MDA of Heads Up

Heads Up is a charades game on a mobile phone app where a player holds up the phone to their forehead displaying a prompt that the other players have to act out. Once the player guesses correctly, they flip the phone down to get the next prompt. This continues until time runs out. This game’s core aesthetic is expression as players are given the freedom to act out the prompt as they wish and this oftentimes becomes very entertaining from all players. The set of mechanics that create this dynamic is the following: 1) players acting are not allowed to talk, 2) the player guessing cannot see the prompt while everyone else can, 3) the player has a limited amount of time to guess as many prompts as possible. The time pressure and dramatic irony involved in the gameplay leads to a dynamic where players try to act out words as quickly as possible, which often leads to funny interpretations or scrappy mimes of the word. As a result, players have a much more enjoyable time as each iteration of the game is unique based on each player’s interpretation. The fun created through expression gives players a creative outlet to act out various objects, actions, and activities that they would not otherwise encounter in day-to-day life.

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