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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Rickroll

    - staff

  • Aaron Yip, Georgia Institute of Technology, HAMsters Collective

    HAMsters Collective is an online society of pranksters that wreck havoc on against fellow members in a war of trickery across the internet playground. At its core, HAMsters is a social gaming experience meets viral prankstery. It merges these two complimenting elements, joining hilarious fun of viral media with the natural interaction of social networking. Have you ever wanted to brag, to tell everybody how genius your ideas are? How about directly receiving feedback from your gagged victims? Or do you thirst for a challenge, wanting to pull tricks and hone your pranking abilities on experienced tricksters? What about the very basics of trickery: an awesome prank and nobody to witness it? The HAMsters Collective is an answer to these pranking woes.

    Presentation: Social Gaming meets Viral Media

    HAMsters Collective is a social game, played through either social networking websites or via internet browser plug-in. The game allows users to boobytrap pages to spring on other "HAMsters"--fellow players. While popular destinations like Youtube or Facebook profiles will obviously encourage the most prankster traffic, traps can be placed on just about any site that allows external input: comments on blogs, product reviews on Amazon, and other creative outlets on unexpected locations. Socially, HAMsters Collective aims to reconstruct the internet into a playground for fun-loving pranksters.

    The pranks (known as HAMs) are viral media created or modified specifically for pranking purposes; the whole point of the media piece--be it video, image, forum poetry, etc.--is to absorb the victim HAMsters' attention long enough for them to realize they were horribly duped, and successful pranks are when victims enjoy realizing they have been conned. Pranking cues must be present throughout the piece, giving way to the "How did I not see that?" feeling during the second playing of the video. Imagine getting "rickrolled" with a greater sense of anticipation beforehand and even more creative usages. The idea behind pranks is to laugh, and HAMsters Collective strives for that slaphappy environment for both its population of players and the sites suffering from the new loads of viral pranking.

    Gameplay: HAMster Media

    HAMsters are the online avatars of players, and each one embodies their respective user's pranking glories and shames. A HAMster's profile details their ranking compared to friends' profiles and against the overall player base, tracks their scores of successful pranks and suffered pranks only from friends, and highlights favorite personal gags. The focus is to positively show off your achievements and competitively generate statistics against your friends. On one hand, a player is always rewarded to keep pulling gags--and never punished for enjoying others' gags. On the other, friends are encouraged to battle with trickery.

    HAMs, the pranks, are designed to be easy to pick up and create. Tools, resources, and guides will be freely available to make pranking accessible to any willing prankster. Any HAMster can create, deploy, and just have fun!


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