Month: December 2018

Artwork #2: Appropriation

My game is called “Tsum Tsum Party”,  an appropriation of both Mario Party and a line of Disney plush toys called “tsum tsums”.  Mario Party is a party video game with involved a virtual game board that players navigate and each round, they interact through mini games. I wanted to try to recreate that setting through a physical game. The board itself operates similarly to Mario Party’s, with forward and backward directing spaces, with mini events and luck-based triggers.

One of the best attributes of Mario Party was its encouragement of physical movement even though the game operated virtually, so I tried to include that as much as possible. Tsum-tsum means “stack stack” in Japanese, and all the plushes are Disney characters. Thus, a number of mini games involved stacking and disney-related events.

Mini games included:
– disney pictionary based on a blind-drawn tsum tsum from a bag
– disney trivia along the board
– speed stacking tsum tsum (tallest stack wins)
– FINAL GAME: tank and ammo with tsum
– Players get into pairs, one is the tank (on all fours, blindfolded) and one is the driver. The driver has to verbally direct the tank to tsum tsum scattered across the floor and get them to throw it and hit any of their opponents. If either the driver or tank gets hit, they are out. The last team standing wins. This game gives a lot of bonus points.

Tsum Tsum:

Mario Party:

Tsum Tsum Party:

Playtesting Notes:
Everyone really enjoyed the game, and it had the level of interactivity that I wanted. I think with any use of appropriated media, you can’t assume that everyone knows the material you’re appropriating, and some people didn’t know Disney as well as others. However, I feel that Disney in general is popular enough that it’s okay.
Players all had fun, and overall I feel it was an entertaining party game.


Artwork 4: Detective Game

While reading through John Sharp’s Works of Game, I thought a lot about his comments on affordances in games, specifically experiential affordances. I wanted to experiment with that concept, to try to both fulfill and subvert the player’s expectations of the typical detective game. I think both fulfilling and subverting expectations is a valid way to engage a player. The player feels comfortable playing the game, as they find that the game is familiar, yet also is encouraged to think critically about their experience when they encounter subversive elements.

I created a Twine game in which the player takes on the role of a police detective investigating a suicide. The detective can choose to investigate the case further, questioning suspects and looking for clues. This is what the player expects from a detective game. However, I also gave the player the option at any time to choose to end the investigation, even right at the very beginning. I chose to have this option to comment on the ineffectiveness of the police system in our country, and its willingness to ignore domestic abuse. I attempted to subvert the player’s expectations of what a mystery game is in order to make a statement that the player is encouraged to reflect on.

The process of writing this game was emotionally draining. I had to put myself in the perspective of both the abused and the abuser in order to accurately capture the essence of domestic abuse. I wanted the game to be short and quick and within a reasonable scope for this class, so I had to cut a lot of elements I originally planned to add. For example, I could have added a neighbor commenting on their perspective of the relationship, and given the player the option to either believe them or ignore them. I also thought about adding a journal written by the domestic abuse victim as a clue, but I thought commenting directly on the experience of domestic abuse might be too on the nose. I attempted to be more subtle with the hints in this game.

Below is a link to a zip file containing my game.


Artwork 4: LACO

LACO: Live Action Coming Out



Artist’s Statement:

I made LACO (Live Action Coming Out) for my expression piece. For me and many other LGBTQ+ people, coming out to family is one of the most stressful parts of life, and it never really ends. You don’t come out to one person and suddenly everyone knows. Every time you meet someone new and they don’t know, at some point you have to tell them.

Despite how people may appear on the outside, there is an internal sense of dread and despair that plagues the coming out process. How do you know when it’s safe to come out to someone? Do you do it before they get too close to you in case it ruins the friendship? Do you do it after you’ve built a rapport and risk losing it all? It’s a constant battle and one that LGBTQ+ people have to fight with constantly throughout their lives.

My intention with this piece was to create a social game that helps to replicate, even if for a single moment, that existential dread that when you come out your world might just fall apart.

