Up One Prototyping

The following is the third in a 3-part series of posts by Tiltfactor student interns. Metadata Games is a NEH-funded open source project that uses games to help crowdsource archive and library holding tags. Here, interns Andrea and Viviana briefly describe their prototyping process for designing a competitive multi-player mobile game:

Our team was assigned with the task of creating a mobile, multiplayer metadata collection game that incorporates elements of fast paced competition and “one upping” your competitor. The catch is that we had to turn what worked as a competitive synchronous game into an asynchronous game. How would we enable players to form an exciting attachment to the game and be competitive with each other as each player interacted with the game over varying time spans? What would make players come back and play another round?


Working with a data collection game, we were forced to reconcile the goal of a competitive, fast-past feel with the goal of collecting accurate and detailed tags from players. Our prototyping process struggled with these somewhat contradictory goals and evolved as we got feedback from users and team members.


The first prototype contained elements of timed tagging and a race to enter the most tags in the first round, with a follow up verification round through hangman/word scramble mechanisms. This game was fun, but lacked a strong competitive edge. Moving on to Prototype 2, Up One has evolved to encourage competition with a new required game strategy – to beat their competition, players must get in their partner’s head, eliminate tags their partner might enter, and find unique, more detailed tags to receive points of their own. The game is far from finished but is ready to be twisted and crafted towards completion!