Month: November 2017

Artwork #4: Viral Survival

Viral Survival

My initial concept begins with the Jejune Institute and ends with chicken dinner; I wanted to create a real life survival game. My friends and I had been playing the battle royale style (and loving it), but found we consistently changed our true purpose. At first, we just wanted to survive. Then, we wanted to win. Then, we wanted to eliminate. It seemed a natural course, but then we wanted to build a skyscraper (“skybase”). Then we wanted to ride grenades up a mountain. Then we wanted to ride rockets into enemies. Then we wanted to ride rockets down from a skybase into an enemy team to get the match winning kill.

The beauty of the survival games we’ve played, specifically Fortnite BR (and to a lesser extent PUBG), is in the myriad opportunities for a vast variety of experiences. The Jejune Institute introduced a seriously provocative set of activities that intervened in everyday life; I would like to create a game designed to be played within a greater community – like a school campus or other communal areas (likely not residential) – that elicits a sense of creativity, innovation, and fear akin to the battle royale genre.

My initial concept appropriated many concepts involved in the interventionist game Assassin. I went to a boarding school in which we had an annual, schoolwide competition. Each player was delivered via mailbox a small pack of stickers and a name. If the player successfully stuck another with a sticker without being seen by anyone except the victim, it was considered a successful kill. I wanted to appropriate the concept of stickers, but decided it too difficult to design a variant game, and instead focused on the experience.

Therefore, I shifted the game such that it can be played by a single person for the sake of the experience. Instead of competing to get “kills” using stickers (I did not like the idea of an angry person catching me trying to tag them with a sticker), I flashed back to my score from Artwork #1, and decided to use chocolate/candy. In place of eliminations, the player attempts to distribute pieces of chocolate throughout the community, earning a point for each, and dies when someone asks the player what they are doing (or any other variant). With this schema in mind, contrary to my score, this chocolate would not be many parts of a shared whole, but rather individually wrapped pieces designed to imply each piece is especially for the target. The current Winnner Winner concept revolves around the idea of distributing all your chocolate; as survival games typically have 100 contestants, I adapted this to a bag of 100 Hershey’s brand Kisses.

This is where I got stuck. I call this game Viral Survival; a virus is an infectious agent living within other cells. You are a positive viral agent living within the community whose only purpose is to spread joy and elicit positive emotion. However, people fear viruses; so, despite your positive influence, once caught the virus is immediately removed from the community. This irony serves to critique the existing battle royale genre in that every interaction you make with other players or the environment could impede the overall goal of survival. That is to say, in many cases, to play is to lose. The goal is to distribute all of your Kisses without being questioned for your behavior.

I’m finding the most difficulty establishing win conditions that successfully emulate a sense of survival. A squad mode variant for multiple players appropriates some of the guile behind games like Mafia and Avalon, in that players would have different coloured Kisses, and could be eliminated by other viruses that discover your particular brand (color). This would add another level of competition that simultaneously allows for multiple players/teams and an interesting game mechanic, but I still think it fails to achieve the goal of this unorthodox, community-centric intervention. I considered having both stickers and Kisses, as they offer different forms of scoring (like different weapons). Moreover, to emulate the concept of Supply Drops/Care Packages, if the player sees a known person, they must go explain to them everything they are doing. This is meant to offer a brief respite; supply drops attract a lot of attention, but once successfully retrieved, more often than not, offer a lot of useful resources towards victory. In Viral Survival, I believed the mental relief to be the equivalent of high level equipment.

Initial Research

I did a little exploration on both NEU campus and in the downtown area around the Commons, Gardens, and Charles street to Newbury. I couldn’t bring myself to put stickers on anyone, and even distributing what few Kisses proved a daunting task despite several willing participants. Therefore, I think this game must be played on NEU campus or another social community tolerant of such an intervention.


In short, I intend to question the Battle Royale genre, the developing playstyles throughout its games, and specifically address the value of player-player and player-environment interactions through a real-life parallel with contrary focus (community rather than killing everyone).


Final Project Idea: Monopoly Spin


For my final project, I am thinking of creating a board game that will show how being born into different races can affect your life situation.


The inspiration for my project was based on the game we played on Friday, “Room at the Top”. With that game, everyone was randomly assigned a home planet which gave them different amounts of influence  and goals. Not only was the game fun, but it caused the players to interact in different ways based on their needs. For my game, I want to do something similar.


The game will use most of the rules from Monopoly and the Monopoly board.

