Play Design Challenge

Update is at bottom of post

200 + Word Summary of your Research Findings

Becoming more like children. Play is not purposeless. Old people need to play too! Everyone can benefit from play, because risk taking and failing is important. I know this from my life, and it’s something that has been emphasized during my 4 months at design school. Iterations, and not being too serious during the creative process.

When I think of my play as a child, I think of creating sculptures and playing with materials like clay and foam and pennies. Play is a very broad term though, because I also think of social “mistakes” I made that felt so serious at the time.
Play involves spontaneity, “done for its own sake.” Animals play as well! In many cultures play has been and is seen as not important, sometimes even bad. What does play as a young adult look like? Rigidity, lack of irony, what issues in our lives can be solved or helped by play?

As I’m investigating what play is, I’m really considering it in every aspect of my life. Play can be considered pushing boundaries and taking risks. Considering that, I would go as far to say that years of high school for me were play. I was trying to figure out what worked for me. And I still am. First semester felt like a whole mess. So I was trying to figure out what worked for me, even if it felt like a failure in some aspects (it really didn’t because I passed). Maybe first year is designed to be a year of play for us.


200 + Word Summary of your targeted population aka the user.

I went on a “derive’ around the union square area, keeping this question in mind “what is play,” especially for older people. I really think that there is more play in our day to day lives that we think. Everyone is rushing around with jobs to get to and objectives to complete. I’m told that as we get older we lose plasticity in our brains. Is smiling at a stranger play? How can I encourage older people to take risks and grow with my design?

I feel drawn to designing something – a structure, a game, a program – that could help older people grow. I mean there are so many opportunities for infants, children, and preteens to play and take risks but they diminish as we get older. They’re also there for college students, but they’re more academically/career oriented. As a young I also could use a reminder to keep an open mind to things and to keep taking risks. I was told this a lot in high school and I since I’ve left that mentality has been lacking in my life.

So I’m thinking I could do something very specific, for people who are my age, but I almost would like to do something for more people. This design could benefit people like my parents who I know sometimes feel a lack of direction in their career and personal lives.



Booklet with really easy and simple steps, tiny changes to your life you can make

“Interactive assembly of the little book”

Maybe focus on an age 30+? 18-21?

Helping people getting their ambition back into their lives, breaking cycles we get stuck in

Learning to play and not be too serious in the creative process

A situation that pushes people to not takes themselves so seriously

VR game – social (I don’t like this idea)

Emotional escape room



Companies, emotional play for employees

Age groups or mixed?


Mystery Risk program

My Dinner With Andre

When your’e a kid you learn how to not murder ppl

When your’e an adult you learn not to not get stuck in your career

Creating a program that pulls people out of their rut

We can get stuck in ways of thinking, and we don’t even realize we are stuck

  • Design criteria – they don’t know that it’s for that
  • with strangers

Encouraging mental and social freedom

Acting, taking emotional risks

Create posters, to cast people,

I want normal people



Goal: To allow users a place to play (emotionally)

Deliverable: Maybe a video. I don’t think I would like to do it live in front of the class. OR  alternative deliverable: Live in front of the class, with the class as participants.  

Participants: First choice: Peyton, Vanessa & Paul. Second choices: Someone else’s friend group. Third choice: Classroom

Setting: Classroom, night time

what was it about acting that was so liberating for me. Well, there were so many moments that were exciting. It was like there were these risks and you could take them and it was just so exhilarating because in real life you wouldn’t be able to take those risks in real life. To be able to raise your voice and just see what that felt like, or just be a complete dick to someone. Or any other emotion/situation you can think of.

And it reminded me of the freedom that we have in life to do what we want. It strengthens your ability to solve problems in the moment. No I guess I mean it forces you to be present and accept ANY inclination or natural response you have to something. No reaction you have to any situation is right or wrong.

So in a technical sense… what do I need to do to make this seem appealing. Or maybe not an incentive, but some device to give participants PERMISSION to take risks. Money maybe?

A prize maybe?

If I could almost make it into a competition say, “By the end of this, whoever does the best wins a million dollars!” So I would need someone to judge the participant’s behavior.

Competitive, I would need some sort of incentive! Money? Where do I get this money… are there grants or something of the sort available to students for this kind of project?

If I were to add a cash incentive to encourage participants to take it seriously, how much would due? $100? $200? $300?

So. Within this project. It’s interesting because this is an opportunity that I would be giving participants, but I think a lot of them would not see it that way, or not want to admit that they’re into it.

Begin with chair exercise loosely based on the Strasberg Method.


I will get permission to use a classroom for about 3-5 hours and host the event / film. I think I want there to be an element of surprise for the participants.


Wednesday, March 27th

Going to present on our experience:

Say my participants are Grace, Annie and Greg. We would meet this Monday, record the condensed method acting as therapy class, and then come Wednesday we present Based on our experiences first (subjective presentation), and then show what happened (more objective presentation) by presenting the video.


Create 2-4 hour “course” for method acting as therapy, to give the participants a chance to play and experiment emotionally.

Participants should be diverse in background. 

So. This is a process, and I think this is an opportunity to go into something not knowing what the outcome is going to be. What I mean to say is that, as speech informs thought and vice versa, the concept and the doing of any project inform each other.



Site Investigation:

For my site investigation I went to an improv and comedy club. My neighbor, Rebecca was performing that night, and it was really interesting to see. The way the performer plays off of the audience is fascinating. These people are getting on stage with material that they have never tested out before, not knowing what kind of reaction these stories will bring. And some of the stories were actually sad, and some were really touching, and some were hilarious. Sometimes Rebecca will call her sets just “storytelling” and I like that. It takes the pressure off  of the experience to be “funny” and opens it up to be everything else.

Final Video and Explanation: 

How this project came together. For the “final product” of this project, I feel like I shouldn’t need to explain it… but also I feel like because my “final product” isn’t exactly what I had planned for it to be I should explain a little bit.

I just did. I just created when I didn’t know what to do, I just tried to follow my first instinct. I thought to myself, if I am not going to actually get this group of people together and have them act together, how can I express this in another way. This coincided with my idea to create a surreal room (a model of said room) for the same purpose of “emotional catharsis” that I describe in the beginning of this post. With my video, I am showing (in a less explicit way) my process. The first part of the video is my attempt at having an acting experience with Grace, and I guess you could call it failing. With my editing I wanted to show that we did a thing but I didn’t get what I had expected. I asked my friend what she would do in a room with no rules emotionally where you could take risks. Finally, you see the model I made.


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