The making of the game.

Video by: Rocio Rayo

Rees Shad

Chapter Four explores the concept of Play, which up until that moment is politely skirted in the book. I introduce it in the context of imagination, in what we all found to be an imaginative way…. I describe it as the elephant in the room.
I love this group! Had Amara not been in the room, we never would have recognized the cultural disconnect involved in the metaphor. The strength of working with colleagues representative of the target audience for this project is an essential element of its methodology. What I had, at first, seen as a strong point in terms of usability analysis and editorial input of the document and projects, is now turning into true collective input, discussion, alteration, and affirmation. It is actually changing my outlook on my teaching pedagogy.
So often colleagues of mine have involved students by making them research assistants or even editors, and the project results are both successful and educational. By turning this project into a collective, however, with shared ownership, and exchange of vital experience and knowledge, we are breaking down intrusive hierarchy traditional to academia, and creating a wholly different bottom-up/top-down exchange in its place that is resulting in far more valuable outcomes.

Rees Shad

There is affirmation in the synchronicity surrounding us!
As we were hard at work today, brainstorming concepts of play for the board game, the gentleman who mows my lawn (Jonathan Nix) came to trim back the weeds and cut the grass around my house. I took a break and went out to chat with Jonathan [who] teaches middle school science. First thing out of his mouth – “Look out for the bees! There’s a nest in the lawn, and I just stirred ‘em up with the mower.”
The bees did not sting anyone, but were indeed swarming about the front of the house for several hours – wonderful affirmation of our concept.

“Who wants to play Backgammon?” Rees asked. Dylan and Rees look around expentently at the group. Elijah nods excitedly, Amara smiles good naturedly, Chris shrugs, and I want to run screaming into the woods, that however is subtext and instead I just look at them with my best I am trying to be a good sport face, and follow the guys as they make their way to the dining room.

Chris and Rees square off, while Dylan and Elijah square off. I am last to arrive and find myself the odd person out at the head of the table. As an after thought Dylan tells me I can play the next round. I shrug off his attempt to include me. I didn’t want to play some dumb game anyway, I think to myself. In my head I begin making all kinds of snarky remarks about stupid boys and their ridiculous need to turn everything into a pissing contest, including moving “stones” (making the quatations with my finger) around a cardboard board with triangles on it. I spend the next 20 minutes rolling my eyes, breathing as heavy as possible, and shaking my head. Because I am a expert multi-tasker I also am able to recognize that it takes strategy and certain skills to be able to win at Backgammon. However, I am still bored out of my mind. Finally, Elijah beats Dylan in the first game, and Rees suggests I play with Dylan. HELL NO I think. I don’t want anyone making a fool out of me, I already know I am not good at strategy games! I suggest Battleship instead, mainly cause I know it has more to do with chance than skill. I would rather everyone know I have bad luck, then no strategy skills.

It’s day one on our collaborative project and I feel we’re making good progress. In covering the first two chapters we’ve helped develop some pretty concrete ideas focusing on the “System of the Game”. With each individual inputting their thoughts and interpretations of the reading  it was really interesting to hear what others had to say. As a person that is interested in game design I find that the readings are more taken in and comprehended, than seen as a proof-reading exercise. However, with the occurrence of misunderstandings, it helps that the team can come together and thoroughly discuss the topic at hand. I’m looking forward to finishing this project and cannot wait until tomorrow. Until then, it’s game night.

Hey! Is this work or play?

– Richmond