My influences were wildly different for my mechanics and my message, but by taking elements of each I was able to craft the experience I wanted. For the mechanics, I took heavy inspiration from hidden roles games such as One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Town of Salem, or Mafia. These games all involve some form of random hidden roles, information gathering, and social interactions between players. As for my thematic inspiration, I drew heavily from my own experiences as a gay man growing up in the South as well as games that explore different parts of LGBTQ+ life such as Dys4ia, Mainichi, and Coming Out Simulator.

These thematic inspirations focused primarily on telling the story of day to day life or a specific story in the life of the creator and I wanted to make the game social. Where these games sought to elicit emotions through carefully crafted stories and writing, I wanted the experience to be more fluid and dynamic. Where these games created a feeling of isolation of the lone player, I wanted to create a feeling of isolation in a group.

I wanted my game mechanics to focus more on the interpersonal interactions. There’s an underlying dread of coming out that pervades every social interaction. Sometimes you have support and everything works out, sometimes you don’t and that world falls apart, and sometimes in your hour of need you run into someone else in the same position as you and you can prop each other up. I feel the social dynamic of turning it into a LARP system with simple mechanics worked well to create these settings. Additionally, by using a full deck of cards, I was able to capture the reality that you don’t know who people truly are until they tell you. In one game you could be gay and have everyone else reject you, or everyone else could support you. Life is random and risky, and I felt my mechanics did a good job of exploring this.

In my most successful play test, the one documented in the pictures, the game ended with the condition that two gay players find each other. This ending brought up a very interesting case where the mother was one of the gay players. This was ultimately a good thing as the system can be used to tell any number of coming out stories. You could tell the story of a teen coming to terms, or the story of a parent finally being able to express themselves while having an established family. Additionally, I like that my system can be re-skinned with new roles or by letting players make their own roles. If you wanted to tell the story of a workplace struggle, create characters for that setting.


The final game artifacts


Players split out into their different conversations

Changes Made Post-Documented Play Test

  1. The roles now have a family tree that shows how players are related based on their roles.
  2. Players may create their own roles and rules for how to do so are included.
  3. Players are now expected to pin their card for public visibility
  4. The role-playing aspect has been increased in that players are expected to reveal cards in context of the conversation whenever possible.
  5. The 2nd joker is now part of the 52 card deck, reducing the odds of 2 players having a joker, but still guaranteeing the existence of one in play at a time.



Players 5 – 10


  1. One standard deck of playing cards with 2 jokers
  2. Index cards and a way to attach the cards to players (lanyards, yarn, binder clips, clothespins, etc)
  3. Red and Black markers
  4. Printouts of the family tree


  1. Each player receives 1 colored role card at random or creates their own
    1. To create a role card, the player does the following:
      1. Comes up with the quick description for a family member (ex. “Fun Uncle”)
      2. Draw a card from the deck to determine if they are an Ally (red) or Non-Ally (black)
      3. Insert your character into the family tree
  2. Remove 1 joker from the deck and shuffle the other one into the deck
  3. Take the removed joker and (2n-1) cards from the deck where n is the number of players
  4. Shuffle and deal the cards out
  5. Each player looks at the 2 cards they were dealt and their public role and determines their team, keeping the information private
    1. Whichever color you have more of in your hand is your team
    2. Red = Ally, Black = Non-Ally
    3. If the player has a Joker, they are a closeted gay regardless of their other card or role


