Artwork #4: Relationship

Relationship is a two-player strategy card game, in which the players can choose to either cooperate or compete with each other. The game primarily focuses on how to manage a relationship while having a career at the same time.

Game pieces:
Two sets of Goal cards
A stack of Love cards
A stack of Work cards
Two Relationship Meters
Markers for the meter (8 in total)
One six-sided dice

How to play:
In Relationship, the players would each draw 3 Work cards and 3 Love cards as their starting hand. As the game progresses, they would keep drawing new cards after each turn in order to always have 3 Work cards and 3 Love cards in hand. Note that a player is only able to influence the other player’s Love meter unless noted otherwise, so the cards they play would always apply to the Love meter of their partner, instead of the Love meter of themselves.

A player can only play one card per round, so they have to choose between their Love cards and Work cards. If a player has played 3 Work/Love cards in a row, they have to play at least one card of the opposite type before putting a fourth card of the same type down. After the first three rounds, if both players’ Love/Work meters are down to zero simultaneously, the relationship would fall apart and both players would lose the game.

Many Work/Love cards also have special abilities noted on them. For example, Oversea Vacation can be countered by Promotion, Birthday Party and Birthday Present add extra Love Points if played together, and keep playing Overtime would drop the other player’s Love Points drastically.

There are five different Goal cards, and each player would pick two of them in secret at the beginning of the game. A player can declare their victory as soon as the win condition on either Goal card is met, and it’s possible for the players to both win if they share the same Goal card.

A lesson I learned in this class is that games are not necessarily about winning; it’s about the experiences. A game that can’t be won can speak just as much as another game if not more, such as September 12th, Madrid, and The Graveyard. Therefore, I want to make the gameplay process more important than win or lose in my game. Another inspiration was the prisoner’s dilemma, for the player can choose to either cooperate or compete with the other player, but it’s hard to know what the other player’s goal is especially when everyone picks their goals in secret.

I kept thinking about games like That Dragon, Cancer and The End of the World when I was working on this project, even though the genres are completely different. Just like these games, I wanted to make a personal game based on my own values and experiences, even though they might not be able to appeal to everyone. There were times in the past when I felt I was forced to give up on my feelings due to a busy schedule and pressure from family, and this is the first thing that came to my mind when I started thinking about making a game based on my own experiences. The idea behind this game is that one cannot focus on career and love at the same time, and I think it worked well so far. There is one goal in the game that allows the player to win by balancing love and work, but no one has even tried to accomplish it yet in any playtest. Even if a player had picked it in the beginning, they would soon switch to the other goal after seeing their partner focusing on one thing.

Some avant-garde video games such as Passage, Storyteller, and The Graveyard have very unique themes. By selecting a personal and different theme, I wanted to make an avant-garde game that introduces an experimental idea to help engage people in more kinds of ways.


Card design samples:




Final Project Idea

For the final project, I’m thinking of making a card game about the relationship between romance and work, and how does one choose between them.

One thing I learned in this class is that games are not necessarily about winning; it’s about the experiences. A game that can’t be won can speak just as much as other games if not more, such as September 12th, Madrid, and The Graveyard. Therefore, I want to make the gameplay process more important than win or lose in my game. Other inspirations come from but are not limited to Shooting the Moon and the prisoner’s dilemma, for the player can choose to either cooperate or compete with the other player, but it’s hard to know what goal the other player has in mind.

This game is turn-based two-player game that uses a d6 dice occasionally. There will be two stacks of event cards, one for Love Life and one for Career. Each player will also have two bars, one for Career Status and one for Emotional Status. Career events affect the Career Status of the player who plays them, and Love Life events affect the Emotional Status of the other player. Each player will randomly get 3 Love Cards and 3 Career Cards in the beginning, and they will automatically draw from the pile after each round so that they would always have 3 Career Cards and 3 Love Cards. Each player plays one event card per round. There are multiple ways to win the game, the basic ones including reaching 100 Career Points, getting the other player to reach 100 Romance Points, or both players reaching more than 90 but less than 100 Romance Points and more than 90 but less than 100 Career Points.

