Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
October 16, 2017
arrowPress Releases

If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Tiny Games All Around

by Bobby Lockhart on 11/11/13 03:23:00 pm   Expert Blogs

2 comments Share on Twitter    RSS

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutras community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


I'mRob Lockhart, the Creative Director ofImportant Little Games. If you were to follow me ontwitter, I'd be grateful.


When the awesome projectTiny Gamescame to my attention,I immediately became an enthusiastic backer. Just recently, the iOS versions went out, and I eagerly opened this gift from my (more well-to-do) former self.

If you haven't heard about the project, Tiny Games is not a game for your phone, but a list of games to play in real life. The app suggests IRL games based on where you are and what's around you. It sometimes asks silly little questions just to gauge what mood you're in, or what kind of person you are.

I've been trying to play as many Tiny Games as I can on my own, but it it's difficult to make work for me. For instance, Tiny Games includes a whole set of games to be played on the road. I have a 1-hour commute to theIndie City Coop, so it seems like an ideal situation at first blush. Two things conspire against me. 1) The mood of a commute is not often a playful one, and trying to force oneself into a playful frame of mind is difficult and unrewarding (as my QA friends know). 2) The games for one player are whimsical, but hard to find satisfying because they're so vague. Having vague rules for a multiplayer game can be a strength, because they create debate and house-rules and adjudication. It's not as much fun for one - perhaps a hint as to why solitaire is still the most popular 1-player game.

Determined to play more Tiny Games, I asked my friendsBrice PulsandMiles Aurbeckto come play with me in the park. This was awesome, and clearly the spirit in which these games were meant to be played. The games were mostly coop, and those that weren't lent themselves to an amiable atmosphere. We never kept score, and a good time was had by all.

Inspired, I made an attempt at a tiny game of my own. I wanted to make something that can be played in public with no equipment whatsoever. I call it bump5shake.

The rules of bump5shake are simple. Two or more people stand at the bottom of a staircase in a well-trafficked public area. Each of the players is trying to get to the top of the stairs before the others. However, the only way to move up the stairs is to make physical contact with strangers.

  • A fist bump from a stranger allows a player to move up one stair.
  • A high-five moves them up two stairs.
  • A handshake moves them up three stairs.

Players must move after each bump, 5, or shake (no 'storing up' moves to use later). They have to stay on their stair for the duration of the game, and they CANNOT SPEAK. That's all you need to know to play the game.

I made a video of some playtesting. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks to Brice, Miles, and theArt Institute of Chicago, whose stairs we used.

Related Jobs

Deck Nine Games
Deck Nine Games — Westminster, Colorado, United States

Senior Console Programmer
Sanzaru Games Inc.
Sanzaru Games Inc. — Foster City, California, United States

Environment Artist
Telltale Games
Telltale Games — San Rafael, California, United States

Narrative Designer
Bohemia Interactive Simulations
Bohemia Interactive Simulations — Prague, Czech Republic

Product Owner / Team Leader

Loading Comments

loader image