A Visit to the Game Library

My 3D modeling experiment from last week sparked a bunch of ideas, yielded useful feedback and further questions about how to translate 2D Systems Maps into interactive models that can represent multiple stakeholder perspectives, interactions, and feedback loops in relationship to the temporal dimension. During a quick group activity around Metaphor Mapping, I played around with an abstract representation of the "course registration process" for NYU Students, which made me think about physical materials and interactive animations that can represent dynamics (and reminded me of the classic game Mouse Trap)

This inspired me to visit the NYU Game Center to learn more about games which use physical materials to represent conceptual models. Here's what I found:


This old-school game is kind of like Snakes & Ladders or Sorry on a tilting board. Things roll around in opposite directions...pretty self-explanatory.


Confusing AF...but was useful to see how one would visualize logic sequences

PYRAMID ARCADE: 22 Games from Another World!

This game from Looney Labs provides beautifully designed modular pieces and an instruction manual that inspires players to invent their own games and learn how to use the pieces to play 22 different tabletop games. Yes....now we are talking!


It's like Scrabble meets Jenga! I didn't get a chance to play this, but am curious what it's like to turn spelling into sculpture-making.

The Elements of Pop-Up

A pop-up book on how to make pop-ups! Very helpful in exploring various uses of paper and cardboard, a material which is really easy to prototype with because it's available almost everywhere. I got to take this home with me to play around with more.

WAVELENGTH- A Telepathic Party Game

An interactive guessing game that gets people to think about different points on a spectrum. Teams take turns rotating a dial to where they think a hidden bullseye is located on the wheel. One of the players on your team — the Psychic — knows exactly where the bullseye is, and draws a card with a pair of binaries on it (such as: Rough - Smooth, Sad Song - Happy Song, Hot - Cold ,etc). The Psychic must then provide a clue that is *conceptually* where the bullseye is located between those two binaries.


This game has created a visual code for basic language and challenges players to describe words using a logic system represented by physical pieces (pawns and cubes) that interact with the visual code to give players descriptive and metaphorical clues to the word that they are guessing. The examples in the instructions were kind of confusing (probably because they were using Euro-centered ideas)but once you play around with it, it becomes more intuitive (sort of like Charades). The visual code model was the most interesting element that I came across, since it reminded me of the Systems Viz Visual Vocabulary poster that I wrote about a few weeks ago. A game like this might be useful in helping Systems Designers build models with the different elements described in the Systems Viz poster.

I also thought this game could be redesigned with Emojis and popular memes, since these symbols have become a more universal visual code and the game might help people create their own languages out of emojis.

The CONCEPT board



Peter Stoyko's System Viz Poster, presented at the RSD8 Conference


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