HybridPlay turns Playgrounds into Video Games

It's hard to improve a classic, but Hybrid Play looks to do so by transforming your average playground into a collectively played video game - some assembly required.

I have a confession: I'm a 27 year-old woman who still loves playgrounds. The swings, the slides, the monkey bars; I'm all over those classics given half a chance. However, like myself, many kids consider playgrounds "old school". The team at Hybrid Play seeks to change this by mixing traditional park play with video games. Be still my beating heart. 

Hybrid play has been in development since 2008, and will soon seek funding via Indiegogo to procure the resources necessary to produve the first units of Hybrid Play. For the past four years the company has taken their tech through counteless workshops, getting feedback from kids and parent until Hybrid Play is finally ready for kids everywhere. 

How it Works

To enhance your normal everyday playground activities, you'll first need a Hybrid Play sensor and a smartphone. This sensor, an Arduino electronic platform, can be placed on various pieces of equipment in the park, turning the children into motion controllers for a collectively played video game. 

Maybe kids these days are slightly more cooperative than the rapscallions running around in my day, but I wonder just how easy it will be to corall kids collectively to play a game. I'd waiger that the time spent arguing over who gets to control the smartphone and the time spent actually playing the game match up. 

That said, there are a tons of fun games for these kids to play (and fight over). Two of these games would be Space Kids, where you collect space debris, and Puzzle City, where you must discover all the secrets hidden within. There's also plenty of classic games such as Pac Man, TRON and Pong which can help form the basis of a solid video game education. 

The Hybrid Play system is also compatible with Gamesonomy, a visual programming tool, that children can use to develop their own games. Above all else, this is the most exciting part of the project to me. The games we create for children can be fun, but it's fascinating to see what kids will come up with themselves. On the other hand, most of the games I created in grade-school were basically only slight variations of tag or hide-and-go-seek. 

If this sounds like something your kid might enjoy, be on the lookout for the Hybrid Play indiegogo campaign which is set to launch in the next month. While you're waiting for that, check out some new ways to play as an adult.

Published Sep. 22nd 2014
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