Game Journal 1.4: Create A Game With A Passive Player

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In my last entry I created 5 games inspired by my every day life. This next exercise challenges you to start a game journal and design a new game every day. Since I’m already doing all the exercises from this book as my game journal I’m going to nix this exercise in favor of my own 🙂

Exercise 1.4

Create a game with a passive player. I guess the first thing I have to do is explain my definition of a passive player. A passive player cannot interact directly with the game, only indirectly. Direct interaction is anything the player does to change the state, status, movement, characters coordinates, or any other variables in the game. Therefore a passive player cannot use any sort of input device to interact with the game, including devices like the playstation Eye and the xbox Move.

Pinpoint

The game I came up with is called Pinpoint. It uses the GPS on your 3G phone. Aside from installing the game the player cannot interact with the game screen or any notification that’s displayed — not even to start/stop the game. The game runs as a background process so it’s always active when your phone is on.

As far as gameplay goes, think of trying to find a needle in a haystack. Each level in Pinpoint challenges you to find a location containing the object it’s looking for. For instance, level one asks you to find a certain brand of coffee. As you travel around during your normal day Pinpoint sends you “hot” and “cold” messages when you move closer to or further away from a location with the target item. When you reach a location with the target item you get a level up and can start looking for the next item. Pinpoint has two modes, easy and hard. In easy mode you’re told what the object is at the start of every level. In hard mode you’re never told what the object is until you find a location that has it.

There is no ultimate winner or looser in Pinpoint. A high score board–shown each time you find a new object–will keep you up to date as to where you rank against other Pinpoint players.

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