Game a week #18


The Idea

This game was heavily inspired by SPENT a great game that tries to simulate the tough decisions that come with working for minimum wage. Trust me, when you are asked to spend $20 on a birthday gift, but know you have to stretch $40 to cover the weeks expenses, you feel quite stressed. Spent also does a good job of giving the play information about the events encountered. I believe this additional information not only gives context but allows for empathy and understanding. This is what I wanted to work towards with the help of my friends Jeremy Dietmeier, and Christian Schmieder. My second objective was to create a reusable Spent-Like game engine.

What went right

Perhaps the coolest thing about this GameAWeek is that I built it with modularity in mind. Rage Quit reads in events from a standard csv file meaning that, once I had the structure down, Jeremy Christian and I were able to edit and add to them without having to dig into code.
Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 5.35.08 PM
This means that although we chose to portray issues in the gaming community, we can easily adapt it for almost any subject. I would also like to see this engine used for other projects. So, If you’re interested in using my engine send me a tweet. I’m sure we can work something out.

It’s also worth mentioning that the group worked very well. Group projects are never easy, but I’m glad to say that thanks to good planning and communication we were able to finish the 1.0 release of Rage Quit.

What went wrong

The balance of Rage Quit isn’t quite right as it is. For the 1.0 release we had to scale down our game (originally you played for 30 days) due to the fact that we didn’t have enough events. We were also a bit worried about how some of the events would be interpreted by the player. To address both issues we set up a way for users to add events and give us feedback.

What I learned

I realized something about the way resources were consumed in Spent. In spent, your life and resources are on and the same: money. In spent, Money is also what allows you to exert some sort of agency which makes the events a bit more difficult. For example: when you have a tooth ache you should go to the dentist, but that will take away a bit of your life (money). You know the *right* thing to do is to take care of yourself, but you’re put in a situation where the future is unknown and there may bigger obstacles ahead. This is what I feel Rage Quit doesn’t quite get right. In the future, perhaps we’ll implement a “Patience” system that works more like Spent’s money. For example: A troll is making fun of someone online and you have the choice to help them out. Unfortunately, helping someone out (although it’s the right thing to do) will cost patience. If you don’t want to Rage Quit you’re then forced to think if helping someone is worth the chance that you may not survive the next encounter. You can, of course, choose to ignore it for no loss of patience, but you may have a tinge of guilt.

Spent has some interesting mechanics and is a bit more complex than what I’ve shown here. But I still think that the role playing aspect of Spent has the most power. This week I was reminded just how difficult it is to create an immersive prompt that doesn’t make you feel like you’re just choosing random options. I really hope the future versions are even better.