I’m going reveal my geeky roots… When I was a kid, my friends and I would play Star Trek. Homemade wooden phasers, climbing trees for pretend planets, and creating stories as we went. Not a lot of technology involved — it was just us, goofing around, having fun.
I’m not sure I could convince my friends today to play it, but Artemis may be close to the modern equivalent.
Artemis simulates a spaceship bridge by networking several computers together. One computer runs the simulation and the “main screen”, while the others serve as workstations for the normal jobs a bridge officer might do, like Helm, Communication, Engineering, and Weapon Control. Artemis is a social game where several players are together in one room (“bridge”) , and while they all work together, one player plays the Captain, a person who sits in the middle, doesn’t have a workstation, and tells everyone what to do.
The on-screen interfaces are basic. But it’s the way that the game gets players to interact with each other that’s so amazing. Take a look at the videos below to get a sense of the range of play that can emerge. (There are tons more on the Artemis site’s media page.)
People may not video themselves when they play Scrabble — but role playing games have been around for a while. What makes Artemis special is its all-in-the-same-room structure, and the way it controls time. It would be interesting to see how its mechanics might be translated to other, broader, audiences and activities.