Month: October 2017


Original Version

In the original version of Shot-Pong-Chip, players take turns placing chips in the shot glasses. When they make a row of 3 continuous chips, they get one point. When they make a row of 4, they get two points. Each point gave the player access to one pong ball which they could use to block off shot glasses without having to “take a drink” (metaphorically, not literally). When the player “takes eight drinks,” they “black out” and must stop playing. The player with the most points wins.

New Version

The new version increased the power of the pong balls to inspire players to remember they do not have to drink every turn and to add more tactical choices to the game. Each player starts with 3 pong balls, and gains one extra one if they gain a point. This ball, if chosen to be used, is taken from a cup in front of the player, which gives them access to the ball but also opens up another shot glass to use on the board. As it plays similarly to a large tic-tac-toe, more chances to actually lock off board spaces allows interesting strategies.


I wanted to create something that purposely played with known game mechanics and some game pieces. Similar to Yoko Ono’s piece White Chess, I wanted to have people feel familiar enough with the mechanics, and in some cases the pieces, but used in a different context than they were used to. The game is designed in a way that creates stalemates and/or so that players that choose not to drink much usually lose. This fits into the theme of the game which comments on America’s binge-drinking culture and how nobody truly “wins” in this culture. Because of this, the items of disposable shot glasses, beer pong balls, and poker chips are used in order to drive home the point of collegiate drinking patterns which usually leave people sick, miserable, or in dangerous situations. I purposely chose objects that are used commonly in “drinking games” in order to make a game about drinking, but not one in which the player is recommended to drink. I was somewhat inspired by the idea of “readymades” by using easily obtainable items that were already in form to be used, all they needed was to be put together in the correct context for this game. This also draws from different appropriative Flux-kits which commonly used approrpiated objects in order to present a sometimes game-like artpiece all in one box.

Appropriation: The Game of Love

The Game of Love 



In The Game of Love, you use the spring at the  bottom to attempt to launch a small puck into the three scoring spaces.  The player is able to manipulate the spring in anyway that they deem necessary, as long as it is attached to at least one of the anchoring nails. The  top space is harder to score in, and therefore worth more points.


However, there is no way to track points or to win in a conventional sense. This is partly because of what the game is appropriating. The style of the artifact is based on the old plastic handheld toys like Rings and Pocket Pachinko. These games had self imposed win states and play times, as there were no clear counters to determine points or score. It also takes elements of pinball. The idea is to make something very tactile and playful, where even playing with it feels good. This is to be juxtaposed against the content and building materials of the artifact.  The main board are two detached shelves, and the obstacles are made from old cardboard, dead batteries, electrical bits and bobs, and cheap craft supplies, finally covered in bright pink duct tape and paper cutouts of generic symbols and images of love and romance. It is designed to look kitsch and horrible as a whole and on the exterior, while also having a clearly fumbled together look.


The juxtaposition between the kitsch love and romance aesthetic, the disheveled appearance and construction, and the very gamey tactility all come together to represent the worst parts of love in our culture. Society’s idea of love is commercial, it is skin deep, and it is seen in a lot of ways as a game. People and relationships are objectified into raw materials, where game-like tactics and materialism become the background to how achieving love is conveyed. To gamify love in any fashion is to be disingenuous and cynical towards the complexity of relationships and people as a whole.  And in this game, there is ultimately no winning. There is no reward, there are no systems tracking progress or skill. The game acts merely as an instrument for the players amusement, which captures the most cynical and deplorable outlooks on love and human intimacy.


This piece is heavily inspired by the appropriation pieces in Gallery 360. A lot of them focused on a kind of playfulness that I think is enhanced by the idea of appropriation. There was one piece that was even a game in its own right. I also really liked the Dada appropriation idea of taking a useful object and rendering it useless. In my case, I had many of the artifacts that made up the structural elements of my piece be items that are involved in repair or electronics, such as a spare spring for machinery, batteries, and wire connectors. This also lends metaphorical meaning into the piece. The thing that inspired this piece the most is the Dada idea of anti-art, where one would make something so unpretentious and unappealing that it would subvert expectations in a strange and interesting way.

Original Prototype: 

This version was built with constraints of having to be attached to a table, meaning that the only way to play the game was horizontal. This takes out the gravity mechanic that not only makes the game more satisfying to play, but also properly alludes to the material the artifact is appropriating. Play-tests indicated that the difficulty was not properly balanced, and the nature of limitations made it almost impossible to score, which erases how misleadingly satisfying the final artifact is meant to be to play with it.

