Final Project: Game and Pecha Kucha Presentation

Update: Final Presentation on Final Exam Day — CANCELLED (12/16/16)

(Who gave me this stomach bug??)

After some discussion via email this morning with the news that Prof. Harris has been struck down with a stomach bug, the class has decided to submit videos of their presentations by Monday, 7:30am. The directions/details are below:

For the presentation:

  • Stick to the time constraints for each slide and the overall presentation
  • Stick to the same number of slides
  • Stick to the Pecha Kucha requirements of 1 phrase per 1 image.
  • Some of you have asked if you could go without any words on the slides — that’s great, too!

For the video:

  • The slides (with appropriate rules followed above) and your voice are the only 2 requirements for this video.
  • Use screencasting (Quicktime is free on Macs) with a voice over or simply set up your cell phone camera at an angle to record the laptop screen while you talk and the slides advance
  • Watch your video to ensure that your voice can be heard clearly and your slides can be seen clearly
  • Upload the video to YouTube or other video sharing platform (e.g. Google Drive!) (YouTube help for uploading videos: )
  • For YouTube, set the video privacy settings to “unlisted”
  • Share your video url with me and your colleagues on our Final Presentations spreadsheet.
  • Due Monday, 12/19, by 7:30am

If you need access to a laptop to do the recording, the library loans out laptops: . Also, check out these resources: Student Technology Resources 

Contact your colleagues for help! Don’t spend too much time on this. Get it recorded. Upload it. Share the link.

Follow the directions below for the other portions of your Final Project. Any questions, feel free to email me. I’m available (and stuck on the couch being sick) all weekend.

Sorry about the pizza!!



Now that you have had an opportunity to create an interactive narrative, demo a game, write reviews of several games, brainstorm on building a game with a team, and, of course, play more than few games, it’s time to create your own game for our final project of the semester.

The final project for the class will be a game that you design yourself, one that highlights “narrativity” according to Thon’s “prototypical properties of narrative”:

  • “‘narrative must be about a world populated by individuated existents'” (352)
  • “‘this world must be situated in time and undergo significant transformations'” (352)
  • “these ‘transformations must be caused by non-habitual physical events'” (352)
  • “‘some of the participants in the events must intelligent agents who have a mental life and react emotionally to the states of the world” and “some of the events must be purposeful actions by these agents'” (352)
  • these agents “must be motivated by at least partially ‘identifiable goals and plans'” (352)
  • “‘the sequence of events must form a unified causal chain and lead to closure'” (352)
  • “‘the occurrence of at least some of the events must be asserted as fact for the storyworld'” (352)
  • “‘the story must communicate something meaningful to the audience'” (352)

The point of the game is very specific, for it should be a meta-game, that is, a game that itself comments upon other games or some aspect of other games. It need not respond to a specific game; your meta-game can comment upon a genre of games, a general game mechanic, the platforms used to play games, the game industry, or even on the players that play games. In short, you are going to develop a small game that somehow demonstrates hyperawareness of the world of games.

After so many team initiatives this semester, it’s time to work on your own. The final project is due December 16, though project pitches or “beta” versions of the games will be presented during the last week of class.

The Pitch & Game Design Demos (Due: Dec 8, 12pm)

The first step is your “pitch.” Your pitch is simply one paragraph in which you briefly describe (300-600 words) the game and what you hope to achieve with it. As with all of our formal writing, practice your scholarly voice by refraining from first person. (See Writing Tips.) Share with as a Google Doc:

Title: [last name] Final Project Pitch

As with all of our documents, leave out the brackets in the name.

Each person will take approximately 2-3 minutes to describe his/her game to the class (just you talking, no presentation aids). Presentation order will be selected at random. This means that everyone needs to be prepared to present from the first day.

Presentations will take place: Dec. 8. If you are not present when your name is called, you will receive a zero on the final project. Audience participation during these days is key in order to help each other with game design. After you present, we will have open questions. You may even ask for help during your presentation. This is your moment to rely on the collective wisdom of your colleagues, even if to ask for help using the software.

The Tools for the Demo and/or Final Production

These tools are not mandatory for use; if you’re more comfortable creating the game by hand via storyboard, feel free. However, use of TextureWriter or Twine (a very easily navigated tool), offers the artist the ability to visualize the game in a way that has more depth than drawing on a storyboard (and will in turn enhance your grade). You will have a chance to work with TextureWriter or Twine in a team setting during the Team Build. If you are more advanced in your skillset, feel free to use any of the other tools, but be sure that you can share your game with me on the final due date. (In other words, have someone test your tech.)

