Hacking Relationships


  • Learners will give examples of boundaries that exist within multiple kinds of relationships (friends, family, lovers, authority figures, enemies) and determine why and where these understanding come from as well as their purpose.
  • Learners will Introduce second character (with a verb) that player doesn’t control and define their relationship to their avatar.
  • Learners will be asked to evaluate how this changes their game, the motivations of both characters and possible outcomes for the game.
  • Introduction/Rules- Read Rules Go around the circle and say name age and pronoun preference and answer ice breaker: Who is someone you wish you were closer to?

    Breaking Activity- Learners will get the chance to play the following games:

    All The Better to See You With by Bento Smiles - A narrative game based on the story of Little Red Riding Hood, explores a relationship when it increasingly becomes one sided. As players navigate the game the dialogue choices diminish creating tension between the two ingame characters.

    Passage- Jason Rohr - An experimental sidescroller game that builds an abstract representation of life and the passage of time. Game can be played in about 5 minutes but the player experiences the character’s entire life cycle including marriage and eventual death.

    Digital: A Love a Story- Christine Love- Narrative style “period piece” game based on the BBS networks of the 1980s and explores young love mediated by technology.

    Learners will discuss the various relationships within each game and potential rules that exist between characters and how they communicate.

    Breaking Discussion– Learners (based on personal experiences and the games they played) will consider the following questions: Who sets up rules between people? Why might rules be important in relationships? What makes one relationship different than another (lover v. family v. teacher v. stranger etc)? How can rules in relationships change? How might rules and expectations determined by others affect relationships? Can you think of a relationship you have with another person that hacks the rules and expectations put on that relationship by outside forces?

    Making Activity- Game Maker Demo- Instructor will demo “Boss” Movement cards & AI

    Artistic Activity- Learners will create a secondary character (with a verb) that the player will not have control over (uses automatic movement or “ai” coding). Learners will need to contemplate: How does this new character interact with player character within the game? What is their relationship to player character? How does this verb effect them and their relationship to player character? What new rules govern the relationship between these characters? How does this new interaction change the feel of the game?

    Closure- Instructor will review the concepts discussed based on the trajectory of discussion and conclusions reached. Learners will be given a link and asked to watch the following video:

    Human Angle- Queer Games: the secret avant garde of video games

    Materials- Teacher supplies: Laptop, Projector, Wi-fi, Student supplies: Laptops, Game Maker Lite (installed on each laptop)

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