P2: Tiny Playable Prototype

For my playable prototype I used a simple paper prototype / role-playing scenario in which I gave players a set of rules to “not say anything stupid”, alongside small paper pieces that would represent players losing or gaining “points” (-2, -1 , 0 , +1, +2), with the goal of having players lose points if they said something wrong. The conversation role-played was a fairly benign conversation, but I would intentionally randomly give negative point values without any actual reasoning or rules. The intent of this prototype was to see if I could evoke a similar feeling of overthinking in which they might begin to hesitate and question the things they were saying through an outside mechanic like points (as I felt like if I were to just voice out those types of anxious thoughts in text, it might not be as resonant). While I thought this might be effective, it ended up not being very meaningful — I think most individuals didn’t really get that feeling that perhaps the point system was arbitrary and were okay with losing points if they could figure out the “rules”, which sort of ruined any sort of tension or care. Another thing is that I don’t really think that the prototype really got at the emotional concept I wanted players to care about, as it became more of a guessing game than something with emotional stakes. I think instead of punishing the player, I think disrupting the player’s normal gameplay flow is something I’d like to test next, maybe interrupting a dialogue option with a new “intrusive thought” internal dialogue branch — although for this I worry that perhaps people will just feel like the character they are playing as is being unreasonable?

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