Meet Me In the Garden is a semi-multimedia collaborative storytelling project and cooperative puzzle game with a focus on support and communication. This game was an exploration of queer play and imagining a future in which standard labels-- sexuality, gender, etc.-- were eradicated, so every individual can be seen as equals. There is an exploration of the kind of connections made possible through that specific eradication. Taking inspiration from our group's wholesome dynamics while working on this project together, our individual journeys throughout the development process of ourselves and reflections on how we view our own relationships, and visual inspirations from games like Everything Is Going To Be Okay by Alienmaleon (Nathalie Lawhead), Middens by Takamo, and Magic Wand by The Catamites, Meet Me In the Garden encapsulates a look into a future we wish to see exist.
MMITG was created over the course of 7 weeks by a team of 5 students (Liam Dugard, Yani Fauzi, Reno Rivera, Emily Rodriguez, Caleb Valdez) for ARTG-129: Speculative Futures - Games for a Different World at UC Santa Cruz.
This game is intended to be played by two people on a single computer, with a physical divider in the middle. While the game is fully functional without it, the divider is an important aspect for experiencing the game as intended.
Other things required for the game to run properly are:
-a keyboard with a keypad (required for a puzzle)
-at least 2 writing implements
-post-it notes or similar small pieces of paper
Control instructions are included in the game itself.
Our game, Meet Me in the Garden, is a cooperative puzzle-based narrative-building game that encourages genuine connection between players. The game's elements extend beyond the screen--an important aspect of the experience is the usage of one monitor, and a physical barrier that splits the screen in the middle. The players, despite being in close physical proximity to one another, cannot see the other side of the screen, and the two of them must communicate verbally in order to solve puzzles together. In between puzzle gameplay segments, the players are asked to stop, look away from the screen, and draw out an aspect of their experience on post-its that they then share with each other.
Meet Me in the Garden requires the players to be open, vulnerable, and trusting of one another in order to progress--not as separate entities racing towards the goal, but as a single unit.
Liam Dugard - Lead Programmer/Artist
Yani Mohamad Fauzi - Artist
Reno Rivera - Artist
Emily Rodriguez - Artist
Caleb Valdez - Lead Programmer/Artist