Tethered Update

Tethered is coming together well according to the schedule we planned out. We all spent a week mainly focused on research, specifically focusing on domestic abuse that occurs outside of the norms of male abusing female and finding resources that discussed how issues other than gender played into abusive relationships. This research further strengthened our belief that abstract representation is the best way to address the issue, as domestic abuse is a problem across different races, classes, and sexualities. We also agreed on the “report” option not being successful every time after reading about issues abused partners can have when seeking help, and have discussed the specific way we would need to incorporate this into our game in GameMaker.

As far as the game itself goes, we have reskinned the demo to create the feel of the final game, using cube sprites to represent the players. We have also been playing with the relative sizes of the characters to the maze walls before creating the maze itself. I created several small sections of maze of various sizes in which to test this. I also programmed the game’s view area to show only a small section of the maze and follow one of the players, rather than showing the entire maze. The current goal is to create a separate mock-up for what each player’s screen would look like, with Player A’s screen showing less of the entire maze, and Player B receiving additional hints as they progress.

We ran into, and have since fixed, an issue with the player characters’ interactions with each other. We decided that we wanted players to be able to pass through each other for ease of navigation, but unchecking the “solid” box for an object did not change their behavior. While we were unsure what to do about this Bekka created a version of the game using the game creation software Construct 2 with the core features, to test whether we might want to use this program instead. We found a long-forgotten option in one of our player actions that fixed the issue though, and opted to keep working with GameMaker.

At this point, we almost have the entire maze incorporated into our game. Justin has researched maze design and has drafted a maze of appropriate size on paper, the only step left for this is translating it into our GameMaker room. Our next step after this will be playing with the view sizes and incorporating other features such as the police or friend blocks, in-game text to teach Player A their “abuse” button, and hints for Player B. Finally, we will create the introduction screen as well as additional text or screens for players being booted, a character abusing their partner too much, and winning the game.

Group 6 – Equality Street

Group 6 proposes a modified version of the classic game Frogger to serve as a commentary on colorblindness. The game addresses the problematic belief that color and race can just be “ignored” and everyone treated equally, by pointing out that there are inequalities in the way different races and genders are treated and that these need to be addressed to fix the issue. The game, which will be created in GameMaker, has the player control four different characters on their journey home to their apartment. The path the characters must traverse is divided up into several lanes for the characters to cross, each with a different obstacle. One lane will have cars going back and forth, another will feature police, and one will be a busy sidewalk with people. The four different characters featured are a white male, a black male, a white female, and a black female, and the obstacles the player encounters behave differently depending on which character is being used, to represent the inequalities that person might experience in real life. For example, group 6 stated that when women characters were crossing the sidewalk they would encounter men cat-calling and harassing them, and the black male might find the police travel towards him more quickly and with greater frequency. Additionally, characters representing minorities would have a longer way to travel back to the apartment, having to navigate more obstacles and social injustices on their way home.

We are seeking to show how privilege and intersectionality work through our gameplay. We are critiquing colorblindness ideology by showing that race and gender privileges interact to create different webs of privilege and/or oppression. As such, the white male character has the easiest gameplay with the shortest path and the need to only dodge a few vehicles, showing the advantages that white male privilege provides. On the other hand, the non-white female faces the most difficult gameplay, with the longest overall path and the need to dodge all obstacle types showing how both racial and gender oppression combines. For gameplay, the non-white male and the white female have the same difficulty level, though the visual representation of the obstacles show different types of oppression (the non-white male must avoid police cars, representing racial stereotypes of non-whites as criminals while the white female faces men in the street who will sexually harass her, representing how women are much more likely to be sexually harassed and assaulted). We recognize that the experience of non-white males and white females are not equally difficult. For the base game, we are keeping things simple with only the four characters, which, while it does not address the true complexity of how race, gender, class, and sexuality can interact, simplifies the issues so that the basics of intersectionality are laid out. For people who are familiar with intersectionality, the game will be oversimplified, but for individuals who have not been educated in how privilege works, the simple format clearly explains through gameplay how race and gender can interact to create privilege or oppression.

A few aspects of the game were still under consideration. Group 6 chose the four characters for simplicity of the game, but a different set of characters may be playable in the final version. Additionally, the ways different obstacles would interact with players was still undecided, but it was suggested that the men be attracted to women characters as if by a magnetic effect. With such a simple yet compelling basic principle, it will be interesting to see how this game develops.

Space Invaders

For our space invaders mod, we decided to turn the advancing aliens into protesters interspersed with bystanders. The turret becomes a police from which the player character controls. We chose the scenario where protesting has been outlawed, so the player character is tasked with shooting stun rounds at the protesters. If the player hits all the protesters before the next wave comes in, the game ends with a win scenario where the player is told they have helped keep a tyrannical government in control. However if the player hits a bystander, a new wave of protesters immediately comes in. If the protesters overrun the player, the game ends with the message that the dictatorship has been overthrown and that the people have taken power and formed a democracy.

-Michael Dzwoniarek