This week in Serious Game Project, I decided that I will design a game for Theatre One. The game will appeal to both those involved in acting as well those who enjoy gaming, hopefully opening some eyes to the enjoyment that can be had participating in, or viewing theatre.
Theatre itself is a very old form of art dating back to before the common era! In fact, it is believed that “in the 6t century BC a priest of Dionysus, by the name of Thespis, introduced a new ‘element’ which can validly be seen as the birth of theatre” (Gascoigne 2001). The fact that theatre still exists today, amidst vast technological advancements and alternative forms of media available, perfectly emphasizes the impact and importance that it carries along with its age. For actors, theatre opens up the opportunity to become part of a family – a family which works together in order to portray the events in a story. This, of course, requires the actors to become familiar with their characters, all of which have varying personalities, qualities and relationships with each other. This ultimately forces the actors involved to not only learn about their particular character and the characters to be played by others, but about themselves as well! As stated by actor, Nick Wyman, “I [have to] solve problems: how to get the truth out of a fellow character, how to reassure an anxious juvenile, how to stop boring the rest of the cast. As a result, I grow. I grow as an actor and as a person” (Wyman n.d.). So, acting can not only serve as a fantastic form of entertainment for others, but can also serve as a tool for developing one’s own interpersonal skills, helping to form friendships and even families (even if the families are just for the show).
As far as gaming is concerned, there are not many digital games which incorporate theatre or the performing arts. Therefore, I wanted to create something mostly original which could potentially allow players to dip their toes in the waters of acting or playing a role. As a result, I decided that it might be best to start with focusing on finding a fun way to engage individuals in communicating with each other. I figure VR would be a phenomenal platform to achieve such a feat as it would allow players to interact with each other in a slightly more natural way. Then comes the game element… I imagine a game such as “The Wolf Among Us,” a murder mystery, however, with no scripted dialogue between players and instead just backstories provided to them before playing. The idea would be that one player is given the role of a murderer, while all of the other players are innocent bystanders. Each player (including the killer) would be provided with a brief backstory for their character, an alibi, personality traits, hobbies, etc. Players will then have to communicate with each other while playing the role they’ve been given in order to figure out who among them is the murderer.
I figure that these murder mystery scenarios can be themed after actual plays, with the environments being modeled as sets in a theatre, thereby drawing the parallel between gaming and theatre. Such an experience would allow those who have never acted before to test their hand at the art, giving them a taste of the fun to be had acting out a part with others.
Gascoigne, Bamber. “HISTORY OF THEATRE.” HISTORY OF THEATRE. N.p., 2001. Web. 27 Feb. 2017. <http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID=cui>.
Wyman, Nick. “From the President | Actors’ Equity Association.” From the President | Actors’ Equity Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2017. <http://www.actorsequity.org/aboutequity/president_archive23.asp>.