Meaningful Play 2022 at Michigan State University

Game Information

TitleMad Mixologist
Presenter(s)Edward Melcer
SessionConference Reception, Game Exhibition, and Poster Session
TimeWednesday, October 12, 7:00p-9:30p
LocationMSU Union Ballroom
FormatGame Exhibition
DescriptionMad Mixologist is a collaborative augmented reality game where two players must work together to create a real-world drink. Both players in the game wear customized AR headsets that have been modified to provide instructions for creating the drink while displaying video from the front of the other player's headset. I.e., each player is shown video of themselves from the other player's camera/view (swapping perspectives). Not only are the players' vision swapped, but they also have to pour, mix, and garnish drinks in the real world--resulting in a messy, challenging, entertaining, and wholly unique alternative controller game spectacle.

Oftentimes in collaborative games, players actually work separately to complete a shared task and don't fully consider their partner's perspective, needs, and goals. The design intent behind Mad Mixologist is to provide players with a more nuanced exploration of collaboration, utilizing perspective switching to foster empathy of the other player's perspective as well as guide understanding of how we might better communicate. Players typically struggle at the beginning of Mad Mixologist--not considering common issues such as a difference in their heights, where their head is directed, how their actions alter the other player's view, and often trying to brute force the solution alone. Over time, players begin to understand the game not only from their needs, goals, and perspective but also from their collaborator's, enabling more efficient and considerate actions for both parties. In this way, Mad Mixologist is fostering players exploration of collaboration through both the literal sharing of sensory information and conceptual exploration of what it means to be connected so intimately.

Mad Mixologist has been featured at the 2022 ICA Digital Artifacts Exhibition, 2021 Makers Play showcase, and was selected as an Official Finalist at IndieCade 2019.

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