Pervasive Game Design – The Story Inventor

By Laurens, Ecem, & Lotte

Pervasive games involve game designs that break with the traditional view of gaming to be solely related to the ‘virtual’. The bounds of traditional gaming devices are broken and reality is intertwined with the reality of the game (Mäyrä 146). This means that virtual space and reality are hybrid. According to Walther (2005), it implies the construction and enacting of augmented and embedded game worlds that reside on the threshold between tangible and immaterial space. Players move from their PC to the real world. Only in the last two decades pervasive games with virtual and real elements have become popular. Some examples of these games are AR Quake, Can You See Me Now?, and Human Pacman. However, games that incorporate pervasive playing in the real world (such as treasure hunts, killers and puzzle quests) have existed for a much longer time. In this assignment, the task is to design a pervasive game in which the ordinary of reality is turned into a game. It is developed on paper, and doesn’t involve digital technology, but nevertheless it aims to get a good understanding of how the real world can be physically used by digital game designers.

We developed a game that is quite similar to drawing a creature on a paper with three divisions, where three separate drawers compose one figure but cannot see the drawings of the others. What we did was the following; we made a story with 19 gaps. Players operate as ‘story inventors’ and need to ask random people to fill out these spots; these people could not see the story, but next to each of these gaps there is a clear indication to what should be filled in: a name, sentence etc. First the player asks a person to pick a number between 1 and 5 and this number stands for how many gaps can be filled in with the aid of this particular person. The player mentions the indications next to the gaps and the random person has to come up with something creative that satisfies the indication. The goal of the player is to ask people to think out of the box and fill out something unusual. This leads to very diverse creations of narrative. The funniest story wins!

We played this game with a variety of groups (groups of family members, and house mates) and made a video in which one player tries to fill the gaps of his story at the AUC academic building.

We used the following story as the main frame through which many stories could be invented. As an example, one filled out story is also presented below.

Once upon a time there lived a

 

 _______________(creature)

 

 named______________(male first name:A),

 

who always dreamed of _____________(dream).

 

One summer evening when A was trying to go to sleep, he was bothered by

 

______________(name:B), because

 

 ____________________________________(reason for bothering someone).

 

The only way A could go to sleep was to

 

____________________________________(relaxing activity).

 

He kept his favorite

 

 _________________________________________(object)

 

 very closely to him and tried to

_________________________(verb: hostile activity)

 

 B away.

As he lay there in bed with his eyes closed, he began to daydream about

 

______________________________________________(daydream).

 

A called out to B,

“______________________________________(famous quote)”.

 

B called back,  “Come out of your bed, it is only 10pm and you still need to

 

_______________________________________(daily routine).”

 

A very much needed his sleep, because the next day

 

 ________________________________(famous person: C)

 

would come to his town,

 

__________________________(city or town).

 

A really wanted a

 __________________________(strange object)

 

from C,

and wanted to ask

 

____________________________(question to random person).

 

However, when B started

 

____________________________(gerund: activity)

 

A immediately jumped out of his bed, and after doing the (daily routine) played

 

_______________________________(your favourite game).

 

The next day A overslept and after he died because of

 

__________________________________(activity),

 

he had never been able to declare his

 

 ________________________________(emotion)

 to C.

 

 

Another example of a result:

6 string mates Lotte:

Once upon a time there lived a gnome named Bert, who always dreamed of failing exams. One summer evening when Bert was trying to go to sleep, he was bothered by Arnold, because he looked at him. The only way Bert could go to sleep was to meditate. He kept his favorite wine bottle very closely to him and tried to scold Arnold away. As he lay there in bed with his eyes closed, he began to daydream about being with his girlfriend. Bert called out to Arnold, “I have a dream”. Arnold called back,  “Come out of your bed, it is only 10pm and you still need to fix your bike. Bert very much needed his sleep, because the next day Michael Jackson would come to his town, The Efteling. Bert really wanted a dead rabbit from Michael Jackson, and wanted to ask “Where can I find a toilet here?”. However, when Arnold started reading Bert immediately jumped out of his bed, and after fixing his bike played Guess who?. The next day Bert overslept and after he died because of practicing ballet he had never been able to declare his love to Michael Jackson.

Works cited

Walther, B. K. “Atomic Actions – Molecular Experience: Theory of Pervasive Gaming.” Computers in Entertainment 3.3 (2005): July. Print.

Mäyrä, Frans. An Introduction to Game Studies: Games in Culture. London: SAGE Publications, 2008. Print.

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