Indie Show & Tell: Madrid


MADRID is a Newsgame made by the same group of people who made September 12th. It was created shortly after the Madrid Train Bombings in 2004, in which 192 people were killed and around 2,000 people were injured. The game was made to commemorate the deceased in this tragedy.

The game mechanic is simple: The player can click on each candle to make them glow brighter, and the assumed goal is to make all the candles glow bright at the same time to pass the process bar in the bottom left corner. However, this is physically impossible to accomplish because the candles go out way too quickly. If the process bar reaches zero, you lose the game and the screen says “You have to keep trying.”

The message of the game is that you can’t keep the memory of the terrorist attacks alive forever. People WILL forget.


Artwork #3: Follow Me If You Dare



Materials needed:

Win condition:
The player wins if they successfully get at least one person to follow them as they cross the street alone, preferably when the traffic light is red.

In Follow Me If You Dare, the player starts at a traffic light with other people who are waiting for the lights to turn so that they can cross the street. The player should try to be the first one to start walking (only when it’s safe, of course) and try to get as many people to follow them as possible. If the player is able to get at least one person to follow them as they cross the street, they win; otherwise, they lose.

The first location we played at was the walkway across Huntington Avenue right in front of Krentzman Quad. It was almost 5 pm when we started playing, so there were a lot of cars but not too many students crossing. One thing that surprised me was how eager people were to cross the street: I was intentionally trying to be the first one to cross every single time, but someone would always cross fearlessly before me when I thought it was still too dangerous to walk out. Since this location wasn’t working too well and I wasn’t able to start the game properly most of the time, my friend who was filming suggested to try the large intersection on Massachusetts Avenue, because there were a lot of people going home from work on that street, and the traffic light was always red even after the cars stopped coming. Therefore, we went to try playing on the Massachusetts Avenue intersection instead.

The intersection on Massachusetts Avenue was a lot busier, there were more pedestrians crossing although most weren’t students, and there were more cars as well. There was indeed a long waiting time even after the cars had stopped to come. It was easier to get people to follow me too, since more people were looking down on their phones and blindly following the people in front of them, possibly because no one had to rush anywhere after work. Since people on the other side of the street could also see me, there was one time when they followed my move to cross the street as well. After all, the game played out very well on Massachusetts Avenue.

Follow Me If You Dare started with the idea to do something in the public space that involves people passing on the streets. Some of the inspirations came from The Yes Men and videos made by the YouTube channel Improv Everywhere, such as Frozen Grand Central and The Mute Button. I wanted to intervene with people’s daily life without letting them know that they were participating in a game. For example, in Waiting in Line for the iPhone X at a FAKE Apple Store by Improv Everywhere, people on the streets actually believed in the fake Apple Store and didn’t realize it was just a performance. A similar case would be the New York Times Hoax created by the Yes Men; they deliberately made the appropriated version of New York Times extremely similar to the original New York Times and had people dressed up as New York Times workers, which is why many people thought the news on the newspaper really happened.

As the role of the phone becomes more important in the society, more and more people keep their heads down when they are waiting, walking, or even crossing the streets, which had caused many accidents. This makes it more likely for them to simply follow someone in front and move with them at the same pace. Even if the person is not on their phone before they cross the street, they would still be more likely to cross after someone has taken the first step. I thought this phenomenon was very interesting, so I decided to base my project around it and record how many people unconsciously participated in my game without knowing it. I did want to add in more scenarios and test people’s herd mentality by setting up different scenes, but the fact that my project needed more than one friend to help me and that we only had one week to work on this limited my options, so I decided to mainly focus on the first idea.

Indie Show & Tell: Little Inferno

Official Trailer:


Short Description:

Little Inferno is a puzzle video game developed by the indie developer Tomorrow Corporation in 2012, and it can be played on multiple different platforms, including Wii, PC, mobile, and Switch. In the game, the player assumes the role of a kid who is able to order and burn items endlessly by using their Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace by Tomorrow Corporation (essentially a game within a game). Different items react differently as they are burned, and the player can unlock combos by burning specific items at the same time. There is no scoring system or time limit at all. The player also receives letters along with packages occasionally, which is how the player learns about the freezing world outside. However, the player is also encouraged to burn every letter as soon as they finish reading. There is essentially a loop of ordering and burning items as the player unlocks new catalogs and explores more burnable items in the game.

