Made by Mrs. A. E. Reasoner, New Jersey
Pieced and embroidered silk and velvet, 1885
Purchase 1970 Frederick P. Field Bequest Fund
70.25 88″ x 90″
My first shot at creating a game based on the following requirements:
1. a game for learning
2. a location-based experience that encourages thinking rather than running
3. a game that does not require speed, or long distances to be covered – maybe even penalises long distance or fast movement
5. a game which challenges our standard notion of maps
The aim of this game is to master what initially seems like an entirely fictional and loopy game map. The winner is the player who masters the map having walked the shortest distance.
The game relies on a map that does not instantly seem to reflect real world street or paths. For example in the real world a player standing at a cross road in the real world might only say a road bending to the left on the game map, or wiggling in a fantastical manner. In fact the map is generated from real world information but NOT the usual navigation routes that we expect. Instead, it may have been created based on a variety of other location-related materials (e.g, a game-map street may turn left if there is a church en route, wiggle if the road has cobbles, stop if the street name that the player passes starts with a vowel). The map might be automatically generated based on a variety of these rules and could potentially be different every time.
The player must follow the generated game-map by navigating the real world and search for visual or aural clues as to how the game-map relates to the real-world. Crucially, the player who walks the shortest distance in order to break the code wins, an able-bodied player might explore more quickly but slower movement is much more likely to lead to clues being discovered and the puzzle being solved.
It may be that in order to prove the player has mastered the game map, she must navigate to the treasure.
Players learn how to look more critically at maps and their objectivity, explore the relationship between maps, information visualisation, navigation and location, maybe. I haven’t mocked up the game, but it conjures up an amusing, Dr Seuss style game board.