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Promoting Cross-Generational Play during Remote Tabletop Gaming through Asymmetry

This is an ongoing project.

This project attempts to promote gameplay between two players who have varying levels of game skills or game genre interests, such as a child and with their grandparent, or two friends who like to play different types of games (e.g. skill games versus speed challenge games), by creating an asymmetrical gameplay experience. Two players, each with their own unique abilities and interfaces, collaborate to solve a multi-faceted puzzle. In one game prototype developed under this project, one player controls an on-screen character using a handheld gamepad. Similar to traditional platforming games (e.g. Super Mario Brothers), this “action” player must navigate their character through the virtual environment, avoiding obstacles, and reach the exit. Simulaneously, the other player can manipulate tangible letter tiles (similar to games such as Scrabble or Bannagrams) and alter the virtual environment; opening new pathways and activating new mechanisms. Together, both players use their abilities to aid one another and complete the challenge together.

The project is exploring different methods of supporting asymmetric play, including assigning different styles of play to interaction devices (e.g. multi-touch surface for “scrabble” play vs. traditional game controller for “action” play), as well as different in-game mechanics for different styles of play.

Initial Design Sketch: The letter tiles and environmental props help the virtual character to reach the exit.

Current Game Interface: One player must complete Scrabble Word Challenges to unlock or initiate certain game world features to assist another player, controlling a “Goomba”-type character, to complete in-game missions.