Microaggressive Microgame Mania


The project came from a simple premise: Microgames as Microaggressions. The point of a Microaggression is that, by itself, it appears benign. But then you face them in your life again and again. And when you finally have enough and shout back against the aggressor, onlookers believe that you’re merely overreacting over this small slight, and not the endless onslaught of injustice that they cannot or simply refuse to acknowledge.

Now, as a cisgender white male, I can’t say that I have personally experienced prejudiced aggression, micro or otherwise. The closest I’ve experienced was being told once that I don’t seem like “a gay kid.” Therefore, I researched the experiences of others that were posted online.

To simplify the actual making of the game, I appropriated an old piece of Nintendo software, WarioWare DIY, a DS game that allows players to make their own Microgames.

The primary problem working with DIY was how limited it was. For example, in “Don’t Touch My Antennae”, I wanted the player to be able to drag the alien across the stage in order to avoid the grabbing hands. However, I quickly discovered that DIY did not recognize that input. The only input the game allows you to work with a single tap, on either a particular object or the entire screen. I worked around this by placing 4 small objects on each corner of the screen, and had programed them so that, on being tapped, they would swap places on the screen with the alien. This created the illusion that the player was pressing these places to move, and as such escape the grabby hand.


Creating the music for each level was far easier than I anticipated; DIY’s music editor comes with a “Maestro,” which can generate a track for you by asking you the “feel” of the game, such as “frantic” and “sad”. I had the Maestro create the base music this way, and then I slightly altered them by changing the instruments used. Fittingly enough, I mostly used the UFO and Alien SFXs.


After I created my microgames, I used DIY’s sister game, the DIY Showcase for the Nintendo Wii. Unlike DIY, games cannot be made in the Showcase, but they can be played. I figured that having players play with a TV would be a better way to present the game, rather than have people play it on the DS. I imported the games I made on the DS into the Wii, placed them on their own shelf. When I was ready to present my project, I had Showcase randomly shuffle through my games.


There were two primary inspirations for my project. The first was Liz Ryerson’s Dys4ia. The idea for abstracting the real life experiences into a series of small playable vignettes came from her gameplay. The second inspiration came from Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s “Stop Telling Women To Smile” public art display from 2014. One of her posters, stating “Don’t Touch My Hair,” directly influenced one of my microgames. You know which one.

When I showed off my project in class, the first thing I noticed was how obtuse the “Don’t Touch” game was.  It was not very clear for the player to touch the stars to move around. Not only that, but because of how little variety there was in the games, it wasn’t very enjoyable to play.

Overall, I’m not sure how much I liked my project. The two things I would work on is increasing the variety of the game. The other is making it a more collaborative project by directly asking maligned people about their experiences and making each game with them, instead of just interpreting what I read online.

One moment.

In a class presentation, instead of actually presenting your piece, just sit down and don’t say a word. Like Yoko Ono’s Cutpiece, this piece involves sacrifice and absolute trust that the audience will understand your work. It also means that even the professor cannot know or expect this piece. The piece is best done when you have multiple vantage points, as I will have Manning record the class from the back of the room while I record the front.

I think if I were to do this piece again, I would be more obvious in recording the audience, in order to make the space feel more intervened and make them feel like they can’t ignore it. I would also stand to seem more assertive. Not only that, it would make sure the camera actually records the audience, as in my perspective, I had inadvertently tilted the camera upright too much.


My Perspective:



Elevator Dinner: 1st iteration

Initial idea draft:

I would set a small table in the elevator at Curry, where I would act as the waiter. The table will only take up half the space, so students that do not wish to take part can still use it at will.

Those who do can sit down, where I would give them a menu of the food served in the Curry dining hall. I would bring them their food afterwards. I would then leave a check, but whether they just dine and dash is out of my control.

I suppose the main inspiration is my frustration that there’re never any open seats at the dining hall, and so why not just make my own? Also, since it’s a glass elevator, those outside can see into it, thus intervening the space without actually impeding anyone.

Bouquet (Final)

For 3+ Players

A variety of floral print paper, preferably on the larger side
At least one set of seven polyhedral dice (you may need to share)
Scented markers: a different color/scent for each player
Scissors and knives
A clean floor with ample space

The player who last saw a flower in real life goes first. That player selects their favorite print and places it on the ground.

The player takes a set of dice and drops them center on the print, letting them roll where they may.* The player then draws on the print with their market connect all the dice in order to create a shape. Then the next player does the same.


The game continues until either every player is satisfied, they are needed elsewhere, or no more moves can be reasonably made.


*If a die ends up off the paper, the player selects another print**, lifts the die, slides the print underneath so that it connects with a previously placed print, then lowers the die back down. The player then tapes the sheets together. Players should avoid connecting identical patterns together if they can.

**If there are no more full sheets of prints, the player can use the scissors or the knives to cut a piece of a print already placed. The player can cut as large or as small of a piece as they wish, but they may not sever a drawn connection. Players should avoid connecting identical patterns together if they can.

