Exploring Choices

Live and Learn: Exploring choices

Jared Braun, Tung Vu, Matt Venezia, Joshua LaFrance

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Genre: 2D Catching Game, Casual, Tetris Style

Style: Emojis and Bright Colors

Audience: English speaking children of the United States who are in elementary school grades 2nd, 3rd, and 4th (ages 7 – 10). These children will also be exposed to standard anti-drug curriculums like D.A.R.E.

Entity Objective: To make 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders aware of the dangers and negative effects of opioids, on an appropriate grade level.

Primary Objective: Provide an entertaining yet educational game for our target audience that demonstrates (at an appropriate level of detail for the age group) the dangers and negative effects of choosing to use or associate with opioids. The game will leverage conditioning via repetitive sprites that are either “safe” or “dangerous” to touch. These simple rules of play will help students internalize the dangers of opioids using visual cues.

Why this objective? This objective directly satisfies the entity objective through the medium of a video game. Simple user input and feedback will enable the conditioning via repetitive sprites to be as effective as possible.

Introduction to Game: The game begins at a menu screen with “Play”, “Info”, and “Quit” buttons. The “Info” button is used to bring up a colorful UI that offers grade level appropriate reading materials with images that can be used to further dissuade students from using drugs. The “Play” button launches the game and begins a timed 60 second game session where the player must catch safe items (ice cream, toys, books, etc.) and avoid catching dangerous items (pill capsules, powders, needles, dangerous liquids, etc). At the end of the game session, a score report is provided.

Game Controls:
Mobile: Swiping left and right
PC: Left and right arrows
Consoles: Left joystick input

Score/Objective/Winning/Losing/Competition: The player wins and loses single game sessions only. If they collect too many dangerous items then they will end the game in a losing state. Alternatively, if they avoid collecting too many dangerous items then they win with a score determined by the number of safe items they had collected.

Interface/Information: The player’s mobile device is held vertically and the screen is divided (without indicators) into 4-6 lanes where items may fall. The falling items are all emoji style sprites. The player’s “health” indicator is an yellow, face emoji at the bottom of the screen. Its expression changes based on the number of dangerous items the player has caught.

Main User Mechanics/Actions: Collecting/Catching items. Dodging items. Swiping input controls. These mechanics are simple and allow the player to focus more on the visual pairing of safe and dangerous items.

Levels/Environment: Procedural / Random Generation / Chance-Based Spawning

Obstacles, Interactive Elements, Enemies, Collectibles, NPCs, etc: Safe collectable items: ice cream, toys, books, electronic games, board games, sport items, etc. Dangerous collectable items: pill capsules, powders, needles, dangerous liquids, tablets, etc.

Describe and Explain the unique ways in which the game idea meets the needs of the theme, entity, AND objective: The game mechanics are simple but compelling. This enables the player to spend their energy focusing on the mental processing and sorting of “safe” items and “dangerous” items. The children in our target audience will be able to see immediate visual feedback in their avatar’s emotional state when they catch dangerous items.

Sixty seconds of play: The game starts and a 60 second game timer counts down. A curated collection of “safe” and “unsafe” objects begin to fall from the top of the screen. The player must swipe their avatar emoji left or right to either catch or avoid falling items. Your player emoji will either start to smile if you don’t collide with opioids or it will start to look sad when you touch the falling opioids.

Specific Example: You hit the play button. The game start to rain items. Your character emoji starts with a neutral 😐 face. You see a pill bottle drop into a lane. Unfortunately you don’t dodge the falling item successfully so your emoji player turns sad 😞.  As soon as your emoji character collides with this item the emoji transitions. As you dodge other items such as falling pill capsules and catch safe items, your character starts to turn happy again. The actual length of the gameplay is a set timer (60 seconds), not when your character turns happy. This is to represent a simulated day in a person’s life. So when you play the game it’s trying to show you what your day can be like; either 😞 or 😄. After your “day” is over you get a review of what items you took in for the day. It shows the item and number of times you “obtained” that item. It also shows the day number.

