PART 1: Play Some Digital Narrative Games

After a short introduction to the idea of “narrative” or “choose-your-own-adventure” games, we will play these 2 (learning) games that have one main thing in common: they employ a lot of player agency. They can also be played in a short amount of time. Play each game and reflect on how you feel while playing the games. You will later develop your own choose-your-own adventure or narrative game (later in the semester).

Play each of these THREE games as follows:

  1. Spent — this game is about empathizing with poverty; you make choices and life hits you back; Play it at least twice and record not only what you achieve, but also how you feel before and after, and what you learned. The game has an “ask a friend of a loan/help” feature that makes you post to social media, so I will ask you to use Twitter for that – so people watching will see this unfold
  2. BBC Syrian Refugees — this game asks you to take on a role of a Syrian refugee and make decisions of how to escape and where to escape to and how. Play this one twice, taking different decisions each time and again reporting on how it felt and what you learned. Tweet some reflections after each iteration of the game and something you learned
  3. Fake it to Make It. In this game, you play the role of someone who is trying to make money out of spreading fake news, and you discover tactics to help you succeed. Play this one once and try to meet your target (this should take roughly 30 minutes).

Assignment: at HOME play 3 more (other) digital games. Choose any two of these listed below and any other (educational) game you find on your own. The following games are options (please don’t all pick the first two!):

  1. Darfur is Dying – about people in Darfur (would be interesting to compare it to Syrian Refugees game)
  2. Liyla – this is about people in Palestine (I had it as an app on my phone – I think there’s a web-based version also)
  3. Depression Quest – warning, this game may put you down if you’re already feeling kind of depressed as it is about putting yourself in the shoes of someone who is very depressed and making decisions on their behalf that might make them more or less depressed. It is a very good game if you know someone who suffers from depression and want to help them.
  4. Bury me, my love (Syrian focused)
  5. Pry (not free) – about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  6. Voter Suppression Trial via New York Times – this one was funnier before Trump won, but still…
  7. Sleep-deprived mom game
  8. Game on responsible partying
  9. Impersonate a person who is creating fake news
  10. Previous student games
    1. On Domestic Abuse (Jana Khalifa, 2017)
    2. On Street Sweepers (Fadila Hassib, 2017)
    3. On Child Abuse: Orphanage Edition (Fayrouz El Serogy, 2017)
    4. On Gender Equality (Mohamed Abouelfath and Fatma Halawa, 2017)
    5. On Illiteracy by Ayah Safwat and Manar (2018) – background here
    6. On Animal Rights by Guirguis Samir (2018) – background here
    7. On Single Moms by Merna Kostandy (2018) – background here
  11. To help you find more games other than those listed above:
    1. Find your own serious or educational game – e.g. by searching for free ones on Games for Social Change (here or here)
    2. Play any game from this list collated here by Keegan Longwheeler and John Stewart (the first one won’t make much sense to Egyptian students and many of them are US-focused, but I will leave it to students to decide which ones they’d like to play)
    3. Play a student-created game such as these by Keegan’s students or these by AUC students (see above for a sample)

After you have played the total of 5 games (2 in class, 3 at home) post the following on your blog:

  • How you felt playing each game
  • What you learned playing each game
  • One suggestion for improving each game
  • A reflection comparing the 5 games with each other in whatever manner you like. This could be visual, video or any other form and it can be on any criteria they choose.

Think about what you would like to do if you were to create your own “narrative” game.

PART 2: Prototype Your Own Digital Narrative Game

  1. Read this article:
  2. Write up a prototype (i.e. a rough outline or sketch) for a narrative game you might create about a topic you care about, where you want to raise awareness or empathy about it. You don’t need to know technically how they are done, you just need to know that your game needs to involve decision-making (like the games you played for the previous assignment) and that the learner’s choice would lead them to a different consequence. [you may do this assignment as an individual or in pairs – if you work in pairs, just make sure you clarify in your blogpost who your partner was]
  3. Give feedback to at least 3 of your colleagues by posting comments on their blogs. Remember to highlight what you think is GOOD about their game, and give constructive feedback on how their game can be improved?
  • Part 3: Create a Digital Form of Your Narrative Game and Playtest It

    First draft

    Create your game using something like Google Slides or Google Forms, including at least 10 scenarios and their consequences. If working in pairs, aim for 20 scenarios.

    Write a blogpost describing your game, linking to a playable version of your game, and inviting others to give feedback on the first draft.

    Final draft

    Write a blogpost describing your final game, linking to it and explaining

    1. How you modified it since first draft based on feedback
    2. What you would have done differently if you had more time
    3. What you learned while making this game