# of players: 2 – 4

There will be different races to belong to. Each race will have its own unique ability. Right now, I think there will be four races.
– Race 1: ability to roll the die to escape jail
– Race 2: make double the amount of money on property tax
– Race 3: ability to move an extra space per turn
– Race 4: makes double the amount of money on passing “GO”



Indie Show & Tell: Orwell


Orwell is a simulation game where you play as a person working for the government that looks for and investigates national security threats. Aka spying on people in public.  Set in a country called the Nation, you have the ability to spy at people through surveillance cameras, and access to their private information through the government’s database. It’s a game that really makes you question the right to privacy, whether or not this surveillance is ethical.

Gameplay video:


What I think:

I think that this piece can be related to many of the game examples discussed in class, as well as the reading about the radical political avant-garde. This game is very relatable to games like September 12th, where it criticises US military actions in the Iraq war by having a very unconventional gameplay, and the mod Quest for Bush, a game that reverses the role typically found in game, where the main enemy is George Bush. I definitely think there is a huge political aspect to the game Orwell. With issues such as privacy and surveillance these days, this game really fits well into these issues. It brings up questions about the ethics of surveillance. I think this is a great and important game that helps us learn, and gets us thinking about what is right and what is wrong.

Show & Tell- Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

This first trailer gives a very brief look at the game but sets up a quick but haunting atmosphere and shows a lot of Senua’s inner thoughts and what she hears. The second trailer is much more in-depth and sets up the atmosphere in a deeper and heavier manner, and explains the reason for her journey.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a cinematic-esque horror adventure/action video game where the main character, Senua, embarks on a personal journey through a  demonic underworld made up of her manifestations of reality and her mind. It is a direct look (for a gamer) into the realm of psychosis and other mental disorders as the biggest part of the game is the visuals and the atmosphere it provides. It gives a very haunting atmosphere as if there are always voices around you, clamoring. There is always something there, you see things that aren’t. It is quite disorienting and can be very brutal, especially when the story is combined with this use of mental illness. The game was actually developed in conjunction with neuroscientists and a few diagnosed as psychotic to generate as real as a world as possible built around it.

This is a very radical style of game as well as a very creative approach. It takes a different approach from the traditional style of game which tends to not go near more concrete science or mental related things. This one embraces it wholeheartedly and builds a world around mental illness. This game is a III game (triple I) and so there has been a lot of effort put into this game to portray that feeling of paranoia and fear, simply into the visuals and the atmosphere. Also, the voices that constantly talk to your head (as surround sound) helps to add more to this frightening experience.


Indie Show & Tell: Portal 2

This is a first-person puzzle-platform video game. It combined puzzle elements and future techniques.  It received critical acclaim, particular for its writing, pacing, and dark humor. The goal of this game is not killing, and it measured our exploring spirit and wisdom. Pursuing the new critical thinking way and creative thinking can help me obtain more enjoyable game experiences.

Indie Show and Tell: Kairo

Kairo is a first-person atmospheric puzzle game, or what many would refer to as a “walking simulator.” All interaction with the world and the puzzles is done through manipulating the player’s position. The only things you can do in the game are walk, run, jump, and look around.

While the game never explicitly gives you a goal, the spaces and puzzles slowly guide you to set the machinery of the world into motion, unlocking new areas. At any time you can go explore the places you have already been; there are no one-way gates blocking you from going back, though there’s not much of a reason to do.

There is no text in the game, save for the menus and a few lines after the credits. All of the story is told through environmental details, visuals, and excellent sound design. The story slowly unfolds as you discover images and sculptures. There are plenty of hidden areas that lead to scenes that also help tell the story, but they are very, very difficult to find. They are only necessary for the secret ending.

The story is told non-linearly and starts in medias res. The story isn’t really about you, it’s about Kairo and what it does and why it exists. Who you are is relatively inconsequential to the plot; anyone could take your place and it would function the same. Because of all these factors, the story can be somewhat difficult to fully make out, though I thought it was clear enough to keep me motivated. Feel free to look up the plot once you finish, the creator of the game has confirmed that several analyses of the game’s plot were correct.

I really like Kairo, but it’s not for everyone. If you like walking simulators, you’ll probably enjoy it. The atmosphere of the game is incredible, with a unique visual style and a haunting soundtrack. If you don’t like games entirely based around atmosphere and exploring empty spaces, there’s not much to do in the game other than think and look at the cool architecture.

