Month: December 2019

Final Project

My partner Pranav and I decided to collaborate together for the final project.  We wanted to make a game based on overcoming control from a mentally abusive character.  The game involved writing a lot of dialogue that was very demeaning and hurtful, however the point of our game wasn’t to hurt people but to try to set up the challenge of overcoming adversity. The influence for our game came from a game that was shown in class called Loved. The basis of that game is based on the world changing around whether you listen to the narrator or not.  If you go against the narrator the world alters and the narrator gets more and more upset and angry with you.  I wanted to make something that I could relate to. A big personal influence on making our game came from when I dealt with people personally with verbal and mental abuse from an ex and old “friend group”. Being in those circumstances were extremely difficult time but I want to be able to tell people that you can overcome no matter how hard it is. It will take its time but its do-able!
I never really thought I would make a game about this kind of topic but after this semester it felt right to make this kind of game and I am pleased with how its turned out so far and maybe one day I can take this game and make it something special.

Here below are some designs for a level in our game and a quote from the abusive narrator.

Appropriation Project #2

The Death Run Game

The objective is simple. You have One hour. Take any story game or sandbox game that has unique death animations for the main character or death text showing how the main character died. Within that one hour, find as many ways to reveal the death text or find as many unique death animations for the main character.  Both players must agree upon the game and have their own copy ready. The goal is not to die as many times but find as many different ways to die that reveal new animations for the character to die. Example of some games you can do that have multiple death animations: The Tomb Raider Series (from 2013 onwards), The Last of Us, and Dead Space.  For the ones with death text you can use Minecraft. In the sandbox games that are open world and potentially multiplayer, PVP death is not allowed (since it isn’t even beneficial for the player killing). For the story games one must start from the very beginning or a similar save point. 


What made me choose this game and its rule set is that I have always been intrigued by games that have made their main character suffer unique death animations, like the developer has done so much to build their character to then give them one of many very brutal deaths. I would love in the future to be able to make a mod out of adventure game that involves finding the unique death animations and put it as a score at the end of the game.

Justin Brady Score: Dream Paper

For my score, I was loosely inspired by Yoko Ono’s Painting by Hammer and Nail, wherein the executor of the score repeats an action every day in the morning. It reminded me of a routine I sometimes do in the morning of writing down my dreams in a dream journal. I also realized how I never really do anything with my dreams after I have them and write them down, and wanted to change that. So I wrote my Dream Paper Score, as follows:

Dream Paper

Go to sleep.

Dream about something

Type your dream in a dream journal.

Pick a font size/style that will fill the page completely.

Print out the dream on cardstock.

Repeat the process every day, printing on the same piece of paper.

Use a different color every time.

You’re done when there is no white space remaining.

Artist Statement: The main purpose of this assignment was to attempt to give a sort of form to the messy mixing of memories and dreams over time. What starts as a relatively clear memory is obscured by other, newer, equally clear memories (at the time), until they all obfuscate and mesh together into a mostly incomprehensible mess. An interesting occurrence of this particular work was that there were still lines from individual dreams that could be clearly made out in the finished piece, most notably “and a flip phone.” at the bottom.  It kind of showed me how even though i originally thought that everything would be lost, there are still particular facets of each individual part that compromise the whole which are unique and visible in the final product, just like memories in an aged brain.

Here is the final piece, which I have pompously titled “and a flip phone.”

Justin Brady Appropriation Project: Story Time

For my appropriation piece, I organized a story-telling game throughout the entire class. I acquired a small green notebook at the school store and wrote a basic rule outline on the first page. Then I wrote a few words on the next page of the notebook and handed it off. I explained the rules verbally to the player, which were such:

Once you receive the book, you must write a short story on the page that starts with the words provided to you by the previous player. DO NOT LOOK AT PREVIOUS PAGES FOR CONTEXT OR INSPIRATION. The only information players may utilize is the few words written on their page by the previous player. Once the player fill the page, continue the story for a few words on the next page, then hand the book off. The process repeats until each player has written in the book.

I was inspired by the sort of stream of consciousness-ness of Hugo Ball’s poetry which ultimately made no sense to the listener. I thought it would be interesting to replicate that concept but with the intention of making a somewhat comprehensible end product. These are the pages of the story I ended up with, from start to end.

Justin Brady Intervention Project: Reverse Trick or Treating

For my intervention, I decided to take advantage of the season and do something Halloween-y. My girlfriend (who helped me with this project) and I decided that it could be fun to do a twist on Halloween standards and instead knock on people’s doors and give them candy.  We went down to Marlborough Street around 6pm. Things were already underway when we arrived, as there were already a few groups of trick-or-treaters wandering around.  We went up to a couple of stoops with people giving out candy, but each time the people politely refused our free candy. Which is weird, right? Isn’t that what halloween is all about? But eventually we both realized that no one would take candy from strangers, so instead we took a break on an empty stoop, with out candy buckets unfortunately full. Soon, though, people came up to us saying “trick or treat.” So we decided to change our plans and just started giving candy away at some stranger’s empty doorstep. After about two hours (and a fair few greedy children), we had depleted our candy reserves, and headed home, satisfied in our semi-success.

