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The Gamification of Death: How the Hardest Game Design Challenge Ever Demonstrates the Limits of Gaming


GDC is the place we come to get excited about the potential of games. But what are the hard limits to how far games can go? In what might be the hardest game design challenge ever, UK studio Hide&Seek was asked to make the game of a documentary about the discovery of a corpse in a busy London block of flats: a woman had lain dead for three years without being found, without ever having been reported missing. She was 37-years-old.

How does someone fall through the cracks, despite having family, friends and neighbors? And how do you make a game about a real woman's death without producing something crass, simplistic or libelous? This is the story of how we tried and failed, and of the fundamental contradiction that we discovered at the heart of gamification. Note: It won't be as grim as it sounds.

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  • GDC 2012
  • Margaret Robertson
  • Hide&Seek
  • free content
  • Game Design
  • Design