Link to Similar Gameplay: Here – Fusion Galaxy

Link to Similar Art Style: Here

Assessment Values:

  1. Dangerous Item Collection Curve. We will track sequential game sessions individually and count how many “dangerous” items the player collected for each session. These values will then be translated into a graph where we can identify whether or not players are actively avoiding the items in-game. This information will tell us whether or not players are learning to avoid opioid substances.
  2. Information Exploration Times. We will track the amount of time per active application session that players spend viewing and reading the informational content under the “Info” menu. This information can be used to determine whether or not our players are actually displaying a learning interest in the material or simply playing the game for fun.
  3. Primed Dangerous Item Collection Curve. This statistic is very similar to assessment value number one. After a player shows an adequate drop in the collection of dangerous items, the game will spawn an excessive amount of dangerous items relative to safe items. From the moment of spawning these excess items, we will track how many the player catches until the game session ends. This will give us an idea of how much energy players are putting towards avoiding the dangerous items.
  4. Consecutive Game Sessions. We will track how many game sessions a player undergoes without closing the application. This will tell us whether or not the game is engaging enough to teach the underlying information to the audience.


Estimated length of time for development in 3 phases:
Timeline for Design/Mock-up [Phase 0]: 4 weeks
Timeline for Phase 1 Implementation [Proof of Concept]: 3-4 months
Timeline for Phase 2 Implementation [will be launched at the end]: 3-4 months

Team Size:
Phase 0 = 6 content experts [education, medical, outreach, opioid specific, game], 2 game designers [they will also need to create the visual mock-ups]
Phase 1 and 2 = 2 content experts [education and medical], 10-14 game team [producer, artists, programmers, designers, audio], a test team coordinator

Phase 0 = donation/volunteer/academic resources
Phase 1 = $50k + academic resources
Phase 2 = $50k + academic resources



Slash Demons

Jared Braun, Matt Venezia, Joshua LaFrance, Tung Vu

Genre: Hack and Slash

Style: God of War PS2 but just the Boss

Audience: Any patients with stress management issues that are suitable for this game (this should be determined by the therapist).

Primary Objective: To watch people’s stress levels in a controlled way. Then eventually calm them down. We want to calm down their high stress levels by bringing them to those high stress levels and then bringing them down.

Introduction to Game: The patient is introduced to the experience while being monitored by therapist. The start the game in the office on a desktop PC. Then we go to 60s of play.

Game Control: Walk with WASD, look around with mouse, attack with mouse buttons (3rd Person Control). Support for controllers too. The therapist will be able to drop health packs or powerups after the patient has successfully calmed down.

Score/Objective/Winning/Losing/Competition: There is no serious winning or losing conditions nor competition in his game. You “Win” when you successfully defeat the boss and work through all the high and low stress levels.

Interface/Information: A health and stamina bar in the top left. Boss health laid across the bottom of the screen. The player should be shown since its 3rd person

Main User Mechanics/Actions: Rolling to dodge, a light and heavy swing for attacking the boss.

Levels/Environment: A sprawling environment with ruins that the player may use as cover. The level should look dark and uncomfortable

Obstacles, Interactive Elements, Enemies, Collectibles, NPCs, etc: The main focus is the boss. The only other objects of the game are possible pickups dropped by the therapist, and environment pieces you can use as cover.

Describe and Explain the unique ways in which the game idea meets the needs of the theme, entity, AND objective: Well players that have stress management issues

Sixty seconds of play: You start at the gates of the enemy’s lair. You enter the boss room and the boss’s health bar fills up in an animation, showing its difficulty and rest points in the health bar. The first few minutes are spent dodging the boss’s attacks so that you have a better understanding of their attack patterns. You then attack the boss in its moments of weakness to deal damage. If you are not patient enough, or not aggressive enough you will find yourself being attacked and losing lots of health. You are at very low health when you attack the boss and it does just enough damage to trigger a dream state, where the game pauses, and you have time to work through your frustration with your therapist. Once the therapist gives the good to go he will unpause the game and you are back in the game with more health, or maybe a powerup that will make the battle a little easier. This is the main cycle of the game.

