Elena Kosowski’s Experience Project: The Perfect Child

My game is about creating a child, and watching it be influenced by the world. This game contains a personal message. When I came out to my mom, she cried. She said she was scared of the world hurting me because of who I was. This really affected me. I wanted to create a game that replicated this experience.

In my game, you play as a parent.  Your job is to draw a child. After you draw your child, next you have to give it a name and a gift. Then, you tell your child out loud how you feel about it. The purpose of the first four steps is about having the player bond with their creation. This part represents giving birth to the child, and how a parent influences it in its early stages of growing up.

The next steps involve handing your child to another player and allowing them to add to your drawing however they want. This other player represents some influencer that affects your child during later stages of childhood. They could be a teacher, a tv show, a youtuber, an older sibling, another parent, a bully, or a best friend. Through this influencer, the child could discover something new about themselves, or be burdened with trauma. During this process, the parent cannot interact with the child, or know what it is going through, until the influencer eventually returns the child.

After this, a player appointed the Judge will go around and interact with each child. At the start of the game the judge will roll a 12-sided die four times. The result of the die will determine which rules the judge will use to grade all the children. If the judge decides the child fails the grading, the judge will rip the child. How much to rip and how harsh to grade is all up to the judge to decide. Their opinion is meant to be bias and unpredictable each new game. This part of the game presents the time when children have to enter the real world. The judge, representing society, damages the child for not meeting its unfair and bias rules a “perfect child” should meet. The set of rules I created are meant to be vague and contradicting. For example, one of the rules is “the child is too feminine”. What determines if it’s “too feminine”? Where is the line drawn? This is all up to the judge. Another rule is “The child is too masculine”. Depending on the set of rules the judge ends up using, it can be possible for no child to leave the grading alive.  After the grading is done, the last step is to have the parent tell the child out loud how they feel about the child again. Is what the parent says different from what they said before?

My game takes influence from Exquisite Corpse and Yoko Ono’s scores. The players follow the instructions like they would follow a score. Each step has importance and each play-through of the game can have different results. Similar to an Exquisite Corpse, the artwork of the child is added onto throughout the game. First the parent draws it, then another player draws, until the judge finishes it.

I found successful results during play-testing the game. Both judges were vicious when it came to ripping up the children. The first judge, however, had more bias. He ripped drawings he personally liked with less force and tried to not damage the artwork too much. I also noticed that the other players were visually upset when the children were ripped. One player showed a lot of anguish towards the destruction of a child he influenced but was not the parent of.

The game’s Instructions:

Before Starting: The judge rolls a 12-sided die 4 times to determine the game’s set of laws

Player Instructions:

  1. Draw your child (2-3 minutes)
  2. Name your child
  3. Give your child a gift (1-2 minutes)
  4. Tell your child how you feel about them
  5. Give your child to the person to your right.
  6. Do whatever you want to the new child you are given. (2-3 minutes)
  7. Hand the child back to its parent

Judge Instructions:

  1. Walk up to each parent and take their child away from them.
  2. Rip the child according to the law
  3. Hand child back to its parent

Final Instructions for Parent:

Tell the child how you feel about them.


The Laws for a Perfect Child:

(Rip the child if it matches any of the below statements)

  1. The child is too colorful
  2. The child is too big
  3. The child is too small
  4. The child is too violent
  5. The child is too sad
  6. The child is too feminine
  7. The child is not smart enough
  8. The child is too rich
  9. The child is too poor
  10. The child is not human
  11. The child is too masculine
  12. The child is too weird


Examples of some children:


Example of a Judge’s determined rules:

Elena Kosowski’s Intervention Project : Tim the Wish Doll

Tim the Wish Doll

One inspiration for my Intervention was the Barbie Liberation Organization, which were a group of artists that performed shopgiving on barbie and G.I. Joe dolls. They would change the voice boxes of the Barbies to say violent phrases and change the G.I. Joe dolls to say peaceful phrases. I wanted to run with the idea of a toy intervention, and to use either action figures or a Raggedy Ann doll. Eventually I decided to go with the Raggedy Ann.

