Aaron Oldenburg: The Mischief of Created Things

  • ©2008, Aaron Oldenburg



    The Mischief of Created Things


Creation Year:



Artist Statement:

    The purpose of The Mischief of Created Things is to create an interactive environmental narrative dealing with new images of West Africa and philosophies of game design. The content is based on my two years as a development worker in Mali. The imagery is intended to inspire players to find the magic in the mundane, and it references a hybrid of traditional Malian and Western culture overlapping between magic and technology.

    My process involved creation of a three-dimensional environment in Flash, which the player can explore non-linearly. The environment includes characters, with whom players converse; the conversations are based on a fluid navigation system similar to the environment’s exterior navigation. Stories are based on my diary entries and letters home, and were chosen for their personal, surprising, and multi-layered nature.

    Rather than use traditional game-design methods, I chose to start with narrative and imagery and create the game structure from them. During play, the user discovers narratives that build on one another throughout the course of the experience. The player uses these to form a meaningful picture of the environment as a whole. The order of events changes each player’s interpretation, since the experience of certain events directly influences the sequence of subsequent events. The surprising and non-sequitur nature of the narrative makes the game characters and environment seem more real.

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