Wednesday, September 22, 2004

JEAN

JEAN is a site-specific game that is a mod on the game Rainbow.

Rainbow is a game in which the object is to spot a series of objects that in order correspond with the colors of the rainbow. Playing in a group of two or more, whoever calls out the most colors between red and violet on the ROYGBIV scale wins that game.

JEAN uses Rainbow but as if put in the setting of a parking lot.

The goal- To call out as many cars in the series of JEAN as to win that game and as many games in the time period of the game.

Procedure - While walking through the designated path of the parking lot (using the "Anchorage" parking lot on Jones and Beach for example) point and call out loud when a player has spotted a car that fits the make in the order being played.

Rules Governing Action - Cars can only be used for play when the make of the car corresponds to the make in the order of JEAN (Japanese made, European made, American made, Neither). Players cannot play on cars that have already been played on in a previous run through of the parking lot (each car is marked by chalk after being played) and cars that have been passed in following the path of the parking lot are no longer in play, basically no backtracking only forward movement. The player to name the most cars in a series of JEAN wins that game. The player to win the most games wins or goes on to the next round. After reaching the top floor (in the case of the Anchorage level 5 or ROOF) the scores are tallied. For the case of the Anchorage players can also play for points in which each car called out has a number corresponding to the space in which it is located in the lot. Players with the most points can also contend for the next round or win from point accumulation.

# of players- must be two or more with two or more matching score keepers to each player.

roles of participants - those that are in the game playing for JEAN and those who are keeping score to their designated player (as well as keeping fair play) .

required equipment - chalk (colors if low number of players or a symbol can be drawn to keep track)


Final Project #1

I have been thinking about where the game will be held. Like any great party it is impertenant that the setting guarentee certain things. But more importantly the setting of a party is the first indicator of how a party will feel. I have been thinking that if the game where to be played at my house then the environment would be more of a house party. All of my roomates rooms can be used to create sparate atmospheres or be used to separate differen't elements/objectives of the game. The kitchen, as it is the only place with real counter space in the house could be used as the stock-room for the games resources. Also, the flights of steps up to my apartment can work to my advantage. Because they slowly reveal the space you are about to enter they make for a clear transition from the real world into the game world or magic circle. Also if part goers are to have scores to be tallied or instructions to be given the bottom/top of the stars can work as a great meeting place or informational center. Check-in centers or will-call's are always a great way to get people introduced to entering a new environment and directing their attention. Maybe even having party-goers get name-tags or fill out contact information would be good. If tolkens are to be collected during the party then maybe bags or holders can be ditributed here. Also the people manning this station can serve in their professional manner as a boundary for behavior within the party. Most importantly, partiers ready to exit the game cannot avoid reporting back to this station as it is conveniently located at the parties only exit. By reporting back to this station players can get re-introduced to behaviors normal to outside of the game and be reminded not to bother the neighbors!

I want the game to be pervasive in that it can be a party located anywhere as long as the space can accomodate all of the elements necessary to the game (Dj's and a dancefloor, drinking, bathrooms etc...). Also, every great party has clear boundaries so that party goers can feel safe to be as free as they want to be without worry. Therefore clear boundaries to even those seeing double and blurred vissioned is necessary. A park would be a great place to have a party but if it is too big, you are going to lose the intimacy and close-interaction of participants not to mention phycially lose some people. Therefore this particular game has to pay close attention to a space's interface as well as other issues of site-specific games.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

NES

I have always had a certain affinity for games. Toys 'R' Us, as I'm sure it is to all kids, was a Mecca to which I prayed to daily. What it was like in a Toys 'R' Us for me was the equivalent to a religious journey to which every second was precious and vital. I would quickly memorize the layout to each store so that if I were to come to that particular location again my time would be used more wisely than the onw I was on and that trip would be a more productive one. If sugar was considered a drug for children then Toys 'R' us was the equivalent of crack. I remember when I would go down those medically-white-lit aisles and came to the video games how it was like being let into a secret of very great power. The game cartridges, sitting in the glass-protected cases, looked like gold-bullion being protected by the U.S. treasury. I would always take time to fascinate about the games I knew wasn't going home with me and then having to be at ease the ones you were. I would also end up salivating over hardware and controllers that looked so good you would think they were constructed with priceless alien technology. Ofcourse there were also the action figures, bikes, power wheels, and the infamous "leaning tower" of board games. There was always the turmoil over what was or wasn't being granted your new best friend and the heartbreak of what felt like being kicked out of paradise. Game time was a serious thing.

