The presentation could be found here:
The presentation could be found here:
The presentation can be found here.
I presented about my work on the alternate reality game Tiamat Media. I was lead designer of this project that was part of the Emergent Game Group.
Here is a link to the page on my website: http://lauraschluckebier.com/eggarg.php
And here is the direct link to the project overview: http://lauraschluckebier.com/tiamatmediaguide.pdf
That Game Company has a very unique approach to making games. They focus very much on the player’s experience of moving through a world they have created. Many of their games center around ideas that are not normally focused on in games, such as the flowers in the fields you normally just run through or the clouds in the sky you probably don’t even look at.
I’m going to start with a small pitch from my side as to why I chose Ninja Shadow Warrior. Firstly, its just too popular to ignore, I have played it, and so have all my classmates and my professor. It was a joy to experience this game at the XYZ exhibition. Secondly, this game is one of the reasons I took this course and so I think I owe it to Ninja Shadow Warrior. For the same reasons, I think it is only fair that I review Ninja Shadow Warrior as part of my grad presentation.
The game is a stand-alone photo booth arcade game. It’s main components are a Kinect camera, a huge start button and a computer. The basic story is that the palace is under attack and the players should save themselves by “becoming” one of the objects in the palace. So, basically, the player must fill out the silhouette of a randomly picked object as precisely and fully as possible. The game has been roughly inspired by the Japanese sticker photo-booth game purikura and the infamous Twister.
When discussing about what is so great about this game, one of the first things that come to mind is that it encourages face-to-face co-operative interaction through strategy proposed by the players rather than rules. It is always better when multiple ninjas are involved as it gives more filling and precision. So, it has a certain social aspect to it that helps attract more participants as the game is being played. This ensures more involvement and participation in the game. Also, once a score is achieved a photo and the score is posted on a website. This further builds on the social aspect, infect taking it to another level as the players can refer back and share their play experience online, by sharing these pictures on Twitter, Facebook etc.
I personally thought that some of the design features included in the game are an important part of its success. One ingenious design decision used here is the use of fluorescent lighting in pictures. This wipes out facial details and more often makes photographs look “better” than expected. So, players are encouraged to play more to see more of these “good pictures”. Another is the use of ninja theme on the arcade which is an inspiration from the arcades of the 80s which used artwork from the game itself on the arcades. The juxtaposition of two contradicting concepts like cute and fierce to depict the bunny is also interesting. Last but not the least is the single, big and unavoidable start button on the arcade which prompts passers by to play the game.
As far as possible improvements go, the game in itself is excellent the way it presently. Maybe the addition of more pictures might make the challenge more interesting. Also, providingg lesser time as a user progresses in the game might be a possible addition which might help make the game more engaging.
Link to the presentation :
The class and the professor participating in the game at XYZ :
Shopping cart snake is an analog version of the digital game snake. It can be played by one or more players (and often draws a crowd of surprised shoppers and dumbfounded security guards). Player(s) go to the parking lot of a supermarket (like Walmart or Target) and randomly position shopping carts over the empty space. During his/her turn, a player begins with one shopping cart and starts accumulating more shopping carts by pushing and steering this cart towards the other carts. The player’s performance is determined by the time taken to get all shopping carts or the number of carts obtained before the player crashes into something or can no longer steer the “shopping cart snake”. The game adds the additional challenge that is posed by cars pulling in or out of the lot, and tests their powers of persuasion in how they deal with the security guards or employees in the case of an encounter (which is almost certain).
Shopping cart snake was inspired by the digital game “Snake”, and one of the objectives of the game was to intervene in a fairly boring/mundane space- the supermarket parking lot. The game took some play-testing to get to an enjoyable state but when it did, it was a lot of fun. So much so that we risked getting “caught” a second and third time when we were asked to leave from one supermarket and we went in search of another. We also forgot about the scoring system (of counting the carts and keeping time) because the game was fast paced, fun and really tiring.
First take (location: Kroger parking lot):
It was a 24-hour place and there was a lot of movement so we could not play much, but we established a few rules (like performance metrics-time and number of carts, collision rules and minimum speed to be maintained) here based on short trials. We also established that after about 7 carts, it was really hard to steer so it might be fun to try a two-player game where one player pushed the carts and the other steers it.
Second take (location: Target parking lot):
They had just closed and there were 1/2 cars so we began the single player game.
We were already tired from playing a couple of rounds and we also found that the carts were hard to aggregate at times (players had to stop sometimes in order to get carts from splitting off when they slow down to turn or steer)
We also had a lot of stops as we were interrupted by cars and then asked to leave by the security guard.
Take 3 (location: Walmart parking lot):
The parking lot was relatively empty and after another single player trial, we decided to try the multiplayer game (one player pushes the carts and another steers).
This game was much more fun. It was also tougher as we had to coordinate speeds between straight stretches and points when we turned. We were going so fast at times that it was hard to capture good pictures at those points.
