Occupation Overload…

As a uni student, I am always reminded to keep an eye out for future employment. As children too, we have grown up with an idealistic view on what we want to be. During the initial stages of game-making, a list of strange jobs came to mind. From Space Lawyer to Panda Handler, I thought these could be fun and interesting for a range of audiences. These job titles sound absurd or even made-up but they reflect today’s world. Simplicity is a huge component of a successful card game – think of Uno or Go-Fish. A card game attracts many as it’s small, compact and simple!


The narrative or story for my game will involve a sense of role play as each player is put into the scenario of a certain job. A player can determine which job best suits them based on the cards they draw.

A potential layer to the narrative could be the creation of characters to fit each occupation. Each player could become the character of their choice following the first card pick up.

i.e Janette the UBER driver (include graphics of her potential profile on the app?)


  • deck of 36 – 40 cards
  • inclusion of 9-10 potential job titles
  • 4-5 cards per job
  • each card shows graphics relative to job and points earnt?
  • bonus points/cards i.e “Good Weather” for Vineyard Hand but means “Bad Weather” for Builder – something along those lines…
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2nd Brainstorm


The theme of the game is interlinked with its narrative based on modern-day occupations. Each job is exclusive to today’s changing climate as strange as they may be. The card game is socially relevant and up to date with today’s culture.

If characters are added within the game, they can be diverse and from all over the world. The Vineyard Hand can be from Napa in the U.S whilst the Reality Show Producer can be from London.


  1. Shuffle deck
  2. Place cards in the middle
  3. Each player must pick up 4 cards, not sharing their pile
  4. Ask players for the required card (if you know)
  5. Process of elimination until you gain enough points to be qualified for your job of choice…

Mattel’s Fun Employed has similarities as it is an interview style game based on humorous qualifications and unique job titles.

Playtesting is necessary for meshing out what makes the game flow and what doesn’t. The mechanics and rules need to be further established in order for the game to progress.

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Rough cards used for playtest

Torner (2016) discusses the value of players in creating, reinforcing and contesting a game’s fiction. The players are the game. During playtesting, players found it difficult to know what cards they needed. What does a Space Lawyer need? The jobs variety can be problematic as Designer and Builder are included amongst unheard of job titles like Professional Sleeper (what a dream, right?)

Following this, card creation can develop further to clarify the mechanics for all players. Another note of a potential board to assist players during the game. Making this card game into a board game and complicating the mechanics, for the better?

“According to Mackay (2001), TRPGs (Tabletop Role-playing Games) consist of “role-playing performances, extraperformative conversations, and character planning” (p. 126)”

To go further into the potential role-playing aspect of this game, it would become much more complicated than a typical card game. As each player would ultimately become their character.


You can steal my starfish if you want?

You’re a Marine Biologist desperate to build your aquarium (theme).

Full of starfish. Imagine the colours…

Stealing Starfish is a game more Spongebob-esque than Nat Geo.

It’s a simple game with a small set of rules (mechanics)

  • 4 players minimum
  • Ages: 8+
  • Each player gets a randomised tank card
    • similar to Connect 4 with collecting same colours (same species of starfish)
  • Not sure of aim/goal of the game just yet
  • 4 colours; species > 6 per species

We made a Google doc to share our ideas, click here to see.

For our prototype, we played with a deck of cards. We made a key to set aspects of the game (see images below).

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Through playing the game, we continued our process of creation.

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1.     Research All of us
2.     Detail theme / illustration Dylan
3.     Rules; mechanics Floyd
4.     Marketing Sophie
5.     Research production Shania
6.     Presentation / slides Louis


(apologies for the Monopoly reference)

We don’t give the game world enough credit. Games are complex, they’re not just driven by competition.  They have narrative and are constructed to guide human behaviour.

