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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: DualShock 4

    [03.19.13]
    - Danny Cowan

  • Denise Eaton, High School Student, Genitor Cycle

    As the game finishes loading, A Harvest Moon-esque menu fades onto the screen, playing a peaceful melody. "Genitor Cycle: Raise Your Very Own Monster!" is the title that is written at the top of the screen.

    You choose the "New Game" option, and a jingle plays. Mid note, the screen goes black and the game becomes silent.

    You sit there, confused for a moment. Just before you decide to reboot the system, the controller in your hand rumbles, and the light bar blinks red. A quiet voice begins to sound from the controller.

    "They're coming!" the voice sobs. "I'm sorry to take control of your machine but please help me! Please help my child! If you could... Give it a home.. I swear the world would be better for it." The voice pauses to gasp for breath, and you see that an egg has appeared on your screen. "It may not seem important now, but I swear--"

    Her voice is cut off by a loud scream and the sound of a splatter.

    The egg begins to shudder and crack, and a small, sleepy creature pushes itself out of the eggshell. You stroke the screen on the controller, and it gives intermittent rumbles, like a heartbeat. The creature opens its eyes and the tutorial begins.

    The controller is a vital connection to this animal, as it basically represents its body. It rumbles gently when it's happy, violently when it's scared, and just enough to create the sensation of a pulse when it's sleeping. Using the touch screen and motion control, you can stroke it, point at things, or even strike it. The microphone can be used to give it basic commands or simply talk to it. The controller can't interpret small talk of course, but your tone of voice affects how the creature responds. The color of the light bar represents its mood and health.


    The game takes place on modern day Earth. Shortly after the tutorial, you and your new friend are pursued by a group of mysterious beasts with unclear goals. This leads into a complex mystery concerning the origins of the egg. While it includes combat, the game focuses on raising the hatched critter as your child. Through triggered scenarios, you build a relationship with it. The choices you make shape its personality, its opinion of you, and even whether it can go into combat against the antagonist race or not.

    As the game continues, the child grows and learns at an impossible speed, reaching maturity quickly. On the 30th in-game day, your companion dies of old age.

    Even so, the story is far from over. When your creature dies, it leaves behind another egg. The story continues with each generation, their genetics changed through your decisions. Through the intimate controls and complex moral scenarios, Genitor Cycle would aim to invoke a genuine feeling of parental love for the hatched creature, while offering a gameplay experience that could last indefinitely.

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