Sankofa Says is about discovering the myths and great places of Culver City. To succeed, flash mobs must show collective wisdom, making phone calls to answer riddles about local landmarks, and telling truth from neighborhood fiction.
Our team is called the “Leimert Phone Company,” and we formed two years ago to redesign a phonebooth in the historic African American neighborhood of Leimert Park. Based in Los Angeles, we have 10+ core members and many supporters, including hardware hackers, storytellers and game designers; we are a mix of Leimert Park community members and faculty/students from the University of Southern California.
We want to spread neighborhood secrets -- unexpected truths and myths of a place, in this case Culver City. What is Culver City about -- from secret spots to controversial residents? Neighborhoods are made of stories, not just streets. We want to connect the stories to physical places, and give players an excuse to meet someone new (or discover a new place) in the process. This game captures many joys: of myth-busting, of finding new things, of exploring a place, and even of encountering a few juicy lies. Our design approach is deliberately low-tech, using content from Culver City organizations and historians while loosening the social norms around meeting strangers and making a scene in public space. At the center of our game is a redesigned payphone called "Sankofa Red," built over 1.5 years as a community project in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Leimert Park. We hope to inspire other neighborhoods to create their own version of the game using Sankofa Red or their own redesigned payphone.