Final Iteration of Appropriation: MAD Wars

Appropriation Art: M.A.D. Wars

2-4 players

This game takes War (the card game) and adds some twists and new rules to it.


  • 2-4 decks of cards, evenly mixed together
  • Nukes (anything to represent a counter, preferably in an atomic bomb-style shape)
  • 2-4 sets of rows of 3 circles each (Places to put your dormant Nukes)


  1. Every player chooses a power (either from ALLIES or AXIS) and that skill is applied to them for the entire game.
  2. Every player is evenly dealt the combined decks of cards (modified for Germany due to country effect).
  3. Every player starts with 3 Nukes*.
    1. If a player’s total Nuke amount dips below 3 (modified for Italy because of country effect), Radiation Poisoning** activates.
  4. Players proceed to play a “normal” game of War.
  5. After a declared “war” has ended, the winning side is given 2 options he can either give the cards to the enemy and steal a Nuke from them or take the cards for himself.
  6. All destroyed cards are sent to the Graveyard.
  7. The game is complete when only one player is left with cards in his deck.

*Nukes allow a player to destroy all enemy cards currently on the board and allows you to regain the card you just played. They are a one time use.

Nukes can be activated at any time, including right after a “war” is over after the winner has been decided, preventing the winner from taking the spoils. But if used during a “war,” all cards on the board are destroyed.


Fatal Radiation Poisoning (For shorter games)

Activates on a per turn basis. A player gains +1 Radiation Poisoning for every Nuke used that places their total Nuke count under 3. Players must discard the top card of their deck before every turn for every Radiation Poisoning they have.

Vengence Radiation Poisoning 2 (For longer games)

Activates on a per turn basis. A player gains +1 Radiation Poisoning for every Nuke used that places their total Nuke count under 3. The player must place an additional card on the field underneath another card depending on how much Radiation Poisoning they have, but only the first card seen counts. For example, a player has +1 Radiation Poisoning. Every turn, he draws two cards from the deck and places them face up, with the first card hidden by the second. Only the card that can be seen, aka the second card, counts. The winner then takes all the cards on the field, like in normal war.

Ex. A player has 2 Nukes. He has +1 Radiation poisoning.

Ex. A player has 0 Nukes. He has +3 Radiation poisoning.

TIPS: It is better to try out the game without using the countries to get a feel for the game first.

Allies v. Axis


USA– Gains 1 Nuke every 20 turns

USSR– Can negate a Nuke (once for every enemy)

Great Britain– Can activate a Nuke effect without using a Nuke once a game (Dresden)

France– Gets 2 Jokers, which essentially can be any card France wants it to be (wild card).


Germany– Starts with 10 more cards than everyone else.

Japan– Can declare “Kamikaze War” at any time, limited to 2, which is normal “war” except the resulting cards placed will always be destroyed and sent to the Graveyard. The winning side of the “war” always steals a Nuke from the loser.

Italy– The Radiation Poisoning minimum starts at 2.


My inspiration for choosing this game was because I felt I was never good at building things. I thought that I could take a card game, and turn it into something different. War has been a game I have played ever since elementary school, and so I wanted to take this game and put a spin on it. I also took inspiration from the chess board idea that involves pouring red paint on the dead chess pieces. Chess is a game mimicking war, so why can’t the dead from war also be mimicked. I wanted to make the card game War similar to this, where an aspect not included in the original game is implemented from a realistic war standpoint. I added the idea that you can use a nuke to destroy a battlefield, but your enemies also have the power to do the same.

Meaning Behind the Game:

This game has a very similar meaning to the appropriated game of chess, specifically Yoko Ono’s “White Chess” version. In Ono’s piece, you cannot tell who is friend or foe. In my piece/game, it borrows the idea of chaos between friend and foe and ends up hurting both. The reason I chose this game was that the world of Dada came into being during the time of War, where there were much chaos and destruction.  The world was filled with so much revenge reasoning, like where the enemies strike, so you strike back. Dada takes all that reason and throws it out the window. Much of WWI and its propaganda was conveyed through words, so instead Hugo Ball, the Father of Dada, at the Cabaret Voltaire decided to make poetry using, not the heinous words used to encourage the war, but pure sounds. Emmy Hennings sang a ballad then followed it with a ribald ditty. This movement had a ripple effect that spread to other places, such as New York or Paris.

