Game and story-shaped designs
When I went to see Pixar’s WALL-E, there was an animated short called Partly Cloudy before the film. It had to do with a stork who got stuck with delivering really challenging packages. It got me thinking of some shadowy agency which employed people called Storks to deliver metaphorical packages to people. Perhaps this guy shows up on your doorstep with a lost memory from childhood.
Then I thought maybe I could make a role playing game out of it. The players would play characters in this agency delivering packages as a way of working off a debt, kind of like the reapers in Dead Like Me.
But then it occurred to me it might be more interesting if it were a live action game like Killer or Capture the Flag, where teams of people had to make sure a package got delivered to its destination.
I’m not sure how it happened, but when I sat down to write down some notes for the rules to this potential game, I instead wrote the manual that became The Stork. It was one of those rare pieces of writing that I transcribe more than write. It just flowed out, almost fully formed. I made some tweaks to it, but the first draft ended up being really good as is.
Some part of me wants to create these shared experiences, these abstract dreamlike ideas. I’ve found the best way to communicate them is to squeeze them into the shape of a story or a game. The structure is just a handle or a frame, a label so that other people can (hopefully) understand what I’m trying to tell them.
I was hoping I would be able to share something about a recent project, but it is still under wraps. Stay tuned!
I’m pretty good at keeping secrets. You ask me not to tell, I essentially partition that information away in a special vault in my memory. Eventually even I will be surprised by the news.
It’s tricky when I am working on something cool, but I’m forbidden to show anyone. I recently had to sign an NDA at work. Now I belong to a secret society who know about *It*.
In other news, I have secured three video testimonials about The Stork. I want to get one more and then cut together a promo video so I can launch the Kickstarter project. I’d like to get that going by the end of the month.
I’ve got most of The Stork’s project page completed on Kickstarter. Their back end is really slick and full of helpful information on fundraising, promoting your project, etc. I’m used to shrouding The Stork in secrecy so that it is more fun to learn about it when you participate. But, obviously, in this situation, I need to give more details so people understand why they should contribute.
Kickstarter encourages the use of video to help people engage with your project on an emotional level. I’m gathering video testimonials of people who have participated in the past so I can cut together a promo. So far I have two really good testimonials and I’d like to get at least two more. Then I’ll throw in some graphics and music and put it up!
Kickstarter fever was in the air. It seemed like every time I turned around, someone was posting about their new Kickstarter project on Facebook or Twitter. It seemed like a magical box where you put an idea in one end and an amazing thing came out the other. Somewhere in between a bunch of generous strangers dumped a bunch of money in there as well.
The excitement and success stories surrounding Kickstarter projects made me want to do it like the cool kids. But what would I do? Of course! I could do an expanded print run of The Stork, my… game…book…experiment…thing. Yes! Kickstarter was the perfect place for my weird idea of promoting random kindness. Continue reading