Month: April 2016

Sensation Deprivation [Final Game]

Sensation Deprivation


This game is meant for all players to sense the feeling of being blindfolded and having to focus on a visual task. While blindfolded, players must draw a visual representation of the song that they are listening to. Ultimately, the players must guess which song corresponds to each drawing in the end, but the main focus of this game is to experience sensation deprivation.

Materials Needed:

  • Some tunes
  • 10 Earphones/headphones
  • 10 blindfolds
  • 10 pieces of paper cut out
  • 10 pencils
  • 10 human beings
  • Tape
  • White/Blank Wall

How to Play:

Please take a look at the powerpoint attached (with documentation at bottom)


This game is a combination of several influences from those who we learned from through this semester. I would say that the element of audience participation is from Yoko Ono. From her white chess to her cut-piece, much of her art/game heavily relies on the audience’s actions. I took some ideas from what we learned from the score assignment to use. Very much like a score, this game is simply just following a set of instructions, and the outcome is something that is not predictable. Additionally, with the way that all of the audience’s artwork is presented in the end is sort of like Sophie Taeuber’s pieces where it is tiled on a canvas and it almost looks like a puzzle that was put together.

In terms of the matrix, I would place it near the radical formal corner because of the low skills that are required for this game and also how it does not have much association with politics or that sort of agenda. This game focuses more on the playing of the game and not so much the message that is left for the audience in the end

Playtest Discoveries

During some of the playtests that I had, some people told me that the other platform that I was using before (before google drive) was not working on their devices and I realized that it’d be a big problem for the soundtrack to not be working for them. I then changed the platform of my song to be on google drive since it is more universal and all my problems were gone. Another thing that people told me during the process of developing the soundtrack was that the song transitions were not that clear so I fixed it through a few edits. I also made the canvas for each player more simplified so that they would not have to think about a hundred things while blindfolded and drawing.


Please Click Here to view the photos and powerpoint. 


Artist Statement:

The concept behind the game, Poverty, was to design an experience that allows people to effectively understand the struggle of being stuck within a poverty loop and the difficulty for one to escape that. The inspiration for this game to be created originally came from the idea of creation of art through process, which can be seen in Yoko Ono’s scores and in particular, white chess, as the meaning of the game is done through gameplay. On top of that, the concept of modifying something that exists so it becomes artwork which is similar to Marcel Duchamp’s artworks (LHOOQ, Fountain) also provided me with the inspiration to use origami as a metaphor for the labor that people in poverty have to go through. This allowed the game to successfully convey the concept of hard work as players had to quickly fold objects in order to be able to reach the end game goal. Nonetheless, it is also important to note that the feeling of hopelessness and tiresome work within Poverty came from playing the game This War of Mine which is highly noted for it’s sombre atmosphere and difficult yet simple game play, as well as the game The Cost of Life by Ayiti which is a difficult game about poverty. The mixture of multiple inspirations results in a simulation that attempts to convey the simulation of labor within families struggling in poverty, which is done through the tiring and difficult to win gameplay.


  • Paper
  • Chance cards (included with the game)
  • Timer
  • Calculator


  • Each round is 6 minutes long
  • There is no maximum player count for this game. Though because of the total number of chance cards that are included (40), 1 to 4 players is ideal.
  • At the end of every round, players must first take a chance card, then calculate the total amount of money made from folding items.
  • Players can fold the following:
    • Origami Hats (each worth $5)
    • Origami Shirts (each worth $15)
  • Each round players need to pay for the following:
    • Water (worth $10): if the player if unable to pay for this they are disqualified
    • Food (worth $20): if the player if unable to pay for this for two rounds in a row they are disqualified
  • Things players can buy/invest into to progress:
    • END GAME GOAL: School for the child ($150). If this is met the game is won
    • School for the player ($50). This must be paid twice for the player to complete school. Payment can be separate.
      • If school is completed for the player, everything folded will have a x2 value. (Origami Hats [$10], Origami Shirts [$30])
  • Players are allowed to look at the samples to remind themselves how to fold the items.



Folded origami pieces: due to the fact that there are a lot of origami pieces folded after a single game, I have only included one set of items from one player in the photo.


Chance cards: The cards provide players with advantages as well as situations that slow down the player’s progress to reaching the end game goal.


