File this under “Adam, things to know about . . .”

Here’s a fun fact: Adam Shreckhise, owner and creator of PLAY Parlour and its awesome games is an accomplished artist and sculptor.  Before PLAY, Adam had various pieces of work displayed at galleries around the city.  One of those, his drawing machine, was especially cool.

PAM - Portrait of the Artist as a Machine

PAM – Portrait of the Artist as a MachinePAM (Portrait of the Artist as a Machine) was an installation at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts as part of the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial.

PAM (Portrait of the Artist as a Machine) was an installation at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts as part of the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial.  It was a roomful of interconnected mechanics, electricity, switches, and color that produced its own works of art.  PAM offered viewers a way of questioning the creative process and connection with the final product.  If you didn’t get a chance to see it then, check it out on Adam’s website.

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One of many of PAM’s working parts

On February 16th, PLAY is giving you a real hands-on opportunity to be a part of Adam’s recent work, arcade games.  Visit us in another roomful of interconnected mechanics, electricity, switches, and color . . . but with more balls.

You’re Welcome

We’re getting some good press these days.  Check out Pittsburgh Magazine’s fine article on PLAY Parlour with a preview of Wreckless Arcade Tournament.  Learn more about PLAY’s owner and games creator, Adam Shreckhise.

This article will put you in a PLAYing mood.  So, come visit us at Wreckless on February 16.  Even if you’re not a tournament-playing-type-person, we still want to see you.  Come and see our games in action.  We’ll have deejays as emcees, cool lighting, comfy sofas, and refreshments. We’re even brainstorming new games for the day.  Play games that aren’t being used in the tournament: Scrabble or chess on the ambient-lit Inverted Monument Arena; dominos or any one board games on the custom-built Lego table.

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And our tourney players can always use fans and cheers.

Oooooh!  Aaaaah!

Oooooh! Aaaaah!

Introduce yourself to us.  Let us know any ideas you have for other games you would like to see in our space.  Maybe you can create the next game board for the Inverted Monument Arena, or something completely new and different.

And, by the way, it’s all FREEEEE!.  Can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

Pittsburgh, City of . . .

Pittsburgh is known as the City of Champions, sometimes as the City of Pierogies, and as a friend from Ireland once described it, “a city of bridges and houses on hills”.  But did you know that Pittsburgh is also a City of Play?

City of Play started out as an annual games festival originated by Obscure Games and has grown to a project that constantly explores opportunities for us Pittsburghers to connect with our city and each other.  City of Play is designing ways our city can be more friendly and engaging by using “game mechanics and playful aesthetics.”

The first City of Play project, We Are Here, was recently awarded funding from the Sprout Fund as part of the SiX Connect Your City program. We Are Here is a project to connect citizens with “Third Places,” natural community gathering places that create a sense of belonging and encourage community engagement. We Are Here connects physical and virtual communities through an online map of Pittsburgh Third Places and colorful wayfinding signs that lead citizens to them. By guiding citizens to a Third Place in a nearby neighborhood, We Are Here leads strangers to a place where they are welcomed as friends, and invited to be a part of the community. Look for We Are Here to debut later in the spring.

City of Play is also looking for new projects from you.  Have you and your friends been talking about ways to make the parking chair phenomenon more neighborly? Or how to take advantage of Pittsburghers’ innate helpfulness in giving directions, especially if they’re based on landmarks?  Check here to see if your idea meets the criteria and submit it.

If you are wondering if City of Play is still in the festival business, yes, it is.  Its 2013 season starts May 19th with The City Spree.  This city-wide race requires no, zero, zip months of physical training.  There isn’t even an official course, except the one that you will make as you or your group race to discover connections between city neighborhoods.  Learn more here.

Don’t wait until you have a design project or until The City Spree to connect with your Pittsburgh neighbors.  Every Wednesday night, Obscure Games hosts Pub Games at Hambones in Lawrenceville. All are welcome and games are played according to a weekly theme; this week it’s drawing games (think Pictionary, Cranium, and the Obscure Games’ original, “I Can’t Draw”). You can get a schedule of game night themes here.  We’re sorry we missed noisy games a few weeks ago because we can’t think of a better combination than Hungry Hungry Hippos and beer.

PLAY Parlour endorses gaming as a means to explore and connect, and we’re especially excited that City of Play uses our own town as the platform.  We will be taking advantage of what Pittsburgh has to offer through City of Play, beyond great sports, waterfronts and bridges, and delicious potato and cheese-filled dumplings.

