Artwork #2: Appropriate

City Guesser Appropriation – (Joey)

City Guesser 2-Players

My appropriation game is a modified version of a very popular game online called City Guesser. In the game City Guesser, players would observe a video playing on their screen and based on the video that’s playing, try to guess the location of the video. There are buttons on the top right of the video that can help players by controlling the video so that they can get more information. After guessing where the location may be, the game will tell the players how far they are away from the actual location of the video. There is no score or map limit, so players are free to continue guessing and playing however long they want.

My Modified Version of City Guesser:


  • 2 Players


  • At the start of the game, position the players so that Player 1 cannot look at the video and Player 2 can. Player 2 must give as much detailed information as possible to Player 1 about the video, however, Player 2 cannot make the guess about where they think the place may be. They can give suggestive guesses but ultimately, Player 1 makes the decision about where they think the place is.

Modifications/Setting Changes:

These are additional rules that the players can add to make the game more challenging

  • Limited Amount of Questions
  • Time Limit
  • The Player describing may not suggest any country
  • The Player describing may not say what language is spoke or shown in the video

Artist Statement

Throughout the process of forming an idea of appropriating a game, I was mainly focused creating ways to make an original game more frustrating, difficult, or unique. Yoko Ono’s piece, White Chess, really inspired me to somewhat appropriate a game where there was a loss of information. In Yoko Ono’s game, the lost of information was what game pieces the players control where if the players do not completely remember all of their piece’s positions, then this game essentially becomes impossible to play. Likewise, when appropriating my game, I realized that by taking away a player’s vision and hearing, my game creates the same type of challenge as White Chess in terms of a mental challenge where that player must constantly infer about the given information to formulate and achieve the goal of my game. Unlike Yoko Ono’s piece, the difficulty in mine comes from the coordination between players and whether the descriptive information correctly leads the other player to the destination or that information becomes too opinionated to the point where other player wrongly infers about the location. These types of interaction between players interests me where I believe in the idea that enjoyable or good friction within challenging games creates some sort of satisfaction or euphoric feeling when overcoming these hurdles. Although the players might not get the right location or be remotely close during their first attempt, after multiple attempts, the players would start to understand certain tips or tricks that would help each other, possibly forming some interesting way of communication exclusive to both of them, overcoming each obstacle until they finally have a guess that is close to the location. However, to constantly facilitate these challenges and feelings, I felt the need to create more modifications or settings to my games that would ultimately create more obstacles, which once again, create the sort of interactions that I would like to see in a my game.


Peers in my class playing my modified version of City Guesser.

One player is describing the location to the other player.

The player choosing the where they think the place may be.

The final result of the video’s location.

Appropriation: No Three in a Row-Xinyi Ren

This game was first inspired by Yoko Ono’s white chess. After seeing this work, I wanted to start with a board game, so I chose to learn from the simplest tic tac toe game. On the other hand, due to the central idea of “anti-art” of dada doctrine, I decided to make some reverse modifications to the core game mechanism of tic tac toe – but the finished product will still be a game, just as dada art is still art.

First, I expanded the chessboard from 3 * 3 to 5 * 5. The reason why tic tac toe is an easy and fast game is largely due to the size limit of the chessboard, and I want players to spend more time “hesitating”. Secondly, I modified the two core mechanisms of the game: how to proceed to the next step and how to win. In the process of the game, players should not only think about their next step but also think about how the other party will take the next step. The key is not how to control your own actions, but how to control your opponent’s actions. Finally, in the traditional tic tac toe, three in a row means victory, but in this game, it means failure. I think this is the most interesting part and can also bring the most novel experience to players: everyone will find ways to avoid the victory means they are used to.


Artwork #2: Musical Card Game

Instructions for this game (each player will go one at a time) :

  1. Shuffle your hand of 13 cards
  2. Draw the first three cards from the top to form a chord
    • If card is between 1-Q, the card’s note must be played in this chord
    • If the card is a King, you may select any note you would like to add to the chord
    • If the card is an Ace, you may replace the drawn chord with any chord you would like
      • Drawing an Ace immediately negates previously or future drawn cards for this chord
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 three times until you have your chord “progression”
  4. The player now has two minutes to create anything with the progression they have drawn
  5. All players will come together at the end of these two minutes to perform their composition to one another
  6. The players then decide on a winner

This musical game was greatly inspired by Takako Saito and her modifications to the game of chess. Pieces like her “Sound Chess” game got me to think about how I could manipulate traditional games into something that stimulates the senses. Similarly to that piece, I thought it would be a great challenge to incorporate something musical to a traditional game of cards. After having difficulty pairing instrumentation to an already existing game of cards, I decided it would be best to create a new one. I came up with this idea after sitting at my keyboard for a while and being stumped on where to start in terms of making a song. It then came to me that I could make a game where the deck of cards started the song for me. With this new random way of putting chords together, it is much easier to overcome writer’s block in a fun way.

