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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Romance

    - staff

  • Vladimir Villanueva, Artist, The Album, Burgundy

    Lips licked and muscles tensed, countless emotions scream into life then back into nothingness at heartbeat speeds. Death was done in your head for ideals, all for a smile you gave, captured in a photo, bound between burgundy.

    Reminiscing over personally important days, 'The Album, Burgundy' is a real-time strategy romance for the Nintendo DS. Gazing at old photos, players relive the wars they waged in their heads as they walked with former loved ones. Starting with a sparse album, players access new photos by musing over the pictures they have.

    Selecting a photo with the stylus, players are mentally and emotionally transported back to the day when the picture was taken. Inner turmoil fills the touch screen as players simultaneously control and attempt to mediate four warring mindsets: Rationality, Passion, Forwardness, and Defensiveness. Each faction controls numerous neuron fortresses that constantly generate brawling chemical infantry. Aggressively marching forth, infantry immediately enter into deadly melees with opposing forces they meet while invading fortresses they come upon.

    Torn by all sides, players maintain composure by focusing on each mindset individually. With all four mindsets mapped to the directional pad, players can change focus to a different mindset by pressing a direction. Players guide the focused on mindset by tapping or circling their infantry or fortresses, then tapping on an opposing faction's fortress to invade. Excessively loyal, mindsets will not attack their own, while all mindsets not currently being focused on will maintain all previous orders they were given.

    As inner conflict is played out on the bottom screen, the events that occurred between the player and their partner are presented in first-person on the top screen. With fickle memories, players remember the questions their partners asked at constantly randomized locations, while each inquiry influenced by an undisclosed mindset the partner is currently in. Players try to connect with their mate by providing positive answers using the same mindset.

    When questioned, the player's inner conflict switches from battlefield to diplomacy. With each mindset listed on the left side of the touch screen, waves of selectable answers quickly scroll out to the right of each mindset, requiring players to hurriedly choose a response with a stylus tap. Influenced by their own emotional state, dominant mindsets will present responses at faster speeds while being mixed with negative choices, thus, players with too many passion fortresses will be peppered with highly emotional responses, while excessively forward players are given overly blunt answers. Further complicating the inner turmoil are the choices selected: for confiding on the chosen response, new fortresses will rise from the ground controlled by the mindset the player had selected an answer from.

    By constantly answering to the partner's mood, players can positively end memories, earning new pictures to play through. Previously played memories can also be viewed behind their partner's perspective, allowing players to see why certain answers fit best.

    When the book is closed and the present returns, players hopefully gain an experience they can take from the album, burgundy.


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