I decided to take a different approach but still related to the anti-war style and have a game where the idea of War (the card game), even if the original game is childish, and shows the major repercussions war can have, especially when we enter the world of nuclear war. When a player uses a nuke, they feel the repercussions on their deck, even if they are not instant. They occur and accumulate over time (because the cards are gradually discarded. These cards are the victims of the radiation poisoning of the land, slowly being sent to the grave, simply for being there, which is the unfortunate truth of nuclear war. This may seem rather weird, where when you nuke an enemy, you get poisoned, but just imagine if everyone was fighting on the same battlefield. If you were to nuke your enemies soldiers when they went out for battle, the next time your soldiers go out to fight, they would feel the aftereffects of your decision. This is essentially how the world is now, especially with North Korea and the rest of the world on the edges of their seats.This is why I dubbed the game not “War with Nukes,” but M.A.D. Wars, aka Mutually Assured Destruction Wars.

Artwork #2: Rendrop (an Appropriation of Renju)

Materials needed:
Go board
Go stones

Win condition:
Just like Renju, the player who first gets 5 or more of their stones in a row wins.

In Rendrop, 2 players and 1 game master are needed preferably. The game master is in charge of making sure both players are following the rules correctly, and deciding where should a stone be placed if it lands in the middle of two intersections.

In the original game, black would always go first automatically. In the appropriated version, however, each player has to take a stone and drop it onto the board from at least 3 inches above. The player who lands their stone closer to the center goes first. If a player fails to land their stone on the board, the other player would automatically go first.

After the game starts, the dropping rule continues to be in effect. Both players have to drop the stone in order to place it on the board at all times. If a stone lands in the middle of two intersections, the game master would decide which intersection is it closest to. If a stone pushes other stones away from their original spots as it lands, the other stones would not be moved back to their previous positions. If a player fails to land the stone on board twice in a row, that player loses their turn and has to wait till the next round.

When I was deciding on which game I should appropriate, the first games that came to my mind were chess and Renju. I ended up picking chess over Renju, simply because chess had already been appropriated for so many times, such as the chess sets made by Man Ray and the previous chess project made in this class using red pigment. Actually, Renju is a game as popular as Go and chess if not more in China, and every school would have a Renju club because it’s easy to learn and hard to get tired of. However, when I wrote about Renju in Games & Society last semester, not even my professor had heard about this game before. This is what motivated me to let more people know about Renju, one of my favorite Chinese board games. Renju is also easy to set up because it doesn’t involve complicated game pieces like some other broad games do, which makes it possible to appropriate it in many different ways.

For the first playtest, I limited myself to only appropriating the rules, so the player would still use the game pieces in the traditional way. I made a game where the players are making large shapes in order to acquire more territory. However, the game ended up being more like an appropriation of Go instead of Renju. It was still an enjoyable game, but the fact that it didn’t fulfill the purpose of this class became clear to me during the playtest. As a result, I decided to appropriate the game by using the pieces in a way that they were not originally designed to be used in, just like Fountain is an urinal that wasn’t originally supposed to be viewed as a piece of artwork.

The original Renju is a very strategy-based game without any elements of chance at all, but I wanted to appropriate the game in a way that changes the dynamics of the game and makes it a twitch game with more luck element involved. The twitch mechanic was also inspired by an anime called No Game No Life, because the characters once play chess appropriated as a real-time fighting game in it and the chess pieces have to try to dodge and strike to take the opponent pieces down. Therefore, instead of putting down each Go stone carefully on a flat board, I tried tossing, flinging and shoving the Go stones onto the Go board and setting up the board at different angles. At the end of experiments, I decided that dropping the stones on a flat surface would work the best. The dynamics of Renju and Rendrop are completely different as well; while players usually spend a long time contemplating and deciding where to go next in Renju, they rarely think too hard in Rendrop and just go wherever their hearts take them. Playing Rendrop might also remind the player of practicing Zen, since the stone would more likely land on where they want it to land if their hands are calm and steady.


Example of a finished game:

Appropriation – Settlers of Catan


In this artwork, I chose to appropriate Settlers of Catan,  as seen through a more or less modern perspective of resource scarcity and global warming. All of the game’s pre-fabricated pieces are still in their original state, aside from a slight modification or enhancement to the pieces: The knight cards for example, are contained in paper sleeves, and some of the territory pieces laid out on the board are elevated by  being placed on top of a paper prism. A number of rules of the game remain the same, as does the victory condition. Players must win the game by gaining 10 victory points, through building settlements/cities or obtaining the special ‘longest road’ or ‘largest army’ cards.