Artist Statement:
This piece was largely inspired the fluxkits by George Maciunas, in that it’s less of a game and more of a long score that results in a collaborative art piece. The idea came from a moment of stress I had, contemplating how many games I had to come up with for the semester. I wanted to make something with structure, but at the same time relaxing.

I initially came up with the core gameplay of making connections with the dice and cutting paper to extend the canvas. I liked the idea that instead of using the dices’ number, the game would revolve around where the dice themselves end up. I then had to think about how the connections would be made. I thought it’d be a trite to just use pencils and regular white paper, but allowing any kind of drawing utensils would be a little too chaotic. I wanted a unifying theme.

I then walked through Blick, looking for objects I could use. There I found some floral gift wrap in a clearance bin. I knew I had some scented markets at home, so I used that too. That’s where the floral/bouquet theme came from. I also decided to include a gift wrap with celebratory phrases on it, considering the usual motivations of giving someone a floral bouquet. With all the materials in hand, I did my first playtest in class.


In my first play test, instead of letting the first player choose a print, I had a plain white piece of paper the first player would use initially. That rule was quickly removed after every single die rolled off the paper, which made placing new paper a hassle. After that, players were quick to catch on with the gameplay flow, and approximately 12 turns were made in total before we moved on to another game.

In conclusion, I think this game was rather successful. I’ve already bought another set of floral prints, and cut them all in have to allow more variety. I think that so long as the core dice rolling & paper cutting gameplay is used, the theme can be interchanged.

Appropriation Iteration #1: Bouquet

A variety of floral print paper
One plain white 8.5″x11″ printer paper
At least one set of seven hexagonal dice
Scented markers


  1. Lay the plain white paper on the floor.
  2. Drop the dice onto the paper, let them roll where they may.
  3. Position the floral paper underneath the dice. It’s okay if the dice move a bit. These things happen.
  4. Each player picks a scented marker, and connects the dice. How they connect is up to you.
  5. If there is no paper between two connected dice, place another piece. If there’s no full sheets left, use the scissors cut a necessary amount of paper. You may not cut paper in a way that severs a previously drawn connection.
  6. End when there’s no paper left.

Daring Candy Dish — Documentation

Leave a bowl of candy where you’d expect one

Leave a note beside it that reads:

“Take All

Or Take None”

I decided to keep the score as written, leaving some parts intentionally vague to allow interpretation on how to enact it.

Originally, I had a reception desk in mind for a place you’d expect a candy dish, but I couldn’t find an unoccupied one. However, in the Curry Student Center, I found multiple student organizations that had table displays, some of which had candy to entice inquiries. I figured that so long I was in the vicinity, I could imitate these organizations and thus follow the expectation rule. I borrowed a table and a chair, set up next to the others, and decided to wait a full hour.  I also decided to stay by the bowl and answer any questions anyone might have. Lastly, I decided not to take any pictures of the people, as I assumed that it would only scare them away.

Here are my notes of the score:


IMG_2062 IMG_2063

1:45: 3 people glanced at the sign, did not slow down

1:50: 1 person glanced at the sign, did not slow down

1:52: table across from me may have taken my picture, not entirely sure

1:53: the tabletop gaming table at my far right have scavenged the chairs I left behind

1:59: person sitting next to me stops and reads sign, asks if it’s related to schordiners cat. I replied “nope. It’s just that if you want the candy, you’ll have to take all of it”. Did not take candy

2:06:  student organization on my right packed up, left their table, I decided to take their spot as to stand out & look like I belong


2:08: person who asked question walked passed again, gave me a wave

2:08: old photographer asks me to shift my table. I comply. He looks at sign, laughs, does not take candy

2:09: woman glances over at sign from behind. Does not take candy

2:12: girl decides to break rules and only take handful of candy, despite asking about the sign beforehand. She is amused by the performance and asks about my major

2:15: two girls stop and ask. They ask me the purpose. I explain “ordinary, you would take just one, but there’s nothing stoping you from taking all. Now, there’s something stopping you from taking just one.” They attempt to take the bowl, but I ask them not to. They hesitate, and decide to take none

2:16: rule breaker is friends with girl stationed across me. Talks about me

2:18: person walks by, glances at sign, takes none

2:19: rule breaker smiles at me, I smile and wave back

2:21: two people glance at sign, do not stop, do not take

2:22: person walks by, glances at sign, does not stop, does not take

2:27: person walks by, reads sign, does not stop, does not take

2:29: two guys stop, ask if it’s okay, I say yes. They first attempt to hold all the candy at once, I offer that they can simply grab handfuls, and stuff them in their pockets. They do so. They asked me what this was for. I give them a basic explanation. They thank me, then walk away.


2:36: person glances at sign, does not stop

2:40: person glances at sign, does not stop

2:41: person glances at sign, does not stop

2:43: person stops, reads sign, looks at empty candy bowl, gives me bemused smirk, walks away