AlDeco: the one Button ecosystem management sim

AlDeco is a 3-D real-time management game Built-in the unity engine, where the
player is put into a godlike perspective, and given the task to keep a balance
in the fragile ecosystem of the games world. This is done by dropping a creature
into the environment known as the AlDeco. The goal is to make sure the AlDeco
presence is not too overwhelming to the health of the ecosystem.


Ten Ten

In this 8-bit game, a single player controls two agents.

Zen Hero

video link

In the game Zen Hero, the player must try to get the highest score possible by matching the colors on the Hexagon during the triggered collisions or trigger each collision 10 times  in order to become a zen master. Each game lasts 04′:33″.

Zen Hero deals with the issues of control in a system. it is about the lack of control in nature and the feedback we generate to influence other aspects in nature.  When the user connects his/her body by placing their hand on two distinctive body sensors( pulserate monitor, biofeedback monitor),  the user is forced to control the game through the bodies reaction to stress in both the real world and the virtual(the game).  One example of a possible stress trigger could be, when say another person interacts with the user, a new feedback chain is created and both the user/player and the other person/people are involved in game via the users stress levels. the game itself turns into a battle of control within the body , the realworld and the video game. the concept of this project was in both response to guitar hero type games and the piece “4’33″” by John Cage. the sound piece “4’33″” is completely silent. john cage in an interview talks about how silence is like listening traffic in new york city in the middle of  timesquare, it is constantly changing and is uncontrollable chaos. the hexagon shape is like a car and is controlled by two forms of stress monitors. in guitar hero all of the songs and notes are preset, the user has no other effect on the game which is not predetermined.  In Zen Hero the notes are  determined by the amount of control by the body and are truly random .   In someways I want people to respond to the game in the same manner they would to a glitch or a failure.  In Zen Hero  the failure which frustrates them is actually the uncontrollable human element which the user has imposed on the game.  as  nature is chaos and the computer does only as it is programmed. the user interacts with the game, as the user also responds to his/her atmsophere.  There are also some obvious nods to the ideas of zen which stereotypically involve sit down  meditation,iconography(the I-ching and ying/yang), nihilism(and other philosophies), and the sounds of silence and singing bowls.

the  interface enclosure houses
2 arduinos, one which is used as a pulserate monitor and one which is a biofeedback generator.
1 hacked USB gamepad
1 10 watt amplifier
1 6 inch speaker
1 laptop


Click the image below for gameplay footage!


In this game you are a small creature trying to escape an old house (or maybe you are just exploring it). There is a certain number of objects to collect around this house. In order to reach some of these objects and to advance onto other areas of the house, you can use your ability to climb on harsh lights.

When the room lights are on, sunlight is drowned out and is not climbable. But when the house lights are off (there are light switches you can use), you are able to “walk on sunshine”. When you collect the required amount of objects, time passes and it is already sunset. This allows you to access other areas of the house and ultimately lead you outside.

Still not sure what “you”, the player, is supposed to be. But I kind of like the mystery of that. Perhaps in a more finished version in the future I’ll leave hints but never fully reveal the answer. As well as why you’re collecting these strange orbs in this abandoned house.

Supermodern Labyrinth

A dynamic puzzle game referencing supermodernism and nonspaces.

Photos in game:

Link to game:







Reading Response

Flanagan, Dragona, Penny.

I want to respond briefly to the combination of media theory, serious play, critical play, and relational aesthetics as a way of examining parallels between games and life. This is a thread common throughout these three readings. I’ll start with the section titled, “Why Doesn’t the Army Teach Acting.” From this section: “If training in simulated worlds is productive of real-world skills, then why don’t actors who play serial killers go on to be serial killers.” This relates to the magic circle and the idea that you are aware of your willful suspension of disbelief when you engage in the parameters and rules of a game. First of all, the army does teach acting. The difference is affirmation.

