Sunday, February 4, 2007

Why We Make Ubiquitous Games: Our Manifesto (DRAFT ONE)

Below is an edited version of our notes from class discussion last week. These are the values, belief, strategies and possibilities that you all noted from personal experience, and from our analysis of The Game and Major Brown. I have to say: I think it's a really tremendously exciting start to the semester. With this original, collectively created manifesto--totally unique to our class!--we are on our way to articulating a game design philosophy that will focus all of our efforts and help us create an important ubiquitous game together.

Please feel free, in the comments, to share your thoughts about how the manifesto is taking shape, or to add new lines that you would propose inserting into the manifesto. Be sure to mention which section you want to add it/them to!

Why We Make Ubiquitous Games: A Manifesto

Values

When we play games, we experience relaxation, concentration, cohesion, elation, adventurous thinking, constant challenge, and relief. We want more of these things in everyday life.

When we play games, we feel awed, sneaky and backwards. We should feel like this in real life, too.

When we play games, we feel intermittent anxiety and frustration. We become very analytical and focused. We MIGHT want to feel and be more of these things in everyday life… we haven’t decided yet.

Beliefs

We believe a well-designed game can improve a life that is boring, or routine. It can help change for the better someone who is work-obsessed, or depressed, or kind of a dick.

A well-designed game can transform someone who is a loner and doesn’t value life, who takes things for granted and for whom everything comes easy, into a very different person.

A well-designed game can make someone more responsive to clues in the environment. It can help someone recognize opportunitIes.

Strategies

A ubiquitous game can take away your sense of security and comfort. It can create a physical challenge or give you a near-death experience. It forces you away from work and out of your routine.

You may feel insignificant or humbled by a ubiquitous game. It can remove your ordinary identity, make you nobody, obscure your status.

A ubiquitous game can make you pay attention to the things around you. It may force you to respond to “noise”.

It may create a paranoia that you don’t enjoy at the time. But it makes your life more interesting, if not immediately more enjoyable.

A ubiquitous game may blur the boundaries. You might become more alert to your layered environment .

You might find yourself making decisions that you wouldn’t make in everyday life. You might cross ethical and moral boundaries. You may find yourself empowered by the game’s instructions.

You might need to bring strangers into the game.

The game may give you real actual sincere heartbreak, or make you totally miserable. You may experience sincere intense emotion.

You may jumping off the building – metaphorically. You may choose adventure that comes as a surprise.

Possibilities

A ubiquitous game could wake you up if you are sleep walking through life. You might pay attention to infinite possibilities. You might notice absurdity.

A ubiquitous game could give you a shared social experience. You would realize that not every clue means something, but you can still think about it. You can still push the button.

Life in complex and not everything is meaningful. But maybe in the game, everything comes together anyway.

When you don’t know if it is the game or not, you are more open to possibilities. You may appreciate reality more. It doesn’t have to be a game for you to enjoy life.

Wanting to be in the game is the game.

120 comments:

triclops said...

One thing I thought was missing from the manifesto's first draft was the potential for education and development on both social and individual levels. In nature, young animals, (mostly mammals) use play to develop life and survival skills. This is definitely an element of play for our own children and ourselves as well. If the only skill to be developed by a session of play is the ability to play that game, we still feel like we have achieved something through this development. In many games, it is necessary to simulate the conditions of childhood (ignorance, fear, novelty etc...) for that game to be successful. Once someone masters a game they are not likely to continue playing as they have lost the ability to develop through playing. People stop playing games they play against themselves or nonlearning computers they rarely stop playing games in which other users continue to afford challenge and room for development. People still play starcraft, but stopped playing 1 player games from the same era.

lisatized said...

A great start to the manifesto.
This addition is sort of mentioned in a couple of places in a subtle way, but I think it may be important to spell it out. Under Possibilities: A ubiquitous game can help create and/ or build community. You may get introduced to people you never would have come in contact with otherwise, or you may get to know people you already knew even better.

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