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Trampline Simon

Trampline Simon? Apparently. One might be tempted to call it "Trampoline Simon." But one would be wrong. One would be especially correct if one were to perceive this as more than a game of Simon played on trampolines, but an experiment in the technologies of play, the junkmasterly art of ad hoc engineering, and a hard-won insight into the nature children's play.
"This is a Simon game played on mini trampolines: the trampolines light up in a pattern, and the player jumps in response...There's lots of different factors when making stuff for kids. For starters they're incredibly rough on things, and they broke a couple of trampline sensors in no time with their wild jumps. I called Jameco to get more 2" lever switches, which are otherwise impossible to get locally, but they were closed for some mysterious holiday. Hmm.... So I put up my "back in 10 minutes" sign and drove to a hardware store to look for a solution. Stovetop grease pans! Perfect! You can see them here mounted all nice and tidy over the sensors to protect them, worked great, and they even have little holes to let me adjust the sensors:"


"QOLF," (pronounced KWALF) is, according to the manufacturers, "an indoor/outdoor game that is a cross between golf and croquet." It is, again according to the manufacturers, a popular leisure game in South Africa, which "now comes to the U.S. as the ultimate family fun game, as well as a unique golf practice tool."

Heartened by all these promises of patently family-friendly goflike glee, now, at last, available indoors and out, one is drawn inexorably to a contemplation of the various implications of the vertical target with both hole and arch, especially when combined with the shot-shapable nature of the Qolfball.

There's been a lot of very focused playing around here. The path from golf to Qolf, clearly, was by no means direct. The goal here was not to come up with what one might consider a "new" game, but rather with a way for people to practice an old game in new environments. Replacing a golf cup with an arch (as in croquet), but still playing by the rules of golf (no, you don't get to knock your opponents' balls off the green) certainly make things a lot easier to set up. But adding an extra hole on top of the arch is what we in the game biz call a "significant variation." By managing to pitch the ball through the hole, the player gets bonus points, and a chance to pull closer to the lead. Thus sustaining hope almost all the way to the last stroke.

Not truly a Junkyard-like golfish thing, but inspiring significant golf-croquet-like contempation, nevertheless.


Shopping Carts of Art, Hubcaps of Playfulness

Take, for exmple, the Shopping cart art of Ptolemy Elrington. Contemplate, if you will, the depth of the artist's knowledge of shopping cart architecture. Note the consummate skill, the intimacy of the dialogue between form and substance, sculpture and cart. Now consider the artist's collection of Hubcap Creatures. One could only say the same.

Mr. Erlington is an artist who understands playfulness. He knows his junk. He knows what it will let itself be made into, and then he plays with it, right there, right at the edge, always honoring the essential junkitude of his medium, junk and artist making something new together, something lovely, something fun.

funscouting by Joel


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