City of Play

Playscaping Challenge (a.k.a. Play Your City)

“Use elements of play to design, implement, and document a project that makes the city a  better place”

This was an interesting experience! It proceed as following:

  1. Meet people in room by “blind” drawing portraits of them
  2. Putting on race bib numbers (“to look officially part of something”)
  3. Splitting up into teams
  4. Given theme, “Change Direction”
  5. Each team give special prompt item (mine was a rubber-duck)
  6. Mind-Hurricaning (a.k.a. Brainstorming) for 15 mins
  7. Consolidating down to 1 idea in 10 mins
  8. Implementing the idea in the city in less than 1.5 hrs
  9. Watching people in downtown Pittsburgh stare at your project with a “What the f*ck is this?” face and then walk away
  10. Documenting of project

The best part of this would probably be the Brainstorming phase where we came up with a lot of great ideas that would truly make the city a better place.

Then in the next phase we through out all of the best ideas because they weren’t feasible with our time & money constraints and came up with an okay idea (Giant color-by-numbers posters at bus stops that were pieces of a larger photo that could only be put together by visiting multiple bus stops, thus encouraging people to go other stops than their normal).

Next we went about implementing our idea. I was in charge of creating the color-by-number poster, which involved drawing long straight lines (wooooo art degree being put to use!). While I was creating the poster, the rest of the team was debating about what picture should the color-by-numbers be of. During this debate the decided that “we weren’t letting people be creative enough” so it turned into a color-by-number picture where certain squares had random pictures drawn or made-up stories written.

The simple-ish idea we had come up with became a confusing uncentered mess and mostly ended in sadness that made me question if people in downtown Pittsburgh actually want their day brightened or if they would prefer to stand there dispirited & undisturbed.

That said I think the Playscaping Challenge was an overall good idea, but could have used a judge panel to make sure ideas were kept simple and centered.

Roaming Gnomes

Welcome to the intersection of Gmane Street and Gninth Avenue, the most trafficked area of Gnometopolis… during the lunchtime rush… on the busiest Gnome holiday of the year, Gnu Years Eve. Your team’s job is to get the Gnomes and their things to exactly where they need to be as quickly as possible – unfortunately, everything is written in Gnomish. Can your team make all the right moves before time runs out?”

The game worked in the following way:

  1. 30 gnomes are placed at 30 different locations and some are holding one of 8 cups
  2. Each player is given 1-2 cards. A card has two things on it: a player objective – what the player must do, which involved moving a gnome or cup to a location (written in Gnomish a.k.a. gibberish) & a translation of 2-3 Gnomish words (most of which weren’t in your objective)
  3. Either with or without a time limit the players must rush around to translate their objective to english so that they can complete it
  4. The game master would check the end result against their insane spreadsheet to determine if the players moved everything to where it needed to go

This was a great game! A much needed pick-me-up after the Playscaping Challenge! It required communication between a large group of people, but it avoided most of the shouting problems of Bottleneck due to the fact that everything was in Gnomish which is so difficult to speak that few could shout it. Roaming Gnomes would be a delightful party game! The gnomes were beautifully made and added to the cheery & goofy ambience the game created as you said gibberish to each other.


3rd Year Senior Computer Science and Art President of Game Creation Society Over the Summer of 2014, I worked for 343 Industries (Microsoft) on the Halo Channel and Halo 5: Guardians as a Software Engineering Intern in Kirkland, WA. Over the Summer of 2013, I worked on The Sims 4 as a Software Engineering Intern with a focus on Gameplay User-Interface features for Maxis (Electronic Arts) in Redwood Shores, CA.
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