Faculty, staff, and students played tag with each other in an ever-shrinking playfield, protected giant felt “bacon” strips from friends turned thieves, and challenged each other in Rock, Paper, Scissors for the right to evolve to the ultimate being: Elvis Presley.
It was all part of the “Come Out and Play” workshop and game event at Mount Saint Mary College earlier this month. Hosted by Pete Vigeant, creative director of the Come Out & Play organization, the college community learned how games are designed and what makes them fun.
As Vigeant demonstrated, sometimes changing a single element of a game (known as a game mechanic) can turn a ho-hum classic like Tag into a fantastic new experience. Likewise, adding a single new game mechanic can change moment to moment gameplay into something completely different, and occasionally, unexpected.
Take Rock, Paper, Scissors, for example. Usually just used as a quick way to make a decision when there’s no coin available to flip, Vigeant created a new game with unique strategies and goals by simply adding the concept of the winner “evolving.” With a clear upgrade path and the possibility of losing one’s progress via “devolving” upon losing a match, the steaks – and player interest in the game – were suddenly much higher. Now, the race to the top and holding on to a win steak were the name of the game.
For students in a variety of fields, from teacher-candidates to Game Programing majors, putting a new spin on old ideas can lead to a more successful career.
Come Out & Play is a New York City-based organization that promotes new forms of street games and play. They run games, events, and festivals that turn city streets into giant playgrounds. They also provide a forum for new types of public games, bring together players eager to interact with the world around them, and speak to designers about producing innovative new games and experiences.
The event was presented by the college’s Math and IT division.