Month: December 2016

This Meal Is Awful

I was very sad to miss so much of this class this semester since I love video games, and especially art games, to death. I read critical gaming literature every week (shoutouts to Critical Distance for making things easier) and, eventually, I would like to get into the gaming industry or journalism industry. However, I don’t think I’m anywhere near that, and as such I would much rather make something fun instead of critical. Making something fun is difficult enough.

I really dislike Cards Against Humanity. I don’t dislike it because it’s popular, but because I don’t find it fun nor funny. However, so many of my friends bring and have played it on so many different occasions that I always play along. It’s a bonding thing, and (in my opinion) one of the most boring bonding things out there.

Still, I give it props for being such a creative game. There are a few others like it, such as the classic Charades, or Apples to Apples, that I enjoy significantly more because the templates aren’t so rigid. As such, I decided to make another game in the same vein.

Like most creative projects, I worked with my boyfriend on this one. Originally, I wanted to create a game we could play against each other and enjoy even after this semester. We are both very competitive, so a competitive game made sense. However, we couldn’t really agree on how to make a competitive game (in the time allotted for the mini-game jam that I created for this project), so instead we came up with This Meal Is Awful.

It’s a simple game, and I’ll upload everything here ASAP so people can play.

Basically, the game has a shared deck of cards. Each player draws 10 each round. Each card has a food item on it. There are three phases – the cook phase, the sabotage phase, and the judge phase.

The cook phase

Using the ingredients in the player’s hand, the player puts down ingredients on top of each other to create a dish. The player then names that dish. The player can create as many dishes as they want, essentially creating a meal. Dishes can’t be modified after being finished except by being sabotaged.

The sabotage phase

As soon as a player is done with their cook phase, they can start sabotaging other players by putting one of their unused food items on another player’s dish. The food item can’t be removed.

The judging phase

Each player presents their dishes and meal that they’ve prepared, including the names of the dishes and meal and why they used the ingredients they did. Each player then chooses another player who they think made the best dish. There is no predefined judging criteria. Whoever has the most votes wins. If there is a tie, there is a revote where people can only vote for the players who tied.

After each round, players shuffle their cards back into the deck.

Players can make wacky meals and completely mess up other player’s meals. Players who are sabotaged can make up stories based on why their meal includes some kind of sabotage ingredient. It could end up being a very creative game on the player’s end.

I already knew about Dada going into this class, but the Fluxus movement, especially Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit and scores in general really influenced the way I think about games. While a lot of instructions can be rigid, many of the projects in the class seemed to benefit from being able to be interpreted differently from participants. To me, that is the ideal situation. That’s the main reason I decided to come up with This Meal Is Awful.

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Election Intervention

The election season was coming to a close and I could see emotions were high from most people that I knew. 2016’s presidential election was also a historically negative one, with very little of delving into policy and a lot of character attacks, which makes sense considering the candidates.

While I could generally see how people felt about the election, I wanted people to have a creative outlet to express their feelings. A lot of my favorite art, such as Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece, allows participants to express themselves in a cathartic sense. As a result, I employed the tables in the Curry Student Center as peoples’ canvas. These tables are whiteboard tables, and everyone in the space is given a marker and eraser already. As such, it was pretty much a perfect place to do this intervention.

All I did was write “Draw a picture that describes how you feel about this election” and walked away (after getting a couple pictures of people who wanted to draw something at the start). I wanted to let people be as creative, or simple, as possible. I didn’t place any constraints on people. They could even write words instead of drawing pictures of they wanted to.

The result was pretty good – there was a mix of emojis and more creative absurdist things. I wouldn’t be surprised if people modified their pictures on what other people drew as well. Also, I was surprised that people didn’t draw more, but the drawings being in such a public space could have dissuaded them.

Originally I was going to do a retrospective intervention after the election as well with the message “Draw you feelings about how the election went .” However, anyone who walked around Boston on November 9th could have understood the mood regardless. Still, I do wish that I did a retrospective intervention, as people may have wanted some outlet. I have attached a few pictures of other interventions that happened in Boston post-election, though, since those give a good idea of what I was trying to accomplish as well.





-WASD movement keys

-Spacebar jump

-Mouse to click Restart and Quit(buttons are buggy on player death)


Artist Statement:

I struggled coming up with an idea at first for an underrepresented topic within games. I then saw my friend playing the Call of Duty Black Ops 2 campaign, and saw how his decisions throughout the game, had no effect on the end. So my game is an abstract way of representing how the decisions we make throughout a game, and the path we take, mean nothing in the end. They are just trial and tribulations, and can be seen throughout all games in a bigger sense as just events.

