The research project “Literacy of Games, Literacy of Play: Imparting Media Competence in the Field of Analogue, Digital and Hybrid Games” (German: Literalität des Spiel(en)s: Vermittlung von Medienkompetenz im Bereich analoger, digitaler & hybrider Spiele) aims at determining central theoretical foundations on the topic of games competence – i.e. the literacy of digital, analogue and hybrid games and play – and to develop a reusable, scalable and open workshop format for its practical mediation in informal learning settings, such as the Cologne City Library.

On the one hand, this is intended to meet the frequently articulated public desire for media competence in the field of different understandings of games and modes of play. On the other hand, the project reacts to a potential “loss of diversity, the penetration of ideologies in line with the market and the one-sided appropriation of attention” that has been outlined as a possible danger to our (transmedial) imagination by Jens Eder (2012). By using the simplest user interface imaginable – Lego bricks – the project aims to shed light on processes of game- and level design in hands-on, non-profit and participative level of civic engagement.

To impart this kind of literacy, we have developed a mixed-reality software named “Lego Tiles” (tentative title). For our workshops, it is described as follows:

Build a map with Lego and see it coming to life on the screen! Lego Tiles is a CGL research project aimed at teaching level design to kids. Navigate the game world in the first person and change it in real time. Each brick corresponds to a design element that you can add or rearrange in order to modify the game layout. Embracing different play approaches – from competitive to collaborative, single or multiplayer – in fact, everyone can create and play games with Lego Tiles. It’s child’s play!