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Storyboard Header

"The question of control, after all, lies at the heart of the interactive revolution, since making something interactive entails a shift in control, from the technology -- or the puppeteers behind the technology -- to the user." -- Emergence

Click here to view a slideshow of the construction and components of Storyboard.

The process of creating Storyboard was an exercise in becoming fledgling "control artists." We strove to create a game space that was defined by rules, but that left room for the players to create something greater than the sum of its parts. By controlling the micromotives of the players' actions, we hoped that they would generate unexpected macrobehaviors. The question was, what kind of environment would best achieve those goals?

We discussed different types of physical installations and gameboard objects: sandboxes, unrelated gamepieces, realistic settings paired with unrealistic gamepieces. We settled on a "realistic" gameboard populated with "realistic" pieces for several reasons. First, Storyboard was only accessible to the ITP community for a week. Given the short amount of time, it seemed that more structure would be better than less, lending itself more readily to the creation of narrative. Secondly, we wanted to give gameplayers a definitive sense of space and place when they interacted with the game to see how they would define that space. What would be deemed "acceptable" by the group and what wouldn't be? Finally, it seemed more interesting to see how players would use contextualized objects in unexpected ways than it would to see players use decontextualized objects that do not already imply expected uses.

We set the stage by creating a house in a snowy landscape with the following materials: dollhouse, styrofoam, plywood, acrylic paint, architectural trees and other mixed media. We populated the landscape with over 150 gamepieces: assorted dollhouse furniture, accessories, and dolls. After building the installation, we posted the rules and launched the game.

At that point, Storyboard was out of our hands. We could only watch as the game took on a life of its own.

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Contact: Jake Barton, Alicia Cervini, Ryan Leffel, Susan Leopold
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