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  •'s Game Design Challenge: Spoken Word

    - staff
  •'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.

    Since started running these challenges, we've noticed that the overwhelming majority of solutions contain a story. No matter what the challenge, most of the respondents are carving out dramas, developing characters, imaging vivid worlds, and setting up emotional conflicts.

    It's wonderful to see so much enthusiasm to write, but not all game jobs will afford you that kind of story-based creativity. To challenge you this week, you'll be forced to move away from storytelling.

    You'll also be forced to rip yourselves away from consoles, joysticks, computer monitors, playing cards, and even dice.

    The Challenge
    Create an original yet simple game that requires nothing more than a few people and some spoken words.

    Assignment Details
    Do you know how to play I Spy? Have you ever played The Band Name Game? What about 21 Questions?

    Think for a moment about all the spoken-word games that you know, particularly ones that you can teach others to play in about 15 seconds or less. They're often games for all ages. They're the kinds of games people play on road trips or when killing time.

    Create an original, yet simple, game that requires nothing more than a few people and spoken words. The game must be easy to play and easy to learn and teach others. Average gameplay time should last at least one minute, but up to 30 minutes.

    You cannot use any props, not even hand raising or clapping (for example, The Category Game, sometimes called Concentration, in which the players create a beat by slapping their knees, then clapping, then snapping twice would not fit these rules). Players must be able to play while seated.

    The game must not be based on an existing game (that is, you can't say "It's just like Never Have I Ever, except..."). And while there are many common rules among various spoken-word games, your game must be original in some major way.

    To Submit
    Hit up your fellow aspiring game developers on the forum to bounce some ideas around. Everyone is highly encouraged to test out their game ideas. When writing up the rules and explanation of your game, be sure to include a title for your game, and any observations you had when testing it.

    All submissions to this particular challenge must be 200 words or fewer. No exceptions.

    Type up your final submission and send it to [email protected] with the subject line "Design Challenge: Spoken Word." Please type your answer directly into the email body. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title.

    Finally, this week we have a prize to give away! The first-place winner of this week's challenge will receive a copy of the book Video Game Careers, courtesy of Random House.

    Entries must be submitted by July 16, 2008.
    The responses for this challenge will appear the week of July 21, 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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