The game was inspired by examples of other modified games we’ve seen in class, such as all the separate variations of chess using smell or sound of contained items within each piece, to identify their rank. Perhaps the most influential of class examples, was an appropriated version of chess where the game was played just the same, but once each piece was taken down the player must splash that piece in red paint and toss it over the board- to represent the carnage of a battle, which Chess as a medium is meant to represent. I was very much a fan of the concept that with such slight changes to the game pieces and rules, you could keep generally the same familiar style of play from the original game, yet change its meaning entirely. I chose to attempt such a thing with Settlers of Catan, in renaming its cards and pieces, as well as slightly tweaking certain rules from the original game. The changes I appropriated to the game were meant to maintain a familiar set of rules, but improve upon the present mechanics to communicate a meaning that was once entirely absent from the game.

Modified Mechanics, and what they Mean.

To represent resource scarcity, some rules were modified and altered so that the game can still function in similar fashion to its original set of rules. Mainly, the original number of resource cards is reduced to a total of 12 of each card type, and when resources are sued they are put into a discard pile and do not return to the ‘bank’, leading to actual scarcity of resources needed to win the game. To reflect the global warming aspect, the ‘thief’ mechanic is reinterpreted as the ‘natural disaster’.  When each player rolls 2d6 to determine what resources are earned this turn, if the cumulative roll is a 7, the natural disaster is moved. Natural disasters cannot be commanded, so if the die commands a natural disaster to be moved, the 2d6 are rolled again to determine tiles the disaster can land on (If there are multiple hexagons of the same value, the player that triggered the disaster chooses the placement). Should the natural disaster land on a tile adjacent to a settlement or road they control, they must either discard one of their cards or destroy a road/settlement they own next to the hexagon.  On top of that, after a total of 14 resources have been drawn (cumulative across all players), global warming is triggered, and two ten-sided dice are rolled instead of 2d6. If these future rolls amount to a number that is not present on the board, the natural disaster is moved.

These mechanics working in tandem, represent the overall reworked theme of the game, keeping it more or less the same but changing its perspective to simulate a simplified perception of global warming, its causes, and its effects: Players drain the earth of its limited resources and spend them, leading to imbalance in the ecosystem and and increasing the value of what little remains of those resources, while also triggering an increase in frequency of natural disasters and other adverse natural phenomena.

Some other minor mechanics included in the game, are elevation and charity profiteers, and oil.

Normally in the original game, players may spend their resources to buy development cards which can be a random, card from the pile of possible effects. In this version, all development cards except ‘knights’ are removed from the pile, effectively making it so that buying a development card equates to buying a ‘knight’ card.  Though ‘knights’ retain their original card effect, they have been renamed to charity profiteers, in order to give a more cohesive meaning to the card both in context of its effect and the new scope of the appropriated game.

Knight cards, transformed into Charity Profiteers.

Elevated tiles are quite literally tiles that are elevated by a small paper prism on the board. Elevated tiles cost double the amount of resources to build around, meaning players must pay more resources to build roads and settlements (but the cost of upgrading to a city, remains the same). These tiles are supposed to represent a more accurate representation of navigation in difficult terrain, that we have in certain areas of our world, linking it closer to our reality and driving the point home further while adding what I consider to be an interesting mechanic to the otherwise 2-dimensional board.

Board, with elevated tiles.

Lastly, oil, is a special attribute the desert gains after global warming has been triggered. Once global warming begins and the industrial world is kicked into full swing,  the desert tile is considered an oil tile. While the oil tile does not grant any resources, much like the desert, any players with a settlement bordering this tile gain an additional 3 victory points. The desert is always elevated. This was inserted into the game to provide another possible strategy to winning the game, as well as represent the emergent use of oil and gas emissions along with it.



Quite a few elements of the game remain somewhat the same- intentionally. Many players are already familiar with Settlers of Catan, and the meaning conveyed through the game is supposed to be a very personal one.  If the player is detached from the mechanics and familiarity with the game, there’s a higher chance they’ll miss the point I’m trying to illustrate with this (admittedly heavy-handed,) adaptation.  The presence of the mechanics, however, are supposed to change just enough of the game to make it feel familiar, play like an interesting new game type, and reiterate an uncomfortable truth.

Assignment #2: Appropriation – Sona Survival

Assignment #2: Appropriation – Sona Survival

Artwork #2: Sona Survival 

            Sona Survival is a single player minigame played within the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game League of Legends (LoL). Using the built-in ‘practice tool’ to adjust specific game parameters, trademark character Sona is dropped into the center of the enemy base, isolated and unable to move, but equipped with items designed to enhance her chances of survival. Constantly taking damage, the player’s only goal is to survive as long as possible.


