Are you a fun-loving tech freak with time on your hands in NYC? Then this may be for you:
- Noderunner is a team-based game played on a city’s open wireless network. As individuals and businesses put WiFi, or IEEE 802.11, networks into their homes and offices excess wireless signal spills over onto the street. Noderunner turns this distributed wireless spill-over into a playing field.
Before the game starts, a starting point and ending point are agreed upon (both points must have stable and reliable wireless hotspots), and a time limit is set (typically two hours). Teams race each other to connect to as many open hotspots as possible before the time limit. At each open hotspot they must take a photo of their team and upload it to the Noderunner Website. By keeping a live photo log of the teams’ progression through the city, the Noderunner site acts as a living scoreboard through which the teams and spectators track a live the game.
The first Noderunner game was played in New York City the summer of
2002 in conjunction with Eyebeam and NYCwireless, as seen on Tech TV. Yury Gitman and Carlos Gomez have since been awarded artist residencies at Eyebeam to continue the development of Noderunner. While at Eyebeam the artists’ focus is two fold. They will redesign the Noderunner site to act as an international scoreboard and resource site to promote the playing of Noderunner in any city. Additionally they will organize seasonal (winter, fall, summer) New York City Noderunner games as well as help interested parties in other cities, like San Diego and Dublin, play.
It is interesting to note that even in the same city, like NYC, Noderunner’s playing field is in a constant flux as WiFi is only beginning to be accepting into mass use. One could assert that Noderunner would become easier and easier to play as WiFi proliferates. But as WiFi proliferates so emerge new legislation, new use patterns, and new technologies (like more powerful WiFi antenna’s and WiFi security) that too augment the playing field and player a like. This mix all the more provides for a vibrate dance between Noderunners and open WiFi networks. Still, this dance of gamers on a their playing field is not only a dialogue about innovative uses of emerging technologies. Noderunner is in itself an exemplar of an emerging culture. A culture where smart and wireless environments are as much an object of play as is a open grass field or an open lake.
Yes, go frolic amidst concrete canyons invisible force fields of digital communication.