Keita Takahashi: playground designer

Game designer Keita Takahashi, creator of Katamari Damacy, is consulting on the design of a children’s playground in England:

The iconoclastic and much-loved game designer is spending a month in Nottingham where he will consult school children, local communities and the NCC Landscape Architect to discuss and develop ideas for the playground.

Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture & Customers at Nottingham City Council said, “We’re delighted to have Takahashi-san on board and very much looking forward to working with him on this unique collaboration.”

After considering several sites NCC has selected Woodthorpe Grange Park for the Takahashi-created playground. The site’s natural rolling hills may add to the design and enable some interesting and playful landscapes.

Takahasi has often made comparisons between game design and architecture, and certainly there are parallels to be drawn between play areas and games – they’re both constructed environments designed to enclose, direct and facilitate enjoyment. But could he be starting a new trend? What would happen if more designers took his lead?

Via Keith Stuart @ The Guardian, who adds:
Katamari Quake

I think Id could knock up a cool, if rather dangerous, Quake-themed adventure playground – all multi-levelled enclosures and trampoline jump points. And how about a Super Monkey Ball one, in which kids are bundled into huge hamster balls and allowed to explore at will?

I’m down with it — Quake that playground!

(Digression: I remember Half-Life Two, there’s an abandoned playground in City-17 … you can spin the spinning-alphabet toys and the merry-go-round … now that was some fine game design, very poignant scene, childhood memories transported into a desolate future.)

In other British playground news:

Council bans parents from play areas

Score one for Britain in its contest with the United States to create the stupidest fear-based society. The Watford Borough Council took the lead by banning parents from supervising their own kids in public playgrounds, “because they have not undergone criminal record checks.”

The only adults allowed to monitor the kids are idiocracy-vetted “play rangers.” The children’s parents must “watch from outside a perimeter fence.”

Mark Frauenfelder @ BoingBoing