Pseudo Game Jam

Results (Group A)

The results are in! We received 31 procedural poems throughout the month of July. The poems were then anonymized, and distributed to three editors each, where they were scored for clarity, how well they fit the theme, and their ingenuity. Based on those scores we have narrowed it down to 6 finalists. But rather than posting all the poems and finalists at once, we’re going to publish 10 poems, including 2 finalists, each Wednesday for the next three weeks. In the meantime the judges will conduct a second round of judging, and we’ll announce the winner on August 27th.

That said, we received some fantastic entries and whether they were finalists or not they all deserve to be shared. Please Tweet and post your favourite poems by right-clicking on this Link to this Poem icon next to the poem you want to share and copy the link.

Lastly, thanks so much to all who participated in the jam and to those that shared the call for submissions. And thank *you* for reading FPS. We hope you enjoy reading these ‘games’ as much as we did!

Without further delay, here’s the first group of poems (with 10 more coming on August 13th and 20th):

Jonathan Barker | Think Back

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Think Back

Start from this moment.
Now think back exactly 1 year ago. Think about exactly what you were doing this day one year ago.
Now rate how much better or worse you are.
Pick one of the following that describes how you compare today to that year old version of you.
Are you now:
Better in every imaginable way? +100
Better in most respects? +50
Slight improvement? +10
No change? 0
Slightly worse? -10
Worse in most respects? -50
Worse in every imaginable way? -100

Take your score and write it down on a piece of paper. For the following do the same and write the number below.

Now think back 5 years ago. Really, figure out what you were doing five years ago today. Score it.
Now think back to when you were 5 years old.
(Look up historic events on the internet for each of the following years)
Compared to a 25-year-old male living in your country in 1990…
Compared to a 25-year-old female living in your country in 1990…
Compared to a 25-year-old male living in your country in 1950…
Compared to a 25-year-old female living in your country in 1950…
Compared to a 25-year-old male living in your country in 1900…
Compared to a 25-year-old female living in your country in 1900…
Compared to a 25-year-old male living in your country in 2014BC…
Compared to a 25-year-old female living in your country in 2014 BC…
Compared to a 25-year-old male living anywhere in 600,000 BC…
Compared to a 25-year-old female living anywhere in 600,000 BC…

Now re-score 1 year ago today. Now score your life 1 year from now. Score your life 5 years from now.

Decide if you’ve won.

Cameron Hadfield | Alienism

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Alienism is a co-operative platforming game. The characters are chosen from antagonistic alien races that have been locked in battle for centuries. The goal of the game is for the two players to work together to return a child to its parents through a war zone. The game is played in segments or levels in which a variety of puzzles and cooperative elements are involved. For example, the two players can leap across a chasm but the child can not, so the players have to find some object in the vicinity to span the gap to allow the child access. In each level there are puzzle elements as mentioned previously but there are also fighting elements. In each level, the fighting is combined with the co-operative gameplay for a unique experience. For instance, if there is a soldier from the opposite race as the person approaching them, they will begin to fire on that person, whereas if the player from the same race approaches them, they will not begin to attack unless the player attacks them first. If the player decides to not harm the soldier, they are able to open a dialogue tree with the soldier and either cause a distraction for the team mate or simply pay off the guard. At multiple points in each level there will be forks in the road allowing players to truly choose their path to the end and then throughout the game. The game is made with alien races and planets in order to give players a broader perspective in to racial problems and to examine how two different peoples can work towards a wholesome, mutual goal.

Miguel Penabella | Speechless

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Speechless is a first person suitor game, or a meet ‘em up, though it challenges the generic framework of both. Specifically, Speechless aims to resist the conventions of dating sims or romance visual novels that objectify women as merely sexual “goals” in the service of heterosexual male fantasy.

The player assumes the role of an employee who works for a company that relays break-up messages for clients unwilling to face their own loved ones directly. Think of it as a romance text-based game without the love.

Goal: The goal isn’t to start a relationship, but to end one.

Set Up: The player-character receives information from a client on the feelings they wish to convey to their significant other. These “mission briefs” provide crucial context for you to set the tone and direction in the game’s dialogue options.

Play: Based on the given information, the player-character engages the client’s partner through a series of dialogue choices that will eventually lead to a healthy breakup. As in L.A. Noire’s interrogation sequences or Telltale Games’ dialogue trees, the player must set the appropriate tone so the breakup message is conveyed healthily rather than risk ending the conversation and failing altogether.

The partner’s reaction to the news informs your conversational style: aggressive, gentle, sympathetic, etc. Falling into routine dialogue paths is likely, but the finale of the game turns the gameplay on its head. The final contract forces you to navigate the player-character’s own relationship with their unseen significant other, switching the roles so that you react to your own breakup via a fellow employee relaying the kind of information you were so keen on disseminating earlier. Will you be surprised? Curious? Indifferent?

Speechless encourages players to think about these emotions and the language of failed romance. Failure is normal.

Arianna Gass | Game Against Harassment

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Game Against Harassment

Game Against Harassment is a party game for three to ten grrls. Unlike most other party games, Cards Against Harassment is as feminist and strong as your friends!

