Global Warning: Designing an original arcade game for a music festival audience
School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Master's Programme in New Media
AbstractThis thesis presents the development and analysis of Global Warning, a physical computing game designed for a music festival audience. The game employs an arcade style because coin-operated games have a rich history of entertaining crowds in the public forum. Based on defining characteristics of games in this tradition, five design pillars were established to guide Global Warning’s development – Attention Grabbing, Simple and Accessible, Quick and Exciting, Replayable, and Social. Cooperation mechanics and asymmetric player roles provide a foundation for gameplay, while unique hardware controllers, dazzling lights, and a novel wooden display are focal points of the construction. The project emerged from a workshop at Aalto University called Alt+Ctrl+Aalto, where students were invited to create handmade, physical computing games for Flow Festival, a popular arts and music festival based in Helsinki. This thesis begins with an introduction to the game, its designers, and the motivations behind its development. It then presents a brief history of the arcade, from early coin-operated amusements to modern indie experimental games. Next, it comprehensively examines the game design process, analyzes the game’s successes and failures based on data collected at Flow Festival, and suggests improvements that are implemented into a second iteration of the game. This thesis concludes with a discussion of key learnings and offers some recommendations to future developers.
Thesis advisorNiinimäki, Matti
arcade, asymmetric gameplay, game design, GameFlow model, physical computing, music festival