Games of my genre December 13, 2015 14:31

Interactive Portraits of Life

Some years ago when I was demonstrating my new game Paradice at the GAMA Game Convention in Las Vegas, I was approached by two ladies from Mensa. They had been part of the Mensa team that had reviewed new games for the Mensa awards that year to which I had submitted my game Paradice. They had voted Paradice “game of the year”, and although many of the Mensa judges didn’t like it because of its environmental message, they said many agreed that it was a new sort of game - a phenomenon that is a very rare occurrence in the game industry. It was the novelty of my approach to game design that had prompted them to seek me out in Las Vegas. They wanted to know how I had developed Paradice’s unique and compelling structure without overtly referring to past games.

I simply replied that I am an artist whose interest in portraying the appearance of things had expanded to not only exploring the situations that lead to appearances of things and situations , but also to offering an entertaining frameworks for others to do the same. As a result my art has become more and more interactive, my subject matter had become the serious stuff of life, and over a period of years the card game and board replaced canvas as my medium.

However, not piggy backing on a well-known game format sets a game apart not only in a good way but also in a bad way. Its very nice to get respect for one’s novel approach, but the down side is that most people have little or no interest or time to learn a new way of interacting in a game. Many glaze over when presented with a rule sheet, or try to hack their way into a game as they would a video game.

In response to this, I limit the illustrated rules of a game to one and a half sheets of 8.5” X 11” paper at most, which they share with the story from life which the game invites you to explore and experience. Furthermore, I will be posting animations of the rules sheet diagrams currently accompanying each game, with a voice over both explaining the rule/move and the its metaphorical meaning in the game. I would like to think that watching a game and it's story unfold together will teach and inspire you at the same time.

I call my games “Interactive Portraits of life” and present them as "Consumer Products for the Soul".