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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Joy

    - staff

  • Kiera Whalen, Montclair High School Student, In the Park

    In the Park is a game that lets the Player travel to a carefree time so they experience simple childlike joy. It mainly takes place in an idyllic park populated by kids. The game is a small vignette, which allows all the corners to be polished for a truly immersive experience. There is no music; the background noise is the sound of children chatting and various sounds of nature. All conversations are fully realized, with no repeating, and a joy in itself to listen to.

    In the Park begins when Ron (the Player Character) is woken up by his slightly older eight-year-old brother Calvin (who follows him throughout the game). It is a fall weekend with the sun shining after a night of rain. Calvin talks to Ron with excitement about all the fun they are going to have.

    The game then skips forward to Calvin and Ron on their bikes, riding down a small paved road covered with puddles. They are riding to the Park, and the Player can splash the puddles in the road along the way. Neighbors in their lawns greet the boys as they pass.

    Once the two reach the park, there are a variety of experiences the player can choose in whatever order and time they want.

    If the Player goes to the open field, a game of tag between the boys and neighborhood children is initiated.

    The side of the lake activates a mini-game where the player collects pieces of sticks that have broken off of trees during the previous storm to create a makeshift raft, which quickly sinks when the boys push it into the pond.

    The lake also activates two other mini-games: One where the boys skip stones (the Player must search through a pile of stones to find one suitable to throw) and another where they pretend to fish with twigs (for this game, Ron's imagination transforms the twig into a fishing rod and the lifeless lake into one teeming with fish).

    The Player can also climb a large oak to the top. Once at the top of the oak, the boys can cloud-gaze through the thinning canopy of leaves. For this mini-game, whenever Calvin says something such as, "I see a puppy!" the Player must select the cloud they think most resembles a dog.

    Other mini-games include playing the card game "Spit" at the picnic table with other kids, jumping in piles of fallen leaves, and catching tadpoles in a small creek.

    As the Player is enjoying the mini-games, the sun rises and then sinks down. The in-game day is around one hour real life. As the sun sets, the boys' mother will call for them, and the park slowly fades out. The next scene is in the bedroom where the game started off; both the boys are in their separate beds, and Calvin is happily telling their mom what they did that day as the boy's eyes begin to close.


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