The player is given a keyboard and instructed to press “W” to survive. Of the remaining keys, only LoL’s original ability and item bindings will have effect, with the exception of two items rebound for specific emphasis. However, lacking a mouse, the player is tasked with deciphering the relationship between abilities, items, and environment as the game progresses. This both encourages repetition and incorporates core aspects of LoL mechanics.

Sona Survival can be played on any device capable of running LoL, but I insisted on a MacBook Pro. Paired with a dusty mechanical keyboard, on which the keys bound to important items and abilities are polished, and a set of in-ear headphones, the player’s atmosphere is very similar to the average LoL experience. To enhance the sense of immersion, Heavyweight by No Copyright Sounds, a classic song used in LoL montages, plays in the background for added ‘hype.’ Player scores are timed using a stopwatch; in each iteration an iPhone was used.


The original concept for Sona Survival was simplified down to an endless cycle of survival based entirely on the player’s will to stay at the computer pressing “W.” This was designed as an artistic statement about the competitive aspects of the game, emphasizing practice, focus, and motivation. Although plausible, I decided it lacked the most vital aspects of the game that encourage innovation and creativity.

This final iteration scraps the ‘endless’ concept for a specific goal, achieved through mastery of actual LoL mechanics and the basic problem solving abilities involved in deciphering ability/item interactions. This incorporates much more semantic meaning, appropriating not only the gaming software, but also the genuine experience of LoL players.

Themes and Influence

The original inspiration for Sona Survival was Mario Clouds; I did not start out with a concept for a game as much as for an artistic statement about an experience. This final iteration, however, incorporates more of the LoL experience, simultaneously encouraging LoL players to show off their game knowledge and clinical mechanics, and non-LoL players – or even non-gamers – to use parallel concepts and thought processes.

Moreover, Sona Survival repurposes items and abilities in ways that would intrigue LoL players, specifically referencing an accepted use for items and abilities among the community, but not without taking away from their original uses. For example, Zhonyas Hourglass, one of two items remapped from its original LoL binding, makes Sona invulnerable for 2.5 seconds. The towers that will eventually kill Sona do increased damage with each successive shot; therefore, perfectly timing use of the Hourglass allows the player to defy death, heal to full health before the towers start to cause significant damage, effectively forcing the game to kill her almost twice.

This effect can be amplified when used in combination with other items; however, Zhonyas Hourglass is an item generally purchased by “carry” champions, and the optimal synergy in Sona Survival involves a “support” item, that can be used at the same time such that Sona is healed upon leaving stasis. This forces LoL players to make connections based on the specific game mechanics rather than conventional analysis (influenced by individual roles and norms), while non-LoL players will be naturally guided to the theoretically most efficient thought process that focuses on numbers rather than experience.

Quick Note

I added a game mechanic for the player to kill themselves if they discovered an item + ability combination. The second remapped key was the warding trinket, a stationary object placed by players to obtain vision in an otherwise hidden area of the map. Players can teleport to these wards, most often to shift map pressure. LoL players will question the teleport ability’s very existence in Sona Survival, objectively useless without a mouse because you can’t use it to run away, but if the ward is used first, teleport will cause Sona to stand unable to move until the spell is cancelled or completed. Nobody used this combination, but I hoped a non-LoL player might stumble upon the unfortunate combo and a LoL player would execute a bm (bad manners), and use it to flaunt their understanding and control of Sona’s situation.

Appropriation: Straight Fluxx


“Straight Fluxx” is an appropriated game that uses material from the classic poker game “Texas Hold ’em” and the card game “Fluxx”.  The objective of the game is to be the first player to create a “straight hand combination” on the table using the “community cards”.


  • 1 deck of 52 playing cards
  • 1 deck of Fluxx



This game can be played with 2 to 6 players. In order to start the game, both the playing card deck and the Fluxx deck have to be shuffled.  Inside the Fluxx deck is a “Basic Rules” card which must be placed on the table at all times. Once the decks are shuffled, both decks are placed on the sides of the “Basic Rules” card on the table. Each player is then dealt 3 cards from the playing card deck and 2 playing cards or “community cards” are placed face up on the table.

When the game begins, as stated on the Fluxx “Basic Rules” card, a player draws one card from either deck and plays one card from their hand. This is subject to change as there are “new rule” cards in the Fluxx deck which changes how the game plays. For example, one “new rule” card says “Play 2” cards per turn. This adds a lot more variety to the game and can either speed things up or slow them down.

