I’m a huge fan of paper prototyping because it’s fast and can identify problems with game design very quickly. The ability to do fast iterations of design choices is very important to finessing game mechanics. I stand by the idea that all types of games can benefit from paper prototyping so it’s nice to see that someone else looks at how paper prototyping can help people who make games based on the news.
The article goes through the basics of paper prototyping then gets to the interesting part on how to effectively use the prototyping idea.
KETTLING AS A PUZZLE GAME
In late November of 2010, a student protest in London highlighted the inhumane treatment of young protesters through the practice of “kettling:” large cordons of police, often in riot gear, encircle a group of protesters for the purposes of transportation, dispersal, or long-term containment. The 2010 kettling incident was particularly unsettling because some groups of students were reportedly contained in excess of nine hours and denied food, water or a restroom facilities for the duration of the kettle.
In response, Stephen Lavelle (aka increpare, an ultra lo-fi indie game designer) produced the digital editorial game Kettle within three days of the event. The simple puzzle game casts players in the role of the police cordon, which can push inward from any of four sides in order to arrange a disparate group of young protesters into a tight, n x n formation. In between puzzles, rough cartoons depict the harassment of students by boorish officers (“Haha, you shat yourself” and “Guess you’re going to miss class”).
While the puzzle mechanics themselves are fairly abstract, the interstitial comics provide specific details on the recent event, such as the facts that the protesters were students and that they were denied access to restrooms.