Lindsay Grace, Critical Gameplay / American University Game Lab
Bang! provides players with a traditional first person shooter scenario. Explosions resound as the force and tension of war shakes the player character’s vision. Soldiers creep though woods and grass, as the player character holds their gun at the ready and views the fog of war through simulated night vision goggles. When the player successfully kills a soldier, the game audio is silenced. The simulated 3D graphics cut to black. A slow running, photographic slideshow of the victim’s life plays in reverse. With no choice but to watch, the player witnesses a life’s narrative unfold. The player watches the victim with their friends, at their wedding, on a first day, at a childhood birthday party and as a toddler playing. The goal is an unnerving reminder of the duplicity of value in simulated war play. Players must both believe in the non-player character fiction and dismiss it.
Lindsay Grace is a professor, game designer and researcher. He directs the American University Game Lab and Studio in Washington, DC, USA. His game designs have received recognition from the Games for Change Festival, Meaningful Play Conference, ACM SIGGRAPH Digital Arts Community and others. He has published more than 25 papers, articles and book chapters on games in the last 5 years. His creative work has been selected for showcase in more than seven countries and 12 states. Lindsay’s career includes teaching 81 courses over 10 years and more than 30+ presentations in Asia, the Americas and Europe. In 2013 his game, Wait, was selected for the 10th Anniversary Games for Change Festival’s Hall of Fame, as one of the 5 best games for social impact in the last decade. He is the sole designer, developer, and artist behind Critical Gameplay, a 5 year rapid-game making practice designed to critique the way we play. Lindsay has served industry as an independent consultant, web designer, software developer, entrepreneur, business analyst and writer.
Acknowledgement: American University Game Lab