My biggest inspirations came from class, where I saw the video on the Jejune Institute. In the commentary, people were saying how afterwards they looked at the city they lived in for years differently. The other inspiration came from the game, The Graveyard, where an elderly lady walks across a pathway in a morgue, and sits on a bench. The elderly lady’s life was randomized so, she could pass away while walking down the path. Also, I liked the style of how the game was always the same setting, and same action, so the end is always constant. So my goal, taking away from these games, was to open the players eyes towards my objective about choices and effects of decisions within games.

So I created a little character within a platformer, and a repetitive environment to show represent games as a whole. I then used spikes, to represent the events that players, and the choices they make each time. I randomized whether the spike made the player lose a life or not if they touched it. I then randomized the player’s life on each round played, so that the character might reach the end sooner. Originally, my first playtest was a different game: a 3D survival style, where the player was in a boxed environment, and could just walk around, while their health dwindled over time. After playtesting I felt that game wasn’t fitting towards my goal. That’s why I thought a platformer would work better. The level was designed for the player to keep trekking down, while their health could be lost by hitting spikes, of varying sizes and quantities. The end of the level is just empty so the player falls to oblivion. The player always has the option to restart or quit the game whenever.

After looking back at this semester, I can say I learned a lot of ways expressing myself through art, integrated into games. My favorite game that I made in the class, had to be our very first one: a score, the person must communicate with a stranger using only their phone. The objective was to make the player uncomfortable.


The Game:



Artwork #4: Experience Final

When you’re living with anxiety, there are times when it feels as if everything is just a second away from crashing down around your ears. You feel as if you have to put dozens of safeguards in place and quadruple check everything so that things don’t fall apart. This is the sort of feeling that I wanted to get across with my game.

There are already plenty of games that make the player feel anxious, but there aren’t many that I’ve found that include the other major aspect of my game. From the very beginning,  I wanted each player to reach a point where they would realize that all of the things that they were preparing for would likely never happen to them, and that they were trying to protect themselves from nothing.


The first iteration of my game was played as follows: each player got a hand of 5-7 Preparation cards (depending on the number of players, from 2-4) and one Critical Events card. The Critical Events card had two events listed on it, and under each event was a list of two preparations. The players were told that if one of those events came up and they were not prepared for it, they would have to draw until they had the necessary cards. The ultimate goal was to discard every card in their hand.

Each round, each player would draw a Preparation card and have the option to either discard two cards or trade one card with another player. At the end of the round, an Event card would be turned over. The players would make sure that the event was not one off their Critical Events cards, nothing would happen. The goal of this ruleset was to encourage players to horde Preparation cards out of fear of an event coming up that they weren’t prepared for, and then to slowly come to the conclusion that they don’t need to prepare for all of these awful things that would never happen.

This version of the game had both positives and negatives. On the positive side, I had a very simple set of mechanics that generally got people to the conclusion that I wanted them to reach. On the less positive side, the game was not engaging enough to make people feel anxious about losing, which somewhat undermined the effectiveness of it.

The second version of the game was based on the advice I got from some of my playtesters. Each Critical Events card has two events on it, and so I created Event cards for one event from each Critical Event card. I also added Perparation cards that were related to the Event cards that were already in the deck (but didn’t put new events on any of the Critical Event cards). This version worked better as a game, but it failed to get across the same point as the first iteration.

The third iteration of this game is the one that I’m the most excited for. I added several cards into the Event deck that made certain players (the one with the least cards in their hand or the players without a certain Preparation card, for example) draw extra preparation cards. This way, the outcome of the game is not predetermined and the players feel like they have some agency over the outcome. I also removed the new Event cards.

This is the version that I am most happy with, because it keeps the original concept while making the game feel more engaging. It isn’t perfect, and going forward, I would like to continue to work on this to add more to the second phase of the game, where the players realize that the Critical Events aren’t in the Event deck. At the moment, the game is very shallow and doesn’t offer good answers for those looking for ways of coping with anxiety.

When creating this piece, I believe I was most heavily influenced by Yoko Ono’s scores. There are are many of them that purposefully make the participants uncomfortable. The scores aren’t necessarily enjoyable, but they make a strong point, which is something that I hope I have accomplished or will eventually be able to accomplish with this game. I also somewhat had projects like Tekken Torture Tournament in mind while working on this, as games like those don’t just depict something (in that case the much simpler sensation of pain), but actively make the player feel it, such as how my game aims to not just show the player what happens in my mind during high anxiety days, but also make them feel the uncertainty and stress.