The original intent of the intervention was to cause some people to have a bit of unexpected fun on halloween, by receiving candy rather than giving it for once. However, we quickly realized that people didn’t really want to go along with that, so we shifted gears and adapted to the opportunity afforded to us. We were inspired by those prank videos where people carry around a door with a sign that says “please knock.” The door-holders would knock on a house’s door, then when the homeowner opened the door, they would see another door, knock on it, and the people carrying around the door would pretend the homeowners were trick-or-treaters and give them candy. We tried a version of that but without the door, just straight face to face offerings of candy. I’m a little surprised and upset that it didn’t work out, but I guess adults know better than to take candy from strangers. Which is really peculiar when you think about it, because they usually don’t have a problem with sending their kids out to do the same.

Nico Ulloa Appropriation Post: Mute Trivia

My appropriation project was a trivia game in which the neither the host nor the audience where allowed to talk and the only way it was permitted to answer questions was using audio clips from the internet. The host would ask a question through a text-to-speech program (Google Translate) and the guests set off searching through the internet to find an audio clip stating the answer– however, they’re not supposed to find an audio clip of the answer itself but of someone saying the answer (e.g: “Who’s the owner of Tesla?” responded by a Rick and Morty clip saying “Elon Musk.”) Additionally, the guests are allowed to stitch together multiple audio clips to answer their question. When a guest is ready to answer they raise their hand, at which point the host selects them and nods or shakes their head to verify the answer.

The initial iteration of the game was simply having to answer with audio clips, but after a couple of rounds I decided to revise it to focus more on the audio since the conversation kept overriding it. As such, the mute part was introduced. The result was a surreal experience where multiple audio clips would overlap each other for about a minute until someone would raise their hand, the room would fall dead quiet, an audio clip would play, and then it would all happen again. It especially became strange when players would stitch together answers or when they’d answer wrong and the cacophony began again– the game felt like it had a strange rhythm. The resulting soundscape felt like something that would not be unusual presented next to Hugo Ball’s Karawane, if only a bit more coherent.

Nico Ulloa Intervention Project – University Hospitality Concierge Something


For my intervention project I set up a little “booth” on the ISEC bridge and put up some parodic posters of the University Health Counseling Services– my booth was the “University Hospitality Concierge Something” and was labeled “the doctor is in! 15 min for $70k.” The purpose of this intervention was to protest the lack of funding for the UHCS and how it affected students, with many rarely being able to schedule any consistent help for more than a couple 15 minute sessions. This seems especially egregious to me considering the incredibly large tuition fees students pay, close to $70k a year , and the University spending millions on other projects, including the ISEC and EXP (ISEC II) project, the former of which cost $225 million. I chose the bridge as the perfect representation of these excesses– it has since come to my attention that the bridge is part of the EXP project and not the original $225 million, but it’s still part of Northeastern’s ludicrous redevelopment master plan that totals at $1.9 billion.

My initial version of the intervention was a booth set up in the middle of the ISEC bridge, with volunteers lining up in front of it down the steps. I thought this would create a staggering visual that would drive the point home but quickly ran into problems when it came to practicality– apparently, the ISEC project has a history with protests, primarily the group DivestNU, which was received incredibly poorly by the university and students alike. This, alongside the nearby NUPD presence, made it very difficult to get volunteers. Other concerns that came up were accessibility issues.

As such, I restructured my project to just be the booth on the side. I stayed there from 1:30 to 3, joined by a couple of friends. The reaction to the booth was varied. Most people looked at our booth and seemed apathetic, others looked at it and seemed confused, a number of people smiled or laughed it, and a few people approached us to talk. While it’s improper to judge on appearances alone, we noticed there were some clear divides in reaction by gender/race. For instance, the preppy white males we saw almost always reacted negatively, and looked visibly upset and international students almost always looked confused. Perhaps most notably all of the people that actually interacted with us were either female or people of color.

Interestingly enough the people that approached us seemed to buy into a “roleplay;” we joked about a $70k IOU and they started venting about their problems, even though we were total strangers. It seemed reminiscent of the Five Day Locker Piece, where people simply felt comfortable talking about their lives because of the redefined context of interaction, even if the person was just a random artist (C. Carr, On Edge). I feel these couple of interactions would have been impossible with the large line I originally intended, and so I think that having to restructure the piece made it more successful in the end.

Pranav Gopan – Artwork #4 “Untitled Fox Project”

For our final project, Daniel Shapiro and I wanted to create a game that delves into the emotions of anxiety. Our game, “Untitled Fox Project”, is a 2D platformer that lets you play as a fox trying to rescue puppies in a building. As you explore and search for puppies, there are wolves that try to torment and stop you. Touching a wolf will have you respawn at a previous checkpoint. All the while, text consistently appears at the bottom of the screen. This text is meant to represent the fox’s inner thoughts and unease. Some examples include “Why can’t I breathe…” and “I’m just not strong enough” (I’ve attached a code snippet that shows all possible texts). The fox doesn’t believe it is worthy enough to take on this rescue mission. Because of past traumatic experiences and the pressure from the wolves, the fox’s anxiety gets to it. However, as you lead the fox up the building and collect more puppies, the fox starts to become more confident. When you approach the top levels of the building, the anxiety text disappears altogether and the fox is unfazed by the wolves. At the very end, a final wolf appears, asking you for forgiveness. You have a choice between answering yes or no. Choosing either will send you to a blank screen and the game will end.

