Description of the game
A serious art game, The Graveyard allows users to play as an elderly woman walking through a graveyard where she reflects upon the death of those she has loved. The game has a sombre feel to it, through the monochrome style, slow pace and narrative description of how those the woman knew died.
I have to admit I wasn’t overly sure of the purpose of the game, with it being about an elderly woman and her talking about her illness and the death of her children, it must be something to do with death but I really didn’t get the game at all.
- Initially I was confused at what I had to do or where I had to go in the game and ended up going the wrong way, getting stuck and then having to restart. I had to check the instructions to work out where I needed to go, which showed me that the design of the game wasn’t as intuitive as they may have thought and probably needs to be redesigned to make it more obvious where I can and can’t go.
- There was a song in the middle of the game where the narrator was giving information about past family members that had died. I found the song to be too upbeat for what was being spoken about. The contrast in tones was confusing and caused me to feel little empathy or emotion towards the woman because I wasn’t sure what I was meant to feel. Also by just being told the woman’s children had died didn’t have a lot of effect on me, because I had no emotional attachment to them, there was no story build up, it just felt forced and random.
- I wasn’t playing the full game so I didn’t get the complete experience but the full game only added the possibility of the woman dying and I don’t believe this would have added much to the game. As if I wasn’t upset by hearing her children were still born, I’m unsure I’d be particularly upset with her dying, which sounds horrible but for me there was just no emotion in the game. Simply because there is no connection with the character and the audience, I haven’t had to make any decisions for her, I haven’t had to go on an emotional journey, there is simply no connection.
Having played through this game, it has opened my eyes up to what serious games really are and its making me start to doubt whether that’s what I want to produce. By having a bad experience with The Graveyard and finding it particularly boring (unfortunately), I don’t want to produce the same feelings for my game. I personally feel people play games because, cliche as it may sound, they are fun and exciting, and people become emotionally attached to the story-line or game-play.
I realise that this is just one serious game and not all may be as uninteresting as this one, but it has made me realise that I would definitely want my serious game to be useful in de-stressing people, but also enjoyable and exciting for people to play. So I really need to think about how I can create this balance between teaching and fun, when I start producing game ideas.