The Awkward Family game is designed to encourage the act of collaborative and participatory storytelling in modern families, aims to create a ritual around documenting family stories to be cherished for generations.

The brief was to create some interaction around the word 'Save'. Fairly early we decided to design a game as we were interested in the intricacies of traditional family games which were common through our cultures.
While exploring various concepts, we decided that we wanted the game to be a meaningful interaction in a family, we wanted it to be something that they would carry forward through generations.

This was the first time I was exposed to the challenges of gaming, the first being coming up with a concept that would be appealing enough for people to want to participate and preserve for a long time. Our second challenge, was trying to make it universally appealing, since we are all from a multicultural backgrounds. At the conceptualizing stage, we took a decision that drove the rest of the project. The decision to keep the game totally analog, despite knowing that playing a game on a screen does not require as much investment in terms of effort as it does, playing an actual game in a physical space.

The solution that we came up with had a very basic set of rules with enough openness to lend itself to the possibility of being highly customizable. The structure of the game itself was like an accordion style book which opened up to reveal various family stories, pictures that would be written and stuck in it over years of playing the game. Adding the ability of being able to open up the 30 feet long book and read all the stories one by one, would become a part of the ritual associated with playing the game.

I can’t say that it was the best solution of its kind, but what I do know is that it got me thinking about the value of being able to interact with people physically in a space and creating naturally delightful experiences through that.

Done in collaboration with Prachi Pundeer and Shanshan Gao

Course: Craft & Communication taught by Jason Santa Maria