Overview - In Loving Memory
What about the everyday death of my loved one or my loved one’s loved one. Or my acquaintance’s loved one? Or even the neighbor whom I didn’t really like so much? Or the grandparent I never knew? How can a community of people meaningfully connect over these losses and the very nature of death itself?
There is something intrinsic shared by both death/grief and game.
Telling stories and memories about a deceased loved-one is healing and a significant part of formal death ritual and in most traditions. Likewise, many games are based on stories and moreover produce in realtime a story with the player as the protagonist.
My partner Priyanka and I spent 1 month to create a video role-playing game which developed by RPG Maker MV. In this project, my role is a game designer, developer, and story editor. The goal is creating a gamify death experience to inspire people especially children have a deep thinking for fellowship and wonder around death. And telling healing and thought-provoking stories about a deceased loved-one.
We wanted a strong compelling narrative that would be translated into a real-time digital experience. We met with a group of individuals working around death. In that gathering, many individuals shared their stories and each one of them was bone-chilling but the one that made us feel almost empty was losing a parent as a child. Her narrative was so unnerving that we felt that it’s important to familiarize the concept of death to children in a light-heartedly format so that they are able to have conversations with their elders.
Losing a parent is always difficult, but saying goodbye to a parent when you’re still a child brings its own unique kind of heartache.
To the Moon is a great storytelling video role-playing game, which developed by RPG Maker and inspired me that in today's game industry environment, the story is often just the accessories of the game. Producers often feel the story is just a seasoning for the gameplay, but even without beautiful graphics and complex systems, this kind of “visual novel” also can give the audience a good digital experience.
To the Moon is an adventure video game. Released in 2011 by Microsoft. The story, set in the future, follows two doctors who offer to fulfill a dying man’s last wish using artificial memories. The game features relatively few gameplay mechanics, with the player controlling the two doctors, exploring the narrative and solving puzzles as they try to reconstruct the dying man's memories in order to fulfill his wish.
Cry, Heart, But Never Break is an affecting children book. The book inspired me that all kids, and especially those who face the loss of a loved one, deserve more than denial, euphemism or sugarcoating. You, in turn, could use help with the conversation — the kind of help that intelligent, unflinching, empathetic stories could provide.
Aware their grandmother is gravely ill, four siblings make a pact to keep death from taking her away. But Death does arrive all the same, as it must. He comes gently, naturally. And he comes with enough time to share a story with the children that helps them to realize the value of loss to life and the importance of being able to say goodbye.
I like the pokemon style 2D RPG game because this kind of style video game takes up a lot of my childhood memories. So I think this is good and easy of acceptable for my game's audience. As a game designer, the main work for this project is map design (graphic design), character design, and event design.
In order to enrich the gameplay, I also added some clues and hidden elements, which will enable players to explore the game world and story background more deeply and build interaction for empathy with the character to have a better digital experience but not only a "visual novel".
I finished the first version of the design more than 50 hours in the first week, and then I invited 10 friends to test my game. I also designed a test survey to help me gathering feedback from the game experience and improve.
Reimagine End of Life is a week of exploring big questions about life and death. The Art and Design section is hosted by California College of the Arts. It is a great honor for me to participate in this exhibition so that more people can see and experience my work.
Player is playing the game at the exhibition
There were 12 players played the game during the exhibition, and we got a lot of valuable feedback.
It was a really great experience. I could relate to the main character. —— Soojin
It is amazing! I cannot believe how did you make it in one month! —— Ira
I think your idea is great, gamify the serious death topic to educating children is a very marketable direction —— Brad
By the way, if you want to play my game, don't hesitate to contact me! The game is available on MacOs, Windows, iOS, and Android.
RPG Maker MV
Use technology to reinforce the poetics, not to create e-waste. ——Kristian Simsarian
For me, create value for this beautiful world is my creed. I was always thinking that how might we reimagine the end-of-life experience for ourselves and our loved ones? Then I and my team created the Hi-Tech heirloom about hug.
Our idea behind this heirloom is to recreate the physical presence of a lost loved one through temperature. Elements like smell, touch, temperature, etc have a strong connection with our memories. This heirloom jacket can capture the memories like a hug through body temperature. Once the memory gets stored in the jacket, loved ones can recreate that moment by adjusting the knob to the desired year of memory and can press the knob to feel the heat of the person.