This semester in my Local Games in ABQ class, the first assignment I gave was to play (together) and remix (on their own) Rupee Collector and its first remix It’s Dangerous to go Alone. This was accompanied by a viewing (on their own) Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix to set the tone.
The design was only on paper, we had not yet looked at any tools. There was a little nod to practicality, but nothing specific. My intent was to get students feel like they were making something on the first day, and to try to avoid the problem of “I’m not creative”.
The students’ designs were pretty fun. A few notes I have from the experience:
- Timers. More than half the designs wanted timers in excess of what ARIS can provide. We gotta get the construction of these funded.
- One student based his design on Fountain, one of last year’s Ludum Dare entries. He says, “It’s horribly annoying, and I recommend you check it out.” I did and it’s fun.
- Many of the students worked on adding meaning to the design. Not surprising since Rupee Collector is pretty bare bones, but a bit surprising to see so many attempts at a “serious game” without prompting.
- It’s really too bad the leaderboard isn’t working now (due to the ARIS transition). It was a really common suggestion that the game have one as a basic bit of motivation.
- Weak entries showed up as descriptions that had rules that seemed to contradict each other, or where it wasn’t very clear what the real life mechanism for the in-game interpretation would be. Also changes in window dressing that appeared unmotivated.
- Real depth of thought came out in a few where audience, place, and situation of play were actually considered.
- Asking about process didn’t result in much telling about process, but the question did elicit background details that helped the students make sense of their ideas for me.
Here is my very basic assignment template (markdown source):
Rupee Collector Remix (Ideal Version)
This assignment falls under the theme of Everything is a Remix and it is an introduction to game design as well. The goal is to design a variation on the ARIS game Rupee Collector to make it yours. This will only be a “paper design”. You need not account for the specific affordances of ARIS, but your ideas should have some consideration of feasibility. After completing the preliminary activities, create your new version. Use this form to describe your innovations and report back on some feedback you will get on your design.
- Play Rupee Collector (15 minutes will do, best if you play with at least one other person in an open area such as campus or a field).
- Become familiar with the concept Everything is a Remix, coined by Kirby Ferguson
- Play It’s Dangerous to go Alone. For this game, you need two players.
Your New Game
Here, describe your game, how, and why it is different from Rupee Collector (max. 500 words). Does it work differently, is it for use in a specific scenario or by a certain group of people?
Discuss your process of creation here. How did you come up with this idea? What influences did you make use of? How did your ideas evolve and in response to what?