Can \’high tech\’ game spaces, often violent, cold, or impersonal, lead to the inverse: an experience which communicates personal stories? [six.circles] is a networked one or two player turn based Flash game which explores the consequences of cooperation and competition through the construction of simple geometry objects. Players interact with the game by construct groups of shapes which eventually are built up into complete circles, but they do so amidst attacks by virus objects which invade the community. In the abstracted space, there are virus objects and \”good juju\” pieces that can often cure disease. As the game progresses, players must attach illness pieces to some shapes every so many turns, and as players build circles, illness spreads down the chain, infecting it turn by turn. When all the pieces of a given chain are infected, the infection changes with each turn to a full-blown diseased piece that can no longer be assimilated into a circle. If an entire chain is diseased, it spawns new disease pieces with each turn. Players have to negotiate and sacrifice to cooperatively solve the problem, prevent the spread of the disease, while still attempting to win the game by creating six circles.
Mary Flanagan is an inventor-designer-activist in New York City and leads the Tiltfactor research group at Hunter College in New York City. Flanagan’s artwork has been shown internationally at venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, SIGGRAPH, Ars Electronica, the Guggenheim, and other international venues. Her essays on digital art and gaming have appeared in many periodicals and books including Art Journal and Wide Angle. Her books include Reload: Rethinking Women + Cyberculture (MIT Press 2002), the co-written book Similitudini. Simboli. Simulacri (SIMilarities, Symbols, Simulacra) in Italian (Unicopli, 2003), and reskin (forthcoming, MIT Press). She is the creator of “The Adventures of Josie True,” the first internet adventure game for girls, and is co-founder of Rapunsel, a research project to teach girls programming (http://www.rapunsel.org).