We Are Fine, We’ll Be Fine
We Are Fine, We’ll Be Fine is an auditory and tactile experience played on a wooden game board exploring people’s stories about marginalization, oppression and the navigating hope for the future. Participants unravel stories of struggle and hope by holding hands with each other while touching the board. As they progress towards the center of the board, more stories emerge.
We Are Fine, We’ll Be Fine was originally conceived during Critical Hit’s 2015 Summer Game Incubator at Concordia University. The first prototype of the game – then known as “Utopia” – was created by Owen Bell, Kara Stone, Raoul Olou and Nicole Pacampara as part of the Game Jam Phase of the incubator (Cycle 3). Responding to the jam’s theme of critical subjects, we wanted to make something that recognized oppression while offering visions of hope.
Utopia was a four-player game exploring the very same themes of oppression, injustices and hope for the future. To play, four people gathered in a circle around a projection on the floor. Each person stuck two conductive stickers on their body. The game was activated by one person touching someone else’s sticker, which in turn activated a video or audio clip of someone talking about their experiences with sexism, racism, mental illness, poverty – or other factors that made life unbearable. Some stickers also activated audio clips of a person’s version of utopia: what they’re hoping for and working towards. After they finished listening to all the clips, participants are asked to write down on wooden blocks about their ideal utopia.
We Are Fine
During the final/polishing phase of the incubator, Hope Erin Phillips joined Raoul Olou and Nicole Pacampara to refine and reimagine the game. Looking back at “Utopia”, the team felt the strongest part of that prototype was the stories people told. For the final game, they wanted to find a way to not only emphasize these stories but also deliver them through meaningful interactions fitting the game’s themes. After hours of brainstorming, playtest and paper-prototyping, the team ended up with the idea of a wooden board and the act of holding hands.
We’ll Be Fine
The game works through skin connection with other players. To start, three players gather around a wooden board. While holding an icon on the board, players make a connection by holding hands with each other. This connection activates audio stories relating to people’s experiences with oppression, marginalization and their hopes for the future. Different connections (i.e. holding hands with another person) unravel different stories. The game ends once players have reached the centre of the board and have listened to all the stories.