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Performati- ve Virtual Play in Covid Lockdown

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Game
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On June 25th, we organized a game play on Sprout. The website allows users to customize the size and proportion of their video docks and place them on the website interface freely. We combined five to six different sizes of docks into the shape of humans and animals in advance. Participants chose one of the docks and opened their cameras to perform. We connected with each other’s camera video in the photo collage. In the second part, we chose some photos as the stage background and allowed the participants to interact with the elements in the background photos. The whole process of exploring the video language was preserved as a performance.

Rules:
Step 1. Gather and open the computer camera 
Step 2. Choose a pre-set face dock and place yourself in
Step 3. Perform according to the effect of different proportions of the face docks
Step 4. Perform as follows: 1) The host drags the position of the face docks to set up a new stage, each stage has a theme, for example, horses, people, and butterflies. 2) perform and interact with others according to their imagination based on the new stage setup.
Step 5. Hide and Seek Game: 1) Randomly choose one participant as a seeker 2) Seeker stay at the top of the web 3) Give all the participants one minute to hide in the sprout website, they can use all of the tools provided by the sprout space, such as stickers, videos, etc find their way to confuse the seeker and hide themselves.

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On May 12th, we organized a game play at the Tencent Meeting. There are three parts to the game. The first part was a warm-up activity in that players used their bodies to fit into the frame of the computer screen with different requirements, such as moving closer to the camera. In the second part, participants changed the virtual background of the meeting and prepared a performance based on the new one. The third part was to perform and discuss collectively.

Rules:

Step 1. Gather and open the computer camera 
Step 2. Warm-Up Activity. The Player follows the instruction of the host below: 1) Use different strategies, such as changing the position of the body or the distance to the camera to fit the body image into the computer screen. 2) Let the body move closer to the camera 3) Try to fit the body image into the computer screen 4) Repeat 
Step 3. Ask players to pick one image or video significant to them at that time and use it as a virtual background 
Step 4. Give the Player 15 minutes to prepare an individual performance based on the virtual background 
Step 5. Players perform individually and give responses to each other 
Step 6. Players can change the background and perform together freely without constraints.

During the lockdown in Shanghai in 2022, we organized a series of performative virtual games to demonstrate how we can use performative gameplay to achieve mutual connection during struggling moments. The performative virtual game is the gameplay on the virtual platform, like Tencent Meeting, and players use their physical bodies to play. It has the potential to form a collective space to address repression, intervening in reality through rules that are abstracted from social circumstances to
invite players to use bodily actions to simulate a counterplay under the condition of social status quo. 

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On April 11th, the beginning of the lockdown, we organized a game on Tencent Meeting, the virtual communication platform, to invite players to find specific colors in their rooms during a certain period. Players who cannot find objects in the picked color will be eliminated. Players can change the rules collectively after playing the original version. They will also discuss the findings during the play.

Rules:

Step 1. Gather together and open the computer camera  
Step 2. Chat about Lockdown Situation 
Step 3. Introduce Rule: Players need to find the object in  color picked by the host during a certain period. Everyone needs to use their mobile phone to document the process of looking and stop moving after the countdown is over. Players will form as a collective to decide whose object does not fit into the intended color. The person who does not find the object will be eliminated 
Step 4. Play the “Searching for the color game,” and shorten the counting time as the game process. 
Step 5. Player form as a collective to change the rule of the game, such as changing the host of the game and changing the elimination rule. 
 

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