Game a Week: Week 17



This week’s game was a result of Train Jam, which was the jam on a train that I had been planning for the last few months. The theme of the jam (which I picked) was the word “Disconnected”. As I was the one running Train Jam, I didn’t actually think I would have the time to complete a game – however, I was pleasantly surprised to have a few spare moments on day 2 to work on something of my own.

Once I had a chance to sit down and think about the theme, my mind wandered back to an old episode of ER. On this particular episode, a woman came into the hospital after having suffered a debilitating stroke. The perspective would constantly switch back and forth from us, as the audience, being able to hear her thoughts – to hearing what the doctors heard. In her mind, the woman was expressing herself in a very clear and easy-to-understand manner to each and every doctor – providing her name and medical history. However, from the doctors’ perspective, she was merely mumbling and speaking gibberish.

From that point on, I was fascinated/terrified of the thought that some day your body and mind could be completely separate. Even something as simple as growing older, you find that actions which used to come naturally are now a struggle, and many things you used to understand are completely beyond you.  It’s an inevitable part of life, and it’s a pretty scary thought.

So, I took that idea and created a game. In this game, you slowly lose abilities until you ultimately have to completely disconnect from life.

What went right

I was able to make a game this week! With Train Jam finally happening and GDC starting, I was pretty sure I was going to fail this week. I wanted to focus my efforts on Train Jam, so for the first time in quite a while, I consciously decided to push Game a Week aside. The fact that I was able to sit down and create something was a nice little boost to an already AMAZING week.

What went wrong

Not a lot – I didn’t actually have much time to screw up the game this week! I only really had about 12 free house to complete this, and I’m pretty proud of how it turned out.

What I learned

I started off placing this in the “what went wrong” section, but after writing it all up, it felt very wrong to have it there. I created my first “not a game” this week. Though there have been games in the previous weeks that didn’t quite make it to game status (i.e. they were just completely unplayable in a mechanics sense), this is the first time I created something intended to be an experience instead of a “game”. I use all of these terms lightly, because who am I to determine what is and isn’t a game, but this was definitely the first time that I didn’t focus on scores or winning or losing or any of the typical features that I do when creating a game. It was interesting to focus on the story and experience instead of the win state and lose state, and I hope to be able to do something like this again.

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