Game Design Portfolio for Scott Nicholson > Transformative Games
The Library Adventure ARG Toolkit is a current project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. I am the Creative Director of this project, which is being done in consultation with the Education Arcade at MIT. A team of Syracuse University students have been building this web-based toolkit throughout 2013. The goal will be to create a tested prototype of the toolkit in order to decide what the next steps should be.
The current iteration of the toolkit is focused on the needs of academic libraries. The project started with a Delphi study of academic libraries to determine the technology and game design requirements; this created numerous challenges due to the restrictions typically associated with computer for public access in the library. This was the reasoning behind using the old-school design motif; it would not tax system resources. The librarian develops five multiple-choice questions that are used as the core of the game. For each question, the player will have to find one or more resources in the library, and as they explore these resources, they will learn about what is in the library and how to locate it.
In order to make this game more meaningful than just a library scavenger hunt, there is a narrative that places the character in the midst of an information battle between two sides. In addition, all of the questions are around a controversial topic that is meaningful to the community or to the department, and the player goes through a reflection process during the game in order to end up with a more informed opinion that they then share with other players.
The game's backstory is that an Artificial Intelligence has decided to take over, as humans aren't doing a good job with this world. In order to do so, he needs to learn what is in libraries that isn't available on the open Internet. He has made himself into a bad educational game, where players are offered points and badges in exchange for reporting information from the library. During the game, the player is contacted by someone from the future and asked to stop this AI from doing this by feeding him incorrect information. The player has to choose between helping a benevolent dictator come to power or supporting an unknown voice leading to an uncertain future. In addition, the AI's use of points and badges to manipulate the player becomes more and more apparent as the game goes on with the goal of helping players to reflect upon the current state of reward-based gamification.
Stories from Stanwix is a prototype of a digital roleplaying choice-based game using Choicescript designed for Fort Stanwix National Park. This was a project of the Game Designers' Guild, and I was the lead designer and creative director. We are currently looking at funding possibilities to continue development of this game.
The goal of the game was to allow players to gain an understanding of the different lives that were affected by the existence of and battles around Fort Stanwix. Rather than focus on the battles, the focus was on the soldiers, officers, and civilians who lived in the area. During each turn of the game, players could choose a path and would make choices based upon the challenges facing people involved with Fort Stanwix.
Crossed Paths is a free mutliplayer improvisational storytelling game that I developed. It has players working together to create original stories, and works well for at least 5 players with no limit to the maxiumum number of players (I have run Crossed Paths for a room full of 400 people).It is a good fit for libraries, schools, churches, or any organization with the goal of having participants explore characters, settings, and conflics from stories they already know.This game is released under Creative Commons, with the expectation that the facilitator will fill out a short survey about the game afterwards. Crossed Paths is freely available at http://tinyurl.com/crossedpaths