Month: January 2015

Tower of Life: A Scripted Experience

Assemble a single item from every love, interest, and desire you have, big or small.

Stack the items on top of each other, as tall as you can, until they topple over.



Artist’s Statement

“Tower of Life” was an odd project for me, as I got to examine interesting themes and my own views on games, “winning,” and their place in art.

The script itself is a very simple stacking challenge. However, as the instructions require the script’s executor (hereafter referred to as the “actor”) to assemble items from their loves, interests and desires, each person’s execution of the script will prove wildly different. Through this, the tower becomes a symbol representing the actor’s life, exemplifying a gestalt view of one’s life (we are more than the sum of our parts).

The tower is composed of strong symbols, but in its construction it is very fragile. Eventually the script points out that stacking too high will cause the tower to fall down. This is representative of a key idea in my design goal, of showing the downsides of materialism and overloading one’s life with physical burdens. With materialism comes diversity and interest, but ultimately there is no way to balance it all perfectly. Interests change as we grow, and people grow apart from their loves and from each other.

While the final script is described as an experience rather than a game, originally I had intended for it to be an unwinnable game. At first there were three end results, each with a bit of a snide inevitability to their explanations. First, when the tower toppled over, you’d lose because materialism doesn’t lead to happiness. If your tower didn’t topple over (likely due to being only a few items), you’d lose because your life doesn’t have enough diversity in it. If you couldn’t assemble a tower at all, you’d lose because your life is devoid of passions, and that means you likely lack connections to those around you. While I eventually cut these from the actual script, I think they still persist, inspired by the name “Tower of Life.” Just thinking about one’s tower as a metaphor for their life, an actor will find deeper meaning in its inevitable fall.

White Stuff

Make a freshly-packed snowball.
Throw it at a red brick wall from 10 paces.
Trace the outline of the snow that sticks using colored chalk.
Repeat, using different colors of chalk for each snowball, until the chalk begins to run or you run out of colors.
Leave your art for the world to admire.

Daze — Crunch


Take one large mirror.

Smash it into small pieces.

Place those pieces in a clear vase.





Dive head first into the snow.

Dig deeper until you can’t be found.

Hide from your classes until the snow melts.

Welcome to Experimental Game Design

Welcome to the blog for Celia Pearce’s Northeastern University course, Experimental Game Design. This blog is for students to post projects, as well as additional research and content related to the class. The Course Description can be found below:


An experiential learning course which focuses on the experimental uses of games in fine arts and activist practice, exploring how games created in such contexts interrogate traditional assumptions about both art and games to produce cultural, aesthetic and technical innovation.

The course will look at the historical subversive, activist, experimental and avant garde uses of both analog and digital games. Twentieth Century practices of games as fine art and activist media will be explored, and their connection to other related practices, such as scores, procedurality, performances, tactical media and public interventions, as well as art movements that explicitly included games as part of their oevre, such as Dada, Surrealism and Fluxus.

The course will include readings on the history of games in these alternative contexts, as well as a series of art-based studio assignments where students will engage practices of game-making in both analog, digital and hybrid forms. The course itself is experimental, and will include field trips, and innovative indoor and outdoor alternative play and game design exercises. Students will produce four completed art projects suitable for portfolios or public exhibition, and will be encouraged to submit their projects to festival and exhibition calls.

The Course Syllabus Can be Found Here: GAME1850_s2016_v3