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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Rickroll

    - staff

  • Ignacio Pintos, UOC Post-Degree Student, Battlefield Middle East

    A serious game about empathy, and some geography lessons.

    You play as Tom, a young north american who enrolls in the army and is sent to Afghanistan, after the military school (tutorial) where he's trained in close combat and mid-range weapons.

    What comes now is never mentioned on the game box or advertisements.

    After 6-8 hours of FPS gameplay comes the crucial cutscene: all his team members are dead after raiding a small village. Tom inspects the houses where terrorists where supposedly hiding. But in one he finds the corpses of two young men, hand in hand, with an unexpected outfit: glittering dresses, huge wigs and blood-smeared makeup. In the background, a cassette plays 'No More Tears' by Barbra Streisand.

    Tom drops his submachine gun, closes the corpses eyes, puts on a wig, and dances to the music facing a broken mirror, with tears in his eyes, and flashbacks of his childhood singing that song alone at home. When the song ends, Tom empties his backpack and puts inside all the dresses, wigs and high-heeled shoes he finds. He also discovers and old business card of a cabaret in Baghran. Finally he drops his uniform and puts on the burka of a dead woman. Tom becomes Tammy.

    Now you have to help Tom make his dreams come true: become a notorious underground drag-queen, in a quest across the Middle East towards Europe. Reflecting this drastic turn in Tom's mind, the game becomes a 3D point-n-click adventure, based on inventory and conversational puzzles. There will also be some interspersed action scenes and mini-games; ironically, the FPS stages as a soldier were the perfect training for his escape towards a fulfilling life. Examples:

    - Running and stealth: escape across Kuwait roofs at night after a raid while you were performing, avoiding helicopter lights, snipers and traps, with difficult jumps and high-heeled acrobatics.

    - Rhythm: drag-queen performances. Each key is mapped to a limb (hips and long hair included), and you have to follow your stage partners' moves.

    - Fighting: some soldiers recognize you while performing on a brothel in Ahbaz. Beat them to escape.

    In each country, Tom will meet individuals (mostly social outsiders) which tell him about the civil laws and liberties in each country: critical data to survive. Some are friendly, some pretend to be. The adventure part wont let Tom die; no matter how difficult the situation becomes, there will always be a way to overcome it. He'll also collect the traditional, natural ointments and powders used as make-up in every region, which he'll use to create the distinctive look that'll make him famous.

    Thorny decisions will be common: would you exchange a sexual favor to a trucker for a ride in a cattle truck across the Iraqi border to Syria? or kill someone that profits from child prostitution but protects them from war and disease?

    In the end sequence, the now famous Tammy sings the song 'A bullet changed my life' (while shooting confetti with a bazooka) representing Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest, and wins.


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