Specific Example: A giant squid tries to whip you out of the boss arena.

Link to Similar Gameplay: Here

Link to Similar Art Style: Here

Estimated number of Developers/Designers:
5 – 6 interns that are relatively experienced developers (just graduated from school)

Estimated length of time for development in 3 phases:
Pre – production: 2 weeks – prototypes, quick use of existing tools for third person games.
Alpha: 3 weeks – all the mechanics and features set in and agreed with the product manager
Production: Work fully to polish the game and bring to a playable state for consumers
Post Production: Support for bug fixing and making sure it helps people with anxiety

Estimated cost for software/hardware:
Temporary use of hardware and software, thus no cost for hardware / software!
Hardware: Relatively strong PC
Software: Unity 2017.3

Total War

Total War

Jared Braun, Matt Venezia, Joshua LaFrance, Tung Vu

Genre: Military Strategy / Management

Style: Top-Down

Audience: Males and females, aged 18+, proficient English speakers, with as much ethnic diversity as possible. This demographic will be able to provide the most effective and accurate analysis of translation pairs.

Primary Objective: Create a game that facilitates the creation of a large repository of translation pairs between complex phrases and their translations into simplified text that has been curated by human players.

Why this objective? Creating translation pairs will assist the requesting entity in their medical work. Crowdsourcing these translation also produces the most accurate “general consensus” of what a statement means. It will also save resources by outsourcing and gamifying the work.

Introduction to Game: The player will curate “recruits” attempting to their army by “filtering via aptitude”. For each recruit, the player is provided by the game with a randomized complex statement. This statement is passed on to the recruit who must then paraphrase the statement into a simplified version that translates well. The player is then left to determine if the recruit’s simplified statement accurately paraphrases the complex statement. If the player determines that the translation was effective, they may accept the recruit into their ranks as a “soldier” and grow their army. If the translation is determined to be poor, the recruit will be turned away and the player will be provided with more recruits to test. Soldiers are low-ranking members of the player’s army, and are worth 1 point. The goal of the game is to have the largest and most effective army (the most points). A leaderboards system will enable players to compare their armies against each other’s. In order to police players who may accept all recruits to grow their army at a rapid pace, other players may instigate “skirmishes” that involve analyzing randomly chosen soldiers (formerly recruits) from the opposing player’s army. If an opposition soldier’s translation is deemed proper, that soldier is promoted to a “warrior” and is valued at 2 points.  If an opposition soldier’s translation is deemed to be poor (suggesting the opposing player is not carefully vetting their forces), the analyzing player may “engage” them. This creates a query that is presented to third-party players for a final verdict. Third-party players are rewarded with gold (in-game currency) for participating in these arbitration events. The end result is a system that attempts to allow players to produce translations while using a set of checks and balances to protect the integrity of the results.

Game Control: The game is very simple to manage and control. The player uses their input device (mouse, touchpad, mobile device screen, etc.) to proceed through a user interface that presents them with each translation pair. Because this is a top-down strategy / management game, the controls can be limited to the basic actions of “select” and “deselect”. The majority of all input will involve the player pressing a button to perform an action. There will be very little game-world to explore and therefore the game will not require an advanced player locomotion control scheme.

Score/Objective/Winning/Losing/Competition: All player’s scores are quantified and compared using their total number of points. The game’s win-state is in constant flux. There is no end-all win-state. Remaining at the top of the leaderboards is the constant goal. Special events can be introduced to produce desired translations from players at the request of the entity. The same logic can be applied to the lose-state. Regarding competition, the game’s “skirmish” events are intended to be friendly tests of opposing forces and not a method of devaluing other player’s armies for benefit. All competition should live and die on the leaderboards.

Interface/Information: As described in the section, “Game Control”, the player interface is fairly simple and primarily involves selecting and deselecting various UI elements. There is very little game world to explore. From a top-down perspective, the camera is centered on the recruit that the player is currently interacting with.

Main User Mechanics/Actions: The main user mechanic is deciding, yes or no, if the recruit in question has provided a suitable translation to the player. The means of using this mechanic is the GUI. The result of this mechanic is a varying number of soldiers and points attributed to a player’s army.