The plan was to take a Raggedy Ann doll and place her in a location with a container, paper, and a pencil. She would also be placed with a note that read “My name is _____. Write me a letter and I’ll try to make it come true!”. The hope was that people would notice her and write a little letter. I was interested to see if people would really take the time to write a letter, and if they would be a serious or silly one. While I liked my plan, my growing concern was that she would be constantly ignored.

When I went to the store to find a doll to use, I couldn’t find a Raggedy Ann doll. Instead I found a sheep doll, which I named Tim. I thought Tim was the perfect choice because he was a good size and was very soft and cute. I was hoping his gentle appearance would be welcoming and encourage people to write open and honestly. I went shopping with my roommate, but she didn’t like Tim very much. She said that he seemed too bland and boring, and probably would get ignored. Because of this, I decided to give Tim a bright red bandana to make him stand out more.

I decided to pick my dorm as the location to perform my intervention in. It was a place I knew very well, and I believed it had a higher chance that people would participate. I also trusted the people in my dorm to not steal Tim. I first performed my Intervention on a Friday night and got terrible results. After leaving Tim in a common space for about three hours, I returned to find that he had received no notes. This was poor planning on my part. I forgot that on Fridays, most people in the dorm go out at night, or participate in several school clubs. The common room I had placed Tim in was completely deserted.

I tried again on a Thursday and received amazing results. Most people in my dorm are Computer Science majors and all take the same class: Fundamentals of Computer Science. The deadline for the weekly homework is always 6:00pm on Fridays. Because of this, a lot of people work in groups on the homework in the common rooms on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I placed Tim in one of the common rooms filled with people and left him there for another three hours. When I returned to pick him up, he had many letters written to him.

My roommate and I wrote three “seed” letters and left them with Tim to entice other people to write letters as well. I made sure the container I had to contain the letters was clear so people could see the letters inside. Other than this, I wanted to influence the responses as little as possible. This is also why I decided to not hover around Tim the entire time, in case I discouraged people from coming over. Minus the seed letters, Tim received eight other messages. All the messages were really nice. Some of the letters were funnier, and others were more genuine. A couple were written by stressed students complaining about the difficult homework assignment. Every letter was a really interesting read.

Tim’s setup in the common room:

The Seed Letters:

The Real Letters:

Indie Game: Hollowknight

Hollowknight has quickly become one of my all time favorite games. I love it so much that I’ve been trying to 100% complete it. I’m almost there at 90%. Some of the reasons I love Hollowknight is because of its characters and music. The characters all have individual personalities and the music is absolutely beautiful.

One moment in the game that sold me was when you have to defeat the Mantis Tribe. Usually in the game, all the characters are fighting to survive. When you fight the Mantis Lords, however, you fight for honor.  When you enter the mantis territory, you are immediately hit with a bunch of enemies. Getting through all these enemies is a really tough battle. Eventually you reach the Mantis Lords, which are three times as tough. Whenever they defeat you, you have to fight through the entire tribe again in order to have a rematch.

The Mantis Lords are my favorite boss. Unlike other bosses, who start attacking you once you enter the arena, the Mantis Lords wait you to you challenge them. Not only is their battle theme intense, I love what happens after you beat them. Once you beat them and the battle ends, you don’t end up killing them. Instead, the Mantis Lords stand up and bow to you. After this battle, the rest of the mantis tribe also bows to you whenever you approach them and become passive characters. The tribe also rewards you with gifts for gaining their respect.



Elena Kosowski Artwork #2 Appropriation: Mad Rock Paper Scissors

Something that caught my interest during class, was whenever someone took a very simple game and created an entirely new experience by changing one mechanic of the game. Some examples that come to mind are the giant joystick by Mary Flanagan and the Octopad by Patrick Lemieux, an 8-person game controllers where each person can only push one button. I wanted to do something similar with the very simple game of Rock Paper and Scissors. I wanted to see this game played with more collaboration and chaos.  So, I decided to merge the game of Rock Paper and Scissors with the game Mountains of Madness.

Mountains of Madness is a boardgame I discovered about a month ago. The aim of the game is to have a team of five players reach the top of the mountain alive with as much treasure as they can. To do so, the players must work together against a bunch of mini challenges. In order to beat these challenges, communication is the most important thing. If the team ever fails a challenge, one of the players gets a madness card. Madness cards impair that member’s ability to communicate in some way, which make the game progressively harder the more and more you fail challenges.  Each player can have up to three madness cards each, which make the game very exciting, crazy, and chaotic.

