Nas-ages, a compound of the word Nas (meaning people in Arabic) and ages, was our game design for this module. I must first start by saying that although I’m very proud of the final product that we have today, I see a lot of ways to improve it and make it better.
Having said that, I’m satisfied yet very willing to exert time and effort to bring the game to light for the public. We started off by examining a variety of ideas and potential goals for the game that we’re designing. Some of the most prominent thoughts were: Raising awareness for issues like, smoking, child abuse, pollution. The discussions went back and forth as to how to make these themes engaging in a game format and we realized it would be challenging to come up with ways to do so in the given time frame.
We then went back and thought of our target audience: AUC students, and thought what would be a common ground for us and our community around us? We know that AUC is very diverse- we have people from across the globe with different mentalities- but we also know that at the end of the day we all need some life skills to deal with situations and people. And from here, we came up with the idea of Nas-ages. The theme would be people and the skill we wanted to develop was people skills in common life events, or daily situations. Because too often we don’t realize how different people think and feel and this creates a communication barrier between us and them. Also we often don’t realize it.
We thought that if each person got to know how their teenage siblings see the world then maybe we could sympathize with them better. If we knew why parents acts the way they do, seeing things from their prospective, we’d probably take their advice seriously (mental note to self), and so on.
And there was an agreement among the group on the idea, and the general mood was hopeful, and enthusiastic to bring new ideas to the minds of AUCians. We were inspired by the game Baladna to create a board game but we wanted to bring a slight twist to it. I surveyed some people’s response to some of my ideas on twitter. Some articles were very interesting and useful too.
Board game design (didn’t read all of the article word for word)
Tips & tricks (Although not all of the tips apply to educational games)
Since we wanted to use recycled material, we pulled out some random stuff from our house and from campus and started experimenting with what we could do with it. Since we didn’t want it to look like a classic board, we used one side of the chips carton draw and color a maze like track where the players could play on. Then we decided to have cards that would help the players progress through the game. And the content of the card was the most challenging. We divided it to 4:
We wanted to make whatever the player was going to read engaging and at the same time useful, with caution not to include the element of memorization so that the game could be played over and over. The element of time played a prominent role in shaping the way we worked on the game. Some of the cards were related to the theme and some were off topic a little bit just for the sake of variety. The riddles had answers written upside down on the back of the card.
Still, the mechanics of the game were loose. How would a player win? What would motivate people to play? How do we create a competitive atmosphere to the game? These were tied together almost at the end of the project after we got feedback and ideas from others. After a lot of discussions and actually playing the game ourselves a few times we reached the point where we could write an instructions sheet, and confidently tell others the main aim of the game and how it’s played. This required us to label the questions as easy or difficult and accordingly make changes to the time to respond to each card etc… There was a bit of controversy whether to add the element of paper money to easy questions. That is, easy questions with correct responses would get $5 and difficult ones would get $10, but this would be unfair since players don’t get to choose their difficulty as they play.
I suppose the element of time adds to the excitement of the game and the difficulties with their rewards give people a better motive to play along. On the day the game was displayed to the people, we received feedback from many people. All of it was helpful and constructive whether positive or negative. (Although the track confused almost everyone) But overall, I sensed that it was a good experience for them.
For us, it was definitely an experience worth blogging about in detail. I personally had an incredible time designing something, that I know one day could be improved and displayed in the market. I think human touch, is something that we need to work on, given the advances in technology and the gap it has created. That’s why I think the game and its purpose serve a requirement.
Below is the multimedia Mira and I worked on relating to the syllabus:
The game was designed by Sarah, Menna, Mira, Sabba and I.