Levels/Environment: The game has a single level/environment – the outside of recruit barracks at a training facility. At the player’s request, recruits will come out of the barracks one at a time to provide translations. The environment will experience time-of-day lighting shifts, but will otherwise remain static.

Obstacles, Interactive Elements, Enemies, Collectibles, NPCs, etc: Recruits are the primary interactive element. Other player’s analyzing your former recruit’s translations is an obstacle to increasing your army’s growth.

Describe and Explain the unique ways in which the game idea meets the needs of the theme, entity, AND objective: This game will not only provide simple translations to the entity, but it will manage these translations and vet them through other users. The game is only a context or shell designed to encourage the best and most translations possible.

Sixty seconds of play: The player is staring at a courtyard full of their soldiers, just walking around and animating (think people in roller coaster tycoon). On the side is a button with a small number representing the number of recruits awaiting approval. The player would then click on this button and a screen would popup with a little 2D image of the soldier. Next to the image would be speech bubble with the soldier’s simple description. On the right side of the screen if a scroll that contains the original description you gave the soldier. You then press one of two buttons, one that recruits to the army (strength), and one that recruits to farms (gold).

Link to Similar Gameplay: Roller Coaster Tycoon

Link to Similar Art Style: The Escapist

Estimated number of Developers/Designers:
Since the game relies on creating backend systems, we will need:
3 programmers, 2 designers, and 1 generalist artist

Intermediate to Industry Veteran level

Estimated length of time for development in 3 phases:
Pre – production: 2 weeks to 1 month
Alpha: 1 – 2 months
Production: 4 months
Post Production: 6 months

Estimated cost for software/hardware:
Temporary use of hardware and software, thus no cost for hardware / software!

Plan for post release:
Support the game with bug fixing and supply with additional content through using created tools in editor. No plans creating new mechanics.

Yunus Social Business Games

This week my team and I were tasked with drawing up some ideas for games that could be used by the social business group, Yunus Social Business Center. Below are the concepts we’ve come up with along with information about overall goal, budget, and time frame.

Entity: Yunus Social Business Center

Goal: Create a game for Yunus Social Business Center that is fun, fast and free to develop, encourages community engagement across the Game Hub, and incorporates themes relevant to social businesses (fighting hunger, saving the environment, etc.).

Audience: People interested in playing, crafting, and talking games – especially on the Game Hub.

Budget: None

Timeline: 3 months


Idea 1

Genre: Resource Management / Strategy

Style: High-fidelity 2D art

Gameplay: In this game, the player uses a simple UI to manage farms and grow the health of a local impoverished community. The player will go through various processes while managing farms. They must first trade their possessions for appropriate land (some plots are more suitable than others) and purchase seeds and livestock within an affordable limit. They will continue the game as an entrepreneur, reinvesting for growth and providing food for local villagers and increasing their health. This endless management game will function, in some respect, as an idle game similar to AdVenture Capitalist or Cookie Clicker, but with more agency for the player.


Idea 2

Genre: Resource Management / Strategy

Style:  Early 2000’s art style (RCT)

Gameplay: You would be given a goal on trying to grow the most trees. You are given a set of starters trees which have some starter growth. You spawn on a planet where the pollution hurts the player slowly over time and the only way to save yourself is to plant special trees. These trees off course absorb pollution. You can grow trees in your own base or garden. As you plant more trees the game knows that and the pollution gets more creative, can cause temporary blindness, natural disasters in your area, and maybe even audio enemies. The more you play the more you awarded by being able to plant better trees that get rid of pollution faster. Trees also need constant care with water and trimming to better its health which makes its pollution destruction more efficient for the player.


Idea 3

Genre: First Person food throwing game

Style: Realism

Gameplay: the biggest gameplay comp would be Arma 3. This is due to because we want to show the complexity of what it takes to get food to hungry people. The player plays as a food shooter where the player is given food in a pile and they have to throw it at people coming at the player who are hungry. You throw food at them to gain points. You can’t leave the spawn point. The game isn’t supposed to mock hungry people but show the delivery of food. In the beginning you can throw the food but as you play you are awarded different delivery technologies from catapults to carts to cars to drones. Aslo the hungry people aren’t always able to run to you, sometimes you have to run of them. Each level is randomly generated to promote difficulty and realism in the world. The over object is still the same! You have to deliver food to as much people as possible.