Once, a best friend of mine, we were probably around 10 or 11, did some game design of our own. We had this hockey game that used two hockey sticks and this electronic puck that floated off of the ground all hover style. The hockey set was glow-in-the dark so we used to play the game indoors in my house's hallway. We came up with a sort of real life air-hockey by using the walls of the hallway. With the lights out all you could see was this puck flying around. The object was to deflect the puck as you would in hockey but to keep it always moving. There was also extra benefit to trying to hit your opponent with this massive fairly invisible puck. The challenge was to get a goal by hitting the walls as many times in succession as you could. We were so addicted to the thrill of this game that we played it non-stop for a couple of weeks. Then the puck got pretty fucked up and it stopped working. We played it without the hover element for a while but it's allure just wore off. I realize now that the fan in the puck that kept it afloat was so loud that it really added to the experience and without it the game was just hockey. Also my obsession with TRON the movie as a kid also added to the whole futuristic mood the game had because it was in this room that became pitch black but had these glowing objects floating in what seems like thin air. Yeah, I really took games seriously as a kid.

Now that I have been again re-initiated into the world of games again, this kind of inflated reality creeps its way in every so often. I feel like finally understanding that games are like the fine art of this childlike sensibility in all of us; its sorta' mindlblowing. The kinder-creative-leisure. The creators of games are fine artists. They are not "wizards of the coast," they are intelligent and accomplished thinkers who's work serves no utilitarian purpose. So to think of this new opportunity to study that work and try to succeed in it myself is very new. It exciting because it feels like a "new genre" to an SFAI student. To imagine building a whole body of work in this area or to build a whole style? I'm taking games seriously again.

Final Project

I have been thinking about what kind of game I want to create as a culmination of all of the efforts of study in this class. Like everything that I put my time into, I want it to have some greater meaning and have some sort of relevance in my life and interests. So, naturally I gravitated towards the idea of creating a drinking game.

For me the most significant occurance of this past year was my real introduction to the "party." San Francisco in particular stresses the importance of a good party and the impact it has on your life, your week, and your health here. You will feel the fever if you haven't gone to good party in a while. But, I have also learned a great deal on party dynamics and the "games" of socializing. Every night out on the town became like research. You learn so much about people observing them in a party environment. The social marketplace is very unforgiving, it can easily expose parts about you that in other environments are more easily hidden. But, the demanding presence of liquor, so crucial to erasing people's anxiety, seem to help in erasing the awkwardness. Although many see booze to be the negative side of nightlife it seems to be the only remedy to reminding people how natural it is to talk to strangers.

To me it seems like parties are this elaborate drinking game. Regardless of whether you are consuming the brew or not you are still playing around it. The success of your evening depends on how you manage your resources. Get too drunk you might end up passed out in the gutter or barfing gin and tonics naked off your balcony into the street at 4 am. Just the right amount of lubricant might've given you the stamina points to go up to the person you've been playing ping-pong eye contact with all night. Offering someone a drink is a smart move. Spilling one on someone is not.

But, alchohol isn't the only factor in the game there's all sorts of other factors like the dancefloor, the line to the bathroom, the line to the keg, knowing when to hang onto friends and when to explore on your own... It's all a series of actions that can greatly effect the outcome of your night. There are elements of chance and certainly elements of suprise. Bringing a friend onto the dancefloor can be a great use of diplomacy. But you also have to remember all bets are off inside a party because somethings are acceptable inside the "magic circle" that normally are just absurd on the bus-ride home.

Creating a drinking game is just redundant. The act of partying is already an interactive puzzle to be played every night. But, to create a drinking game to which at its very core is to expose this apparent contradiction would have a purpose. I'll drink to that.