Cycle 3 – Activity 3 – Gameplay and Player Stories

Game Concept Statement

In Cheese and Crackers, the player controls a mouse stuck in a hamster ball trying to complete a series of obstacle courses in a lab. The obstacle course is completed by manoeuvring around the hamster ball, i.e. rolling, jumping and wall jumping. The player collects cheese while completing the obstacle course to open the door at the end of each level. Various obstacles will slow down the player from completing the course, such as water pools, rats and mousetraps.

Player Stories

  1. Playing as a mouse, I will roll in my hamster to ball to move around
  2. Playing as a mouse, I will jump to move from platform to platform
  3. Playing as a mouse, I will wall jump to move from wall to wall
  4. As a player I will manoeuvre the hamster ball to collect cheese
  5. As a player I will manoeuvre the hamster ball to collect crackers
  6. As a player I will jump over water traps to avoid being slowed down
  7. Playing as a mouse in a hamster ball, I will jump over mouse traps to avoid being knocked back
  8. Playing as a mouse in a hamster ball, I will jump over rats to avoid being hit
  9. As a player I will press buttons to open doors
  10. As a player I will engage in friendly competition with the second player (deemed out of scope for the prototype and will not be implemented)

Relation to Target Audience

Sam enjoys making his own games

Sam loves to makes his own games using simple tools, it is assumed this includes tools such as Stencyl, Flash or Game Maker. Player stories 1 to 3 would apply to these sensibilities as it would allow Sam to understand the simple movement mechanics of the game and create a similar game by himself. Additionally, the simple movement mechanics means that the fun of making his own game would mostly occur in the level-making phase. This appeals to his creative nature of constructing and combining, as exemplified by Sam’s interest in Minecraft.

The game is a strictly G experience

Player stories 6 to 8 detail that the traps in the game do not induce a death state to the character, instead progress in only impeded by affecting the player’s speed and position. The removal of death as a mechanics applies to Sam’s persona as he is only allowed to play G/PG games. Though this does not necessarily tap into motivations, this strongly suits his persona, especially considering this is a family enforced restriction.

The game features collection mechanics

Sam has been shown to enjoy games that heavily feature basic collection mechanics as core gameplay, these being Pokémon Go and Minecraft. Thus, the inclusion of such mechanics would improve a game’s appeal to Sam. Player story 5 relates to this as crackers are a collectable to be found in game; though not mechanically similar to the collection of those in the previously mentioned games, this should still be a suitable alternative. Furthermore, it is planned for crackers to pose an additional challenge for the player and be inserted into areas that diverge from the path required to collect the cheese or in areas that would require backtracking.

A mechanic of this sort is likely to induce emotional and creative motivations, particularly joy and constructing. The challenge presented to collect these crackers requires the player to construct a solution, by enacting this solution and succeeding they experience joy. The joy from this is assumed given Sam’s pre-existing interest in collection-based games. The creative motivations are also assumed to link to Sam’s like of Minecraft and making his own games, a creative talent in its own right.

Sam likes playing multiplayer game

Given Sam’s tendency to play multiplayer focused games with elements of friendly competition, we have considered multiplayer for the full implementation of the game. More specifically, it is known that Sam has had his first gaming experiences with Wii Sport and Mario Kart, which are both family-friendly competitive games. Furthermore, Sam is a current fan of Minecraft and Pokémon Go; both of these games contain multiplayer features that enable competitive play, especially Minecraft depending on server setup and environment. As detailed by player story 10, the game would have had a second player, racing with the first player to reach the end of the map. This is also applicable given Sam could play with his parents, as his parents are both early adopters for game technology and already play Pokémon Go with him.

Multiplayer mechanics in the game would frequently engage in social motivations, primarily competition and secondarily cooperation. This is given a friendly multiplayer environment would pit Sam against his friends or his parents, giving him inherent motivation to beat whoever he was playing against. However, in cases where one player was struggling to learn gameplay mechanics or controls, it is likely the other player would help guide them until they no longer required assistance.


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