Future Play – Assignment 4

Social Inspector Demo – Cameron Rowbury 720p from rmitmedia on Vimeo.

For my project in assignment 4 I have designed a game that is focused on social media and how it is moderated. It is a game that can not only help users of social media better understand the platforms they use, but it can also be used as an education tool for those who are not as literate with the use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. This makes the game ideal for not only those on social media but also for children and that are older that might not have much knowledge or experience with such platforms.

What I learned when engaging with is assignment was the many things I had to consider when constructing a game such as this. Platform, accessibility, user interface design, gameplay complexity, imbedding educational elements and how all these things interrelate. To me it was imperative that for a game such as this that it was easy to access, understand and interact with, whilst retaining its educational value. I had to learn about how I could engage players with something interesting whilst still educating them at the same time, essentially having the players partake in a form of critical play.

Probably the most important idea taken from the course when developing my game was the work of Mary Flannagan particularly critical play. Critical play was at the forefront of my gameplay experience as the player you are constantly being considerate of your actions and its social and political implications, as it is required if the player wishes to succeed at the game. In order to achieve the best rank possible, the player must ensure they are making the right decision, they must analyse not only the post on screen but where its coming from, the context and its potential interpretations. This is something that cannot be done passively, it is a very active minded play experience.

Additionally, a key aspect I had taken from the course is the social and political implications of the game. The game was born out of frustration with the errors and misbehaviour on social media platforms. Misinformation, targeted harassment, inappropriate content, and extremism are issues that unfortunately are commonplace, so it is the goal of the game to specifically help players identify and understand how and where it can be found on the internet. In a way I would classify my game as a game for change as its goal resides in education as well as addressing issues found in our modern media landscape.

In regards to what didn’t work, some of the concepts I had originally conceived for the game where a little difficult to implement and ultimately unnecessary when it came to the goals of the project. I am specifically referring to a political compass element that would based off the posts you judge attempt to show the player certain biases as too what posts would receive more or less severe actions taken against them. This is something that could be implemented however I feel that it isn’t entirely necessary to the project, instead I decided to approach the game from a more neutral perspective in which objectivity, social media literacy and decision making were the prime objectives of the play experience rather than showing the potential biases of the player.

When it comes to something I would do differently I would want to try and make a larger variety of posts with more complex and difficult decisions to be made by the player, as well as making them more realistic. I even considered using real posts at some point and even now I wonder if that would be a good idea, it would at the very least be more immersive and potentially educational.

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