Training Day – PLAY Parlour Style

If you’ve entered PLAY Parlour’s Wreckless tournament, you’re looking forward to putting your arcade skills to the test.  But are your skills enough?  Remember, PLAY’s games offer twists to the classics.  You may want to consider getting into shape for this.

Don't think, feel.

Don’t think, feel.

What will you do in a game of skee ball when the targets start moving?  Our Low Voltage (Skee) Lift will present this little complication with a simple flip of the switch.

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Training Challenge #1 – Moving skee ball targets

And have you actually seen our version of a miniature golf hole?  The Aqua-Quixotic Putting Range has plenty of angles and obstacles and a cool water feature.

Training Challenge #2 - Windmill

Training Challenge #2 – Windmill

Lucky for you, you can preview all of our games on our website.  Here’s where you can find descriptions and videos.  Enjoy the video for wackamole with a special voiceover by DJ Zombo, who will be the emcee for Wreckless.

We will see you soon, at the top of your game.  Train hard.  Train fun.

How to Weather a Pittsburgh Winter – Deep Freeze Edition

On a day like today, with high of 14º and a low of instant snot freeze below zero, the last thing you want to hear is, “Cold enough for you?” or “Well if it was summer, we’d be complaining about the heat.” or “Blah blah blah, state the obvious, blah blah blah.”   This doesn’t really make you feel better or warmer.

Speaks for itself.

Speaks for itself.

So PLAY offers a helpful suggestion for dealing with this cold snap: stay indoors, don’t leave your house.  There’s plenty of entertaining things to do at home, many of them game-oriented, which you know PLAY endorses.  Why don’t you relax and let someone do the playing for you?  How, when there’s no designated hitter option in Monopoly?  Easy, movies.  About games. You may have to leave your house to get them, but hurry back and in no time you can put on your Pajama Jeans, get into your Snuggie and sit and be warm and entertained.

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Nooo, you’re doing it wrong, Ben!

Game movies can run from sophisticated, to exciting, to even educational.  They have action, suspense, intrigue, humor and romance.  Here are a few flicks to help start your list:

The Sting – Newman, Redford, Shaw.  Intricate, savvy, cool.

Word Wars – Documentary about competitive Scrabble.  Be prepared to feel inadequate, but you’re guaranteed to pick up a tip or two for your own game.

Jumanji -  Kids find themselves in a dangerous board game come to life.

The Hunger Games – Kids in a televised fight to the death.  Wow, what are we doing to our kids?

The Running Man  – The original Hunger Games. Richard Dawson(!), some of your favorite 80s wrestlers, and of course a body-count that can only come from an Aahhnold movie.

Something for everyone here.  You may already have some favorites of you own.  Post them here and share with us.  We’re staying in tonight.

Neighbors

As PLAY prepares for the Wreckless tournament, we often think back to our Open House a just a couple of months ago because it inspires our planning: fun crowd, entertaining games, cool music, and lots of support from our Lawrenceville neighbors.

We have great neighbors.  We think this expert would concur.

We have great neighbors. We think this expert would concur.

We have the good fortune of being in a neighborhood of diverse and creative businesses, where we feel right at home.  Several of these businesses provided us with donations that we raffled as part of our fundraising campaign.  We appreciate their generosity, and also their eagerness to help another business in the area get up and running.  If you haven’t stopped into these places already, then Treat Yo Self to what you’ve been missing.

The Cigar Den.  Owner Sam Sing will make sure you choose just the right cigar.  Relax and enjoy it the lounge.

Embody Natural Health. Your health and wellness needs are met here.  Embody offers organic juice and smoothie drinks, massage (massage, people!!), and classes.

Prism Stained Glass.  For stained-glass restoration, beautiful custom design, and classes in the art.

There Are {}, and Then There Are Brackets

PLAY is so psyched for our Wreckless free game tourament tournament next month.  There’s so much to do.  Adam is getting the games in performance-mode and creating signs for the games to set up in the PLAY space.

Mini golf and wackamole looking good.

Mini golf and wackamole looking good.

Skeeball and darts at the ready.

Skeeball and darts at the ready.

