Game Journal 1.3: Your Life As A Game

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In my previous game journal post I explored a game I hate to play, listed all the reasons I hated it, and then offered ways to fix the things I didn’t like.

Exercise 1.3

Today’s exercise challenges you to list 5 areas of your life that could be made into a game. Then give a small explanation of the game structure and rules that you’ve designed. So here it goes.

Area 1: Dorkie Yorkie

Every morning when I wake up I find myself in a mad rush to get all my things together and get out the door in time for work. The biggest obstacle I face isn’t always the traffic (although Northern VA has bumped up to the number 2 spot in the country) but my 8lb Yorkie who I affectionately call Steven Tyler. No matter what tricks I seem to pull, he never wants to come in from our fenced in back yard. He’s constantly chasing the fence line we share with a neighbors dog — barking madly of course — and runs away defiantly any time I try to catch him.

So this first game is called Dorkie Yorkie. You have a timer that’s running out in the corner of the screen and your job is to try and lure your dog back into the house before the timer runs out. You’ll have a side menu of items you can use to try and get the dog inside but depending on the weather, if the neighbors dog is outside, and how hungry/tired he is, he’ll respond to the different items to try to entice him with. The faster you can get him inside the more points you get which you can trade in for bigger and better items in your toolbox. Each time you successfully get him inside you advance to the next day aka the next level.

Area 2: Green, Green, Green Light

As I said earlier traffic in our area is a huge buzz kill. Northern Virginia and the Washington, DC area has been bumped up to the number 2 worst traffic in the US. I find the amount of time that I sit at red lights frustrating along with how long it takes the driver at the front of the light to actually GO once it turns green.

This game is called Green, Green, Green Light. It’s a timed racing type game mixed in with a bit of Simon Says. Your job is to get through as many consecutive green lights as you possibly can without running a red light. If you hit a red light you have to stop and wait for it to turn green again. If you run the red light you get a 30 second time penalty. Your goal is to get to your destination as quickly as you can and before the timer runs out. For each consecutive green light you make it through you get time bonuses. Hitting pedestrians, other cars, trash cans, and anything else will give you extra time penalties.

Area 3: Little Space

One of the things I like doing in my spare time is designing floor plans for my dream barn and office space. What I struggle with most is getting everything to fit into the size space that I can actually afford.

Little Space challenges your ability to efficiently and logically fit items into a small space. Think Tetris meets a birds eye view approach. Instead of blocks you have cubicles, conference rooms, barn stalls, bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, fireplaces, stairs, etc. The interior spaces, dimensions and sizes would change depending on the floor plan you’re attempting. All interior spaces could be rotated 90 degrees. Some buildings would have multiple floors which you could switch between to place interior items. The goal of this game being to get all of the interior spaces into the floor plan in a workable layout (ie you can access each interior space and no doors/windows are blocked by another interior space). As the levels progress the number of interior items you have to fit into the space grows the space gets smaller.

Area 4: Color Palette

Recently my mother has taken to learning watercolors. In her attempt to learn she’s asked me to try my hand at them as well. The task is a bit time consuming but relaxing as well. One of the things that always bugs me is how dirty the water gets when I switch paints.

Color Palette is a game that challenges you to match colors on the canvas while keeping your water that you use to clean your brush from turning a certain color. So it’s a bit of a two for one challenge. As you match colors on the canvas you get close to completing a picture on the canvas. When the picture is completely colored in you win the level. But you have to rinse your brush between each color you put on the canvas. Every time you clean your brush and match the color you’re not supposed to you get a strike. Three strikes and it’s a game over. With every three successful colors you add to the canvas you can choose to clean your water (or leave it the way it is). The challenge is to see how many pictures you can “paint” before you strike out.

Area 5: Conversation

I’m running out of ideas here so this one is my really reaching idea. So I spend a fair amount of time talking/emailing the members of my various games in a day which is the only way I can think to tie this one into my life as a game.

So Conversation is a multiplayer game that gives one person in the group a conversation topic and a direction in which to sway the other players about the conversation. They have 5 minutes to present their argument for or against the conversation topic. At the end of the 5 minutes everyone takes a vote for or against the argument. If they have the majority of votes they win a point, otherwise they loose a point. The game goes three rounds, with each player getting a chance to argue a conversation topic in each round. The person with the most points wins. If there’s a tie those members go head to head in a speed round until one person looses their argument.

Ehh, I know this last one is probably a bit of a stretch but it’s all I could come up with. It would probably need a lot of play testing to get conversation topics that could be swayed one way or another based solely on the presentation of the argument however if you could find enough of them it might be worth expanding upon this idea.

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