My combination of Rock Paper and Scissors and Mountains of Madness, called Mad Rock Paper Scissors, is best played with 6, 8, 10, or 12 players. The group of players is split into two teams. In order to win each member of one team must decide on an action to use on the other team, however, they must all perform this one action in sync in order to get the point. For example, if team 1 all perform “rock” and team 2 all person “scissors”, team 1 wins. But if 2 members of team 1 perform “rock” and the other 2 members of team 1 person “scissors”, that team automatically loses.

The game consists of at least three rounds. Before each round, each team has 45 seconds to discuss what action they will perform. During the first round, neither team has a madness card. During the second round, each team has one madness card that each team member shares. During the third round and onward, each team member will have their own madness card. The distribution of the madness card is random before each new round. Like Rock Paper and Scissors, it runs on a “best out of three, best out of five” method where the teams decide how long they want to play.

I do not own the game Mountains of Madness, so I was unable to use the real madness cards. Instead I made my own and formatted them to fit the game of Rock Paper and Scissors better. There are blue and green cards. Blue cards are normal madness cards. Green cards are more restricting. Green cards restrict what action a single player can perform. For example, a green card can tell the player that they can only do rock. This player would have to convince their team to person this single action. Each team can only have as most one green card, because too many green cards can lead to impossible outcomes. If two team members both have green cards and one member can only do rock while the other can only do scissors, then the entire team is doomed to fail.

When I presented this game in front of the class, it is interesting to note groups would perform fake hand gestures during the discussion period in order to deceive the other group. This interaction between players was a fun addition I didn’t anticipate.

Examples of Blue Cards:

Examples of Green Cards:

Elena Kosowski’s Example of Appropriation

My example of appropriation is the song “Pixel Galaxy” by Snail’s House. I listen to Snail’s House often, and when I first heard this song I thought it sounded very familiar. After some research, I realized that this song uses samples and melodies from a Kirby song. As a huge fan of Kirby, learning this only made me love the song more. The Kirby song that it samples is called “Green Greens”

Elena Kosowski’s Score: Path of Unnamed Faces


Walk along a path

  1. a) Walk for 1 minute
  2. b) Walk for 3 minutes
  3. c) Walk for a year

Observe and stare at the people you pass by

When you reach the end, sketch the people you saw with as much detail as you can

No video or camera allowed

Do it with a friend; compare and discuss your sketches

Erase everything




Artist Statement:

I came up with the basis of my score while walking across the Ruggles train station. I noticed that while I walked, I passed so many unique and diverse people. A couple minutes after that walk, however, I would completely forget all of them. This short experience made me wonder exactly how many people I’ve passed by and immediately forgotten in my life. These people I’ve passed may have meant so little to me, but they mean so much to others. To someone else, I was one of these insignificant people.

I wanted my score to repeat this experience. People will walk along a path and must pay attention to the people who pass them. They are encouraged to observe as much detail about this person as they can. After the walk, they must sketch what they remember. I wanted to make it clear in the score that use of video and cameras during this activity were prohibited. You aren’t supposed to know how accurate your memory is at the end. You may feel like you’ve forgotten to draw a particular person, and this uncertainty is part of the experience. The duration of the activity I think is an interesting addition. It is much easier to remember all the people you’ve met only a minute ago than three minute ago. A year is considered impossible. Lastly, the act of erasing all the sketches at the end symbolize erasing them from your memory altogether.

When I performed this score in order to test it, I did it with my friend Ariana. I think the best part of the experience afterwards was comparing our sketches. Ariana would notice and remember people I couldn’t recall in the slightest. The details we remembered were different too. While I would remember people based on their shirt colors or hair, Ariana would remember them based on race or the accessories they had. At one point we passed someone that I recognized from my English class, but to Ariana they were a complete stranger.  During this activity it was very sunny, and I wore sunglasses while Ariana did not. Ariana commented that she felt like she made people uncomfortable because she was noticeably staring at them. I had not experienced this issue.

One Minute Activity: Elena’s (first) and Ariana’s (second)

Three Minute Activity: Elena’s (first) and Ariana’s (second)