Quantum Game Café

“I have many worlds!”–yells one of the players. “I am in superposition now”–responds the other. This not a usual game language in an ordinary game café, but if you have followed us for some time, you probably know that we like all the things quantum.

As a part of the Quantum Breathing exhibition, this week you will have a chance to visit a Quantum Game Café (QGC) in Aarhus! Cozy chairs, amazing coffee (provided by the scientific espresso bar “Einstein coffee”) and games you have never seen before!

To learn more about the games, we are talking with the idea author, our Head of Outreach, Pinja Haikka.

How was the idea of Quantum Game Café born?

Pinja: “As Libby (the artist behind Quantum Breathing) mentioned in the previous post, I spent some time in London last year to work with her and some students at the RCA on a quantum game course. The students come up with two really fun games, and we decided to ship these to Aarhus to be exhibited alongside Libby’s VR work.

At the same time, I was starting to realise that there are people all around the world interested in quantum physics and gaming, and that these people are pushing out fantastic games. I decided to exploit this opportunity to bring all of these games together into the same physical space, and hence the idea of the QGC was born.”

What is the purpose of Quantum Game Café?

P: “That’s a bit like asking what’s the purpose of playing games in general! Games are fun, they allow you to play with imaginary worlds and take a break from reality. This game space just happens to have a little twist, in that all games are based on or related to quantum physics. Games are a fun way of getting everyone to put their hands on a little bit of quantum physics in a playful way.

But of course, I do have a bit of an agenda. I think that everyone should know a little bit about quantum physics—not only because it’s an exciting and profound area of physics, but also because quantum technologies are advancing at a rapid pace and soon they will be much more mainstream. When these quantum technologies start to impact the lives of everyone, people should be able to make informed decisions about them.

That’s hard because quantum physics is not an everyday thing that people encounter in their daily lives. It’s also based on some pretty serious maths, which can be off-putting. However, when turned into games, players can forget about all that and focus on the feeling and experiences. Maybe they leave with a sense of having learnt a little, or even wanting to find out more about the quantum tricks they encountered in the games.”

What can visitors expect to find there?

P: “The QGC features 14 games from around the world. Some are digital, to be played with iPads or laptops, but there are also many card and board games. There really are many different types of games—some for single players, some to be played with friends. Some make you feel like you are in a physics laboratory and with some, you might not even realise that there is some quantum physics hidden in the game mechanics.

My two personal favourites are Quantum Cats, a quantum version of Angry Birds made by researchers in Canada, and the really beautifully designed Dead Cat, a poker-like card game by He Does Not Throw Dice.

Another really cool game is Quantum Kaizen by James Wotton, which actually runs on a real quantum computer! The game is hooked to IBM’s remote quantum computer, and the response a player gets for her moves in the game—which is basically like the classic battleship—are determined by a result of a quantum computation.”

So, don't miss your chance to try a quantum monopoly! Quantum Game Café is open every day 14:00–18:00 until 12th August at “Non–space” (Rosensgade 11, 8000 Aarhus). For more information about the event, visit Quantum Breathing Facebook page.

Aukse from ScienceAtHome


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Quantum Game Café