College of Computing and Digital Media Dissertations

Title

for|rest

Date of Award

Winter 3-11-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

School

School of Design

First Advisor

Michael DeAnda

Second Advisor

Anna Anthropy

Third Advisor

Peter McDonald

Abstract

In for/rest, players navigate a world built around an interpretation of the liminal space of grief. Glitching, blinking roots are all around an otherwise grey, empty space and as players destroy these roots they gradually resaturate the landscape. Each time a root is destroyed, the player will watch it disintegrate in front of them while some form of animal or plant spawns in the root’s stead. On rare occasions, instead of a plant or animal, a human will phase into the world as a root disintegrates. This human, Charlie, roams around the forest and offers the player a chance to engage with her story. Charlie’s storyline is one of grief, loss, and resolution. If the player chooses to follow Charlie they will find out what Charlie is doing in this space and what their relationship to Charlie is.

for/rest explores themes of grief, catharsis, lack of predictability, and cognitive interference. The space itself is an interpretation of the liminal space of grief, while offering the player a cathartic experience in the restoration of this space. This is meant to exhibit some of the experiential qualities of healing and resolution. The glitching roots demonstrate cognitive interference within the grieving process. As these roots stand visually as a sign of interference, they also obstruct the player’s space and complicate their journey. The lack of predictability in the outcome of destroying each roots is used to demonstrate a non-linear or predictable journey through grief.

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