In order to win, a player must create a “straight hand combination” using the “community cards” on the table.  A “straight” means there are 5 cards in numerical order.  So, having a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 set on the table would make a “straight”. When the game begins, there are only two “community cards” on the table. Players can play poker cards from their hand to add to the “community” pile or play Fluxx cards which will change the current rules or have some other effect on the game.


  • There is a hand limit of 3 (unless a new rule changes this)
  • There is a limit of 5 “community cards” on the table
  • If a person plays a playing card, they add the card to the middle. The person can choose to replace a card that is face up. If a person plays a Fluxx “Action” card, the card is discarded when the effect is over. If a person plays a Fluxx “New Rule” card, the card stays in play until another card in the same category is played.
  • You can only draw from one deck (i.e. if a “draw two” is in play, you can’t take one from each deck)


This is the paper prototype of “Straight Fluxx”. Here, I use paper cut-outs for the playing cards.

This is the final iteration of “Straight Fluxx”. Here is a completed game.


Iteration / Inspiration:

With my first iteration for this project, I had a completely different idea.  My first idea, “Lucky Chess”, used playing cards and chess. The goal of that game was to beat the other team using “Rock, Paper, Scissors” as the battle mechanic. Instead of using actual chess pieces, the playing cards were given different values to represent them. So, if some randomly drew a K from the deck, they would be the King from chess. I was really inspired by Yoko Ono’s “White Chess”. With Yoko Ono’s “White Chess”, she kept the mechanics the same but made all of the pieces white. By doing so, it made it harder to keep track of who owned which pieces. On a deeper level, her game connected with humanity in general. It made no sense for pieces on the board to go against each other since they were all the same. As humans, the conflicts we have among ourselves make no sense because we too are all the same. “Lucky Chess” was meant to be a commentary on the class structure in our society. Those with more wealth and power have special privileges that those with less do not. Also, no one gets to pick the class they belong to when they are born. I wanted to imitate this with the random drawing of the playing cards. Whatever card you had, you were stuck with it. Also, players with higher value cards like the queen were inherently stronger than lower value cards such as the pawn.

From the first play-test, it was clear that the game was a bit too complicated and could better appropriate chess if actual chess pieces were used.  Therefore, I decided to scrap the idea and eventually came up with “Straight Fluxx”. It is much simpler than “Lucky Chess”, it does not need a large group of people to play it, and it directly appropriates both decks. I believe it was a better product since I did not focus so much on the message but on the gameplay.

Artwork #2: Corruption Game


For my game I decided to not appropriate an existing game outright, rather I appropriated concepts from existing things to create something unique. The resulting game is designed to draw attention to the fact that image files on computers are just information, and by combining information from different sources we can create surprising new outcomes and discoveries. This is done by taking image files and embedding them with information about the artist, the subject, the file’s metadata, and more into the file itself. The results can look something like this:

The game appropriates the text editing program TextEdit into a photo editing program by having players open images as text files. The Mac batch processing utility known as Automator was also appropriated into a system that automatically corrupts files based on inputs to make the game easier to operate. The icon I made for this program is a corrupted version of the TextEdit icon. The cards that the game are played with also use appropriation; they have classic bicycle playing card backs, though they have been corrupted as well.

The game also appropriates the MacOS operating system to a certain extent as well. Each player is given their own desktop and have to navigate and manage several different windows to complete their turn. The setup for each desktop was intentionally awkward to navigate, and the computer was also littered with sticky notes with lists of homework I appropriated or made with an equal number of hints and irrelevant information.

The idea of drawing attention to the media being used was taken from René Magritte’s La trahison des images (The Treachery of Images), some of the gameplay mechanics are taken from the board game Ticket to Ride, and the idea of a hybrid board-and-digital game was taken from Mansions of Madness Second Edition.

Individual players also choose an art piece to appropriate themselves at the start of the game.

The Setup

Each player chooses a well-known work of art that has a Wikipedia article, and downloads a “medium size” image of it using Google Images. Medium-sized images seem to work the best; too small and the image will completely break after one turn, and too large and it won’t corrupt easily.