In a total of three play tests, these things were changed: the time per round, the money that each piece folded provides the player, and what is foldable. At the start, the game was adjusted to 5 minutes per round but soon the upkeep that the player has from food and water per round made it difficult and slow for the player to progress within the game. In terms of the money that each piece folded provides, a hat originally provided the player with $5 and a shirt would give $10. However, in a play test the players just decided to make only hats since the fold count between the hat and the shirt differed drastically. Thus, I changed it so the price for a shirt would give $15 instead. Also, the game used to allow players to fold cranes. Yet, after the play tests it revealed that players do not want to fold cranes since the steps were too hard to memorize and overall it was too time consuming to fold. This made me rethink whether or not the crane was necessary to be included, which resulted in me removing it completely from the game.

If I were to place Poverty onto Schrank’s avant-garde game matrix, I would put it in an area next to the Political scale as the topic that my game discusses is extremely political and is something that connects with the everyday world directly. In a way, my game also does not allow players to really control gameplay as the chance cards and the food and water upkeep make it difficult for players to be able to progress. Because of this, I may also place it a little north of political (close of Negation) as the rules of the game dictate it heavily.







Final Iteration – Experience

RPG Coping

The game turned out quite different from the first iteration, though the overall premise of the game is the same. This game is a kind of metaphorical interpretation of snippets of my life during which my dad had cancer, and unfortunately  passed away from it. It is a mix of the literal and metaphorical that I think makes the game work as a sort of autobiographical experience. The game itself is personal and in a way the setting and the game itself are just part of a stage for a story that has already played out.

The changes that occurred after some play testing and exploration is the loss of a 4 act piece, and instead the creation of a more flowing story that just highlights certain life events. There are also almost no aspects of modern times, instead of the proposed half the game being modern, mainly because it detracts from the metaphorical parts of the story. The one  modern part that is included highlights the feelings that occurred in real life, and then the game transitions back into fantasy. The story also changed from being so literal to being more about exploration and just figuring out the story as the player goes along.

The link above has a video of a playthrough of the game, as well as the executable file that can be played if you have RPG Maker VX Ace.


This is an image of the game being played in class, thanks to Texas Ranger(Walker) for taking the picture.

One of the most important parts of this game is that it really isn’t a game. It’s the shell of one. As I said earlier, it’s just a stage for a story, a play in a sense, for something that already happened. It’s an experience in a sense that when people play through it, they get to experience a part of my life, without actually living through it. I chose an RPG setting because, if I could, that’s how I would want to live my life, through a fantasy, quest driven game. The way I structured this game, it metaphorically emulates what I was going through. When I found out my dad had cancer, I just wanted to run, to be able to out run the problem. But no matter where I went, it’s all I thought about. This is represented by the slimes in the game that are ever present, annoying, and slow progress. As time passed, the demons of running away followed me, and the ghosts of my choices and this idea of death haunted me. I also started college, which in the game is the university in the sky, a literal form of “higher education”. The biggest part of this experience, and the reason its called RPG Coping, is because it was a way for me to grapple with my fathers death. It wasn’t easy, and it’s not something I’m still alright with. But in a way it was cathartic to make this game.

There were several influences that lead to the creation of this game. One of the biggest influences was Cynthia Carr and her experiences that she wrote about in her book On Edge. I really appreciated when she wrote about being thrown into the shoes of a couple and the drama that was transpiring between them. I feel like that experience would be genuinely life changing, and in a sense I wanted the game to be that. Of course another influence was Yoko Ono and her views on performances and how she interacts with the audience. I wanted to have the player be a part of my performance, and my life.  Games that influenced the work include That Dragon Cancer which is a game about cancer, but with a very different approach, and Dys4ia which also brings up personal experiences. When analyzing the game through the lens of Schrank and his book Avant-garde Video Games: Playing with Technoculture,  I would say my game is somewhere in the bottom left quadrant, closer to the middle line, where it shows that my story is somewhat political in the sense of what it’s talking about, but the setting and gameplay are quite formal. It doesn’t deconstruct anything, but instead builds upon and existing world to bring a personal experience to the player.

Artwork #4: Rebuild- Final

Rules/Gameplay: The goal of the game is to rebuild the destroyed city. Each building has a manpower (people) requirement before they can be built, has a predetermined time of construction, and produces a manpower boost upon completion.  There will a list available that describes each building’s req., construction time (in minutes), and payoffs in detail. Any number of players (rec. 2-3) may play.


This is a screenshot of some of the first buildings that would be rebuilt. It lists the manpower requirement, the construction time, and the benefits that come with completion.



