Imaginarium is a cooperative puzzle game about a Child’s adventures in an unfamiliar home. As players work together to navigate the world, they discover the power of a great imagination set free.

The game is designed for two players: one player controls the character of the Child on the computer, and the other plays as the Child’s imagination, using a smartphone with a game app to take photos of real life objects which will assist in overcoming obstacles in the game world – ex. a key to unlock a door, a light to brighten a darkened hallway, etc. Creative interpretations of real world objects further deepens the theme of imagination – ex. a human hand might stand in for a clock hand in order to activate a stopped clock in the game world.




Level Design Lesson: To the Right, Hold on Tight – Response – AJT

Level Design Lesson: To the Right, Hold on Tight was a fun, nostalgic read (having grown up in the 80s with the original Nintendo); and also affirmed for me an ongoing interest in the relationships between game design and theatre and performance design.

The author correctly affirms the tedious nature of drawn out play tutorials while celebrating the potential of a game to teach its player how to participate through play itself. As a theatre maker/designer/director, this is a conversation that I often have with my colleagues. In theatre, there is generally no means of providing an instructional prologue on how to “read” the performance, rather the performance itself must invite the audience member into the world and delicately introduce them to the performance dramaturgy and vocabulary.

I am of late exploring ways in which performance can become less passive and more active/participatory – more like game-play, and so this essay proved valuable in its positing of design as a means of inviting (“the A button big and bright and concave”), of cultivating observation (“note how long this mushroom’s path to Mario is: the player is given the opportunity to observe the mushroom), and of training (the staged jumps at the top of the staircases – one without a pit and one with).

I valued, too, the essay’s reminder that all design is informed by “an understanding and anticipation of how…a thing will be used.” This is useful in my own primary artistic practice, but also as I wade further into these class experiments in game design – both in a continued excavating of the potential shared theories of game design and theatre/performance,and as a means of expanding my practice into the medium of game design itself.


Spaceteam is a free-to-play local cooperative multiplayer video game developed and published by Henry Smith of Sleeping Beast Games for iOS and Android operating systems. It was released on December 1, 2012 and is described as a ‘cooperative shouting game for phones and tablets’. The game uses multiple smartphone or tablet devices, connected via wifi or bluetooth, to enter a shared game of up to two to four players.” (Wikipedia)

The Apple app store describes the game’s top features as being: teamwork, confusion, shouting, an untimely demise, beveled nanobuzzers, auxiliary technoprobes, and four-stroke pluckers.

After leaving a job at Electronic Arts, Spaceteam designer Henry Smith, began creating Spaceteam as an experiment and an excuse to learn how to code for iOS and Android. Smith has stated on record that his biggest inspiration came from the sci-fi world and from the co-op board game Space Alert.

The game has been incredibly well-received by both critics and players, has won a series of awards (including Game City Prize 2013’s Best Game of 2013, the IndieCade Interaction Award, the A MAZE Indie Connect Festival prize, an International Mobile Gaming Award, the Independent Games Festival 2013 prize, and a showcase at the PAX East Indie Showcase 2013), and has to-date been downloaded by more than 3 million customers.

In the subsequent years, Smith has designed two spin-offs: the digital Spaceteam ESL ( a collaboration with Concordia University), in which the original Spaceteam is redesigned to make use of frequently used English words in an ascending order of difficulty; and a shortly-to-be-released Spaceteam board/card game.

Candy Land – Part 2 – Rules & New Deck

Anna Henson, Adam Thompson, Nitesh Sridhar, Andrew Chang, Caroline Hermans


Keywords used in these rules: (1) Discard – Put a card into the discard pile. This pile is reshuffled and becomes the game pile when the latter runs out; (2) Trash – Remove a card from the game. Trashed cards are not returned to the game unless otherwise stated.

Basic Rules
Players begin the game with 3 cards. On each turn, a player draws 2 cards and plays 2 cards.

A player may never have more than 4 cards in their hand at a time nor can they ever draw or play less than 1 card on any given turn.

A maximum of 4 rule cards can be in play at any given time. To play a new rule, discard an existing rule first. Rules of specific types replace each other.

All rules take effect immediately (Example: if your turn started with Draw 1 and you play Draw 3, immediately draw an extra 2 cards).