A internet browser is opened with a tab for each piece with the corresponding Wikipedia articles open. Each player creates a new desktop and opens the Corruption Game folder, then places their image inside. They then right-click (Command-click) their image and choose “Get Information” to bring up the metadata for the file. The red Line cards and blue Data cards are placed in two piles, face down, within reach of all players. Three Data cards are flipped face up and placed in a line, this is the selection pile. When a card is removed from the selection pile, draw another Data card to replace it. After each turn, discard the cards that were used in that turn. The setup should look something like this:


At the start of a player’s turn, they then draw one Line card and choose one Data card from the selection pile. They then drag their image file onto TextEdit or the Line Replacement Corruption file, depending on what the cards require of them. The line card tells the player which line of the image-opened-as-text-file to navigate to, and the Data card tells them what information to replace that line with or what to do with that line. After the operation has been done, players save the file and close TextEdit.

Side note: The Line Replacement Corruption app automates the corruption process, but is very limited. It asks the player for a line number, then asks the player to copy what they want to replace that line with to their clipboard. It then pastes that into the file and automatically saves and closes TextEdit. This makes some turns much shorter and easier, but it cannot handle any of the more complicated Data cards such as deleting a line or cutting and pasting the line somewhere else. With the more advanced Data cards, the player must do them manually in TextEdit.

All of the Line cards will result in a number. If TextEdit or the Line Replacement Corruption app cannot find that line, remove a digit from the far left or right of the number until it works. Here are the possible Line cards, followed by the possible Data cards:

Players take turns drawing cards and editing files for a predetermined number of turns. Everyone then looks at the resulting files and votes on which is their favorite, and the player that receives the most votes wins. If a file becomes corrupted to the point that it will not open, that player cannot win.

Examples of Finished Games

Here are some examples of the images that were corrupted during play testing!

Original: The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer by Edgar Degas

Original: The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

Original: American Gothic by Grant Wood

Original: The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí

Artist’s Statement

In terms of inspirations, the game itself is pretty much a collage of ideas from different works and games. Earlier I noted that I was inspired by René Magritte’s La trahison des images (The Treachery of Images), and how it draws attention to the fact that it is simply a representation of a pipe, and not actually a pipe.  Another inspiration was the Berlin strain of Dada’s use of collage and photomontage, particularly the works of Hannah Höch. My game encourages players to create a sort of “collage” out of metadata and display it in a visual way.  While the result might not look like a collage, in a way it is. Digital images are just information, and combining information can create new information.

Playing off the idea of taking information and rearranging it into something different, I was also inspired by the works of Hannover Dadaist Kurt Schwitters. I was particularly inspired by his poem “An Anna Blume, and how he takes the familiar form of a love poem and twists it into something different  and chaotic. My game takes familiar images and twists them into something different and unexpected as well.

The Original Prototype

Not much of the gameplay changed between the final and the prototype, though the aesthetics changed quite a bit and the flow of the game was polished up.

The initial prototype was played with hand written index cards. There were 17 cards of each type, as opposed to the final number of 18 for each in the final. The wording on several cards was reworked to be more clear, and a Line card about the estimated value of the work was removed entirely for both being difficult to find the fact that the resulting number was often far to large to work with.

I was really worried that people would get bored waiting for their turns after the initial test of the prototype made it clear how long the turns took. I solved this with a couple of additions to the game for the final version: new card drawing mechanics, the Line Replacement Corruption app, and shortening the game.

In the prototype, both your Line and Data cards were drawn randomly. This didn’t feel very good, as you had no control and spent the time between your turns not engaging with the game. Giving the player a choice between face up cards lets the players who are waiting for a turn something to look at and plan with, as well as give the player taking their turn some control over the outcome of the game.

The other way I tried to make the game more fun for the players waiting to take a turn was to speed up the turns thought the Line Replacement Corruption app. As stated earlier, it partially automates the corruption process (depending on the cards drawn) to make turns faster. This seemed to work well, as many turns were shorter as a result of adding it.

I also addressed the issue by switching from using all of the cards in the game to deciding on a number of turns that each player can take.

During the testing of the final version I noticed that people enjoyed watching other players take their turns. It seems to be due to the semi-random nature of the corruption; people want to know what’s going to happen to the picture.

Below is a download for the Corruption Game folder that includes the Line Replacement Corruption app, all of the visual assets used in the game, and several examples of finished corruptions. It was designed for and will probably only work on a Mac.