Frustration Graduate Study

Entity: Becker student working on thesis for frustration in games for Master Thesis

Goal:  Goal is to put the students in a frustrating position and then allow them to use coping mechanics to manage their feelings.

Audience: Children – young adults going to therapy to manage frustration.

Budget: $0 – Internship with no paid offer

Dev Timeline: From Summer – Fall 2018


Idea 1

Genre: Souls Genre

Style: Dark Souls

Gameplay: Offering relaxing mode in the middle of hard battle to reduce frustration. Similar to how ads work in mobile games. So when you enter the boss fight there is a stress build up since you know you are about to fight a powerful foe just like in real games. When the ultimate boss fight starts there would be visual health markers on the boss’s health bar, showing the player moments in the boss fight where the player can take a “break”. The designer would have to choose when to place the breaks. Breaks would be like “timeouts” in sports game where you get  a fixed amount of time to gather your thoughts and breathe and relax your mental state, so you can continue your fight.

Dark Souls High stress boss: Here


Idea 2

Genre: Platformer

Style: Trap Adventure 2

Gameplay: You have to climb out of a well put the world gives you false hope and nothing is as it seems. The player will have to learn the rules of the world through trial and error in this brutal platformer with traps and dangerous obstacles. The coping mechanic would be timed wings that allows player to fly up for a few seconds and then stop.

The Bottom of the Well: Here


Idea 3

Genre: FPS / Puzzle

Style: Portal, Stanley Parable

Gameplay: A first person puzzle game with a narrator whose lines are meant to insult/ frustrate the player when they make mistakes. They would be tasked with difficult or bizzare puzzles that would lead to experimenting with items and objects in the world, whenever you did something incorrectly the narrator would let you know, or if you were taking  a long time.

Comp: Getting Over it



My Collaborators:






Becker Law Program

This week my team and I were handed a list of ideas for serious games that would aid students studying for a law certificate from Becker College. Of the ideas we were given, we decided to flesh out one described as a “Rail Shooter” that would test knowledge of relevant law topics. Check out the details below!


Learning on Rails

Jared Braun, Matt Venezia,Joshua LaFrance, Tung Vu


Genre: Rail Shooter

Style: Low-poly 3D

Audience: This game is targeting students preparing to take the exam for the Becker College Law program. They will be able to play this game and study the material for their exam in an engaging way.

Primary Objective: Aid students studying for the Becker College Law Program by providing them with an engaging and effective tool for studying and retaining the material on their exams. By learning while having fun these students will be able to study for longer periods of time and retain more information. Learning while engaged is proven to boost knowledge retention, and our team is striving to create a game that is both educational and engaging.

Why this objective? We’ve chosen this objective because although there are many tried and true methods for studying and retaining information, many of these methods are boring, dry, or painstakingly low-energy. By teaching material through a high-stakes, high-energy game, we will engage learners and encourage them to retain information to a stronger degree as well as recall information faster.

Introduction to Game: Learning on Rails is a game where the player shoots at zombies in a 3D game world in order to stop them from damaging the player character. Each playthrough of the game is roughly 15 minutes in length and will feature one environment with several branching paths and pseudo-randomly chosen questions. The shooting mechanic is extremely simple with adjustable sensitivity and a practice environment to ensure that each learner’s game results are not dependent on this mechanic, but rather their knowledge of the source material. The player’s right and wrong answer counts are tracked based upon date and time, then stored in a “Personal Leaderboards” scene where they can view various charts and information that enable them to see their strengths and weaknesses.

Game Control: The player will be automatically moving to different positions in a 3D game world where enemies come at them. As enemies approach the player, a question will appear on screen accompanied by multiple answer choices. The player must shoot the correct answer choice before the enemy reaches them. The challenge is in the timing – every question has a time limit. This time limit reflects the fact that the certificate exam is timed.