Roommate playing this game:

Classmates playing this game:

Appropriation Project #2

The Death Run Game

The objective is simple. You have One hour. Take any story game or sandbox game that has unique death animations for the main character or death text showing how the main character died. Within that one hour, find as many ways to reveal the death text or find as many unique death animations for the main character.  Both players must agree upon the game and have their own copy ready. The goal is not to die as many times but find as many different ways to die that reveal new animations for the character to die. Example of some games you can do that have multiple death animations: The Tomb Raider Series (from 2013 onwards), The Last of Us, and Dead Space.  For the ones with death text you can use Minecraft. In the sandbox games that are open world and potentially multiplayer, PVP death is not allowed (since it isn’t even beneficial for the player killing). For the story games one must start from the very beginning or a similar save point. 


What made me choose this game and its rule set is that I have always been intrigued by games that have made their main character suffer unique death animations, like the developer has done so much to build their character to then give them one of many very brutal deaths. I would love in the future to be able to make a mod out of adventure game that involves finding the unique death animations and put it as a score at the end of the game.

Justin Brady Appropriation Project: Story Time

For my appropriation piece, I organized a story-telling game throughout the entire class. I acquired a small green notebook at the school store and wrote a basic rule outline on the first page. Then I wrote a few words on the next page of the notebook and handed it off. I explained the rules verbally to the player, which were such:

Once you receive the book, you must write a short story on the page that starts with the words provided to you by the previous player. DO NOT LOOK AT PREVIOUS PAGES FOR CONTEXT OR INSPIRATION. The only information players may utilize is the few words written on their page by the previous player. Once the player fill the page, continue the story for a few words on the next page, then hand the book off. The process repeats until each player has written in the book.

I was inspired by the sort of stream of consciousness-ness of Hugo Ball’s poetry which ultimately made no sense to the listener. I thought it would be interesting to replicate that concept but with the intention of making a somewhat comprehensible end product. These are the pages of the story I ended up with, from start to end.

Nico Ulloa Appropriation Post: Mute Trivia

My appropriation project was a trivia game in which the neither the host nor the audience where allowed to talk and the only way it was permitted to answer questions was using audio clips from the internet. The host would ask a question through a text-to-speech program (Google Translate) and the guests set off searching through the internet to find an audio clip stating the answer– however, they’re not supposed to find an audio clip of the answer itself but of someone saying the answer (e.g: “Who’s the owner of Tesla?” responded by a Rick and Morty clip saying “Elon Musk.”) Additionally, the guests are allowed to stitch together multiple audio clips to answer their question. When a guest is ready to answer they raise their hand, at which point the host selects them and nods or shakes their head to verify the answer.

The initial iteration of the game was simply having to answer with audio clips, but after a couple of rounds I decided to revise it to focus more on the audio since the conversation kept overriding it. As such, the mute part was introduced. The result was a surreal experience where multiple audio clips would overlap each other for about a minute until someone would raise their hand, the room would fall dead quiet, an audio clip would play, and then it would all happen again. It especially became strange when players would stitch together answers or when they’d answer wrong and the cacophony began again– the game felt like it had a strange rhythm. The resulting soundscape felt like something that would not be unusual presented next to Hugo Ball’s Karawane, if only a bit more coherent.

Exquisite Caption (Hastings)

My appropriation game has four players using four panel comic strips in a ‘New York Times’ caption contest/exquisite corpse mashup. The materials are simple: each player requires only a writing utensil, and comic strips are provided with the text blanked out. Each player begins with a single strip, filling in the missing text of the first panel with anything they want. The strips are then passed around the table and the process is repeated four times at which point the strips will be complete with text.

The game draws heavy inspiration of course from exquisite corpse–although each player is able to see all of the panels and what has already been written, the prompt was naturally open-ended enough to create a similar feeling of freedom and creative liberty. I felt that allowing players to work with this continuity was an integral part of creating the experience I was after; some of my favorite strips produced in playtesting are displayed in this post. However, in true exquisite corpsian fashion the setup certainly didn’t deter some truly baffling strips more akin to Hugo Ball’s nonsense poetry than anything else.

After reading ‘The Well-Played Game’, I was also determined going into this project to rethink the competitive experience I was creating. It was hugely important to me that this game played in more of a couch co-op style where elements of challenge still exist, but the players are in direct collaboration in facing those challenges together. There is no winner, only a series of funny strips everyone was involved in creating.

