On Thursday 21 April the Utrecht Game Lab, headed by Dr Stefan Werning, showcased the results of its Analytical Game Design methodology. It did so by making several alternative prototypes (remixes) of the classic game Asteroids (1981) playable to the public. Different takes on the classic game could be played to experience the modularity of the original arcade game, the fragility of gameplay systems (Pippin Barr) in general and the activities of the game lab.
Utrecht Game Lab
The Utrecht Game Lab is a space where scholars and designers rooted in the humanities meet to design and study games. The research project, backed by several smaller grants, bridges research in computer science and humanities, drawing on experimental research in other media domains such as literature, music and film. Students and researchers from Utrecht University with non-technical backgrounds acquire experimental game creation skills and learn how to productively incorporate practical design activities into their theoretical work on and with games.
Alternative versions of Asteroids
Alternative versions included a rhythm-based Asteroids variety, an exergame (exercising game) hybrid based on the iconic Flappy Bird and played with a Dance mat, a board game and even a language learning version of the classic game. Entertainment-focused versions, such as a co-opetitive multiplayer remix and a version for Android tablets were offset against more serious applications such as turning Asteroids into a persuasive game that symbolically represented parental fights and their implications for children. The showcase served as a conceptual and technical test run for more extensive upcoming demonstrations, e.g. within the context of a symposium on applied game research together with Dutch Game Garden in June 2016.