This is one of the two pieces in this class that I am most proud of, the other being my crane piece. Unlike the other pieces I made for this class, I feel that these had strong central mechanics and a distinct end goal, and to various extents, I believe that they were successful. Working on these projects also made me think about game design in a very different way than I am used to. Instead of starting with a story and fitting mechanics to it, these works have a central mechanic that is in itself almost a narrative element. This streamlining, more than anything, is what I am happy to have gotten out of this course and what I hope to continue to incorporate in my work in the future.

Cyber Demon

Available to play here!

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Throughout the course of the semester, I was taught many different methods of art expression and how they’ve impacted us years later. It is because of this that I was able to grow as an aspiring game designer. I really appreciated the fact that we were able to work with different mediums in order to convey our own unique messages.

That being said, playing around with different mediums helped me to develop my own aesthetic and to figure out what type of games I truly enjoyed creating: therapeutic and uplifting games, which I found interesting since my favorite genres of games tend to lean more toward violence. I really enjoy making others smile, and through games, I found that I could also express that.

For this piece in particular, I decided to focus on two topics I hadn’t really touched upon in the past: trust and deception. While keeping these in mind, I also tried to incorporate therapeutic themes into the piece.

In my initial playtest, the player was thrown into a chatroom with an anonymous user. They were then given the option to either make normal conversation with the other player or to pry into their personal life and determine who was on the other side.  The goal was to build up a level of trust with the AI in order for them to open up to you.

After playtesting, I realized that the original goal of the game seemed a bit lost, so I decided to make some changes and switch it around.  Now, the user enters the chat with who they think is an online friend. The narration describes how the two of you have been talking for awhile and have established a foundation of trust. Later in the game, however, you encounter a demon that disguises themselves as your best friend. Based upon their actions and narrative, it is your job to determine who is actually behind the text and to determine who it is that you trust. Previously, the idea was that the other user was trying to open up to you, but I felt as though it would be more powerful if the game took place from your own perspective.

During the beginning of the class, I really took a liking to Yoko Ono’s pieces and the interaction that was provoked from her work. Although some of them seemed silly, I found most of them to be rather therapeutic, and thus I took inspiration from Yoko’s work.

I also enjoyed seeing my peers develop their own individual styles and to see how this impacted their final projects at the end of the semester. Seeing other takes and perspectives on projects really helped to further develop my game design skills, and I believe it will be a very useful tool later on in the workplace and other aspects of life.  I do wish we had more opportunities, as peers, to collaborate with one another on projects, as this could’ve been both useful and intuitive.

In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed this class and felt as though I had learned a lot. I’ve met many amazing and talented people throughout the semester who have also helped me to grow. I would highly recommend this course to future game designers, but also to any other students wishing to grow and to develop their own styles.


rar file:

(all art, sounds, and music assets courtesy of the resources provided within RPG Maker XP)

Artist’s Statement:

This class has been an interesting experience for me. I’ve been in a game design class before, but this one made me really push the boundaries on what I thought a game was. It also gave me new perspectives on what I could do with games. Our first project in scores was really what sold me on this.

I loved the healing aspect of Yoko Ono’s work, so I tried to go back to that and work it into my final project. In the game, the player starts off alone with no support. They are easily defeated by the boss – one hit, before they even get the chance to attack. But, the more they play, the more members of their former team rejoin and the stronger they get. I wanted the player to feel more empowered and hopeful as they continued to fight an initially futile battle.

This is also a similar sentiment found in the game I wanted to bring in for the indie game show and tell – Undertale. Unfortunately, I was absent on the actual day, but I wanted to go over the theme of friendship in the game. As the player goes on, they accumulate more friends that help them throughout the course of the game, a few of whom are set on destroying the player when they first meet. But through determination and a will to get through to these characters, the player is able to gain their support. I’m the type of person that relies on the presence of friends and family to make it through tough times, so I found this message incredibly touching knew that I wanted to make games that also had similar uplifting themes.

On that note, this class has also helped me realize the kinds of game that I want to make. I like making games that help make people happier or bring people together to have fun as a group (such as the game that I hosted for the third project). I feel as though a lot of art games like to deal with heavier themes that make you think. And I certainly don’t think that’s a bad thing – in fact, I think they’re important and should be made. But personally, I think I want to continue making games with a more light hearted sort of vibe. I don’t think I’ll steer entirely away from darker or more somber themes, but I’d like to incorporate them into a more uplifting message rather than making them the sole focus (I’m always a sucker for a happy ending, after all).

…and I think that’s about all I have to say in regards to the game. As for the class, I think it’s helped me figure out more about my own personal preferences by exposing me to different types of art. I also got a chance to mess around a bit and try out things in different mediums that I normally wouldn’t have thought to use. I think, in the future, I’ll continue to try and explore all the possibilities that I can.

april showers


first page of spring

first page of spring

Artist’s Statement:

This game was the culmination of a lot of things. I think it has been in me for a very long time, but this class gave me the means and the confidence and the drive to create it.