We wanted the wolves to represent an emotionally abusive partner. Though due to the nature of the game, they can be perceived as the fox’s inner demons as well. Some things that the wolves say are “You deserve nothing.” and “It’s all your fault.” We left some vagueness so that the player can have their own interpretation. We also left the ending open-ended. There truly is no right or wrong answer when it comes to forgiving someone who has emotionally abused you. We believe that a person has truly moved on from their pain if it longer affects their life. The blank screen is meant to represent that. We drew inspiration from our own past experiences and games that were mentioned in class. Loved and The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom were two in particular. The style, tone, and message of these games helped us form our own creation. The idea of going against the narrator’s demands felt inspiring. We wanted Untitled Fox Project to be a game that allowed people to step into the shoes of someone who experiences anxiety and is attempting to overcome it in a meaningful way.

Playing with Food (Hastings)

Before I came to Northeastern, I worked a couple jobs in the restaurant scene, most recently as a chef at a more upscale seafood place near New Haven CT. preparing fancy food can be a lot of fun (when not under the stress of a hectic dinner service), and my favorite step in selling an order is plating. The customers eat with their eyes–I was told that countless times by all my bosses, and it’s true. People love a nice looking plate of food, even before the first bite critical judgement are made. That being said, I think it can definitely be taken too far. Avant-garde plating the likes of which can be seen on plenty of Food Network shows are sometimes laughably over the top.

That was the inspiration for my game, along with the game art section of “Work of Game”–I had a bit of an idea drought, until it occurred to me that I could re-purpose an existing game/experience to fit my aims. I wanted to provide the fun parts of the experience I had working in an upscale kitchen while satirizing the pretentiousness of extreme fine dining. I thought the best way to accomplish this would be in a “Chopped” style game-art mod/parody; however, in my ‘mod’ of Chopped all of the components of the dish were already cooked and prepared by me. The idea behind this was to place the entire emphasis of the game on the aesthetics and names of the dishes my two contestants came up with–the sole instructions provided to the contestants were to plate the most obnoxiously fancy dish imaginable given the materials provided, and to give said dish a fitting name.

In my first playtest, familiarity with the television genre I was parodying led to some interesting and comedic emergent behavior: the contestants presented their dishes in front of a panel of judges, and really had a blast acting like TV chef personalities, adopting some of the lingo while trying to put on a performance. This was awesome to see because it completely played into my goals for the game–even the judges followed suit when they gave their critiques!

For my final playtest, I tried giving the contestants less time to work with in an attempt to simulate the frantic pace one must keep up with during a busy service. It worked like a charm, creating a fun sort of stress that was even more fun (perhaps somewhat sadistically) for me to watch my friends panic and spill ingredients.

It was during this playtest that my favorite dish of the game was created (see below). It’s hysterically over the top for what it is, and I think the player who created it really hit the nail on the head as far as the goal of the game. In all, I had a great time playing this game with friends and classmates; everyone’s familiarity with shows like “Masterchef” and “Chopped” helped make it a fun parody.


Pacifist Apex Games (Intervention Project)

The goal was to take a highly competitive first person shooter battle royal game and see if I could make peace with the enemy. 

Game: Apex Legends

In apex Legends, you can only hop into matches in groups of three. I took two of my friends together to hop into matches and tried to find groups to make peace and would hopefully let us live or spare us. We had a few encounters that led to probably seconds of peace but then me and my group were terminated.  We kept trying and trying and getting interesting interactions. I noticed many players had a tendency to panic when they encountered my group although I was trying to get their attention by using non lethal methods. I was able to use a specific character named Pathfinder who has a special ability to deploy a zipline anywhere on the map.  I spotted another squad so I took the zipline and launched it at them to get their attention. Once they spotted me they started shooting at me however they all stopped when they spotted my character spamming the crouch button over and over. Crouch spamming is the only way I could think to show signs that I was trying to be friendly. The video below shows the brave attempt from Graham, Jake, and myself.  It went about as chaotic as you would expect.

The Inspiration for the Intervention project came from two places when I played the Halloween event in which the game starts as a free for all but as players get eliminated they get turned into “Shadows.” the final 10 players must work together to escape the map vs the 20 or so Shadows that are out to kill the players.  During the initial phase of the game i encountered someone trying to not kill me by crouch spamming and showing signs that they did not want to fight me but survive together all the way through.  We ended up working together to get far in that match.  I’ve tried doing their method later on in the Halloween event and had one successful encounter. I figured why not try it in Apex’s main game mode of 3 squads BR.