Score/Objective/Winning/Losing/Competition: At the end of each game the player will receive a summary detailing their score and other variables such as response speed. Much of this data is stored in the “Personal Leaderboards” scene where players can compete against their previous scores and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

Interface/Information: The player’s mouse is a crosshair enabling the player to shoot the answers with accuracy. UI in the top-left corner of the screen indicates the number of questions answered correctly out of the total questions asked. A pause menu is available as well.

Main User Mechanics/Actions: The player will use the mouse to click on (shoot) the correct answer to each question asked. The only other mechanic is reading and deducing the proper answer.

Levels/Environment: This would take place in a villa (modern). The player begins in the master bedroom where zombies are first encountered invading the player’s home. The on-rails movement then begins as the player is handed a weapon.

Obstacles, Interactive Elements, Enemies, Collectibles, NPCs, etc: Zombies are enemies with varying levels of speed and health.

Describe and Explain the unique ways in which the game idea meets the needs of the theme, entity, AND objective: Our game meets our objective by allowing the student to study in a manner that is both fun and effective. Because it is a game with replayability students can take advantage of both Block Studying and Spaced Repetition (LINK). With these proven methods for both short and long term retention, players will be prepared for the test and beyond like an employer would expect. This also meets the Entity’s goal by improving retention in both the short and long term, and doing so in a way that matches the time limits imposed on by the test.

Sixty seconds of play: The player wakes up in their home and hears over a radio that all evacuation planes are leaving in X minutes (representing the time of the test). The game then stands the player out of bed and officially goes on rails. A zombie busts through the door, over his head is a question. “What amendment allows the right to bear arms.” on the left side of the zombie is two answers “The 5th”, “The 4th”, to the right of the zombie are two more “The 13th”, “The 2nd”. The player would then shoot the correct answer and you would see the zombie die, or take damage depending on the type of zombie (difficulty of the question). There would be a second npc with you that would kill the zombie if it got too close (player answered wrong), as to not put the player in danger and we wouldn’t have to worry about health or the player failing the game. This process would repeat until the player reached the end of the game.

Specific Example: The player spawns in the starting room. A zombie breaks down the door. The player is led toward a drawer where they grab a handgun. After grabbing the gun and turning to face the zombie, the player is prompted with a question. The possible answers are shown right below the question. The player would then point and click on the correct answer. If the answer was correct it gets marked down as correct, and if it was wrong it gets marked down as wrong. A correct answer slays the zombie while a wrong answer doesn’t hurt them at all. If the zombie reaches the player, the player loses.

Link to Similar Gameplay: Ninja Assault

Link to Similar Art Style: Ninja Gaiden

Estimated number of Developers/Designers:
3 programmers, 1 designer, 3 artists, 1 QA

Advanced college level

Estimated length of time for development in 3 phases:
Pre – production: 2 weeks
Alpha: 3 weeks
Production: 5 – 7 months (two semesters)
Post Production: 1 months

Estimated cost for software/hardware:
Temporary use of hardware and software, thus no cost for hardware / software!
Hardware – $0
Software – $0

Plan for post release:
Support the game’s stability and ensure that the quality matches the project’s objectives.


My Collaborators:






Swaying Voters

This week we were tasked with choosing an entity to concept serious games. My team and I decided to work with an entity whose goal is to inform and draw in voters in non-presidential elections. We developed some concepts of games that could be used to do just that.

Entity: Massachusetts Council for Voting Awareness

Goal: Make voters aware of WHEN elections are taking place and WHO is running in election (accompanied by their political stances/views)

Audience: Voting age men and women in MA

Budget: State agency funded $75k

Timeline: 1 year [grant renewable for up to 2 more years]


Idea 1 – TCG w/ Real Candidates

Genre: TCG, Serious Game

Style: Fantasy Realism (Elder Scrolls Legends)

Gameplay: Launch the game and choose a deck that represents a candidate. You start playing and face off against another candidate. There are similar cards in each deck but the details vary based on political views. The goal is to capture the most votes by the end of the game. By playing the game, players will learn about each candidates general political leaning and views.



