Rachel Naidich P2

The Disappearance of Jennfier Smith

You can play it here: https://rachelnaidich.com/game.html

There is also a cheat sheet just in case: The Disappearance of Jennifer Smith Cheat Sheet (1)


In “The Disappearance of Jennifer Smith,” you play Emma, a college student in 2122 who is grieving from a recent breakup. She discovers that Jennifer, a girl from her dorm, is missing, and must uncover clues on her college campus to find her. As she uncovers these clues, she starts experiencing strange flashback vision where she seems to be reliving the memories of a college student from the past named Olivia. In these flashbacks, Emma discovers that Olivia also suffered from a breakup, but died soon after the breakup and did not have the chance to grieve. In the end, she discovers that Olivia has been a ghost for years and Olivia the ghost had abducted Jennifer. After rescuing Jennifer, Olivia finally gets the chance to grieve and rest in peace through Emma.

The focus of the game is on how one goes about resolving grief after a breakup, which is often not talked about. Those who go through grief that is due to the loss of a family member get lots of empathy from those around them and are often given opportunities to take time off of work or school. Grief after a breakup, however, is seen as simply something that everyone goes through and that people just need to “get over.” The reality is that studies show that divorces are the biggest stressor an adult goes through in their life, and college students are especially succesptible to being distressed and having mental health issues after going through a breakup.  In this game, Olivia’s grief is manifested through her inability to rest in peace after death and her choosing to instead haunt the school, searching for her loved one.

Iteration 1

After finishing my game, I ended up testing my game with my roommate and her boyfriend. I was able to catch a few minor typos and a few bugs. I also got feedback that the game didn’t seem super upset by the idea of Emma and Jackson blackmailing him. I changed some of the dialogue to make Eric seem nastier and more disagreeable.

Iteration 2

A couple people from class as well as Christina tested my game next and provided pieces of feedback. One was that it was difficult to figure out where to go next and that it was frustrating to keep hitting deadends before reaching the correct place. I ended up implementing a sidebar that displays the current objectives to try to help with this issue. Another piece of feedback was that there was a bug involving not needing to get Jennifer’s photo or her ID number to print out the counterfeit ID card, so I went back and fixed the bug.

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  1. Effectiveness:
    – I like your topic and motivation! It’s true that break-ups are not discussed enough and can have a big emotional impact—your story conveys some of these emotions!
    – Nice job incorporating playtest feedback into the game! I think the “current objectives” panel does help clarify the experience (though, give it one more run-through, I think “head to the package center” is in a few screens where it’s not supposed to be)
    – I have a couple questions if you’d like to focus on this for the final:
    o Is Jackson Jennifer’s bf? Maybe clarify this earlier in the story
    o More info on Bluetown Secret Society ? (if it’s an important detail)
    o Seems like a few people in the dorm don’t answer—removing them or reducing the number of people might help with achieving objectives faster
    – It’s unclear how you’re supposed to “gather dirt” on Eric and the current objectives don’t give clues for this
    Honoring the Medium:
    – Remove “current objectives” from intro screen
    – Instead of using “You: I…” to describe personal thoughts, keep second person consistent throughout the story (might be smoother) [using You: I.. for dialogue is fine!]
    – To help the reader differentiate between who is talking, might be helpful to add colors
    – Nice detailed dialogue!
    – Covers all categories

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