For our initial prototype, our team decided to focus on the system of social media. Specifically, we wanted to address cancel culture as it pertains to content creators on YouTube, TikTok, etc. The values we’re aiming to embed in our game include accountability, social awareness, and communication skills. Furthermore, we want this game to be a chance for players to learn about the dynamics of cancel culture through experiencing what it might be like as someone either defending or supporting themselves or another individual.
Because social media is so nuanced, we decided to narrow our lens and highlight the act of content creators posting videos in response to controversy. The goal for the player is to increase and maintain their follower count. With this in mind, we designed our first version of the loop to involve players first drawing a “theme card” that decides the topic of controversy. A player will then select another player to compete against as well as if they support or disapprove of the theme. After a brief planning period, the players will act out their videos successively and have the chance to play an “action card” that slanders or exposes a hypothetical trait. When both players have completed their acts, the players not-involved will decide who they support. The turn will then conclude in a random choice between the two players where probability is impacted by support. Followers will be lost or gained based on the outcome.
With regards to arcs, theme cards and followers impact later rounds. However, moving forward we might implement a more explicit arc through different events that happen after every round has passed to emphasize our learning goals and values. We could potentially penalize those who have engaged in the most controversy or have a roleplaying act where you can discuss and sway other players. Additionally, I wonder if there might be a way to integrate a currency beyond follower count.