Tessera Decomposition Christian John
Group members: Lee Winfield, Shintaro Monden, Michael Tsang NFP: INEE (Inter Agency Network for Education in Emergencies), IRC (international Rescue Committee
Problem Help Iraqi children with trauma caused by the violence they were exposed to, war casualties and fleeing their homes.
Christian’s solution Design a puzzle game made out of ceramics where the parts carry family member’s names to start up a conversation between the family elders and other relatives and the young children suffering from trauma.
As a group, we appreciated the effort to try to create a sense of family and community by opening up the conversation between the different age groups. However, we feel that the game is not challenging enough for all age groups and would get boring after played various times. We accept it as an ‘ice breaker’, a first attempt to start a conversation and play an enjoyable game in harsh conditions. At the same time, we feel that its benefits are very short term ones and would not assist the children in their lives as a whole.
Christian chose ceramics for the game pieces as it is a rather cheap, natural resource found in the middle east. However, we doubt the actual local manufacturing of this game in the local community. We also are concerned with the usage of the game pieces as weapon due to their weight, fragility and sharpness.
The usage of local ornamentation is an important part of the design. We agree with Christian that having an ethnic design that is of the local culture can help the community relate with the design as well as educate the children about their inheritage.
The game might fulfill its goal in being therapeutic, but it is the degree of its effectiveness that we are questioning.
We would like to take the game to a new level and hopefully push its effectiveness level.
Enlarging its scale would be the first thing we would do. Making it physically larger would allow children to engage their whole bodies in the game rather than only their arms. The large scale would make it almost impossible to play indoors, which would bring the game out to the local community and might be played among the neighboring families. A playful atmosphere will hopefully form which would lead to role playing among the ages. We want to change the material used to a softer, warmer and more inviting one that would not be too heavy to pick up and move around the play floor. We would like to further investigate and look into the waste materials of the local community to better assess possible recycled materials.
We would also like to bring the game into a third dimension by giving the pieces a more interesting form that would allow the children to manipulate and interact with it. This, we believe will attract the interest of more age groups and for a longer period of time.
The game will include more parts due to its new scale and therefore will allow us to introduce the children to more characters in the Arab language possibly with illustrations of definitions, helping them practice their writing and reading skills.