Idea: I took a brief hiatus from my own “game a week” challenge to focus on my current summer project: moving from Maryland, where I’ve lived most my life, to my new job at the University of Central Florida. One of the toughest parts of this transition has been sorting through thirty years of accumulated gifts, books, clothes, and other physical remnants of life that are at times difficult to part with. As I’ve been deciding what to keep and what to donate, I watched the documentary Tiny, which captures the psychological appeal of an uncluttered life.
What Went Right: I translated the concept of packing to a simple drop and catch game. I wanted to continue experimenting with the aesthetic I tried in my last game, Paper Pusher, but this time I used only photos I took during my own move. The wall tile, bin, and falling items are all as documented along the way. Originally, I wanted to take a picture of everything I was getting rid of, but I quickly realized this was impossible to scale–the final set of images is a smaller grouping than I envisioned, but still evocative of the whole.
What Went Wrong: I wanted to use the mechanics of this game to communicate the challenges that “stuff” presents to us. You score points for saving things, but each item grabbed comes at a cost to your ability to move forward: the bin expands in size and loses speed, until eventually you are so weighted down that you can no longer move at all. I like the start of this procedural representation, but I don’t think it goes far enough in relating to the emotional connection we (particularly as Americans) are encouraged to feel to belongings .
What I Learned: I missed working on these experiments! Translating life into play is important for getting through my work.