The player/team bracket is filling up fast, too.  Ah, the bracket.  What’s a tournament without a bracket?  It’s like Hall without Oates, Siegfried without Roy, Beavis without Butthead, Jerry Rice without Joe Montana, the one Olsen twin without the other Olsen twin.  Have you had enough?  I did, back at Siegfried and Roy.

The Bracket - more than just lines and names and being an alternative to a car wash to raise money

The Bracket – more than just lines and names and being an alternative to a car wash to raise money

If you’ve ever participated in a tournament, either as a player, or as someone hoping to win an office poll, you may have not thought too much about how the bracket was prepared in the first place. It’s surprisingly a bit of work.  Adam learned that firsthand getting the Wreckless bracket together.  Luckily, what he already did know is that you can type “How to make a bracket” into an internet browser and all kinds of helpful information would drop into his lap.

Check out this site, Print Your Brackets.  According to these fine folks, you can make a bracket for pretty much anything, even cornhole, beer pong, and Wii.  Take it farther with an office poll or hosting your own tournament.   You could become known as “my buddy with the kick ass 4th of July barbecue” among your friends.  You’ll have that going for you.

PLAY can’t wait to see all of the arcade enthusiasts that have already entered the Wreckless tournament.  We’ll keep you updated on our progress.  In the meantime, get yourself into our bracket!  Don’t forget, it’s FREE!

How to Weather a Pittsburgh Winter

This weekend, you may be taking down your Christmas decorations and finding places in your home for your new gifts.  Or not – I mean it’s going to be 60 degrees on Saturday, there’s surely something better to do.  But that post-holiday clean-up is coming sooner or later.  You can’t escape it.  Maybe you can get away with a Groundhog Day tree, but a Valentine’s Day tree is really pushing it.

This is a great way to put off the post-holiday clean-up.

This is a great way to put off the post-holiday clean-up, or anything else, ever.

Eventually, as you are putting things away, you’ll probably find yourself with a pile of items that no you longer need or want.  PLAY Parlour suggests that you don’t box the pile and hide it in your office (“office” is defined here as the room that has all the things in it that you are going to get to one of these days, but until then you’ll just keep the door closed when you have visitors). PLAY suggests you find a creative way to repurpose these things, or donate them for someone else’s use.

There are many places and organizations that will accept your used goods.  One place to for you to consider is the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.  PCCR stocks its community grandma’s attic with donations it receives and makes it available to anyone creating art and crafts (check out the criteria for acceptable items here).

Once your house is finally in order and you get ready to ease back into life as you know it, BAM, you will be hit with a special kind of cabin fever that only Pittsburghers can appreciate – the kind that comes from 1 day of sun followed by 5 straight days of some form or forms of precipitation and cloudiness.  That’s when you make your next trip PCCR.   Shop PCCR for what you need for that art or crafts project you now have the time to do.  Not sure what you want to create, only know that if you don’t do something besides watch CSI marathons you’re going to lose your mind?  Looking for a little more hands-on encouragement, or a chance to be social as you create?  PCCR offers classes and a Monthly Meet ‘n Make.  The PCCR also offers school-based programs, community events, volunteer opportunities, and more.

PLAY promises to help you get through this winter.  We’ll have you covered with our tournament in February, and other suggestions like PCCR that will make the next few months go like that (obligatory finger-snap sound).

We Can Rebuild It

If you were at our Open House a few months ago, you may have noticed that wackamole was pretty popular.  You may have also witnessed its massacre.  Oh the humanity!  Well, Adam has been rebuilding wackamole so it will be better, stronger, and faster in time for our big tournament next month.

We have the technology . . .

We have the technology . . .

Actually, all of the games are being tuned up.  Adam’s been pretty busy.  Here’s just a sample of his work log:

Dec 29.

  • Wackamole: started gluing up the brace that will hold the moles in their rest position.  This is conjuring up a vision for me of little grubby-handed moles in back braces.
  • Mini Golf: built and installed drip catcher behind the waterfall’s ball chute which sends the drips back into the main.

Dec. 30

  • Wackamole: finished gluing up brace.  Yep, that vision is still there.
  • Skeeball: soldered, installed new switches for direction.

Jan. 1

  • Wackamole: finished building the brace  Ok, it’s gone now.

What happened on the 31st?

Dec. 31

  • Nothing.  What a lazy shit.

It’s alright, Adam, a day of rest is ordained in every work week.

But there really is no rest for the weary.  We’ll be ready for all of you PLAYers on February 16.