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Geekend: OhHeckYeah
Brian Corrigan on the importance of connecting on the streets

The OhHeckYeah Street Arcade: Transforming Communities with Play

Sat, Nov 15, 7 pm

Coastal Georgia Center, 305 Fahm St.

FOUNDER AND Director of OhHeckYeah, Brian Corrigan creates strategies rooted in culture. At this year's Geekend, he serves a spearhead for the breakthrough OhHeckYeah Street Arcade, a demo of which will be on display at the event. He and OhHeckYeah partner Justin Gitlin give the closing keynote.

We spoke to Brian last week.


We always tell people that OhHeckYeah is an interactive street arcade that uses the power of play to connect people on the street. How we like to frame it is technology puts us in bubbles, but that's not a technology issue—that's a design problem!

We want to reframe how we design technology in the physical world. That’s really what we’re interested in.

We appreciate design that uses very advanced technology but which makes that technology invisible. That allows for maximum connection. If you have your mobile device and you’re staring into the screen, that’s not 100 percent connection.


First and foremost: if it isn't fun, no one's playing. Secondly, the cool thing about video games is they're just narratives. In many ways we see gaming as the next wave of storytelling. That's always in the back of our minds. How do we tell stories through video games?

With video games, a big part of it is that if you just give people a reason to interact, all of a sudden it’s not weird for strangers to interact.

There’s this idea that games are played in your house or your basement by yourself. Sure, you’re connected into a global network of people all doing the same thing. But what we want to do is take it out of your house and put it into your street and connect to a local network. We come at it more from a placemaking standpoint.

The Knight Foundation is doing a lot of research on this. They’ve found that the top three factors for a community’s success are 1) The ability to attract and keep talent; 2) Providing opportunity; and 3) Engaging people. That local street-level connection is fundamental to all three things.


On the surface it's an arcade. It's about having fun. But there are real benefits to the community of being connected. There are also very basic things such as, the more connected your street is, the safer your street is. You're more resilient, you can bounce back as a community if something bad happens.

Another aspect of it is that play makes you more creative, curious, and builds trust among strangers.

The interesting thing about what we do is that placemaking isn’t scalable. Now you can’t really scale a park that’s distinct to an area. But you can add the technology piece that allows a digital layer over the built infrastructure, and then you can scale up or down from there.


Yeah, they're all developed custom by the OhHeckYeah team. They're all brand new games that have never been played before.

All of what we produce and develop is offered open source. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra actually does all our scores for the games, and the scores are also all open source.