At the start of the game, each grrl receives seven response cards. Once an order of judges has been determined, the first judge chooses a card from the harassment deck, reads it aloud, and places it face up on the table. Players then choose one response card from their deck and place it face down on the table.

Once all players have placed a response card down on the table, the judge determines their favorite response to the given harassment, awarding that card to the player with the winning response. The remaining response cards are discarded and players replenish their hand.

The second judge continues the game by choosing a harassment card and placing it on the table.

The grrl with the greatest number of harassment cards at the end of the game is designated as the winner, though this rarely matters.

A quick trial round:

Jess is the judge, while Meryl, Reed, Matt, and Claire are the players.

Jess chooses the harassment card, “Damn, Girl!”

Meryl chooses the response card: “You don’t look like a three-year-old, but you sure do act like one.”

Reed chooses the response card: “I can’t even with all these basic bitches.”

Matt chooses the response card: “Do you talk to your mother like that?”

Claire chooses the response card: “I was having a great day until you decided to harass me on my way to work.”

Jess likes Reed’s response card the best, and awards him the harassment card, “Damn, Girl!”

Max Mallory | The Hard Pitch

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The Hard Pitch

An experiment in what could go wrong (or right) from good faith.

The Hard Pitch is a game focused on trusting others, keeping your dignity, and facing disappointment. It is for two players. One is the pitcher, one is the catcher.

Materials Required: Any form of voice communication.

Goal: The pitcher must keep the respect of the catcher throughout the duration of the pitch. The catcher must accept or refuse the pitch. The game always begins at Phase 1.

Phase 1: The pitcher gives an offer to the catcher. Anything they can think of. It could be an offer to help the catcher carry in their groceries, or an attempt to hit on them, among many other things. They then tell their pitch to the catcher, at which point Phase 2 begins.

Phase 2: The catcher then responds to the pitch, in whatever way they see fit. They can react any way they desire, from paying the pitcher for their help to slapping them across the face and calling the police. However, they must eventually choose to accept or refuse the pitch. Depending on which one of these is chosen, the game moves to either the Accept Phase, or the Refuse Phase.

Accept Phase: If the pitch is accepted, both players win. As part of the rules, they must exchange contact information to play The Hard Pitch again at some point in the future, with the pitcher now playing as the catcher, and the catcher playing as the pitcher.

Refuse Phase: If the pitch is refused, both players lose. They are not allowed to play against each other again.

Simone | Irreversible

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“All physical processes are symmetric with respect to the direction of time; but only in one of these directions entropy always increases.”

Core concept: “Irreversible” is a stealth shooter/puzzler about actions, their consequences, and atonement. It is a game that begins at the end of another game and tasks the player with reversing that victory.

“ ‘I did not know’ can not be an excuse for what I did. I am a scientist. Knowing is my job.”

Story: the hero, X, is a physicist on a rampage to save his colleague and love interest, Y, kidnapped by another colleague, Z, who actually was a terrorist, infiltrated to steal his research, a device that could invert the flow of time. The game begins at the final confrontation. X finds out the truth: Y was not kidnapped, she left on her own; both her and Z believe that the research is dangerous and want to destroy it. X realizes how many men he pointlessly killed in his delusional quest for revenge. He takes it on himself to use the device to relive the last days, with time flowing in reverse, and repair the damage he’s done, before destroying it himself.

“Killing is easy. Now comes the hard part.”

Gameplay: X has to go through all the rooms he has riddled with his enemies’ bodies. His rifle now works in reverse – sucking bullets out of the corpses and bringing them back to life. He needs to be sneaky, though – the re-awakened guards and minions still consider him a menace, and will try to kill him. He can only hide and run. At the end, the beginning awaits him: to break the loop, he’ll have to confront and kill himself, with the same bullets he extracted from everyone else.

Nathan Hook | The Cosplay Convention

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The Cosplay Convention

A single player or MMO computer game. Players take the role of of a cosplayer attending a convention. The ‘goal’ given at the start is to be the most popular cosplayer at a convention.
First part (can be played offline): an elaborate avatar construction system, where they build their cosplay. Items have a cost (in-game currencies are time and money) and each different bonuses.

Second part (single player with bots, or with other players in the environment online): in a virtual game environment, players guide their avatar around the convention trying to show off their costume to gain popularity by interacting with NPCs, each other and performing shows on stage.

-The sexier they made their costume, the easier their attract attention. However, they also attract more unwanted attention (e.g. accusations of being a fake geek, pick up artists, gropers, etc), which attacks their self-esteem.

– If they lose too much self-esteem they suffer an anxiety attack, but if they choose to fight back against the attackers their popularity crashes, and then their self-esteem suffers badly from attacks on a virtual twitter feed.

Possible end conditions include sacrificing self-esteem and making oneself a sex object to win popularity, enjoying cosplay for its own sake, keeping a low profile and not chasing popularity, or breaking down and quitting the convention under the pressure. Which the player chooses to aim for a real goal emerges in play. (An R-rated DLC adds an additional possible outcome for players that wish to include dark content.)

