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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Hamlet

    - staff

  •  Matt Roberts, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
    Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
    is a first-person narrative-heavy game divided into subchapters -- open ended event-specific areas requiring the student player to interact with the play's central characters, using the Wiimote to point to and interact with objects, playing simple mini games in order to move dialogue along (simulating the crafty touch needed to, for example, convince people that you are insane), and engage in fencing matches toward the end of the play. Movement involves using the nunchuck to select a direction and the fitness board to walk, lean, and balance. Gameplay in Prince of Denmark is dialogue and puzzle heavy, using the mini games to help keep the player engaged.

    The player must involve him/herself in Hamlet's plight to fully understand the moral dilemmas being provided, albeit without the authorship to change the story for long. This is to say that at key points, the player will be given dialogue choices that are either taken directly from the play or would be implausible given Hamlet's situation and demeanor; choosing the wrong dialogue will lead the player down a very short path to his death, at which point the player resumes the point in the conversation when Hamlet strayed from the original writing and thus did not manipulate the characters in question well enough to survive. While this is not in keeping with the original design specifications, it is a minor departure used to enhance qualitative understanding of Hamlet.

    This mechanic helps to cement key elements of the story through the dialogue for the student, while players who grasp Hamlet's plight are rewarded. Engaging the body by using the Wii fit board and Wiimote to navigate the game engages ingrained survival-linked memory processes to further engage the student in the story, playing on evolutionary responses tied to memory and the fight-or-flight response. Also of note is the tendency of a group of players to mutually decide upon the correct answer and take turns attempting the mini games and puzzles. Indirectly, these group actions will lead to a solid understanding of the text and the deeper understanding of motivation and inner struggle that is needed to move the game along.


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