Based on the documentary with the same name The Grey Lane game was created to raise awarness in time for the premier air date. A highly stylized, text-based approach to a senior’s ‘life simulation’. The user faced questions that simulated the challenges brought on by the loss of one’s license during the late stages of life. The challenges included health issues, limited incomes, and restricted mobility as a result of issues faced by seniors. As the user struggled with the day to day as we collected data that provided insights on how disparate different age groups coped with the subject mater. It leveraged the interactive affordances of the social web to result in a genuine sense of communal empathy.
Denis Suhopoljac (creative director), Morgan Jeske (art director), Nis Bojin (game designer), Ryan Eves (interaction designer), Giselle Eves (marketing specialist), Gabrielle Carson (front-end developer), Carolyn Allain (project manager), Diego Simone (designer).
Concept, game design, character development, identity, interactive game
The shape language for the game identity evoked the familiar setting of a forgone era. Inspired by 60’s gas station signage & the spirit of route 66.
The game was driven by daily events, which formed naturally occuring obstacles. Each day presented in the game would throw new obstacles and crises in the path of the player. The player had to make decisions that would inevitably compound. As time carries on, the player would need to live with their repercussions, whether it’s a depletion of their savings, a loss of their employment or setback in their health. The final outcome was never going to be an idyllic one - as expressed by the avatar - but this was in many ways the point. You might be able to win a game in which you’re struggling to get by without the transportation you’ve depended on your entire life—but at what cost is this achievable?
The host of the documentary, John Wing became the primary avatar for the game. It was the reflection of setbacks. The portrayal of living without the transportation you’ve depended on your entire life. The avatar had to convey a wide range of emotion in order to drive narrative and empathy with the player.
The player was able to choose from three environments. Urban, Suburban & Rural. All three contained, specific obstacles of living without a drivers licence in those areas. Making living in a rural area extremely taxing without a drivers licence, while a urban environment was much more forgiving. Teaching players that with age, it would be prudent to live in accessible and central location.
Game Props & Penalties
The game props appeared as the player accumulated heavy emotional or monetary losses. Penalties included driving without a licence and incurring a ticket or missing a shift and getting demoted. Health impacts resulted in a meals on wheels program, while driving with bad eye sight resulted in damaged personal property.
The game was driven by daily events, thus a visual representation of progresssion at a global level had to be accounted for. The decisions that the player made were represented both via the avatar and primary UI dashboard at the bottom of the screen. The choice based nature of the game allowed for consistency and clarity of interaction on each screen. Choice led to a cosequence. Consequence impacted the players monetary or mood levels. Thus leading the player to a factoid of a possible world of living without wheels in the form of visual statistics, video clips or quotes.
Through usability testing it was revelaed that users found the fictional 14 day progress too lengthy. We cut the fictional daily events in half. The game was launched exclusively on the CBC platform and subsequently on the CBC facebook presence.
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