The piece was inspired by Uncle Roy All Around You. The GPS equipment and the virtual avatar made me feel like a game with AR elements. A game should have a start and a goal, but what if both of them are generated by the players? Like the game rules in Uncle Roy All Around You. One player created the order, and the other one should follow it. The game designers just provided tools and basic rules. Then, I wanted to make a game with no specific rules, or the players may not feel they are playing a game.

Backroom inspired me a lot in the visual UI design. The huge black words were written beside a door, a pit, or a window. The character could choose to enter or not. Also, the words sometimes could be viewed as traps or decorations. When the player saw the black marks and started thinking about the clues behind the marks, the game was already started. So, I tried to make a similar one in the real life to see what they may do when they see the marks.

Then, I used black tape to decorate a public room with words and signs, making an easy treasure hunt. If people noticed the words, they would enter a room and look for the hidden treasure. The participants were the people who saw the words. Most of the participants were confused and ignored the information, but one of them joined the game.

When the player saw the information, he followed the “LEFT” sign to look left. Then, he found a “HEre” sign in a room. So, he entered the room and look around for more information. Finally, he went out and found the hidden candy in the public area. When I asked him about how the decorations felt, he was confused because he thought those signs were for the game.

I think the result turns out some interesting facts. A game can be started occasionally. Although there’s no clear start and goal, players still can make rules and play a game. Game designers’ job is more like building a playground for the players. When the players think it is a game, then it is a game.

Words in Backrooms

Space Invaders Mod

Artist’s Statement:

The game was inspired by Cory Arcangel’s “Super Mario Clouds” and other modded games with different skins. This was my first time focusing on only the sky and clouds in Super Mario Bros. With no other disruptions, it feels slightly different from the original piece. It becomes free, fresh, and slow, which I totally ignored in the original. So, I come up with an idea of what would happen if I only change the skin in Space Invaders.

I choose Space Invaders because it was one of the games that influenced the following game market a lot (also the one that shapes Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of Super Mario Bros). The game has many basic components like a controllable individual, enemies, and projectiles. Some subversive ideas jump into my mind: What if I try to switch the colors and figures of different alignments? Some common traits of enemies that players do not recognize may be revealed in the character of the player.

What I changed in this game was the color and firing rate of the enemies. I made the enemies green and the player red. I felt a little bit weird because usually, the color of the player was green or blue and the enemies were red. This time, I felt like I was controlling a bad guy fighting against a good group. Originally, the story was about a group of aliens invading the earth, and the player needs to protect the earth. With different skins, this version becomes an alien trying to protect its homeland from humans.

During the playtest, one interesting fact is that when the player faces the missile rain, the player prefers to hide behind the shelter rather than take down the plane. It turns out some habits of players that if they directly meet a risk, they would try to avoid it first. The shelter was used to protect the player when the player made mistakes in the original one, so the player could focus on killing enemies. It showed another strategy in this version that the player focused on surviving.



  1. Draw circles (which start and end at the same point) on a paper
  2. Don’t touch the lines
  3. Start imaging a world with shapes and add icons (modifiable)

Artistic Statement:

The idea was inspired by the process to create game art in Pearce’s “Game as Art”, which was to make the viewers enroll in the game. However, I think about it reversely: what if a player becomes an art viewer? Paper and pen are common tools used by the player to document the process of the game. The recorded information represents the whole adventure of a player. I recalled the memory with my friends when I saw the notes of the game. From then on, I realized that I viewed the notes from a player to a viewer aspect.

I usually search about how programmers achieve the visual effect with only code and basic assets. The logic sometimes is really simple, but nobody has this idea before. It is fun to see how the code runs violently, but everything looks fine on the screen. A map in a game is important but sophisticated to generate. Different developers use many kinds of methods. However, an interesting fact is that most video games with a generated world would like to generate the landscape first, then other content. The whole process is run by the computer with the rules, but I think it can be interesting if I figure out a way to generate a map physically.

In programming logic, everything related to graphs is about points and lines. So, a map is the result of patterned points and lines that seem like a “map” defined by people. Then, the problem is obvious, what kind of patterns make people think the graph is a map? From my research, contour lines are widely used in professional maps. Then, I find the common traits that all lines are circles and they don’t touch each other. With the lines, it is easy to imagine the world and stories. Finally, adding icons on the map for hints. This part can be modified with other rules.

The playtested result shows more than I expected. Different numbers of players can affect the process of the stories (players make their own storylines, and sometimes interact with others). I modified the third part of the score with guidance to help players imagine the contents of the world. The more players to playtest, the less guidance they need.

1 player / lots of guidance

2 players / no guidance

3 players / little guidance