***Spoiler Alert***

Despite the simple mechanic, Little Inferno has a powerful narrative and ending, which is the reason I chose it. As the player unlocks new items, they would get new letters that advance the narrative. At the end of the game, the player is eventually able to escape the endless loop and explore the world outside, which turns the whole game from a puzzle game to an adventure game. The message of the game is about not burning away time meaninglessly in your life, and I think the developers did a great job conveying it.



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:

In-Class Collage Exercise (Zurich)

For this piece, we decided to create a stage to represent Cabaret Voltaire because performance art was a huge part of the Zurich Dada, and this was also how Dada originally started. While making this piece, we tried to recreate the chaotic and confusing vibe of the performance where people were doing things that wouldn’t make sense in a traditional theater performance. Since there were many costumes and puppets made in this period, we created strange-looking figures by cutting and reassembling them to represent the performers. As for the two-dimensional artworks, we cut them into different shapes to represent props on stage, such as the sun, the boat, and the balance ball. In the middle of the sun, we put the word “DADA” and one of the costume heads made by Sophie Taeuber to represent the theme of this performance. The texts of “DADA” we put in front of the stage are used to represent the theme as well.

Appropriation Show and Tell: To Be or Not to Be


Hamlet is my favorite Shakespeare tragedy of all times, but the indecisiveness of Hamlet and countless tragic coincidences that happened in the play do make me wonder if the story would change completely if someone does something different. To Be or Not to Be, a game that appropriates Hamlet, gives me the opportunity to mess with the plot of Hamlet and see what the outcome would be. The game also makes fun of the original story by describing some decisions that were made in the play as stupid and advise the player not to choose them. In To Be or Not to Be, you can be a decisive Hamlet, a rational Ophelia, or…a dead Hamlet Sr, because the fact that he gets killed in the beginning of the story still doesn’t change. Sorry, Hamlet Sr.


Artwork #1: The Shadow Piece

The Shadow Piece

1. Pick a sunny day.
2. Try to step on everyone’s shadow as you walk around.



Artwork 1 (music by KONAMI)


Artist’s Statement:

This score is mainly inspired by my childhood experiences and Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. When I was a child, I used to play this Asian children’s game called Cǎi Yǐng Zi (Stepping on Shadows). The basic rule is that one person gets to be the monster as the game starts, and then it would chase the others trying to step on their shadows. If it succeeds, then the person who gets stepped on becomes the next monster. It’s a fun game, especially since we do tend to think of shadows as mysterious beings as children. Furthermore, since I grew up in a big city, there were always all kinds of shadows on the streets. When I walked around in the city, I would sometimes put a limit on myself so that I could only step on shadows for every step I take. It was difficult and required a lot of hopping around, but it was very satisfying when I was able to do it successfully.

In Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, she included some scores that were supposed to be done in the cities. For example, “Walk all over the city with an empty baby carriage.” This inspired me to reobserve the way people walk around in cities, and try to figure out a way to make it more interesting. Besides The Shadow Piece, I also wrote some other scores like “Imagine your soul hovering above your head as you walk down the street. Try to see the world from your soul’s perspective” or “Sync yourself with the world around you.” All of them remind me of the hustle and bustle of the city life.

By performing the shadow piece, the performer should forget about their roles and responsibilities for a little while and just focus on this simple activity. The physical exercise and the limit the performers have to put on themselves should remind them of playing similar games in their childhood. The idea is that even while you live a busy life in the city, there are always opportunities to take little breaks, escape the social constraints, and find excitement out of your everyday life. By stepping on the shadows of people around you, they also becomes part of your little “game,” and this gives you a chance to observe people who you walk pass without paying attention to every single day.