Idea 2 – Guess Who (Charades Game w/ Real Candidates)

Genre: Matching Game

Style: Cartoonish

Gameplay: Each player takes on the role of a politician without knowing who they are. They must ask others for hints about who they are, and what political views they hold. Through the process they will learn about political candidates and their positions on various topics. The winner is the first person to correctly identify their candidate.



Idea 3 – Boats and Politics  

Genre: Social and Party game

Style: Low Poly-tics

Gameplay: The player would be on a boat and you would socialize with people. You are a rich and well connected party goer, so you get VIP access and you can connect and work with corrupt politicians. You would then have the power to connect politicians with others and see how the party changes. This will have the effect that the user will see how their power and defines effect the party. For example you can meet with a possible political runner who you will agree with politically so you would give your connections to. This would give that person more power with in party. So this will complete the goal by simulating the empowerment of voting through a virtual party where users give their power with their virtual connections instead of voting.

images (1)


My Collaborators:




Lights, Curtain, Action!

This week my friends and I began discussing the statistics behind theater attendance and young people. In short, younger people (under 25) are attending live theater very infrequently. With Netflix, Hulu, and all the other on-demand services available to viewers, it’s difficult to draw in younger audiences to live performances that require tickets and travel time/energy. But maybe video games can make a difference in this generational anomaly. Below, we’ve detailed a game that we believe could spark more interest in live theater. Check it out!


Lights, Curtain, Action!

Jared Braun, Matt Venezia,Joshua LaFrance, Tung Vu


Genre: Puzzle, Visual-Novel

Style: Comic Book, Hand Drawn, Bright Colors

Audience: Individuals with a pre-existing interest in theater, the arts, and/or gaming. Specifically, boys and girls ages 16 – 28 years old living in the United States with access to transportation and local theaters.

Primary Objective: Attract a new generation of lifelong theater attendees by blurring the line between theater, the arts, and gaming. By connecting technology and theater in a meaningful way, we aim to ignite interest in live performances.

Why this objective? Our target audience is very connected to their technology, especially video games and online social interaction. They also happen to be the demographic that shows the most apathy towards theater and live performances. By blending theater and gaming we will specifically appeal to this audience.

Introduction to Game: The player is provided with a series of still images in the style of a comic book and must place each image along a timeline. If the images are placed along the timeline correctly, a performance will be played for the player. If the player solves the puzzle quickly, he/she will be rewarded with a higher score than someone who solves the puzzle slowly. Better scores yield offers for discount theater tickets in the player’s geographical region. Advertisements for theatre performances will be incorporated into the gameplay as well.

Game Control:
The game primarily is controlled by drag n drop and clicking interaction with many of still images in order to complete a puzzle for creating a theater play.


  • If player successfully creates a play through solving the timeline puzzles, player gains in game scores.
  • Highest score can be achieved by completing a new puzzle under a certain timer.
  • If certain high score is gained, the game would offer ticket coupons, deals or discounts.
  • No losing condition is required.

Interface/Information: People would see the game as a drag and drop interface where they will scroll through still images of a play. The interface is similar to a book or a comics on the device. The information is minimal, and everything is depicted through images and visual cues. Puzzles are just part of images that are presented to the player.

Main User Mechanics/Actions:

  • Drag n drop to place images in a correct order in order of a theatrical play.
  • Create custom live puzzles and send it to other players to play.

Levels/Environment: The puzzles are based off actual theatrical events adapted into the comic book style. Levels can be custom built and ordered by the theaters to show events coming to those theaters in that season.

Obstacles, Interactive Elements, Enemies, Collectibles, NPCs, etc: The interactive element is the story itself. There are no enemies or collectables. The game only reacts to your decisions, based on what you chose to happen in the story. The NPC’s are the characters in the story fulfilling your theatrical wants for the plot. They “act” the way you directed them too from your choices.