Card Descriptions and Actions
There are 24 Basic Cards broken down via color according to the following:
Red (4)
Blue (4)
Yellow (4)
Green (4)
Purple (4)
Orange (4)

There are 6 Character Cards, each Trashed after it is played. They are:
Queen Frostine
Princess Lolly
Gramma Nutt
Mr. Mint

There are 22 Rule Cards, broken down as follows:
Draw – Draw 1
Draw – Draw 2
Draw – Draw 3
Draw – Draw 4
Play – Play 1
Play – Play 2
Play – Play 3
Play – Play 4

Hand Limit – Hand Limit 1
Hand Limit – Hand Limit 3
Hand Limit – Hand Limit 5

*Draw + 2, Play – 1, Hand Limit – 1
*Play + 2, Draw – 1, Hand Limit – 1
*Hand Limit + 2, Draw – 1, Play – 1

*Empty Hand Bonus – Draw 2

*First Play Random

*Draw from deck or bottom of discard pile

*Switch Draw and Play

*Reverse Order – if another Reverse Order is played, discard both

*Reverse Order

*Rule Limit + 2 (including this one)
*Rule Limit + 3 (including this one)

There are 22 Action Cards, broken down as follows:
On the House – All players draw 2. Rules drawn this way must be played.
Draw 3
Draw 2, Play 1, Discard 1
Discard 2, Draw 4, Play 1
Take 1 random card from every player and play them. You skip your next turn
Trash a Rule
Discard two Rules
Discard two Rules
Draw 1, you aren’t affected by Hand Limits this turn

The revised Candy Land deck can be viewed in its entirety here.

Pick Me Up Games – Adam, Ari, Tatyana

Title: Pick-Me-Up Games

Statement: Elevators have long been uniquely liminal spaces with their own social customs. A variety of researchers have focused their work on these tiny moving boxes, and come to conclusions which would surprise very few: the elevator is a place where personal space is scarce, conversation is forbidden, and the sensation of waiting can border on the excruciating.

Most of this collection of mini-games are adaptations of existing well-known activities, re-contextualized to make use of the elevator’s limited time and space and aimed at upending existing elevator conventions and transforming the lift from an anxiety-saturated metal box into a joyful, social, and entertaining playground.

Research: As a part of our research process, we investigated a number of studies into elevator psychology in the attempt to pinpoint and ultimately upend established elevator social conventions. These studies and reports on their outcome include: Why We Behave So Oddly In Elevators (NPR), Five things elevators teach us about design, psychology and hats (Medium), How to find your Minimum Viable Cat (Medium), Psychology Behind Where You Stand When You Get In An Elevator (Bit Rebels), Elevator Groupthink: An Ingenious 1962 Psychology Experiment in Conformity (Brain Pickings), and Why Do We Behave So Oddly in Lifts? (BBC).

Process & Observation: We started off by wanting to create an elevator photo booth, the idea behind this was a short activity to activate the elevator as a social space.  We then shifted the ‘Elevator Experience’ to be more game-like instead of just being an interaction or experience.

We tested a series of existing and re-contextualized and original games and discovered the following:

Existing, simple games work better if the games are designed to be fun for whomever enters the elevator, but games that are made with us as the target audience required more complexity. The existing games worked better than original ones we came up with for random elevator riders because instruction time is very limited and existing games were instantly understood and embraced. The games that we needed to explain (rather than just say the title of, such as Hot Potato) took up too much of the elevator ride time.

We also played around with how we worded our requests. We experimented with asking people to play by saying “Do you want to play___”, “We’re playing ___, [instruction for user]” and just “[instructions]”.

People were more eager (at least in tic-tac-toe) to play when it was just them. At one point during Hot Potato, there was someone who was adamant about not being filmed and not playing. After they spoke up, the social atmosphere was negative and no one else wanted to interact with us.

Play Test 1- Hot Potato

“We’re playing hot potato, if you’re holding it when the door opens, you lose.”

We started with playing Hot Potato. Initially we played with a water bottle, then an empty water bottle, then a rolled up pair of gloves. Whoever had the object when the door opened, lost.

