Link to the actual:
There has been always a traditional imagination to what a game meant, or looked liked, or even portrayed to me. But here, in this course, a digital narrative game introduced me to another concept: one that rejects the rigidity of playing; one that spurs the notion of exclusion; and one that spreads the vibes of happiness. It is crucial therefore to understand that nothing is infallible, so I made mistakes in my first draft of my game, and in this blog post, I will initiate and suggest the alternatives.
Responding to feedback
Before I delve into the feedback, let me provide a brief context about the game. The game was a shared project between myself and a colleague (Ali Ashraf), and it was divided into two tracks: the first branched out to portray the life of a visually impaired student. That is, we selected some of the situations that happen to visually impaired people on a daily bases, and we crafted scenarios for the players to choose from. By going deeply through the scenarios, the player is sparked with emotions as a result of what they mean or their profound consequences on visually impaired people. The second track, however, envisaged visual impairment from the sighted person’s perspective. Through other different scenarios, our experiences are reshaped by these sighted viewpoints.
As for the feedback itself, in fact, they were done in two cycles: the first was prototyping; and the second is in phase four, where we received actual feedback in class. The problem of our game was the long stories (with little emphasis on details and explanations). Therefore, if I would reiterate the process I would do the following:
- I would have composed three stories e.g. the academic life of the visually impaired, the personal engagements, and streets.
By focusing only on one story, the player would encounter scenarios and sub options relevant only to the chosen story. Then, after finishing the story, the player would have the option to continue playing (choosing another story). In my point of view, this would make the game seamless, more focused, and exciting at the same time, as the player would develop an interest to explore the other situations.
- Similar to the Home Visit Game (the abusive husband)
I think it would have been better to do this game in a form of video interactive narrative i.e. the scenarios representing the visually impaired would be photographed.
The sighted track also would seem more gamy if we included more videos or gifs. Overall, in my opinion, a combination of different media (photos, videos, gifs, and text) would add value to the imagination of the player.
- Using a podcast at the end of the game
For better awareness, I believe if I had recorded a podcast myself explaining the challenges we face on a daily bases, it would have added value to the game, explaining the purpose behind all the scenarios and complementing the options that the players chose.
Development of the game
When we firstly created an early draft, it was full of mistakes e.g. wordiness, lack of details, or vague explanations. However, we sought to develop the game, so it comes out in a better version. What we did for improvement is that we included new stories, divided them into scenarios, and availed lots of options for the players. In the sighted track, we deeply thought about what people might have in mind about visual impairment, then, we devised these situations in a form of story telling. Meanwhile, we collected some experiences from the people around us (friends and family)about their perceptions, too. We wanted to produce a product that is realistic (less exaggerating). we wanted our game to appear funny but informative. We wanted people to feel included, so we used visuals to add to the seriousness of the game. We represented real life situations, that is when we included the “Cash reader” example. What I would say would be briefly stated in one word: success. We had a fragmented game at first, but over time, it witnessed development; thanks to the mosaic of my experience as well as Ali’s.
Learning from what we’re doing
One of my main goals in any journey I embark on is to collect some learning outcomes. This game is no exception; definitely, it has been a fruitful journey. I, undoubtably, can tell that I learnt to be concise. Any scenario that needed elaboration also had to be said in a few words. In addition, while making this game, I learnt to put myself in the shoes of readers because they often have little expertise about the topic. Finally, this game enhanced my personality; I became aware of my capabilities. I also became more attentive to details. The game enabled me to set a clear goal, mission, and objective. In brief, I would say that all the academic courses, especially the ones having community based learning, should adopt similar types of projects e.g. a game, a business model, or a narrative story to be directed to the community. It is for the reason that this would hugely contribute to the pedagogy of proper learning.
** Comments are welcomed**
If you also have any question about this reflection, feel free to ask.