Bridget Reilly O'Carroll, associate video producer at the MCA, explains why the team wanted to translate the concept behind Coyote into a public game. “In teaching others inside and outside the museum about Coyote, we've really come to value description as an important practice,” she says. “We wanted to bring visual description to more institutions in a fun and approachable way.”
But when it comes to creating a game that holds a player’s interest, you can’t propose a task and hope for the best. There’s an artistry in crafting a sense of challenge that tantalizes and encourages players to reach the finish line. So about a year ago the team initiated a gaming workshop with other experts from the Chicago community.
About 40 gamers and museum staff attended the workshop to brainstorm what the game might look like—almost immediately, the group arrived at the concept of a geocaching-esque scavenger hunt. As those of us who have lost our keys know, it’s not particularly fun to just . . . look for something, so the workshop participants began devising ways to make a Coyote scavenger hunt more engaging and challenging. Here were some of their thoughts:
• Time constraints create tension and excitement
• Tangible rewards offer incentive
• Group or flocking behaviors inspire both competition and companionship
• Intentionally deceptive clues encourage creative thinking
Since then, the DPNM team has been hard at work integrating these elements into a game that will inspire curiosity and introduce a broader public to the world of visual description.
Click through the gallery below for some previews of the final version of the game, which the public is invited to play on October 6 at museums and cultural institutions across the city—yes, there will be prizes. RSVP on Facebook to let all your friends know to tag along.