When soldiers engage in their drills and simulations, they are being affirmed by their directors to believe in the reality of their actions. Many actors for film have difficulty coping with the roles they are performing, even though their friends and collaborators in their regular lives usually do not actively try to reinforce the reality of the performed roles. Heith Ledger, playing the role of The Joker, expressed in interviews that he was feeling very depressed because of the role and having difficulty sleeping at night. Some people correlate “Joker”-related depression to his death by overdosing on anti-depressant/muscle relaxant drugs. Good actors take their roles very seriously, and it might be very difficult for an actor to play a long series of roles as drug addicts, killers, and mentally deranged characters without having side affects.

People play games and consume other simulation-related media (novels, television, cinema, facebook) specifically because they are moved by them in some way. I am well aware of the boundaries between my imagination and reality, but that doesn’t mean that one is more significant in the shaping of my personality than the other. A lot of things factor into underlying assumptions that I (and everyone else) has. I would say that my parents, teachers, and friends are the most significant factor reinforcing my perceived reality, but goddammit I am also SO MENTALLY PREPARED FOR THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE and that certainly didn’t come from real world factors.

I am very much against the alarmist media figures who claim that games somehow affect people more than, say, film, music, television, your parents, etc. No sane person with a stable home life is going to play Modern Warfare for a while and then go out and shoot people. They are going to gain a pretty unrealistic idea of the concept of “terrorist,” but that is reinforced by every media outlet in our country.

On a tangent, that relational aesthetics soba game was a utopianist multiculturalist fantasy game which completely ignores race studies, postcolonial theory, and identity politics and probably had less real world consequences than Halo.

Games are for reals. I’ll leave it at that.

Reading Responses

Dragona and Mary Flanagan both talk about the connotations behind making critical games. There’s a fear that a Game takes “light” to it’s subject. However I want to consider the game in recent development: Bioshock Infinite. Bioshock Infinite is about a xenophobic flying city utopia filled with Aryans. Imigration and Rascism are both current issues that have never been purged. Somehow I feel that since Bioshock is a mass commercial game, it can aprouch people without a preachy tone. And that Biochock can also reach people who may be slightly xenophobic and somehow change thier opinion, since it comes without the preachiness.  And that since it’s a game it can entertain people, while having a political effect on the side. And somehow since it doesn’t work like a movie where it’s linear the explorative manner allows us to agree with the game more. (hmm I’ll need to think about how to articulate this better, but I think you know what I mean)
Simon Penny talks about how simulation effects us. This raises a question Chris Reilly, the Art Games Mod professor has brought about but vaguely answered.
The question is the paradox of game designers. On one hand, if you ask a game designer whether or not a violent game affects a person more, he would say no more than a Television does. If you ask the same game designer why he choses to make games, he will instead say that games can more sucessfully affect us because we are performing the actions. Isn’t that hypocritical?

Dragona & Flanagan response

Mary Flanagan notes that game designers are often made to “answer for the effects of their serious game on larger communities far more frequently than, say a documentary filmmaker … [They] face the additional possible appraisal of making light of the ‘real world’ issues they intend to bring into conversation.” I think this is interesting in comparison to Daphne Dragona’s statement that “Play’s openness, unprredictability and uncertainty can change the common norms and allow more room for communication.” I think that what both writers are identifying is the way games and play give us a space in which our accepted morals or ideologies do not hold true and in fact can be totally invalidated. This is powerful because it gives us a space to imagine what Deleuze called “possible worlds”; but it’s also quite threatening to the part of us that is really entrenched in our morals and ideologies. I think that’s why games are often accused of “making light” — we’re understandably suspicious about the ease with which our morals and ideologies can be inverted. But, as both of these writers point out, there is real revolutionary potential there and we will be better off for approaching it with open minds & the explicit goals of engagement, creativity, collaboration and critique.

Gregory Weir’s game I Fell in Love With the Majesty of Colors (flash) is what Janet Murray called a “replay story” — the player can try out different things to lead the narrative in different directions and explore a narrative possibility space. The actions and consequences this game makes available are pretty clear, morally, but because the player is encouraged to repeat the game and explore all these different variants it doesn’t end up being either didactic or profane. Instead, I think its impact is to encourage empathy; which Mary Flanagan identified as one of the major goals of activist games (this is certainly not an activist game, but encouraging empathy is not the exclusive domain of activism).

Kinect hacked.