Game play

  1. The game consists of a series of 1 minute rounds
    1. The number of rounds is equal to the number of players
  2. Rounds work as follows, with each round lasting 1 minute:
    1. Players split off into smaller groups and have a fun in-character conversation. Players may not reject another player joining their group, after all you are family!
    2. Each player reveals ONE of their hidden cards to the other people in their group. This MAY be done accompanied by actions or words, or merely shown at the end of the round
      1. If you are The Gay, then coming out to another player involves revealing the joker. You do not have to reveal the joker if you do not feel comfortable doing so, but coming out to Ally players is the only way to win.
    3. They are also allowed to say anything about other players provided it is in-character
    4. If there are 2 Gay players, and both players have come out to each other (regardless of when), the game ends immediately with the “You are not alone” ending.
    5. If The Gay reveals a joker to you and you are a NON-ALLY, announce loudly that that player is not welcome here and that their “lifestyle choices” are not okay. The game ends immediately. Check “Ending the Game” to determine the winners
    6. NOTE: You reveal the card to the people you START the round with, though there is nothing stopping you from “eavesdropping” and spotting the card of someone else, though you may not call someone out if they are The Gay and you spot the card this way.

   3) After 10 rounds, players reveal their hands


Ending the Game

There are 4 possible endings:

  1. “We support you” – The ideal ending for The Gay. This ending is reached if either of the following is true, in which case The Gay has enough allies in the family to feel safe and comfortable and The Gay and Ally players win.
    1. The 10 rounds end and The Gay has revealed them self to at all of the Ally players
    2. A NON-ALLY calls The Gay out, and The Gay has revealed them self to at all of the Ally players
  2. “You are not alone” – The rarest ending, but a reassuring one. This ending is reached if there are 2 Gay players (both players have a joker) and at any point the 2 Gay players came out to each other.
  3. “Just a Phase” – A common enough excuse for people who experience a rough coming out and who must go back into the closet. In this ending, NON-ALLY players win
  4. “Maybe next year” – A neutral ending. This it the default ending and is reached if none of the above are triggered. The Gay may have come out to some but otherwise wasn’t comfortable coming out further. That’s okay, you can always tell more people over time. In this ending, no one wins.




  1. Strict father – In this house, it’s his rules or nothing.
  2. Immature Sibling (player’s gender) – Annoying and immature preteen, finds it fun to pester others
  3. Religious Grandma – Very preachy to the point of annoyance
  4. “Traditional” Grandpa – Talks about conservative values and how “back in my day…”
  5. Successful Cousin – Went to college on a full ride, got an internship with THE place to be



  1. Doting mother – The mother who wants everyone to be okay and happy
  2. Rebellious Teen (player’s gender) – Edgy and rebellious teenager, likely shops at Hot Topic
  3. Fun Uncle – The fun uncle, always has a good joke and a fun time
  4. Disaster Aunt – Where was she last night? Probably not even the same country as 2 nights ago, and even then she isn’t even sure because it’s a tiny bit fuzzy
  5. Outcast – No one invited them directly, they saw the facebook event and decided to show up after a few years of no contact. Oops

Indie Game Show and Tell: Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars


Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars is the prequel to the now much beloved Rocket League by Psyonix. Originally released on the PS3, Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars was a rudimentary first draft that included the bare bones of what is now Rocket League. It was devoid of power-ups, all the modes, cars, customization options, and maps that appear in Rocket League. Nobody played it, but it was still my favorite game at the time. The fact that the studio decided to release such an improvement of a sequel was an absolute joy to me in 2015, never mind its overwhelmingly positive critical reception.

I chose this game because it not only manipulates, but redefines the conceptual affordances of ideas like soccer or even cars themselves. What you can do with both has been vastly expanded upon for the entire medium, standing as a shining example of a game that strikes at the core of what it means to have fun in a video game, doing things we couldn’t possibly dream of achieving in real life.

Artwork 4: Proversation


By Anthony Fanticola

This work intended to abstract the experience of attempting to bond with someone through conversation. This is a board game meant to simulate a conversation between two people in time. It is two player and the players work together to win. I drew out three elements of talking to someone and focused on representing them through the  main mechanics. The first quality I represented is a conversations presence through time, and how something said can not be taken back. I used a 4X6 grid where the tiles must advance towards each other every turn in order to incorporate time. Different sections of the grid mark different phases of a conversation. Each player then generates their ‘ideas’ which is composed of four tiles in the four lanes on the far ends of the board. There are three types of tiles, pink, blue and yellow, each represent a distilled version of the types of things you can say in a conversation. The phases of a conversation are broken up into sections: the partners conceiving their ideas, sharing/saying the ideas, then having the ideas interact with each other.