Unavoidably, I was inspired by Porpentine Charity Heartscape – she has written so much interactive fiction that has changed my life and the way I view games in general. In particular, I had in mind “Their Angelical Understanding”. When I first played through it, I almost had a panic attack, because though the experiences were not mine, would never be mine, I felt the depth of the person behind the words and saw some of me in them as well. I wanted to make something like that. Another outside influence would have to be “Queers in Love at the End of the World” by Anna Anthropy, an interactive fiction game that lasts only ten seconds. It really overwhelmed me with a sense of possibility. Though I did not want something limited by time, I wanted something that could seem almost endless in possibilities and always ongoing. april showers ended up having 40 different ending cards.

From class though, I was greatly inspired by, as has held true ever since the first “unit”, Fluxus – and Yoko Ono in particular. The idea of art as an experience and experience as art really resonated with me. april showers turns my experiences into a game and hopefully what could be considered art. The pieces within Grapefruit felt deeply personal and sometimes almost nonsensical, which is, honestly, a style I love, like a secret you can only think you understand. Some of them also felt deeply cathartic, and I think catharsis through creation can be the cause behind a lot of great things. Making my own game certainly was cathartic in a lot of ways. There were also a lot of Dada works that inspired me – the aesthetic just did something for me. I think the sort of collage feel of many of the works definitely made me want to put together a narrative made out of scrambled bits and pieces. A word collage, I guess!

Reading through Schrank’s book, though I don’t think it did all that much to the development of my game, did help me focus my thoughts. Though obviously not a perfect structure, I concluded where my game lay on the graph and also where I wanted it to lay, which definitely affected my thought process for the rest of the writing. I knew that due to my own personal tastes, I would end up with a game that would be considered by the general populace as “radical”, but I definitely wanted to make a reflexive game with what could be interpreted as political undertones.

This class inspired me in a lot of ways. I’ve always loved games, but just getting the chance to talk about them more and think about them more and interact with people about the design of them more motivated me to push myself even further. This semester, I’ve played a lot of games off of Some of them weren’t that great, some of them were practically unheard of even by indie fans, some of them satisfied an itch inside of me that I didn’t know was there. I spent a lot more time going through interactive fiction lists and the archive, and that especially gave me an idea of what exactly I wanted out of a twine game, an interactive fiction experience.

All I really want my style to be is to be creating games with a lot of heart in them, which I hope I have been achieving!

Artwork#4 Self-Intro

Game Description:

This is a text-based narrating game, there are 2 players, player 1 first answer a series of questions, and his/her answer will be the only   choices for player 2, who must fill in the blanks from sentences popping up on the screen, the “story” is about a person who is introducing himself.





Artist Statement:

So the idea of this is that I want 2 players have 2 opposite feelings of the game, player 1, who is just answering the questions, will have free choices of answering all the questions, however for player 2, his only choices are provided by player 1, who just filled in those questions arbitrarily. (Note: player 1 won’t be told the fact that player 2’s choice was based on what player 1 filled, the game just asks player 1 to answer whatever he/she likes, and telling that will “help” player 2.)

More about the experience, I want the player 2 to feel that all the choices are totally dependent, frustration and struggle are what I am aiming for in this piece.

Inspiration & Iteration process:

Throughout the semester, I had been interrogating myself the same question again and again, that is, what is “experimental game”, well it seems easy to answer but I was struggled to find my own answer to this. I find it difficult for me to come out with an idea that can be approved by myself when I’m thinking of making a game just focuses on a certain aspect. For this project, at the beginning I started with the idea “I want to create a text-based game which player don’t make choices but write their own.” And apparently, it turns out someone had already done that before. But one thing I learned from that is I must make my goal more specific, more extreme, and with more strict design limitations, that is how I came out with this final version.

In the final version, I want player 2 to be frustrated and struggle to choose the word, additionally why I choose the story to be a self-introduction of a person is I think the answers player 1 answers, when they become choices for player 2 writing a self-introduction, it feels like player 1 is creating a “standard” for the character, I want to criticize the aspect that the standards created by other people may limits who you could became.

The first iteration was pretty frustrating for me because when I found out the ideas I came out had already been done, however I think it does happen a lot and it’s a good lesion for me, especially it gives me the chance to re-think about my ideas and make it more unique than before. It is also pretty much my overall learning experience/understanding throughout all 4 projects, that finding the way to make your idea expressive and unique.