“The origin of every institution, from money to marriage and from Law to customs, relies on games in particular on the skill of imposing a meaning on something that it does not have: ‘‘This broom counts as a horse’’ (Gombrich, 1951)

More so than television or film, games offer a greater level of interaction. As a medium, it enhances one’s experience beyond simple observation. If we think of popular games, like, Operation or Battleship. As players, we are put into fictional worlds, testing our reality with life-like scenarios. The game of LIFE is another example of this, with the objective relative to a realistic situation. In a way, games act as an educating tool to prepare us for those exact situations. What do doctors do if someone is wounded? They operate. Our basic human instincts are heightened with games. Games are typically established through a theme. The game’s theme and its mechanics go hand in hand. Through these ‘tools’, we can follow a story by being active within it.


(not too active though, poor Alan)

During class, my group and I played a series of games, ranging from board games to card games to role play.

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Chris’ collection

A highlight being Ki

Research Report

“What is Autoethnography?” you might ask. My brief answer: research, writing, story, and method that connect the autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social, and political.


My research report will focus on how the characterisation of females in Asian animation differs from Western animations. I will compare production companies – Disney and Studio Ghibli to understand how culture is an influence on entertainment. Culture is evident through films as they are a direct product of the society they were made in. As society becomes more and more modern, so does its films.

My report will be split into three main parts – Research, Writing and Method. As discussed by Ellis (above quote) in regard to Autoethnography. The productions that come out of America often centre the film industry. However, Japan’s Studio Ghibli sets itself apart with its realism despite being an animation company. Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli states “In order to grow your audience, you must betray their expectations.” Miyazaki makes films that aren’t similar to the products of Disney but, represent life in a different way. Disney direct their films to children whilst Studio Ghibli don’t place that restriction on adults.


Snow White was Disney’s first film released in 1937. It was America’s introduction to animation. This film is fictional but despite its elements of fabrication, it represents its context. Snow White has the following characteristic traits:

  • Caucasian
  • Cooking/cleaning as main “skills”
  • Marriage as the end objective
  • Deceased parents
  • Obtains royal status by the end of the film
  • Princess^

This list can be related to various female characters within the Disney realm – Cinderella, Aurora, Rapunzel and of course Ariel. Disney films are often associated with moments of nostalgia and one’s childhood. Ultimately, they are seen to be positive films for children. Although, what children are watching are the prolonging of gender roles and how women are seen in society. These female characters are merely one dimensional. That’s not to say, men are represented correctly either, not all men are strong, brave and prince-like. Snow White represents a damsel in distress as the story follows her need to find a Prince with the guidance of seven dwarves. The idea is that Snow White can be ‘saved’ by the kiss of a man after falling into a coma. I use Snow White as an example because it aligns well with The Little Mermaid and Ariel’s reliance on Eric to kiss her for the sake of having legs. Disney’s motivation is to be the world’s leader in entertainment and provider of information. Since 1937, a lot has changed with their newest releases Frozen and Moana. Female characters are becoming more diverse and relatable.

“Many of my movies have strong female leads – brave, self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe in with all their heart. They’ll need a friend or a supporter, but never a saviour.”

This represents the core values of Studio Ghibli. As co-founder, Miyazaki understands what many animations are missing – reality. Japanese culture focuses highly on anime and its phenomenal reach around the world. The comic book ethos exists both in America and Japan. They share a talent for creating cartoons that resonate with masses of people. American comics are often directed at children as are Disney films. Though, Japan is known to hold adults as readers and engagers of anime (Hoffman, 2013). I first watched Spirited Away with my mum… when I was… nineteen. A film that offers nostalgia without dismissing the fact that you’re an adult watching.

Studio Ghibli films don’t follow the typical storyline of a girl meets boy with a dash of royalty, as does Disney. Howl’s Moving Castle follows a young girl, Sophie who seeks to reserve a curse placed on her by a witch. Another example is My Neighbour Totoro as it is about two girls and their friendship with the spirits who live in the forest close by. Lastly, Princess Mononoke, an animation about a village being threatened by a demon curse. All these films feature convincing female characters who act beyond the stereotypes placed on girls; women. Studio Ghibli has done so since they were first established in 1985. Four years later, Disney announced the release of The Little Mermaid.