I manufactured the blank strips by photocopying them out of treasury compilations, and later editing them digitally to remove the text. In the first iteration of the game, they were all from ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ (a personal favorite), but the game was later expanded to include strips from other treasuries I had on hand: ‘Peanuts’, ‘Pearls Before Swine’, and ‘The Adventures of Tintin’.

The inclusion of ‘Tintin’ was based on a recommendation by our guest playtester, who suggested I appropriate potentially controversial material in order to transform it–notorious for problematic representations of people of color, ‘Tintin’ seemed like a good choice to test this out. It raised some eyebrows in playtesting, but didn’t have a significant enough impact to warrant keeping it in the final game.


Appropriation – Amaël de Betak



My appropriation project came from the idea of making people create collaborative music using something that was not initially made to make music. I decided to appropriate a skateboard as the instrument as one of our guest speakers was telling us about his work which was all based around his habit of collecting toys. He took a look at Dylan’s longboard and started talking about the fact that the way he made art could be used for any hobby and used the skateboard example. Having tried to learn skateboarding since joining Northeastern and having already produced works using that aesthetic in 2D Fundamentals, I decided to try and use it for this project.

Another reason for the choice of the skateboard is that many people who do not skateboard themselves see it as an act of vandalism which tends to destroy the environment in which it is used. However, this is not the case, and skateboarding can even be considered as an act of appropriation in its self as it uses a pre-existing space and makes something new out of it by looking at it from a different angle.

My objective was to create procedural music through the use of a cadavre-exquis like approach where each participant would have to create a loop based on a metronome and the previous participant’s contribution using the skateboard. The previous loop acted as the end lines which are used in a cadavre-exquis to ensure coherence between the different parts.

My main inspiration from this piece was Duchamp’s The Fountain, as he uses an everyday object which many people would never associate with art and made one of the most recognizable pieces out of it. This idea of giving it a new life is linked to my own piece as the skateboard itself does not seem as though it could be used as an instrument, however, its different components all produce very varied sounds which could allow for diverse approaches when producing music with it.

I also took inspiration from the pieces Musical Chess and the Musical Tennis pieces as they also had this similar idea of creating music out of something which is not normally linked to it.

Overall, I was not entirely satisfied with the way in which the piece turned out as I came with the expectation that participants would use the different elements of the skateboard to create interesting sounds. However, they all took the same approach of using it as a percussion by knocking on the deck and scratching on its grip tape, even though I did show them the different possibilities prior to the recording.

Appropriation Piece: “Exquisite Build”

Exquisite Build

  1. At the start of each round, one player will draw a card. For the first round, the first player drawing the card will be the one who has built a Lego set most recently. The card will give the object being built as well as suggestions for the topics of the multiple building stages, these topics can be changed as each judge wishes. 
  2. The person drawing the card will act as the first judge. As the judge, they will tell the players the object being built and reveal the topic of the first building stage. 
  3. The first collection phase will then commence, moving to the right, each player will draw a card to see the number of pieces they get for their first building phase. The collection phase will be limited to 30 seconds.
  4. Once each player has completed their collection phase, the first building phase will begin, each player has 30 seconds to build the given topic.
  5. Once the 30 seconds are up, the second collection phase will begin and will follow the same rules as the first. This will be followed by a second build phase, a third collection phase, and a third build phase. Each build phase will increase by an increment of 15 seconds.
  6. After the third build phase, each player will present their build of the topic to the judge, who will then select their favorite. The favorite build goes on the baseplate, and the winner gets a point. The rest of the builds are then returned to the pile
  7. The card is then passed to the next judge (to the left), who will determine what the next topic will be. The same process then repeats. 
  8. A round is complete once all players have acted as the judge. Once the round is complete, everyone will take a moment to admire their finished work.
  9. At the start of the second round, the player sitting to the left of the first judge will pick the next card and act as the first judge for the second round.
  10. The game continues either until each player has acted as the starting judge, or the players don’t feel like playing anymore. 
  11. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins, and is crowned king of the exquisite build.
  12. (Optional rule): The final round is the modern art card, with which players are allowed to build whatever they want.

