Thursday, July 9, 2015

When It Rained In My Living Room

One time I remodeled my entire bathroom by myself.

I had no idea what I was doing, but ignorance was bliss.  For a while.

Two days into it, the bathtub and shower were installed and ready to go.  I filled the tub.

"Mom!  Is it supposed to be raining in the living room?!" my daughter called out.

[It was a non-rhetorical rhetorical question.]

Had I checked for leaks before filling the tub?  


Had I any idea of what was getting myself into?


Enter Make Cycle 3 and our Official Game of the Museum of Obscure Joys and Sorrows (O.G.M.O.J.S.).

It started out as a curiosity - the freshly created words of John Koenig were posted on Facebook, prompting Terry Elliott and I to think "That's really cool!" and ask CLmooc-ers to create words.

The words we created are here: Spreadsheet of everyone's ideas.

Terry's Hackpad Intro

No one wanted the words to languish in a spreadsheet. So when Make Cycle 3 came out, I innocently thought, "I will use the words to make a game!"

I played around with some gamification ideas - badges, an e-portfolio. I went against the competitive spirit by making all of the badges available to everyone, even if they didn't "earn" them. It was fun, which was the most important thing to me when I started.

Like my bathroom remodel, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Also like my bathroom remodel, I learned a ton throughout the painstaking process. my bathroom remodel, it took WAY longer than I thought it would. 

  • I had to figure out a few technical things. I tend to be pretty perfectionistic in these things, and would not settle for a mediocre attempt.
  • I felt a huge responsibility to the folks who had contributed words.  I wanted to do them justice and honor them.
  • Terry gave me some great feedback along the way, leading (amongst other revisions) to the escape hatch feature.  I wanted to add his soundtrack but just ran out of steam before I could figure it out.
  • I didn't want to half-ass it.

I like the wormhole-ish nature of some of it.
I love the words people made.
I love the gifs and the badges.
I like the escape hatches.

I didn't like the tediousness of making sure all of the clicks and links do the correct things. And I am sure I missed some (let me know).
I had hoped to make it sillier and more fun, but (again) I am just too tuckered out to work on it any more.
I had hoped to use feedback from more game testers. And maybe I will get that chance.

The bottom line is that I really wanted to see what potential was there for my classroom, and in that regard I am really excited to try the template out next fall. The possibilities are tremendous.

In terms of strict game design, it wouldn't score very well.  It's not really replayable, it's not that interactive, and you can't really control much of the outcome.

But I am happy with it and excited that we got to use the Obscure Joys & Sorrows that CLmooc-ers came up with!

A great collaborative effort.

Special thanks to: 
Christina DiMicelli
Sheri Edwards
Sarah Honeychurch
Terry Elliott
Scott Glass
Susan Watson
Stephanie West-Puckett

Amy Cody Clancy

The game is here: GAME


  1. Hi Susan,
    I'd heard about your tantalizing Obscure Joys and Sorrows Game, but haven't had the time to look in. I have not been disappointed! It's awesome! Thank you for creating this - I can imagine how long it took. Where did you find the template for the game?

  2. Consider this as a classic example of the adjacent possible. When you first sent me the cool website with the words could you have predicted that you would end up at the wonderful game you created? If you can, then I need to invest in your stock a lot more because you have been to he future and back.
    This is what the adjacent possible. Your circumstances (the web page and concurrent familiarity with David Lee's slide project) opened another door and another and another. And the metaphor only marginally describes the complex system that is you that led you to the moment you opened the first door that led to this post. And we think we can curricularize/syllubusize the world?
    This complex daisychaining/rhizomating of ideas and folk reminds me of the Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka's idea of "No Farming" or "Do Nothing Farming".

    Like this, your method here seemed as simple as it needed to be and came about through cooperation with your ecosystem (IRL and digital). One footstep in front of another in this learning feldgang. I said simple, not simplistic, and I know that this was not easy, but as an example of a process that relies as much on using one's imagination as antennae to suss out the future, feed forward, I can think of none better. The process is the first product. Sometimes it is the best product. I don't know if I am anywhere near the mark here, but I think we all need to follow your lead here as we learn in the world. Perhaps we shall call it Watson's "no learning" method or maybe just "do-nothing, be-something learning". Thanks isn't good enough. I am just happy that your path rolled past my door and we touched antennae and you went on down the road to make this jolly bit of play.


  3. I checked for leaks
    to no avail,
    for nothing I said
    or did could ever undo
    the fact that what was done
    was done,
    and the leak was coming,
    a barrage of words and images
    and ideas all at once,
    and if you put your finger in the Internet,
    as if to stop it up once and for all,
    it would be be the end of us both.

    -- Line Lifting on a Blog Walk on CLMOOC Friday Morning

  4. Good Lord... I love the craziness of this game, and the way my brain is alive when I am playing it. I care little for points and for badges, and instead, the game I am playing is: How the frick did she pull this all together? I'm craving process notes. Can I suggest a CLMOOC Make Bank entry as my reward for playing the game? Seriously, I love this on many levels (even the level up level if there is one) and the escape hatch is where I hung out for a while ...
    PS - sorry I never came back when you were creating to add some feedback ...