RPG final artwork #4: Experience

first, I have to say Xiao is wrong, he is not the only business major in this class.(´・ω・`)


artist statement:
For the final, I want to make a digital game, I like digital games, making a own digital game is one of my dream in my middle,
I learned RPG Maker and joined a group at that time, however, unluckily I don’t have enough time to make one, so I had to give up.
my idea of this game is to create a mainstream game, this is the reason why I select this class,
after a semester’s class, we talked about Fluxus and DADA, try to thinking and learning in a different way,
abandon our regular thoughts and try something totally new so I start to think about looking at normal game
in different angle.
Another reason is Yuusha Yoshihiko, a Japanese Drama, this drama talks about warriors save the world, in the drama,
they fight like in turn-based game, also like normal they will enter citizen’s house and search for items. When a Drama
act 100% as a RPG game, you will find there are lots of irrational things happened. So I think I can put this kind of
event in my game to make it more reality.
I think this is the main idea why I want to create a normal RPG game but you can also jump out of the circle,
to redefine the game.
So basically my game is talking about a normal RPG story, princess was caught by demon, our character’s job is to defeat
the demon and save the princess. However, not everyone is the chosen one, you might die in half way, even if you
finally reach the boss room, you might still can not win. Because why a human being’s power can win a demon in a single

game testing:
My game testers are my roommates, they thought the whole idea is very good, some times they also have same
questions when they play RPG games, why they can break into others house, why they can be blocked by a small tree.
However, they think the plot and maps are a little too weak, sometimes they do not even know what to do next, and
there is no battle fight in the game, so there is a little boring when they are walking from a map to another.



rpg here is the link



It’s a dangerous world out there. Injustices and inequalities have led to a never-ending global warfare. Ironically, the only place that is safe is the prison.  For the sake of your own survival, you must try your best to make your way into the prison.

  1. Select two players to play the game and another moderator — total of 3
  2. Each is given a set of two cards, one with 10 different country flags, and another with 10 curse words from the respective countries (the words are jumbled up)
  3. Ask two players to engage in a meaningless back and forth argument for 60 seconds
  4. Moderator will determine who was winning the argument and that player will be the one to go first
  5. Player 1 will choose one of the 10 curse words to swear at Player 2
  6. Player 2 responds “where is that coming from?”
  7. Player 1 must attempt to guess which country the swear word is from and
    1. If correct, the moderator will cross off the word and country and the player will have earned the according prison sentence.
    2. If incorrect the turn ends and the other player may reuse the word and country.
  8. It’s now Player 2’s turn and repeat steps 5 – 7.
  9. Repeat step 8 until all words and countries have been crossed off.
  10. Tally up each player’s sentence and the player with the longer sentence wins the game.

Player cards


Prison sentences


Artist Statement:

This was definitely the topic that I was looking forward to the most during this class. I have always been very interested in using seemingly very simple games or puzzles to reflect on a message. I think one of the biggest topics of 2016 has been the US presidential election, which is why I decided to pursue a very political piece.

The year has been a strange one, with President-elect Trump, in particular standing out as one of the most distinctive and usual candidates the country has witnessed. For the people who support him, he is the strong figure that will “make America great again.” For his protestors, he is disrespectful and “unpresidential.”

Other major concerns are the potential risks and unrest that Trump’s win may cause for the rest of the world; given that Trump has made multiple promises to drastically shift the terms of alliances and relationships with the world.

So I thought to myself, what if the worst happened, and nowhere in the world could be considered a safe place? What if in this world, in order to survive, one must be radical and occasionally offensive just to survive? What would an experience like this feel?

I must admit that I’m not an avid player of any games, whether it’s indie games or video games. I didn’t have a lot of previous experience to draw upon, but I was very inspired by our 2nd guest lecturer’s games that we play tested. In particular, her game/puzzle with linking ingredients to making drinks and leading to word combinations was very interesting. The notion of taking the unknown and delivering a pleasant surprise was very inspiring to me. I decided to take a similar format and turn it into a 2 player game as I thought curse words require a subject and also an emotional investment.

Class thoughts:

For me personally, as a graduating student this December, this was one the most interesting electives I have taken in my time at Northeastern. If I’m not mistaken, I am the only Business Major in the class.

I came into the class very worried about the art or computer science skills that may have been required or expected. However, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that this class has “no right answer.” All of our projects have been about interpretation, which allowed me to be very creative in a way that my usual business classes don’t encourage.

From the Score to the Appropriation, and to the Intervention; I thought that I tackled each project with more confidence and knowledge. Overall, I’m very proud of my own learning outcomes in the class and I will definitely spread the word among my business classmates that are looking for electives!