People were pretty involved in this one, as they had to actively catch and toss the hot potato object around. It doesn’t work when too many enter the elevator or when people entered with drinks in hand. It had polarized reception, most people seemed to enjoy the experience, but some people said they didn’t want to play.

Play Test 2 – Speed Hangman

Instructions: ”We’re playing hangman. Every time the floor dings, you lose a body part, but you don’t lose any for guessing the wrong letter.”

A blank poster was hung in the elevator with the initial hangman picture and blank spaces. When someone walked in, we would try to get them to guess the word before they got off. At every floor we hit, we would add one more body part to the hangman (no parts were added for missed letters).

This was also quite successful, and multiple people opted to miss their floor in order to guess the word.

Play Test 3 – Speed Tic-Tac-Toe

Instructions: “Try to get as many wins as you can before you reach your floor.”

A poster with several Tic-Tac-Toe boards was taped to the elevator. When someone walked into the elevator, we asked them to play Speed Tic-Tac-Toe with one of us.

Multiple people who started this got really involved and excited about it, and were very competitive, even going so far as to actively ignore their floor when the elevator reached it in favor of playing more rounds. People responded to this very well since it didn’t require more than a second of explanation and it’s a game everyone is familiar with.

Play Test 4 – Elevator Corner

Instructions: This was a game for us to play, When someone enters the elevator, try to subtly move around in a way that encroaches on their personal space and gets them to actively move into the corner of our choosing.

This didn’t work out. Our initial idea was to try to subconsciously get people to move to a designated spot in the elevator. We didn’t account for what to do when multiple people entered, and it just wasn’t fun for us to play since we all felt uncomfortable in trying to herd people across the floor.

Play Test 5 – Elevator Pitch

Instructions: “Pick a name from the bucket, show it to us but don’t look, we’ll each give you a single hint and you have to guess who it is.”

This game was somewhat successful, but no where near as fun as the previous ones we tried. Sometimes people didn’t quite understand the rules from our initial pitch and looked at the name, or they had to ask if the hints were allowed to be obvious. By the time they understood, sometimes we were already at their floor. It was also sometimes too easy to guess, making it a less satisfying game to play.

Play Test 6 – Pick a Poster

Instructions: “Pick a poster, then give us hints and we have to guess which one you’re thinking of.”

We tried this once, but it was not successful. It took the entire ride for the player to choose a poster and once he picked he didn’t remember what he was supposed to do. We decided this required too much decision on the part of the player instead of just reaction and went back to Elevator Pitch. This furthered our realization that if the game is designed for whomever enters the elevator to play, the instructions need to be very minimal, and we can’t waste time in having them make a decision or a choice.


7 Micro Games – Adam J. Thompson

Destination (single player): Choose a destination. With the explicit intention of reaching it, travel for as long as possible and take as many detours as possible in order to not reach it. As soon as you reach it, you lose.

How Do I Get Here from Here? (single aware player): The player chooses and goes to a geographic location. Upon arrival, the player asks passers-by how to get to the location in which they are currently standing. The first passer-by to not know is informed that they are the winner. The game resets and begins again.

Mark on the World (any number of players): Players lie down in an area with tall grass for ten minutes. Players then stand up and lie in the body-shaped indentation left by another player for an additional ten minutes. Players stand up again and examine the shapes. The winner is the player who caused the least deformation of the original body indentation.

Follow, Follow (any number of players): Players go out into the world. Each attempts to follow  another while avoiding being followed themselves. When a player is caught in the act of following, that player is eliminated. The final player is the winner. The game has no time limit.

Jinx (two players): The players read aloud simultaneously to one another – the reading material can be anything: book, magazine, play, website, cereal box, but the two texts must be in the same language. The players are winners as long as they never speak the same word at the same time. When this occurs, both players lose and the game ends.

Just the Facts (two players to begin): The players go to a crowded location together. The first player chooses a stranger whom the second player must approach and ask for a fact about themselves. Then vice-versa, and on and on. When a fact is given, the stranger is invited to join the game. If a player refuses to speak to a selected stranger, one of two scenarios occur: another player can steal the turn and speak to the selected stranger, and in doing so eliminate the shy player. If no players are willing to steal the turn, all players lose and the game ends.

You Are Nowhere (single player): A player goes for a walk. The player gets lost. As soon as the player is not lost, the player loses.