This game challenges computer game conventions in that attacks are emotionally harmful rather than physically harmful, by being based primarily around female protagonists, and by being a social comment on the state of geek conventions – ‘rethinking conventions’ in the other sense.

Thomas McCulloch | Lifelong Hold’em

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Lifelong Hold’em

Lifelong Hold’em is a card game for all humans of all ages and possibly some intelligent apes or magpies.

Goal: The aim is to collect as many different kinds of cards as possible into one deck, including but not limited to playing, tarot, trading and business cards.

Set-up: The players begin the game with an empty hand.

Play: Each turn, chosen by the players at random, should consist of drawing cards from the city streets, village lanes, lone roads, desolate car parks, late night motorways, high wires, thin ice, strangers palms they cross throughout life and build this into a deck.

In between turns players should take the time to consult their deck of cards and compare it with fellow players, if they wish too. Other actions could include counting all the numbers on the edges of well worn cards. Pondering the meaning of the five of pentacles. Trying to recall a face to the name on a business card from a dentistry convention or perform magic tricks with a loyalty card, it hardly matters.

When a player is ready and if they wish to they can quit the game. At this point a player must burn their deck until their hand is ash and then all they have to do is let go, let go of it all.

Lucas Lodi | Status-Quo

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The game is called status-quo.
It is a game played by two people. One player is the status-quo, the other is the questioner.

The questioner’s goal is to change the status-quo, the status-quo’s goal is to keep things as they are.

The questioner asks yes/no questions and the status-quo must answer them with a yes or a no. The game starts by both players agreeing on a limited number of “yes” questions, the number of these questions dictates the length of the game.

The questioner may ask the yes/no questions in any possible creative way and the status-quo must only answer ÿes” to the agreed upon questions. Every time the status-quo gets an answer wrong, be it a “yes” to a “no” question or vice-versa, that question switches its “right answer”. When the “new” answers are above 50% of the total “right answers” a new status-quo is established and someone new comes forth to challenge the questioner that has established the new status-quo.

If the questioner quits, the status-quo is maintained but a new questioner comes forth to continue to question the status-quo.

Zack Wood | Spirits

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“Hide among them, and save them from themselves.”
“Spirits” is a MRPG (Massively Role-Playing Game) for one player.
Harvest Moon + Stealth + Puzzles + Manipulation of Privilege

GOAL: As a disembodied being from the Spirit World, possess the bodies of various villagers in order to engage with the physical world and free the village from Evil Spirits. Use each villager’s privileges to your advantage to access the locations of Evil Spirits.

Evil Spirits can be located by piecing together clues, and then accessed through a variety of trials and puzzles. Finally, the possessed villager’s life must be sacrificed in order to banish the Evil Spirit back to the Spirit World.

SET-UP: People grow suspicious when someone acts out of character. While in Spirit Form, watch the villagers, learn their habits and routines, and read their minds. Carefully select who to possess, then behave within reason for that villager in order to avoid earning suspicion.

Each villager starts with a reputation measured by the Suspicion Meter, which may increase or decrease with your actions. Most people don’t trust Crafty Carrie to start with, but who would question the actions of Granny Goodwife? Billy the Baker doesn’t usually wander around the graveyard atmidnight- but he could easily explore the basement of the grain-house.

PLAY: You’ll need to be aware of and skillfully manipulate villagers’ expectations in order to release the town from evil. Get caught and you’ll end up quarantined or killed as a scapegoat for all the bad happenings around town.

Don’t worry- as a spirit, you can always possess a new physical form if your old one dies!

Will you work in secret to protect the village’s atmosphere of safety and normalcy, or will you throw caution to the wind and focus on banishing spirits while controlling and killing whoever you please?

The game ends by prompting the player to select “start game,” accompanied by the Sprite. The credits roll. The changes made to each level are never seen.

Daniel Fandino | Grunt

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The player assumes the role of a low ranking grunt working for a nameless, sinister organization whose weapons and skills are meaningless against the furious avatars of destruction that attack with alarming frequency.

Survive attacks by impossibly resilient heroes and the nightmarish demands of the job.

The player begins the game armed with a slow firing handgun and minimal armor. There are no possibilities for upgrades.

The game is divided into two five minute phases. In phase one, the player conducts a routine patrol of a hazard-filled industrial complex. While doing so, the player must speak to other grunts to discover their personalities, eavesdrop, notice the placement of security cameras, and find convenient places to hide. In phase two, the player must survive under fire from advancing posthuman heroes and the towering mechanical horrors that are ostensibly on the players side. Simple survival is is not enough, as the player must also ensure they are witnessed by others or by security cameras doing the impossible–their job. As the player is unlikely to last more than a few seconds in combat, the player must use a dialogue system to encourage others to fight using information gleaned in phase one, convince fellow grunts they have been at the forefront of the action or be recorded by cameras appearing to fight. Use of the terrain is critical, for example being recorded firing at the heroes when a fallen mech is blocking line of sight but is not in the camera’s field of vision. At the end of phase two, the player’s performance will be reviewed by their employers and questions will be asked about the attack. Failure to answer correctly or to perform to expected standards will result in termination. Success continues the game with a new map.