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  •'s Game Design Challenge: The Time Experiment

    - Manveer Heir and Jill Duffy
  •'s Game Design Challenge is an exercise in becoming a game developer, asking you to look at games in a new way -- from the perspective of a game creator, producer, marketer, businessperson, and so forth.

    Each Wednesday we'll present you with a challenge about developing video games. You'll have one week to brainstorm a brilliant solution (see below for how to submit your answers). The following week, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted along with some commentary.

    The Challenge
    Design an experimental game concept that plays with the notion of time, and explain why it is worthwhile to conduct this experiment.

    Assignment Details

    Each year, Jonathan Blow and a few of his peers host an Experimental Gameplay Workshop, where developers show off experimental games they have in development (or have recently finished). In 2008, one of the themes was "Replay," or games that played with time. Jon Blow showed Braid. Matt Korba showed The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom. Also featured were Cursor*10 and Timebot.

    What game would you have made had you been featured in the workshop?

    Pretend you have developed a game that plays with the concept of time in some way. The game is in beta, and is ready to be shown. Answer the following three questions, which are adapted from the actual submission form:

    1. What is the name of your game, and please describe it (100 words max.)?
    2. How is the core gameplay experimental? Give detail on the gameplay experiment you are performing. Why is this experiment important? What does it bring to games that is not already ubiquitous? (300 words max.)
    3. How will you know whether the experiment is a success? What problems and limitations might arise? What do these limitations mean for future incarnations of this kind of gameplay? (300 words max.)

    We're asking you to accomplish two things: 1) come up with an experimental gameplay idea that fits the "Replay" theme of the 2008 Experimental Gameplay Workshop and 2) communicate, as all game developers must do, clearly and interestingly why your idea is special.

    To Submit

    Ask questions and discuss possible solution on the forum. When your submission is complete, send it to with the subject line "Design Challenge: The Time Experiment."

    Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title, and please keep your answers to the word counts stipulated above. Please type your answer directly in the email body. If you have images, please either link to them, or attach them in .jpg or .png format.

    Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, November 19, 2008.
    The responses for this challenge will appear the week of November 24, 2008.

    Disclaimer: is not responsible for similarities between the content submitted to the Game Design Challenge and any existing or future products or intellectual property.


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