprint till about three hours later.
somehow that just brought out the liveness of the event.
was sitting with my head in my hands in despair about five minutes
after we started (some day I'm going to get my own SMS gateway that is
actually reliable!) my evening was being saved by the ingenuity of the
illustrator Edward Ward and the enthusiasm and sense of fun on the
Edward handed out little text message
sized pieces of card for people to write on, and when he started to
disappear under a blizzard of monsters coming back, he shared out felt
tips - from the fluffy orange pencil case - paper and monsters and got people to illustrate someone
That's a new game in itself, and over the course
of the evening two groups of people at the event (Emily and Ali were
one, and another mystery group) also invented Monsterquences.
Free London's Monsters! is going to be part of the Sandpit pervasive games event at the ICA on February 18th.
Monsters will be set free as soon as you conjure them up by the usual magic spells (imagination, thumb power and Thumbprint)
But there will also be an illustrator who will be drawing the monsters as soon as they are set free, and an "art table" with paper, pencils, crayons, felt tips, glitter and glue so that everyone taking part can illustrate their own monster.
The pictures of monsters will be projected onto a wall of the ICA, and there will be some prizes for the best ones.
Here is more about Free London's Monsters! on the ludocity pervasive games wiki, and some details about the event if you are in London* and are a friend of monsters.
But I made my own contributions to Quantum Governance, not least strong support for the idea of replacing nation states (so nineteenth century) with self organising constellations of city-states from anywhere in the world.
And some quantum silliness including turning the UEFA Champions League into a non competitive league (as in the Hanseatic League rather than "league" meaning a ladder of competition) of self governing city-states.
And that ghosts should have votes in city-state legislatures.
Anyway, we won the MindStruct Award, "created and awarded by Jane McGonigal and Kiyash Monsef... for the superstructure that provides the most delicious and satisfying food for thought."
Which we got because "Quantum Governance is the most fulfilling thought experiment we’ve witnessed in ages. You took a strange little seed of an idea and you played and played and played with it, until you turned it into a feast."
That's the installation kit for Five Trees Forest - posters, magic chocolate bars (NFC enabled!), comments book, landmark posters (with an NFC chip stuck on them), and they all fit in the big green magic box.
On Friday afternoon I spent fifteen minutes going round the building with posters and blu-tack putting up posters, and hey presto, a building is turned into an enchanted space.
That's the Museum of Lost Things on the door (the Museum is always closed otherwise you'd go in and find all the things you'd lost, and there would be no exhibits left).
Because we are using NFC enabled mobile phones, I'm hoping that players will need hardly any introduction in how to play - just a demo of how to use the phone to read the NFC chip and that's it - the game itself should tell them everything else they need to know.
To test that out I've tried to give the players as little technical instruction as possible, and I'm not even going to hand the phones out to them myself - I'll show the receptionists in the building how to use the NFC function, and they'll show the players, who will pick up their phones and begin when they come to reception to collect their post in the morning.
Anyone who has ever installed and run any sort of pervasive game event using technology, which can get to theatrical levels of complexity and faff, even down to pains-in-the-arse like the wifi not working in the venue, will be standing up and applauding me right now.
And creating a mixed reality infrastructure using posters takes me right back to City Poems.