Agency?

series of experimental short-form games that deconstruct player agency in different ways

Collection of six short games that deconstruct agency, goals, fun and player choice from different perspectives.

Ansh Patel
Class: -
Instructor:

Agency? is a collection of six experimental short-form games that were made over the space of two months. They are my exploratory attempts as a “developer-critic” at tackling the concept of player agency in games, by intentionally removing it in different ways. As someone who is disconcerted by the traditional idea of equating “choice” in games to the richness of the experience, these games are my response. They can be seen both as end results of a creative exercise and as a critique against such an idea. Agency? , in vein of many similar experimental games in recent years, seeks to deconstruct that notion and present games that lack significant player agency and raise questions on authorial control,freedom and different contexts of interaction.

Kill Screen Feature on “Agency?”

Security Guard Simulator

(itch.io | GameJolt)

sgs

It’s your first day on your new job as a security guard for a truck agency. You hope you’ll last longer in this job as you try to keep your small dreams alive in a security state built on surveillance and tracking its citizens’ behavior.

Security Guard Simulator is an exploration of the state of a mind living under constant surveillance, while being a critique on the popular and formalist aspects of games that need to be fun and give player agency with a definite goal and a failure state.

Encore

(itch.io | GameJolt)

encore

Featured on Warp Door
“...A game that you can’t miss” — CreepyGaming

Encore is about the experience of being in the audience at the end of the show.

It is about the feeling of applauding a performance hoping for something more. It is about the feeling of being at the mercy of the whim and mood of the performer. It is about the feeling of communal joy and appreciation, while being held by a helpless hope for something more. It is about applauding not just for what came before, but what you hope comes after. It’s applauding hoping to delay the inevitable end — stepping through the Exit, once and for all.

It’s only about applauding and waiting for something that may or may never happen.

Perfect World

(itch.io | GameJolt)

pw1

Featured on Warp Door
Featured on Oujevipo
“Browser Pick” on IndieGames

An interactive fiction on environmentalism where every action you take disintegrates both the world and the story’s grammatical structure….bit by bit.

“A Perfect World” is a Twine where you are placed in a beautiful, surreal world that’s perfect in every other way. Except you.

As you try uncovering the reason why you are the anomaly, every action you take will disintegrate the “perfect world” and the grammatical structure of the text slowly.

Hashtagger

hashtagger

A selfie-narrative game where you construct your own impressions of a seemingly linear story through your own selfies and hashtags. Apply a variety of irrelevant filters to your selfies and append them with hashtags to try influencing opinions of random commenters and get more LIKES to influence the outcome.

Quietly observe comments ruin your mood video.

See your own decontextualized photos get plastered by nonsensical things over time.

One Button Poetry

obp

Poetry and games have a performative element that’s integral to them. One Button Poetry is an exploration on the contextual framing of an interaction and the poetics of play using a single button.

It takes the idea of play as contextual performance and strips it down to the different ways we could interact with a single button based on what we see on the screen.

The question of “Is this a game?” is less important than “Why is my interaction important?”

An Open Field

InfiniteFreedom

I crave for freedom. For pure, absolute freedom. 

This, this is what I get.

You are in a wide, open field. You can see distant landmarks from where you stand.

You may want to go there. You may not.

You are free, you can do anything.

You are alive, slowly dying. Death can happen anytime — without rhyme or reason and it’s permanent and definite, pulling the player out of the game and permanently erasing it.