Saturday, February 14, 2009
Just a thought about instructions, story
I was playing The Ladybug Game today with my children for the first time and was surprised to find that it didn't come with instructions. I told my kids that there must be something somewhere in the box or on the box or in the cards, because you can't make a game without providing instructions. My oldest daughter just started making up the rules, and we began manipulating the game pieces, and we came up with a format that worked for us. In fact, it was quite fun! And then, once we established the gameplay, we kept continually refining it. The game did provide a short story about what happened to the characters in the game, and the board was shaped in a particular way, which guided us in the development of our format. It also made me start thinking about how much more interaction and engagement was involved in playing the way we did. Maybe the best way to create interactive narratives is to start with nothing, except a few pieces and tools and an environment, and let the player broadly determine what comes next. It sure works in childplay, so does it lose its value later because many adults have atrophied imaginations? Or is it just that most adults have had the idea of complete freedom of choice hammered out of them?
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