Relation to Avant-Garde Videogames : Playing with Technoculture

If I had to put this game on the Radical-Complicit/Political-Formal chart that Schrank uses organize the chapters in his book, I’d place it as Complicit and somewhere between Political and Formal. The game doesn’t really do anything radical, but the gameplay of walking around in Kairo alone leads to deeper meaning when placed in the context of the story that the game tries to tell. Combining these factors leaves me unsure of how to categorize it other than “somewhere in avant-garde.”

This article describes the game rather well:


read more…

Indie Show & Tell: This War of Mine: The Little Ones

Game trailer:

Game overview:

“This War of Mine” revolves around a group of survivors trying to live out an unnamed conflict by savaging for items, finding survival aids, feeding on rats and vegetable gardens and trading with other survivors. Much of the game depends on the choices you make throughout the game as each decision not only affects the story but also affects the players in the story. You are not only trying to not starve, but also trying to survive mentally. Each decision impacts the ethical and moral mental state of the survivors.

War Isn’t All That Glamorous:

Many of the popular games today glorify war. First person shooters such as the “Call of Duty” franchise has been so popular that they have come out with copious amounts of sequels. The common story line is that terrorists invade and you are called upon to gun them down. War is glorified, which is why so many people today seem so indifferent when there is an ongoing war on the news. However, no one every talks about the civilians who are effected by the war. Just like the game “12th September”, “This War of Mine” puts players in the shoes of civilians who are stuck in a war zone with no where to run. The characters in the game are civilians and not soldiers you play as on “Call of Duty”. The lives, and mental state of civilians need to be considered before every decision. “This War of Mine” is a social commentary of the ugly side of war. Bombs and bullets do not just kill the intended target. Collateral damage is what creates broken families and war torn cities.

Indie Show & Tell: The Cat in the Hijab



The player follows a cat wearing a hijab as she boards the subway on her daily commute. The game is a simple “point-and-click”. In the game, other characters will interact with you and you decide how to respond to them. Topics that are explored include diversity, inclusiveness, tolerance, racism, bigotry, sexism, Islamophobia, and homophobia.




In chapter 3, “Radical Political”, Schrank talks about how avant-garde can be used as a political tool to point out what is usually hidden like racism. He notes, “the avant-garde … attacks the cultural pillars of reality. To face these pillars is to face the very limits of language.” Essentially, visuals can be seen as a form of language . Avant-garde art is seen as nontraditional and unorthodox. With The Cat In The Hijab,  the artist uses a world of cats to portray issues people face today. Moreover, the gestures done by other characters in the game along with their dialogue clearly reveals the hidden undertones of the game.  It is the perfect blend of reality and fantasy.

Artwork #3 The Stalemate at the trainstation


Link to the rest of the project:


Artists Statement:


The point of this Intervention for me is to take the activity of doing anything and stooping it for a long period of time. This will enable people to react in ways that are unpredictable and will be a good time to be able to see what is presented at the same time with the game element to have fun and with the presentation element to be able to provide a show that is unexpected for the audience present.

A big point that this project is trying to show how some people will not even notice the situation because they are too busy looking down at their phones and not even notice the artwork that is unfolding beneath them as this project shows we all just need to pause in time and think to ourselves is this really how i want to live y life, being stuck to a phone screen and not enjoy what is unfolding right infront of me as that is why I just want everyone to take abig pause and see how they look sometimes taking their ordinary actions and to try to reflect on themselves to see if this is really what they want to be doing. The way I chose to portray this is not a dark way no, but a fun game that a lot of people can be a part of and enjoy the experience, and at the same time both make everyone around them be shocked, astounded or even excited about the situation that is unfolding through their eyes.

This artwork took a lot of inspiration from the videos shown in class from improv everywhere, and also took a lot of inspiration from Artwork #1 since I wanted to see people very unexpected reactions. To add a little bit more this also took inspiration from today’s modern society and their ways of what they do in their daily lives.

A big point of inspiration also for this project is “The Happening” by Allan Kaprow since he indicates how to make so many different situations and settings and instances into a performance art that is meant to be experienced and  just enjoy the artists view of how the situation unfolds as I did with this projects, it is something to enjoy when it happens because it is something to be experienced at that given moment.


How it turned out:

This project when conducted with 10 of my friends turned out well people were confused, some started looking around us to see if something was wrong and the ones acting did a great job acting and making people even more confused about the situation, in general, the project was a complete success.