The first section the tiles are placed face down to represent how in a conversation you don’t know what the person is thinking. When the tiles move to the second section they are revealed which represents talking in the conversation. When all these tiles match up perfectly in this phase, the partners have found a similarity and have won. If the tiles don’t all match they move into the last phase, located in the center eight spaces, where they interact and the dominate qualities (tiles) of the ideas stay in their final row and become awkwardness/the mood of the conversation. Each players tiles never advance over the center of the board. These tiles interact with a rock paper scissors mechanic across the center line that determines the dominance: which tile gets to stay in their center row. Jokes (Yellow) beat facts (blue), Facts (Blue) beat complements (Pink), Complements (Pink) beat Jokes (Yellow). If the tiles are the same, the tile that approached stays; if they arrived at the same time they are canceled out.

The drive to create a game like this comes from wondering what people are thinking during conversations and how they are interpreting what I am saying. I am often drawn to comedy because if I can make someone laugh I know for sure where there mind is at that moment. I feel a rush when discovering similarities with other people and on the contrary to some degree I am terrified of saying something or delivering an idea that causes awkwardness or dissimilarity. My goal with this work was to simulate the experience of talking to someone with the goal of bonding with someone by finding commonalities. The win state was obviously inspired by Mastermind, a childhood game of mine, and describes the state of mental similarity I am trying to simulate with great accuracy.

Originally i was not going to suggest what the colors represented but I found that players engaged with the peace more when they are slightly prompted by something like “yellow means joke’” and from that slight push I overheard players coming up with slight narratives to what might be going on in the conversation. The hyper abstract representation of a conversation between two people is definitely takes notes from of the abstraction within Rod Humbles “The Marriage.” In The Marriage the player, “imagines what the outside influences might be, and hazards guesses at what dark forces are represented by the circles.” In the game players are left to interpret what the reactions between certain shapes mean, and if it weren’t for the title it would probably not be understood as a representation of marriage. This player-generated narrative behind how shapes and colors interact is found in Proversation when the players were left to interpret what colored tile combinations meant when composing their ‘ideas’ and instinctively building a narrative around the interactions between certain types of tiles being dominated/eliminated by others.


The game went through many iterations in order to achieve a balance where the game was not to easy or impossible. The main rule that I had to experiment with a lot which seemed to determine the difficulty level is when to play the tiles face down or face up. The first iteration was all face down, the second all face up. During these trials the main win-state was also to survive the whole deck without building up too much awkwardness with the rare super win state where the players played the same cards. Also, awkwardness existed when a players card crossed a line on the other side of the board and counted against the players, too much awk and they loose. Then I began to focus the game more around the rare win-state of a perfect match. I began to balance when the cards would be revealed in the sections of the board then made a boundary that the cards couldn’t cross (eliminating the awkwardness building mechanic). The game now ends when the deck runs out. There are eight of each color type in each persons tile deck.

Show and Tell: The Magic Circle

The Magic Circle is a game made by Studio Question. It is about the process of making a game, and the difficulties that come with that process. The game itself is set inside a game that has been in development hell for a long time. It has a crappy, quarreling dev team, a fanatical fanbase, and a terribly designed game space.

The game is about how the magic circle, the idea that the game has its own space where our reality doesn’t interfere, doesn’t exist, because the game is clearly being affected by real world problems. It is built around the story of the stagnant game and the ways it could be better. The game within the game, also called the Magic Circle, is supposed to be a critique of the typical heroes journey and all the dramatic cliches that story writers include in their games, and how all that doesn’t work.

You play as the main character of the game within the game, able to mess with the game’s “code” editing creatures, moving, deleting, and recreating features in the landscape, and interacting with the devs. All of this is made to seem really open, but it’s also very railroady. You never notice this while playing because the game is just so fun and so strong narratively.