What Would You Do? (WWYD?)

This is a picture and text messaging game.

The first "test run" of the game was played with 3 people receiving messages and me sending and reacting. Every 15 minutes, starting at noon on a specific day the participants were messaged a picture and asked a question related to it. The first person to reply got their way.

It was very interesting because about a third of the time more than one person responded with the same reply. This seems a little odd since the questions were not multiple choice.

I will be doing a much larger version of this game where players can also participate directly from a webpage and the pictures that are associated with the questions and responses will also be posted online. I'm just trying to figure out the technical aspects of this.


Analysis of WWYD?

Name: What Would You Do? (WWYD?)

Objective: to test out picture messaging as a potential game mechanic, to see if players are more or less adventurous with someone else’s decisions, to transfer some in-game control from the game’s creator to the game’s players, to see if players would play a game where they needed to be “on call” for a set amount of time.

Importance: I am very used to controlling games because I created them and it was important for me to temporarily relinquish some of that power, perceived or actual, to the players. I needed to be just as dedicated to the game as the players for the game to function. I was curious if the picture messages would be engaging enough to hold the players’ attention and dedication for 3 hours.

Method/Gameplay: I gathered 3 participants (2 graduate students and 1 adult with a typical work schedule) to play the game on a predetermined Friday from 10am-1pm. Each participant was sent a picture message the evening before to remind them of the event. At 10am I sent all players a picture message and a short question. Example: I took a picture down the street where I was and asked, “Where should I go?” Then I would follow the directions of the person who responded first and took another photo to show what I did. This process continued once every 15 minutes.

Strategies/Technologies: I tried to take pictures that were interesting or amusing to the players. It was also important that I asked a general question and let the picture itself constrain possible responses further because I thought this would more actively involve the participants. After picture message the players I uploaded the question and answer images to flickr so that the participants could see what the outcomes were.

Outcome: The short time period between messages made it necessary for me to think of topics and photos quickly. Sometimes I had barely sent the message and had already received a reply. This was relieving because I was no longer wondering what I would do next. Some of the responses were also humorous. Example: I took a photo of a display of books and asked, “What book should I buy for my dad?” Two of the players responded, “The one with the hot girl.” One player said she enjoyed getting so many picture messages and the excitement to see what each one was of. My questions and photos got increasingly more random and creative as the game progressed.

The game would have been improved had I figured how to upload the photos somewhere that the players could check to see what the outcomes were more immediately, instead of the following day. I think it would have also been interesting to allow people who do not have picture phones to participate from online in the decision-making process. I’m also curious what kind of photos and questions other people might use if they were the person in that role.

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