Good morning.
It's 2:02 Tue, 22 Aug 2017



What: Social game design based on ubiquitous, everyday interfaces
How: Role play + Ethnography + Modeling

Actor-Network Theory
An Exploratory Model of Play (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Stith Bennett, American Anthropologist, Feb, 1971)

Relavant Examples:

Aichen Lin's "Fortune Teller" (part of Trails Forever)
The Politics of Play Workshop (Amy Franceschini)
Noderunner (+ interview with Yuri Gitman by Douglas Rushkoff)
CellPhone A-Life (jonah Brucker-Cohen)
Tweenbots (Kacie Kinzer)
Improv Everywhere (flash mobs in general)

Teams of 2-4 will design a game that creates a novel situation for players using one of the following premises:
A) Players will use an existing, interactive object in way that is superfluous to its intended function to enact the game play (examples: Pacmanhattan, CellPhone A-Life)
B) Players will use a new object (created by the team) to enact the game, altering an existing social situation. (examples: Fortune Teller, Tweenbots)

In addition, your games:
1) must involve 2 or more players (no limit)
2) may be competitive, or they may take the form of uncompetitive play, where something is collaboratively achieved.
3) must be realizable as "playable" prototypes (minor aspects may be simulated)


Step 1
Following our reading of An Exploratory Model of Play, groups will research situations and objects of play. Each member of the group should generate a short list of objects and situations that can be explored through play. This should include photo and/or video documention of such objects in use and situations in action.
You should be able to answer the following questions about objects:
What is the objects explicit function?
Does it have any implicit or alternate functions?
What norms and conventions govern the objects use? (include whom can/should use it)
Where is the object typically used?
You should similarly be able to describe a social situation:
What are the specific actions that define the situation (crossing the street at intersections, opening doors, riding the bus)?
What norms govern behavior in your situation (waiting for a cross-walk signal)?
Is the situation defined spatially - are there explicit/implicit boundaries?
Post your research to your blog.

Step 2
The groups will discuss each member's research and decide collectively on one of the objects or situations to pursue as the basis for the game. Once decided, the group must answer the questions below (post to one member's blog). To help think through these questions, try answering them for a game you already know, or one of the examples linked to above.

1. Stakes:
a) What people should experience when playing?
b) What issue/theme is addressed within the game?
c) What is the inspiration/motivation to create this game?
d) How does this game model behavior? Does it reinforce or challenge existing behaviors?
e) Who is this game for? Who is the ideal audience?

2. Type of game: Is your game collaborative or competitive?

3. Format: Is it a board game-like form with strictly defined spaces or does it extend over space in a more open manner.

4. Game Play/Rules:
a) Is there a point system?
b) What are the props? (what is needed to play?)
c) How many players?
d) What are the roles?
e) Are there winners/losers?

Step 5
Produce a brief presentation of your game to the class - think of it as a sales pitch. This should address most of the questions listed above, use visuals from your research as well as new visuals that help illustrate how your game works. If you're producing a new object/prop for game play, make a model/prototype of the object. This will serve as a rough draft of your final presentation for class critique.

Step 6
Produce a sequential presentation for your game that illustrates what play looks like, as well as explains how to play. This can be accomplished in video or graphic form.