I have included images of the game being played. They images depict the game in its early stages,

Artist Statement:

My game is intended to simulate the difficulty of rebuilding after a war. My goal was to show how catastrophic a war can be and that it is significantly harder to rebuild something once it is destroyed. The inspiration for this game comes from a previous antiwar game that I made and also from Yoko Ono’s White Chess Set. My previous game was about destruction from war. I think of this game a successor because it is solely about what comes after war. I also believe White Chess to be a powerful antiwar game that advocates peace. I modeled my game to also be an antiwar game. However, my game uniquely concentrates on the aftermath of a war and the difficulties of rebuilding after such a catastrophe.

My game also uses appropriation as the game itself uses a ready-made puzzle as a playing board. The puzzle was purchased online. As the players rebuild the city, they also build the puzzle at the same time. It is like an art piece within an art piece, which I think is really unique as well.

Artwork #4: Experience – Understanding FINAL

For this artwork project, I decided to make a game that simulates the process of understanding another person’s emotions and learning how to detect them, so as to avoid making incorrect assumptions that will be detrimental to the relationship.

This game requires two players, a deck of “Emoticards,” and a simple game board consisting of 31 tiles. One player is a drawing player who draws from the deck of “Emoticards” and the other player is a reading player who attempts to read the expression of the drawing player and accurately guess the emotion they are displaying. The deck of “Emoticards” contains 9 unique emotions that the drawing player has to portray with their facial expressions, and there are multiple copies of each card so as to provide repetition and allow for the reading player to learn from the drawing player. Pictures of the game board and “Emoticards” can be found at the bottom of this post.

Each player starts with their piece on one of the respective stars, and the game is won when both players have advanced to the middle “Understanding” tile; alternatively, both players lose if they regress to the last available tile on the board. At the start of a turn, the drawing player will draw an “Emoticard” from the random deck and create a facial expression of the given emotion. Upon seeing the facial expression, the reading player will either guess the emotion or declare, “I don’t know.” If the guessed emotion is correct, both players advance one tile towards the center. If the guessed emotion is incorrect, both players regress one tile away from the center. If no emotion is guessed, neither player moves.

I drew a lot of the concept of this game from our in-class discussions, especially when we had the guest speaker Ichiro Lambe come in and talk about his process as a rising Indie game developer. I was really interested in the dynamic that occurs between a game developer and a tester, and since I know more about emotional relationships than game testing, I decided to combine what I knew with the process Ichiro was describing to create this finished product. An interesting fun game that is similarly avant-garde in nature is What?!? Oh…, a card game that uses conversation cards and action cards to create a funny dialog between two or more people. My game draws from the same idea of combining actions with dialog, but does it in a slightly different way by allowing the players to decide the action (facial expression) rather than being instructed on how to portray it. In terms of where my game fits on the Shrank Avant-garde diagram, I placed it just slightly to the bottom and left of the center crosshairs which makes it slightly more political and complicit than radical and formal. This was my placement because the game is supposed to make the players think about their everyday actions in a different way and ultimately change the way they interact with people in life.


Game Board:



Emoticards Layout

Documentation: I have only played this game all the way through three times with friends, however I have changed several key aspects so as to fine tune it to be more playable. One big aspect that I changed was how players would express their emoticards. Prior to allowing players express the emoticard freely, I had instructions on the card of how to form the given facial expression and that ended up causing more trouble than benefits in the game. Another change I had to make was with the size the game board. Originally, I required each player to advance 5 spaces to win and only allowed 4 spaces to lose, which ended up with players either winning too quickly or losing too quickly, and ultimately ended up making the game shorter than I intended. Since the change, both players must now advance 9 spaces to win and are only allowed 6 spaces to lose. This results in a more strategic game play and influences players to think more about the meaning behind the game. Here is a link of the old game board, and a photo of my friend Matt playing it.

Old Game board

IMG_20160413_162228808 IMG_1834


Artwork 4: Bump


Bump is a single-player crowd navigation computer game. The object of the game is to navigate through each crowd to the goal.


The source code can be found on my github repository for the game.

A Mac OS X app of the game can be found (compressed) here. (The download should begin automatically.)

Screenshots of Gameplay:

bump-gameplay-screenshot bump-endgame-screenshot

Sources of Inspiration / Artist’s Statement:

The idea for Bump came from a data collection game I played on my commutes when I worked downtown. This was a simple unnamed game where I incremented a counter (located on my pebble watch) every time another person made physical contact with me. This was almost always accidental, and usually as a result of rush hour traffic or crowded trains.

