Minor Project: Looped!
An arcade game with a bit of narrative
At the start of the second part of the minor everybody had to freedom to make what they wanted with only one exeption: It had to be interactive. For this project I wanted to make a sort of game where the user can interact with the project. I wanted to make something that people can easily play and is inviting. So, the first thing that came to mind were different kind of games that are at a fun fair (kermis) and in an arcade hall. One of my first ideas was to make a claw machine. So i decide to work together with two other colleagues on this project.
First, we had to look at our topic more broadly. So, we started researching gambling in gaming first. After that we began researching gambling and addiction in general. We already knew from experience that in gaming today there are a lot of gambling mechanics applied. Loot boxes, gashapon mechanics and more. But also, that the games and chances of getting the in-game items you want can be manipulated. This is especially noticeable in more and more games today. We wanted to explore more in the territory of what addictions are (the psychological part) and why we keep playing the games we play.
We research first what type of games all people can play, such as ‘chance’ games. Games at the fun fair like the ring toss, coin pusher and claw machines are prime examples. After that we researched what kinds of gambling games there are. Notable examples are the slot machines, roulette, pachinko, etc. Then we made an inventory of these games and tried to look for connections. The most prominent thing is that most fun fair games have an element of chance in them. The claw machine for example, is partly skill-based, where you have to align the claw with the prize. It is also partly chance-based. The chance part of the game is whether the claw itself is going to be strong enough to grab the prize.
On the website: www.trimbos.nl and on the Trimbos-instituut there is a lot of information available about what kind of different addictions there are what you could do about it. There are different kinds of gambling games. Chance games are where you can bet money on and hope you can win with pure luck and no skill involved (bingo, slot machine, roulette, etc). There are also skill-oriented games. These types of games have a bit more agency which also allows you to control the outcome in a way. The separation between these types of games (chance and skill-oriented) is become more and more difficult to define.
There are different stages of gambling. In stage 1 you just gamble for your own pleasure. This is where you start playing the game for the first time. You have control of when you want or don’t want to play the game. Stage 2 is where gambling becomes more of a habit. You don’t do it out of pleasure anymore and start to play just because you are used to playing. Stage 3 is where you start having trouble with gambling. You start having troubles with money, social life, work, etc. And stage 4 is where you can’t change your behaviour anymore. It’s just like drug of alcohol addiction, where you can’t go without it.
What's the plan?
What we are going to do is make a game about addictions. This game will show the user about the stages of (gambling) addiction. It will be an arcade game with its own arcade cabinet. All with the sounds and visuals of a gambling machine, to attract most of the people.
We currently have two names in mind for our game: ‘Looped!’ or ‘Hooked!’ We wanted the name to fun and exciting while also saying that you can be addicted to the game. In the end we chose Looped! For the art style of the game we chose something cheerful and inviting but also something we can easily work with. So, we decided to use a minimalistic art style. We are working on three levels: casino, work and home. For each level we have a different background.
What Are the following steps?
We had to present our work in TAC (Temporary Art Center) in Eindhoven. All we had to do was to install the components and finish the game. Our work stood there from 11 to 13 January 2020. While we were their our arcade cabinet was asked to but put on another expo called: 'Night of the Nerds'. (https://www.nightofthenerds.com/) This will be on 9th of June 2020.