(getting ready to restart after crash)
What I did:
I created about 100 “ChallengeTags,” which were simply nametags that challenged wearers to do something. Each instruction fit the theme of self-improvement or broadening of horizons. This is what they looked like:
The list of instructions is as follows:
Smile at strangers
Sit in a new place in class
Call his or her parents
Shake a new hand
Eat somewhere different for lunch
Contact an old friend
Throw away any litter he or she sees
Maintain good posture
Start homework early
Go to bed early
Try a new hobby
Give the benefit of the doubt
Learn about a new subject
Examine a deeply held belief
Watch the clouds
Resist a bad habit
People-watch a little
Listen to new music
Forgive a debt or grudge
Clean his or her room
Waste less time
Get some exercise
Do something he or she has been meaning to do
Why I did it:
This project evolved out of my idea to leave some Grapefruit-like scores at a table for passers-by to read. I put more thought into it and decided that the original idea had a few problems.
1) Grapefruit scores aren’t always just enactable on a whim.
2) People will probably tend to ignore it.
3) I had no way of following up.
So I decided to make something that was far more relevant to people’s lives. I wrote simple, one-line tasks that integrated well into ordinary lives. I didn’t want to make anyone go out of their way to try to accomplish their challenge, so that more people might actually do it. I varied the sort of “heaviness” of the instructions. Some of them are whimsical, e.g. “Watch the clouds” (you’re welcome Chris), “Smile at strangers”, “Listen to new music”, whereas others are deeper and involve much more introspection, e.g. “Forgive a debt or grudge”, “Examine a deeply held belief”, “give someone the benefit of the doubt”. I also tried to include ones that might be particularly challenging to some people e.g. “call his or her parents” or in my case “Eat something new”. (If you didn’t know, I’m actually an excruciatingly picky eater.)
Then I set out to solve the problem of accountability. I wanted to make the intervention conducive to ACTUALLY doing your challenge. I anticipated that simply handing out cards would require people to carry it around and remind themselves regularly to get their thing done. Nametags were the perfect solution to this. Nametags are effortless to carry around AND they display the task to everyone around! This results in the wearer being constantly reminded and held accountable for their tasks, which I thought would help people actually do it.
Due to the nature of this, I don’t have any interesting pictures to share, but I did learn a few neat things when I enacted this.
1) Giving these to total strangers was both hard and not fruitful. It was hard to give these out to strangers at all, and I decided that because I couldn’t follow up on them at all, I should probably save them for people I might see again and could ask about.
2) Reaching into my jacket pocket to pull out a random ChallengeTag felt really really badass.
3) It was far easier to get people to accept these for me after I had already done something for them. This was an emergent property of me holding my TA office hours on the day I enacted my intervention. The office hours were fairly well-trafficked, and my role as a TA is to help the students with their issues. In return, they were all very happy to receive tags.
Here’s a list of a few good responses I got:
Upon receiving Forgive a debt or grudge: “Did you choose this on purpose? You have no idea.”
Upon receiving Contact an old friend: The girl immediately reacted by shying away and hiding her face
After receiving one: Throwing it away in the first trash can he saw, but he looked back to me and made eye contact and looked extremely sheepish.
The ones I left at my fraternity were mostly gone when I returned. Some people had gone through and picked one specifically for themselves, whereas others had tried to stop them from doing so, insisting that they had to pick the first one.
Partnership with Crow
Our idea was to play out a text based adventure game in real life. There was one catch, the commands would be entered by random passer byes and each command had to be followed, no matter how ridiculous. The player character carried a white board which had a goal written on top; the game went on until the goal was reached. Other than this the board simply prompted for a command to be entered. The player character could not talk, only do what was commanded. However, commands that were open to interpretation were free to be interpreted by the player.
The purpose of the game was to see how people react when given complete control over another human, especially in public areas.
The game was largely inspired by the works of Andrew Hussie. Hussie experimented with making a webcomic completely controlled by message board inputs. He would create a starting panel and then take the first message board response for the next panel, and so on. The commands for the panels would vary wildly, often not progressing the plot at all. We wanted to see if when the anonymity of the internet was taken away if the same pattern would arise.
The first performance of the game took place in the CoC commons. We started with the simple goal of “Reach the other side of the room”. The first command to be entered was “Scream like a banshee”. That command not only set the tone for the rest of the performance, but confirmed that people were willing to give commands to a real person that were just as ridiculous as those directed to Hussie.
Pictures from the first instantiation.
The second performance of the game took place in Klaus. The game played much differently here. Despite starting in front of the bathrooms where it was hard for people to ignore me, people were much less inclined to come up and give commands. Eventually someone did, but acted very different effect than the players in the CoC. Instead of giving one command, he gave a list of commands to get to the end goal. In this instance, the player decided to circumvent the the players command.
Severe lack of response.