Describe and Explain the unique ways in which your game idea meets the needs of the theme, entity, AND objective: Our game meets the need of the theme by being tied directly to theaters looking to increase attendance by our target demographic. We meet the goal of the entity by providing an easy to use tool for creating the plays and meeting the budget constraints. We meet the goal of the objective by getting players to play and enjoy the plays, by giving the player discount codes to the shows we will incentivize them to attend.

Sixty seconds of play: The player would pick a story they like (template) then they will drag and drop the images, which represent sections of the plot. They will then share this with the community.

Specific Example: The player would have a choices, just like a level selection but this time you have theatrical themes, romance, tragedy, comedy, etc. Once the player chooses that set up, the plot would start and proceed with an introduction to the characters. Whenever something important is happening or going to happen the player would direct the actions shown by the characters. For example, the player would drag an image from their bank of scenes into the missing comic panel that matches what will happen next based off previous and future panels.

Link to Similar Gameplay:  Danganronpa

Link to Similar Art Style: Comix Zone

Estimated number of Developers/Designers:
5 programmers, 4 – 6 artists and 2 designers

College level – Industry experts

Estimated length of time for development in 3 phases:
Pre – production: 2 weeks
Alpha: 1 month
Production: 6 months
Post Production: life long depending on the game’s performance

Estimated cost for software/hardware:
Hardware – $20,000 min
Software – $15,000 min

Plan for post release:
Support the game through working with theaters to keep putting latest offers and deals for customers. Create content to keep players engaged. Expand the team with more artists and real life theater performers to consult and help supporting the game.

My Collaborators:




Successful Advergame

In 1996, a Windows game called “What’s in the Center of Cocoa Puffs?” was released in order to attract consumers and sell more cereal. The game starred Sonny, the cereal brand’s mascot, and the player used a giant slingshot to shoot Cocoa Puffs across a cavern and into a white cereal bowl on the other side. The concept was very simple but did its job very well. This game created a memorable experience with the brands mascot and the brands product. Also, what kid doesn’t want to slingshot their cereal around?

If this game was released today, their would need to be many changes. First of all, the visual fidelity would need to be improved. The game platform would also need to be shifted from Windows to mobile phones where the casual gaming market dominates. The game could even be played on Facebook. The “juiciness” of the game would need to be improved, and some form of experience would likely give the game some legs. Multiple locations/levels to play within would draw out play sessions as well.

Gameplay here.

Theater and Games

This week my friends and I discussed game concepts that could be used in a serious fashion to encourage young people to attend live theater at a higher rate than they currently do. We feel that blending gaming and theater can have a big impact on theater attendance. Our concepts are aimed specifically at people with preexisting interest in the arts and gaming.

Idea 1 – Piece Together the Play

Genre: Puzzle, Visual Novel

Style: Comic-book, hand-drawn, bright colors

Gameplay: The player is provided with a series of still images in the style of a comic book and must place each image along a timeline. If the images are placed along the timeline correctly, the performance will be played for the player. If the player solves the puzzle quickly, he/she will be rewarded with a higher score than someone who solves the puzzle slowly. Better scores yield offers for discount theater tickets in the player’s geographical region. Advertisements for theater performances will be incorporated into the gameplay.

Idea 2 – VR Interactive Theater Simulation

Genre: VR Simulation

Style: Realism, narrative-heavy

Gameplay: This game will place the player into a detailed VR simulation of an interactive theater performance. Interactive theater performances take the audience from the velvet covered chairs and onto the stage (so to speak). Many interactive theater performances use multiple floors of a building and permit the viewer to walk around freely. The result is an experience that yields an acute understanding of one character’s involvement in the narrative, or a broad understanding of the overarching narrative. In VR, a simulation could provide the player a comparable experience to being at a live interactive theater, and could be used to create cliffhangers in narratives that draw audiences to live performances.

Idea 3 – Theater Tycoon

Genre: Construction and Management, Strategy

Style: 2-D, high-res art

Gameplay: Similar to Roller Coaster Tycoon, Game Dev Tycoon, or any other “Tycoon” game, this game would put the player in the shoes of a theater owner. The player would need to hire talent, approve performances, market and establish audience outreach, and avoid running out of business. The game would involve resource management as well.








My Collaborators: