Isn’t this map amazing? This island… it’s so mesmerizing! Check out all the tiny little details in it! There’s a whirlpool, an ice volcano (yes, it’s ice, not lava) and look at that little light bulb at the top of the lighthouse!
Now, I wish I could say that I have drawn that, but sadly my skills are nowhere that good.
Instead this was a drawing by Stine, my muse for the User Experience & Prototyping course at the IT University of Copenhagen.
How did this get to happen? Well, after that little participatory design game I showed her where she came up with the idea of a desert island with a jungle in it, I decided it would be an interesting idea to see her try to draw her own map of an island and fill it up with anything that she found interesting. This was part of my cultural probe which I used to gain more insight into how Stine thinks, acts and what she likes.
When one week later she came to me with this map I was shocked. Definitely so much more than what I expected. It’s clear that she had a lot of fun drawing this!
And she didn’t just draw a bunch of random stuff. She gave a lot of thought to even the tiniest little detail, and she explained to me what this was all about.
The most interesting thing was that many of the things she didn’t really know why they were there. What are those things on the southwest island? Stones? Rocks? Monuments? She said she didn’t know, but she so badly wanted to be able to dive into her own world to see it with her own eyes and discover the mystery of the stones.
The same goes for the houses Northeast. They look like little hills where people live inside them. I asked Stine if those were hobbit holes, and she declined the idea. There could be hobbits inside, sure, but wasn’t it more exciting to go there and discover for yourself? Also they live near a swamp, and who knows what kind of creatures could live there…
What about the castle? Does anyone really live there anymore? Especially with that misty, creepy forest so close to it… Apparently those skeletons from the participatory design game are in that forest, so you might not want to wander for too long in there.
Want more? How about the little village next to the beach? It’s kinda small, but it seems protected from all dangers around thanks to the cliff.
Those are just some of the things that Stine told me about her map of the island. An island that she really wanted to visit, explore and get lost in it, learn its mysteries and who knows what she could find in it?
If this is not a very clear indicator of what Stine wants in a game, then I don’t know what is. As in the participatory design game the keyword here is exploration.
But don’t trust me for this. There’s still a lot of work ahead, and soon enough an interview will reveal more details about Stine’s obsession with exploring new worlds!