Postcard from Baltimore

This is a picture from the Quarantine Jam that we organized two week ago in Trust in Play: this one was a playtest of a game where we were giving each other tasks, I asked everybody to show me some skin.

“What are you doing in life?”

I’m a game designer and in this moment I’m teaching/ managing a Game Lab ( for 75% of my time, and coordinating a branch of a project called Trust in Play ( - the European School of Urban Game Design. On the side I have other design-based activity to keep me busy.

For the first part, we switched our activities online (this by the way is the first time in 10 years that I have a steady income so I fell really privileged). For Trust in Play I was coordinating the Nomadic branch, with Trainees all over the world, so we were already in a digital realm.

“What worries you the most about your situation now?”

I’m worried of a new reality in which physical human interaction will be discouraged.
I’m worried for my health (and my weight).
I’m worried for my relationship.

“What makes you hopeful about the future?”

I hope that we find a vaccine soon.

“If you are becoming more communal or not, are you going to do things differently? which ones?”

I don’t know my neighbours, literally I don’t know (and never cared) about who is living next door. I think this is something that I’m going to fix soon, but is only because of this extreme situation.

A lesson that life is teaching you:

Don’t over-design or fast-design. Brain power is limited and as humans we are not that good at predicting stuff.


I understand the deep fear that is almost metaphysical… but how do you think this is going to affect your job? Are you hopeful about game versions that can and will be played online, and the opportunities for innovation in designing for a near future with less sociality as we know it?
This is such a creative field that it could open up endless possibilities…
But then, you are not a game designer only. You are an urban game designer… so will you have to switch gears @matteo_uguzzoni ?

Urban Game designers are already coming up with a lot of creative solutions, some of them are already available here , here or here…it’s a survival choice, tough.
Personally I prefer to take a lateral step (not back, but on the side), and maybe focus on writing, building physical stuff, orienting myself to community engagement and take a pause from the design “urge”, since there are all the ingredients for fast burnout :smile:

1 Like

Me too. Expect a post.

Hang in there, my friend… :shamrock:

1 Like

I did not want to ask more about this because private lives can be so sensitive topics, but I wish you both the best. And of course, curious how this conversation would be had among us, perhaps it’s good to make each other available for listening and advice, in private rooms. From my end, goes without saying.

It’s interesting because those worries were mine also before the virus hit, if I think deeply, I was worried about a society with less and less human interaction and prejudice, I was worried about my body (which I think is a mirror for other deepest worry about self-care) and I am evaluating and experimenting and re-balancing my relationship, so I guess, as a friend of mine said, this scenario is just accelerating things, accentuating crisis that were there before and pushing for changes that were in the air before, what do you think?

1 Like

Ok, my first reaction to your comment was to browse for fear related articles (!) but nothing really compelling comes out that I could share with you that’s a bit conforting [sigh]

I’m not an optimist person, but I can’t help but think: whatever you were doing or not doing before this crisis to diminish anxiety around certain things - now you can only do more of those, no? If you didn’t have time to talk about problems, now you can do it. If you didn’t go to therapy, now you can do it ( speaking from experience, even sessions on whatsapp can work if you need cbt or similar). If you didn’t consider important life decisions, now you can carefully consider them - even addressing a problem is a bit of a relief and step forward. If you didn’t have time to exercise, now you can do it.

And something that we didn’t have before lockdown and forced rest is this: a rested brain to help us diminish at least the stress of the daily life and work… Can’t be grateful enough for that.

Two more notes:

  • the above could stand provided that your basic needs for food, space, light etc are in check, if only to an extent. I mean, there could be a lot of shit happening for each of us, so yeah, it varies a lot…
  • existential anxiety is probably harder to cope with these days, but that’s anxiety for you… and so other than therapy, new hobbies, meditation, like solid selfcare practices, I don’t know how people deal with it.
1 Like