Wednesday 30 May 2018

Why Make a Game About Shredding Books?

The Book Ritual, which I blogged about a couple of months ago, is starting to take shape. Since the preview video I’ve made some fairly major changes, and have been getting feedback from the first sets of players. I took it to A MAZE Berlin to show as part of the Open Screens, where a lot of paper was shredded! At the time of writing I’m on my way to Feral Vector for its second public outing.

I’ve also been showing it to a handful of developers and friends to get their feedback. Over time I’ll be expanding this handful to get more feedback from more people, and eventually releasing it to the public. Watch this space!

Me after a 3-hour demo at A MAZE, with a papery souvenir of players' experiences!

What is the Book Ritual?

The Book Ritual is an interactive art-piece played using a real-world book of your own choice. As an installation it’s played with a real-world shredder connected to the computer, but this is optional and the piece can be played at home without one.

The book is talking to you from the screen and wants to learn about you, getting you to do creativity exercises inside its pages. To keep on talking to it, however, you need to tear pages out and put them through a shredder. As your connection to the book grows it reveals more about who it is and why it wants to understand you.

The story is about dealing with loss and accepting change. It is about coming to terms with decisions that can’t be undone, and the souvenirs which will lose their meaning to time. It’s about guilt and regret. My hope is that the book can a prompt to get people to think about why they value what they do, using a tangible book as a way for people to act out these feelings in a physical way.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

The Book Ritual

So this is one of the things I’ve been working on recently! The Book Ritual is a story told using a physical book, in the real world. The player is given writing and drawing tasks that get them to interact with the book in different ways. They write in it, draw maps, and tell it about their thoughts and feelings.

The player also needs to tear out pages, and shred them, to progress.

It’s very much more of an interactive art piece than a game in the traditional sense, and talks about ideas of accepting loss and change.

Having worked with physical games and props for so long I’ve felt that the emotional weight we apply to physical objects is ripe for exploration. People don’t want to shred books. Why is that?