In our game, “Breaking my silence” (named after an infamous YouTube video in which one content creator severs ties with another amidst a dramatic whirlwind of accusations) we aim to take a satirical foray into the system dynamics around online influencers and content creators carefully navigating crafting an online image that aligns with what they perceive to be valuable in society. We are zooming in on how our society values (or sometimes punishes) consumable content, specific types of controversies, and cultural currency in service of building large (monetizable) social followings.
The game’s core loop revolves around two players facing off over a hypothetical controversial video topic that is drawn from the “theme” card deck. The players decide who is for and against the topic, debate, and undermine each other by playing “rumor” cards that accuse opponent of previous “problematic” behavior. The noncompeting players decide whose side to take, and this determines the probability of someone getting “canceled”. This sequence of interactions is meant to replicate the behaviors that emerge when creators make content that is largely reviled by the public. Then a die is rolled (or a wheel is spun) and the outcome determines which of the two competitors is canceled (and loses followers). The player who is not canceled gains followers. Then the process begins again with the next set of players and repeats until all players have faced everyone x amount of times at which point the person with the largest following wins. The arcs emerge through the game as previous video themes and accusations that players debate become talking points in their future battles with other opponents.
We felt that given the nature of the system, replicating influencer to influencer dynamics in player-to-player interactions was critical. We hope that this will provide players with a nuanced understanding of the system.