Princess Mononoke

The process of autoethnography asks for the data to answer a series of questions, as suggested by Chang (2016),

1/ search for recurring topics, themes + patterns
2/ look for cultural themes
3/ identify exceptional occurrences
4/ analyse inclusion + omission
5/ connect present + past
6/ analyse relationships between self + others
7/ compare yourself with other people’s cases
8/ contextualise broadly
9/ compare with social science constructs + ideas
10/ frame with theories

Today, I’ll be watching Princess Mononoke with these ideas in mind for my research report.



The Little Mermaid (1989) is constantly critiqued for being an anti-feminist Disney film. But should we see value in Ariel being awake unlike the previous female characters – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. We can’t deny the obvious, Ariel gave up her voice for Prince Eric. But again, the progression of female characterisation in Disney films has come a long way *cheering*

giphyThe Little Mermaid and Princess Mononoke were released eight years apart. Both films are very different, culturally and in terms of their female characters

Today, I’ll be watching The Little Mermaid and taking notes here rather than live tweeting. The main female characters I’ll be discussing are the following:

  • Ariel = Sea princess
    • [Ariel has a lot of sisters, which we’ll simply mention]

Men determine how Ariel feels throughout the movie. Her father King Triton puts his expectations on her, restricting what she does, she responds/sings “young women sick of swimmin’, ready to stand” during the ‘Part Of Your World’ scene.


Prince Eric is Ariel’s love interest, he is the reason she decides to leave the sea for the land. The second time they meet, Ariel is voiceless and is the typical damsel in distress. The ending shows Ariel with legs, married and away from her family. But is it her choice?

I’m the product of my own culture as I watch Ariel’s story wearing my feminist cap. By examining the film through this lens, I’m able to see the growth of Disney films – from Ariel to Mulan and now Elsa and Ana, the animations have evolved with society.

  • Ursula = King Triton’s rival, the villain

Ursula, she is the token villain with a flamboyant personality. Her scenes come with a certain darkness. She is jealous of Ariel’s beauty, age and status. She’s witch-like and lures Ariel into making the decision about losing her voice to become human. She sings, “It’s she who holds her tongue who gets a man” in the song ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’.

Is Ursula a feminist? Ultimately, she’s independent and makes her own choices, even though they may not be morally acceptable…

  • Carlotta = Prince Eric’s maid

Carlotta isn’t present often during the movie. She is the caretaker for Prince Eric, his housemaid. Her scenes mainly involve her commenting on Eric and Ariel’s interactions. Carlotta’s life is based on how Eric lives.

The Little Mermaid shows these three female characters of different ages to be the same? Their lives are ruled by men – Ariel is desperate for love, Ursula is seeking revenge against King Triton and Carlotta’s job is to care for Prince Eric.

Next week I’ll be watching Princess Mononoke!


Compare the pair

Here’s an update of my research project…

My idea has changed based on what films to watch. I will compare The Little Mermaid (1989) to an Asian animation. I have changed my choice of Spirited Away (2002) to Princess Mononoke (1997). The context of both animations is closer together as well as the latter involving a princess in the storyline. I haven’t seen Princess Mononoke and as for The Little Mermaid, it’s been a while – since my childhood.

Live Tweeting will be my data collection. Heewon Chang (2016) focuses on the importance of turning one’s data into autoethnography, despite how ‘random’ the data may appear. Chang’s advice is to keep ‘memos’ during the “initial reading and listening” process. The tweets will act as memos as I engage with the texts.

During my autoethnographic experience; watching the films, I intend to look for the following:

  • The female characterisation will be my main focus
  • Themes within the storyline
  • The role of a princess in the animations (West vs Asia)
  • The actual animation, how it differs due to context and place

The search for cultural themes within the process of autoethnography is highly important. Chang uses the example of being raised in a family where education is valued, and how that reflects the process of autoethnography. Watching these animations, my own values and beliefs with stem through the process of data collection/tweeting.

Diagram of Culture

Following data collection and watching the films, I plan to make a short video comparing key scenes of the films with a voiceover of commentary. This video will then be embedded into my blog with tweets and discussion to accompany.

I’m going to watch/live tweet next week! Feel free to follow my project’s progress on Twitter.