Consciously recognizing every time that I was bumped, pushed, or tapped by strangers very quickly grew to be quite stressful, and it was this experience that I aimed to capture with Bump.

While the mechanics of the game (moving around from Point A to Point B) are fairly standard, the game itself disrupts the player’s sense of flow by antagonizing them with a short soundbite. This soundbite is an appropriated clip of Imogen Heap’s song Hide and Seek, although its usage is in reference to the 2007 SNL skit entitled “Dear Sister”, which is itself a loos parody referencing a scene in the second season finale of television show The OC, which uses the song.

The heavy reliance on audio as a game mechanic was also partly inspired by Julian Oliver’s game Quilted Thought Organ, which plays music as the player navigates. Another somewhat less superficial inspiration for the game was Taylan Kay’s game Auti-Sim, which seeks emulate the auditory hypersensitivity aspect of autism spectrum disorders. Bump has a similar aim: I wanted to capture the anxiety that I feel in crowds, which is one of the more persistent struggles that I have personally had as an adult on the autism spectrum.

Huis Clos

Alexander Nathanson

Huis Clos


With this game I was trying to recreate what I saw when i first read ‘’ Huis Clos’’; this title is a play written french existentialist writer and philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre.
Existentialism; or the was an intrinsic part of the time, Sartre himself describes existentialist as “what all existentialists have in common is the fundamental doctrine that existence precedes essence”.This game would try to get the player in a similar situation as the characters in the play.


1 closed space
3 players


The players enter the room, they all take a seat and they will be explained the rules of the game.
At the end of the game they will be left with this quote, “ Hell is the others”,which is one of Sartre’s most important quotes; which is most of the time wrongly represented, Sartre was not trying to say that others create hell, he was saying that since we only really know ourselves and the only other thing we have to look at us is other’s view of us which means that if we are surrounded by people that think badly of us we will think badly of us.

So as to manage to recreate this aspect in the game. the players will all have a different character that they will be(they need and can make their characters background story as rich as they possibly can) asked to judge one another.

1 a widow| widower
that cheated on the husband| wife and he she committed suicide
a usurer
used to hurt people for money
and a politician who doesn’t understand the struggles common people have and doesn’t respect them.

they will have 5 minutes to add details to their character.
they will be told they have 10 minutes to judge one of the three for their actions.

after the 10 minutes pass, the player that is judged will loose and the two other players will win and will be told “L’enfer C’est les autres.”

Playing with Avant-Garde Videogames

Today in class we did an exercise where I asked each student to play an independent game. The students then came in and drew on the board Brian Schrank’s diagram defining the different types of avant-garde games and then each one wrote the name of the game they played on a Post-It and positioned it on the diagram, explaining why they thought it went there. We discussed each game, moved them around and even came up with a way of visualizing games that seemed to span multiple areas on the board. The result:


After they finished, someone suggested we do this exercise with their final project ideas, which are in-progress. That looked like this:


I was really excited by how energized the students were about this exercise, and also the fact that they initiated the second part of analyzing their own games.

Super fun and useful for anyone teaching about artgames using Brian’s book.

Rock Paper Scissors (Artwork 4 second iteration)

This game is based on the simplest but most classic game in the world: rock paper scissors.


  • 6 players
  • 9 cards for each player (3 rock cards, 3 paper cards and 3 scissors cards.)
  • coins



  • The game will take 30 minutes.
  • Before the game starts, all the players need to borrow 1 to 30 coins(or points) as the counters from the host. The coins(or points) you have in hand at the end of the game will be the price you win. However, 10% of interests need to by paid back to the host.
  • When the game starts, you are free to find one opponent to play rock paper scissors with.
  •  Screenshot (7)
  • You can bet any numbers of coins. Winner will gain all the coins and the loser will lose all the coins he/she bet.
  • You can play more rounds of rock paper scissors unless one of the players loses all the coins. The one loses all the coins will be obsoleted immediately.
  • The card been used will be abandoned.
  • Win: Coins in hand>(coins borrowed + interests), all the cards have been used up.
  • Lose: Coins in hand<(coins borrowed+ interests), cards have not been used up, or lost all the coins.
  • The amount of each type of cards will be recorded and shown.
  • You are free to do “trades” during the game but you cannot abandon unused cards.