  • Texture Writer (new & supposedly more intuitive than Twine)
  •  InkleWriter
  • Twine (branching interactive stories)
  • Game Maker 8 (8 bit fun, think the original Legend of Zelda)
  • Scratch (build a game like assembling the pieces of a puzzle)
  • Playfic (write interactive fiction online)
  • Stencyl (more complicated than Scratch, for Flash games)
  • Kodu (designed for elementary school kids, but we can use it too)
  • Unity (3D game engine, not for beginners)
  • GameSalad (Mac only, basic version is free)
  • Construct2 (create HTML5 games with no programming experience)

Final Project Game, Artist’s Statement, and Presentation (Due December 16, 12pm, 19 7:30am)

Artist’s Statement

Note: Include a link to your storyboard or game somewhere in your artist’s statement.

In addition to the game itself, everyone must also write an artist’s statement that explains and reflects upon the game.  (This is similar to the rationale that you’ve already completed for the House of Leaves project; follow the Writing Tips; use scholarly voice/tone; avoid first person)

Your artist’s statement is a 1000-1200 word essay that outlines the goals of your project. You should consider the following questions (not necessarily all of them or in this order):

  • What were you trying to achieve?
  • What effect or meanings were you after?
  • What subtextual meanings were you trying to evoke?
  • Why did the project take the form it did?
  • Explain your design decisions: why you did what you did and how those choices meshed with the themes or goals of your work?

I’ll be looking for evidence that you’ve absorbed and thought about many of the issues we discussed throughout the semester regarding play, games, point of view, narrativity, game theory, etc. To demonstrate this understanding of our course readings, the artist’s statement must reference, quote/cite, and engage with the following:

  • 4 articles from the Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media.
  • 1 article from Game Studies. (This, of course, can be the article that you worked on for the critical review presentation.)

Finally, conclude your artist’s statement by evaluating how your project lived up to your initial goals. What difficulties and epiphanies occurred along the way as you created your project, and what would you do differently next time?

Include a Works Cited. For your in-text citations, use MLA style.

Share with as a Google Doc:

Title: [last name] Final Project Artist Statement

As with all of our documents, leave out the brackets in the name.

[This assignment based on Mark Sample’s “Final Game Design Project.”]

Pecha Kucha Presentation

For the mandatory presentation in Pecha Kucha style, you will use PowerPoint but with some rules: everyone is required to use 5 slides that auto-advance every 20 seconds. You will have exactly 1 minute 40 seconds to present your argument and your project. Think SHORT, INFORMAL, and CREATIVE. You’re not trying to present the details of your final project; you’re telling a story about why it’s interesting. Don’t be afraid to play around: The idea here is that the form’s restriction promotes creativity.

In PowerPoint or a comparable program, set up a presentation with 5 slides.  Each slide should feature ONE image per phrase. You really should think in terms of phrases, not sentences. You will need to think through what goes on each slide.  Guy Kawasaki suggests no font smaller than 30 points on a slide. His reasons are pretty compelling: You want the slides to complement your presentation, not dominate it.

Set the program so that your slideshow advances every 20 seconds, without any input from you. (For help on this in PowerPoint, see Jason B. Jones’ handy how-to article — scroll down.)

The result is that you have 1 minute, 40 seconds to tell your story. You now need to rehearse your presentation so that your commentary is linked to the slides, and to revise your slides, especially the text, to make it compelling to your audience.

You might consider these two web pages on improving presentations: Merlin Mann’s “How I Made My Presentations a Little Better” and AQ’s “Guide to Better Pecha Kucha Night Presentations” (Here’s an alternate link for the AQ guide.) (In particular, note AQ’s recommendation that one spend about 6 hours on making the slides.)

Since we will have 30 presentations on Dec 16, we cannot afford tech failures. It’s best to test your tech prior to the meeting. You may even want someone else to test it on a different laptop just to make sure. Failure to present during the appointed time will result in a zero on the entire final project. No exceptions.

Note: Explanation and description of pecha-kucha presentation borrowed from Jason B. Jone’s ProfHacker article, “Challenging the Presentation Paradigm,” Nov 2009).


As with the other presentations, your performance will be graded based on the the Team Presentation Rubric — worth 50% of this final project. The remaining 50% of this project grade will be based on your artist’s statement and your ability to express the above instructions in a piece of formal writing.