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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Joy

    - staff

  • Aaron Yip, Student at Georgia Institute of Technology, Our Song

    Imagine a free-roaming and free-running with the city as your playground as your favorite adventuring playlist thumps in your ears. Your soulmate is holding your hand, as you two dance through the city. You can play tag across the rooftops to the backdrop of a sun set. You can spray graffiti under bridges, run from the police, and help each other scale skyscrapers. Or you can just sit on a grassy knoll and count cars. Viva la modern bohemian.

    Intertwined Controls:
    Our Song is cooperatively controlled through a single keyboard, and keys are mapped to intertwine the players. This bonding is to integrate the playing experience with the gaming experience -- extending the players' relationship into the virtual world.

    Musical Metagame:
    Our Song takes in a playlist of 4 songs (roughly 15-25 minutes) from the players' music library, and each session is a playthrough of this playlist while adventuring through the city. When the playlist ends, the player characters return home to rest.

    What's interesting is that the players, through making their playlist, will be facilitating the mood/pacing/gameplay. If it's a great day to vent, then put on some raging songs and play accordingly. If the day is meant to chill, tune in some mellow music. Then they can use the music to feature their playing goals or even guide their actions.

    Liberty City:
    Without rampant murders and superhuman abilities, the urban playground of Our Song remains faithfully reminiscent of the real world (perhaps, though, from dreamy teenage lens). While "superhero" games emphasize the excitement of exaggerated feats, those powers undermine enjoying little things (rule #32); what happened to swings or twinkies? What did we do before the gangster apocalypse down a road of achievement checkpoints?

    This game encourages a rediscovering of worldly magic and creating fun from ordinary scenarios. Our Song is an expression of play. It's offering a playground with a city backdrop -- with two-player puzzles, platforming, and minigames. It's dancing in the rain. It's platforming out of the city to spend the last two minutes watching the sunset. It's just, simply, having fun.


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