|Summer 2010 Prototype | Action | Adobe Flash (Windows / Macintosh)|
Afterland is a side-scrolling 2D platformer that immerses the player in a world out of time. You play as a reclusive forest-dweller with a penchant for collecting. One day, in his wanderings, he discovers an ancient parchment that he can barely decipher, a remnant of the past. Inspired by his discovery, he seeks to fill his house with the fascinating artifacts that have captured his imagination. Can you help him to find fulfillment and inner peace?
Afterland was developed as a tool to study recursive learning processes in videogame players. It is meant to explore how players' expectations can be challenged through subverting common design patterns (in this case, those of the 2D platformer) in a motivating way.
The experience of learning is grounded in a player's expectations and anticipations, which makes recognizing and identifying patterns and mechanics a key player activity. Players learn to play games through developing skills, strategies, and models that help them understand patterns, master challenges, and reach given goals. Playful learning, therefore, is a process of experiencing, recognizing, and reflecting on patterns, and it involves exploring the scope of one's actions in game space.
In Afterland various paradigm shifts subvert common gameplay patterns in order to encourage players to modify their anticipations. In this way, the game is meant to provoke a corresponding paradigm shift in the player, forcing him or her to reassess certain expectations and adopt new mental models, strategies, and goals than those commonly found in games of its genre. Data can then be collected on how players respond to this paradigm shift, how it affected their own conscious experience of learning, etc.