PhD Student | Game Design / QA

Not Alone Blog


Interest in personal stories

As a designer my interest lies in how fictional adaptations of personal stories and moments of everyday life can influence or change the way a person thinks about a particular subject. My previous work - Forget-Me-Knot - explored what it might be like to live with Alzheimer’s disease through the medium of games. The player adopts the role of the character Harold, an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who recently lost his wife.

The player shares in the same confused state as the character, exploring the room for “the first time” and discovering the relevance and identity of objects within the scene. The most interesting aspect of this game is the disconnect created between the player and the character they embody, as whilst through exploration of the game-world the player gains a better understanding of the situation, the character’s knowledge and understanding of their condition remains constant.

The prototype itself was created to raise awareness of the disease and promote introspective thinking in the player/ viewer, changing how they perceive those suffering from the condition.

Whilst the prototype was received to critical acclaim and succeeded in its goals, the study would have benefited greatly from the inclusion of co-design during the development; gaining insight from further participants who have been affected either directly or indirectly by Alzheimer’s disease.


Designing for an audience, with an audience

Discuss how co-design and collaborative thinking with the intended user group will help create the most beneficial product for them (reference some previous co-design papers.


Incorporating personal stories and artefacts

I intend to incorporate personal artefacts in the gameworld (such as photographs, memorabilia and video works).


Maggie’s Centre


Maggie’s Centres are centralised hubs that provide cancer patients with the practical, emotional and social support structure that is necessary to ensure a good quality of life. With the cooperation of the Maggie’s Centre in Dundee, I intend to work with a group of cancer patient volunteers at differing stages of their illness to discuss and understand their personal journeys of life with cancer. Recording these journeys will involve interviews, open discussion, and creative writing exercises. To ensure that the message of their stories is told correctly and sensitively, participants will be asked to work with the designer at all stages of creation to provide feedback.


Evaluation and Feedback

With two years of industry standard video games Quality Assurance & User Experience practice, I understand and appreciate the necessity for iterative development based on internal and external feedback. Participants provide useful feedback on playability and narrative in prototypes and can help shape the outcome to be the most ‘beneficial’ experience for other patients.

Alexander TarvetComment