Appropriation: The Game of Real Life

Artwork #2 (Appropriation): The Game of Real Life


For this project, I appropriated The Game of Life. Using all of the game’s preexisting pieces and its board and modifying them as little as possible, I created a game that more accurately reflects the experience of going to college, beginning a career, and trying to maintain a healthy balance of happiness and income while making an effort to keep anxiety levels as low as possible. The game is based on the life of a game designer, as I wanted to make the game semi-autobiographical and something that I personally found relatable. The game uses actual pocket change as currency as opposed to fake in-game money in order to reflect the stress of a tight-budget and to make the experience feel more realistic. Players keep their coins in pill bottles to further enforce this stress. Instead of using cars as player pieces, I used the small pegs that go in the cars as the player pieces and painted them to be the primary colors as a social criticism on the concept of gender.

The board and all of the game’s components

Player pieces

I also appropriated some of the basic rules of the game Careers. In Careers, players create their own win conditions by deciding how much happiness, money, and fame (out of a total of 60) they need to win. Players can distribute these 60 points however they choose. In my game, players split 40 points between happiness and money ($1 = 10 points, 1 happiness = 1 point) but must also keep their anxiety level below 5 points in order to win the game. Winning the game is very possible, but it is definitely not easy.

The anxiety stat works to reflect actual anxiety in a number of ways. Firstly, players must pay 1¢/anxiety point per paycheck to pay for therapy and anti-anxiety medication. Players can choose at any point to skip a turn (meant to represent taking a day off of work and stepping away from stressful responsibilities) and take an anxiety card instead, which relieves anxiety and will lower the player’s anxiety level. This is meant to encourage the concept of taking care of yourself.

Examples of anxiety cards

At the start of the game, players first make their win conditions and then decide to either go to college or begin a career.

Players who go to college receive 10¢ at the start, must pay back their college loans ($3, an absurdly large sum that is difficult to obtain throughout the course of the game) before the end of the game, and choose from a college-specific set of action cards during their time in school that generally create opportunities for greater success for the player later on in the game, though the payoff is not immediate (meant to represent the importance of going college in getting a career).

Examples of college-specific action cards

Players who choose to start a career start with 20¢, must pay rent of 1¢/paycheck, and, on the whole, make less money than college grads throughout the game, but they do not need to pay the absurd cost of college, which is this path’s main appeal.

College graduate career salaries vs. non-graduate career salaries

Each turn, players spin the dial to move and will take an action card that affects either happiness, money, or anxiety. There are many positive action cards that increase the player’s happiness and income (through promotions, bonuses, and well-selling games), but there are also many negative action cards that cause the player stress, cut salaries, cause players to lose their job or make hard decisions (such as quitting their job and losing their source of income or taking on a huge amount of anxiety due to an abusive boss or an absurd workload), or lose money on increased rent, purchasing a car, etc. I modified to board so that there are no spaces besides action spaces.

Examples of positive action cards

Examples of negative action cards

I wanted player choice to be very important to the game. Players can choose to take care of their mental health or “overwork” themselves to make more money than their competitors or try to be happier than their competitors. Even though competition is highly irrelevant to winning the game, there is still a sense of competition when playing with others, which is meant to represent how we as human beings are constantly comparing ourselves to the people around us even though they have no bearing on our lives or on our success.

First Iteration:

For the first iteration of this game, I did not have the board or any of the pieces yet. I only had a paper prototype and no action cards, so everything was written on the board. Also, it was only after the first playtest of the game that I decided that the game should include separate anxiety cards that the player must consciously decide to take instead of simply having action cards that lowered anxiety mixed in with the rest of the action cards, which took no thought and was simply a matter of luck. This was one of the biggest changes I made between the paper prototype and the final version. Other than this, I did not make any major changes to the structure of the game. I did, however, make some smaller changes, such as deciding to use actual change and use its actual value as opposed to using an abstracted form of currency or using real change but changing its value. I also decided to make it harder for those who choose to start a career earlier on to make as much money as those who choose to go to college, because in the first iteration, players had a 50/50 chance to “get lucky,” which I simply don’t think is realistic.

Paper prototype


I was highly inspired by Peter Thibeault’s appropriation exhibit at Gallery 360. After learning about his work and the way he employs game pieces to have a specific artistic meaning, I decided I definitely wanted to use a preexisting game and all of its pieces as the basis of my appropriated game. I decided I wanted each piece to have a very specific and thoughtful meaning in the context of the rules of the game and the statement it makes, which I think I accomplished.

I was also inspired by Yoko Ono’s White Chess, which I think makes a very powerful statement by making very small but thoughtful changes to a preexisting game and keeping all of the mechanics the same. This was my main goal in mind when creating my game— I wanted to make small changes that did not drastically change the game and its mechanics but entirely changed the game’s meaning.