A Drumming Party Game!

by | Oct 25, 2023 | Artwork #2: Appropriate

Originally, I wanted to appropriate the movie Blue Giant which came out recently, its about teenagers who want to play jazz and one wants to become the best jazz musician in the world. This movie has an incredible soundtrack and I wanted to appropriate it for this project so that people could feel that excitement of playing together as the teenagers did in the movie and the same way I have in previous bands. I started out with a concept about jazz music where each player would be playing a different instrument and after learning the play their instruments in the gamified way, they would be able to play together. Upon presenting this idea to my class, the lack of enthusiasm made it clear to me that my idea for the mechanics was uninteresting and the concept too confusing so, I scrapped it and started over. At its core, I wanted people to enjoy making music together when I remembered that during a vacation I went on, the staff of where we were staying, gathered us for a drum circle night of playing and dancing and I remember, despite never having played with these people, you could still have fun however in a much more casual way than jazz typically is. So, for my in class playtest, I brought in a multiplayer rhythm game where players learn to play quarter, eighth, and sixteenth beats. Once learning all these types of rhythms, they had an opportunity to play together. It was during this playtest that I realized, many people who have never experienced reading rhythm notation may struggle with this game so I simplified it for the final version.
In the final version, after each time they learned a new “skill” ie. a quarter beat, eighth, silent or free square, players each got a part and had an opportunity to play together! This minimized the pain of learning each new type of rhythm because players had more opportunity to play together than the previous iteration which kept players more engaged.
I think if I were to continue working on this game, I would add in the sixteenth beats next for players that want a challenge and also allow each player to pick different difficulties so more complex rhythms can be created for those with more experience, and simpler rhythms for players that are new to drumming so they are not overwhelmed.

While I don’t think that my appropriation of drumming circles here quite parallels the readings about artists during the dada era, I think in the general concept of artists stealing parts from things that inspire them and want to use those things to create some emotion in their audience or share their perspective, we are similar.

View the final project here! –>https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1LicYVpAYDTwsX63m1Ydw8YuLkEHwAmsqyqm5RDUIaz0/edit?usp=sharing

First draft of project party game–> https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1EhXa9rFqUOjQU7nrzzBMya-cqFzBVC-i0yMby5fO33A/edit?usp=sharing

playtest notes–> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AVBal4TWfIEXbFqE30LrdEDK59G3CI8ElFbTVnnq1RY/edit?usp=sharing