Games for Social Change

IDM 111
Union College
Spring 2010

Interactive Drama

As background for this assignment, read “Dramatic Techniques in Orchestrating Human Response” from "Computers as Theater" by Brenda Laurel. Also read Chapter 6 from Jesse Schell's "The Art of Game Design" for some tips on how to come up with game ideas.

In this assignment, you will design and implement your first game about a social issue. The game will be a kind of life-action role playing game. That is, it is going to be played with real people, moving around and acting in a real physical space. You will work in teams. Your team members are going to be game characters; the rest of us are going to be the players.

  1. Pick a social issue that you are all passionate about.
  2. Decide what experience you want the players to have.
  3. Decide on a "story" you want to tell. This should be more of an "impression" or a micro-story, because you will have maximally 20 minutes to play your game.
  4. How can you capture this experience and this story through game mechanics? (For example: What is the game space? What characters and props are in this space? What will the players do? How do they interact with each other, with the other game characters, with other game objects? How is the end of the game determined?)

Due on Tuesday of week 4

Bring a complete draft of your game design paper to class (typed). This paper should have two parts. Part 1 is a detailed description of your game design. Someone should be able to reimplement your game based on this description. Part 2 is a critical analysis of your game design. What player experience did you want to create? What design decisions did you make in order to create this experience? What effects do you want to achieve with your mechanics? Why did you choose to use certain props? What did you do to give life to the game characters? What did you do to immerse the player? Refer to the articles and chapters you have read about storytelling and game mechanics.

You should prepare this paper as a group. And the first version you bring on Tuesday should not be a rough draft. We will critique this design paper in class on Tuesday. You will have time to revise it until Thursday, which is when the final version of the design paper is due and you will lead the playing of your games in class.

See below for a list of guiding questions.

Due on Thursday of week 4

Part 1

You will lead the playing of your game in class. Come prepared. Bring everything you need. You have maximally 20 minutes. At most 5 minutes of those 20 minutes can be used for prep time.

Part 2

The final version of your game design paper is due.

Some questions to think about when developing your game and writing your paper