Artist’s Statement:

This piece was inspired heavily by the “Exquisite Corpse” piece, as well as games like Jackbox and Cards Against Humanity. During the appropriation show and tell, someone jokingly asked if Lego was a form of appropriation. Right when I heard that, I immediately latched onto the idea of using Legos as the appropriated material, but then came the question of what the game would actually be. In the past, Lego had a wave of Lego board games, and I wondered if I should do something akin to that, like a classic board game recreated in Lego, or something along those lines, however nothing really stuck for me. When I thought about my favorite games to play nowadays, I love games like Cards Against Humanity or some of the Jackbox games, where the players are all given one prompt, and each gives a unique response to be judged by the other players or another player. In particular, I really latched onto the idea of one player being a judge, and the rest building something to impress them. In addition, the Jackbox game, Civic Doodle (itself a sort of appropriation of the exquisite corpse formula) was a source of inspiration, as two players were pitted against each other to draw a subject, and then judged. The winner’s piece would then be amended by another two players, and that amendment would be judged, and so on and so on. My game sort of acts as a three dimensional version of Civic Doodle, as the players build upon the foundation set by the last round’s winner. While designing my game, I tried to draw from general concepts we’ve talked about in class, such as the transformation of an object’s purpose, collaborative creation, and creativity in the artistic method. In this game, players are forced to collaborate with each other as they build off of each other’s previous designs. In addition their piece selection and building time is limited, thus transforming the normal Lego building process, in which you are provided all the pieces you need and unlimited time to build the set you purchased into a competitive scramble to collect random pieces in order to build whatever you can in the given time. The Lego pieces act as the appropriated material despite being used as they usually are, as building blocks to make a model of something. Despite the Lego company encouraging creativity and collaboration, most Lego sets nowadays are designed to be built by one person following a given set of instructions. This game, though, uses the pieces to fulfill these values held closely by the Lego company, by encouraging the players to build more uniquely in order to win and contribute to the overall creation.


For this shortened round, the card pulled listed:
Object: Wall
Topics: Wall

The first topic for the build was a wall with holes.

Photo 1: Here we see the two players in the midst of their first collection phase, grasping at whatever pieces they can get before the time runs out.

Photo 2: In the midst of the second building phase, the players designs begin to take hold as they put together what they can with the pieces they’ve acquired.

Photo 3: The first build produced, an artistic wall packed with a variety of holes of different sizes and shapes. A design completely white due to the players wishes. This wall ultimately wins the first phase.

Photo 4: The other first build produced. A worth opponent, filled with a variety of colors and a non-functioning door piece. The player used the door as a barrier, without its traditional hinges, and with an eyeball as the door handle. Is this an appropriation piece in itself? Makes one wonder.

Photo 5: The second stage of the building of the wall. This time, the topic was to continue the trend of the winning wall, and to build a white wall. Here we see the two players in this second stage in the midst of their collection phase, searching for pieces.

Photo 6: The winning build produced in this second stage. The player decided to stack bricks of varying color but same size and shape upon each other. He argued that since all colors of light together make white, that’s what is happening here. Truly a compelling argument.

Photo 7: The other wall built in the second stage. Despite its small size, the wall consists entirely of white or clear pieces, to uphold the white aesthetic established by the first build.

Photo 8: The two walls, placed together on the baseplate to create the final product. An artistic wall with an interesting juxtaposition between their colors.


Photo 9: Fun for friends and family!


Just Draw – Appropriation Game

I originally intended for this game to be a single player experience, but after playtesting with an improvised multiplayer mode where each player would take a turn drawing, I realized that the multiplayer was the real source of fun for the game. There was a lot of emergent behavior I would never have seen in the single player game. The players began to play cooperatively and began helping each other out with their drawings. Some began to purposefully draw in a certain way as to help the other player with their next drawing. The game turned into this strange dialogue between the players as they were both helping each other turn the same thing into two different things. There were some other emergent behaviors that I didn’t expect for individual players. When I played the game, I drew very minimally to make the next drawing easier. Seeing others play, they added a lot more detail that I would’ve added. People became very attached to their drawings in a way that I didn’t necessarily intend. People overall seemed to want more control over their drawing, so I added the ability to move the camera and zoom in and out as well as undo drawings. 


For my appropriation game, the player is given a prompt to draw, which must be drawn by appropriating the previous player’s drawing. After the drawing is complete a new prompt is given to the next player. My original idea with this game was to somehow have the game mechanic be appropriation itself. In my pitch, the game mechanic was for the player to be able to explore their own creations that have been appropriated by the computer. I was inspired by a lot of the more theatrical Dada pieces, especially the earlier Zurich movement where the participation of the audience was a key part of the performance. In this game the player is key in the performance of appropriation. After making the game multiplayer, the form of appropriation transformed so that while the two players had the same object that they were appropriating, they were instructed to appropriate in two seemingly conflicting ways. With this game I saw the use of appropriation as a way to resolve these conflicts. When the players would need to turn a dog into a tree through only additional pencil strokes, there is an immediate conflict that arises. The message I wanted to send through this piece was that only through the act of appropriation by the player do they progress. Another interesting part of my game is scale. I was inspired by the use of scale as a tool for transformation such as the giant joystick or tiny hammer. I forced the player’s drawings to zoom out over time rather than just have them move along the screen.

Just Draw Zoom Out