Role: Game Designer & Narrative Designer
ChitChat is an applied game based on Cutey P’tootey. Cutey P’tootey is an applied dating sim that we made during the Living Lab Applied Game Jam of 2017. Both games try to inform the player about the dangers of sharing or posting your personal information on the internet, and how individuals or companies can use this information.
ChitChat takes place in a fake browser, reminiscent of old 90’s browsers. It exudes nostalgia and happiness, but at the same time something feels off. This quickly takes form as you start to chat with “Cutey” who eventually starts to behave strangely. She gives the player information about herself while chatting, which the player uses to find out more disconcerting things about her, gaining access to her restricted files and accounts. Eventually the player discovers that “Cutey” isn’t what she appears to be.
Meanwhile backstage, we the development team, were gathering information about the players using the information given to us by them during the game. This information would all be collected in a document that the player received after playing, showing how easy it is to collect information about a person. Players were shocked about what we could find out about them, like hidden adresses and personal phone numbers, which was very effective in making them aware about the dangers of sharing information on the internet.
I was responsible for the Narrative Design and Gameplay Design, as well as establishing the game walkthrough. Our goal behind this applied game was to make the players more aware of the dangers of sharing their personal information online, and how one piece of information could lead to much more. To do this effectively, we decided to put the players in the shoes of the one abusing information, while gathering information about them with the input they give in the game to progress.
The narrative challenge was to create a engaging but easily adaptable narrative to account for the amount of player choice, like dialogue and reactions to players in the dating app, as there was real time chatting which was also needed to more effectively gather information about the player. After a huge amount of playtesting I was able to create a scenario list, where every possible player reaction and interaction was accounted for. This learned me the incredible significance of establishing a well-defined target audience and extensive target audience playtesting to effectively reach the game’s goal, especially when making an applied game which has to impact real life.