The Mischief of Created Things
A downloadable notgame for Windows and macOS
The purpose of this project, completed in 2007, was to create an interactive environmental narrative dealing with images of West Africa. The content is based on my two years as a development worker in Mali. The imagery is intended to inspire players to find the magic in the mundane and references a hybrid of traditional Malian and Western culture overlapping between magic and technology.
My process involved creation of a three-dimensional environment in Flash, which the player can explore non-linearly. Within the environment are characters, with whom players can converse; the conversations are based on a fluid navigation system similar to the environment's exterior navigation. Stories are based on my diary entries and letters home, and were chosen for their personal, surprising, and multi-layered nature.
Rather than use traditional game design methods, I chose to start with narrative and imagery and create the game structure from them. During play, the user discovers narratives that build on one another throughout the course of the experience. The player uses these to form a meaningful picture of the environment as a whole. The order of events changes each player's interpretation, since the experience of certain events directly influences the sequence of subsequent events. The surprising and non-sequitur nature of the narrative makes the game characters and environment seem more real.
The Mischief of Created Things was selected for the Slow Art exhibit of SIGGRAPH 2008, the Flash & Thunder festival from Kalamata, Greece, The International Media Art Forum for Youth in Cairo, Egypt, the Art-i-culture exhibit in Media, Pennsylvania and the artDC New Media Lounge in Washington, D.C. In 2015 it was selected for inclusion in The New River: a journal of digital writing and art. It was included in the Procedural Experience solo exhibition at VisArts in Rockville, MD, 2017.
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