: New: Jotting Notes on Sara Thacher's ADG Talk

She designs experiences. She worked on the Games of Nonchalance, Futurecoast; nowadays she can't tell us about her exciting work in Disney Imagineering.

Barthe's Death of the Author: just because you wrote something, that's not so great. Some audience needs to experience it, and they're doing a lot of the hard work. Instead of lionizing the writer as The Author, we should just call that bozo the scriptor. The collaboration between scriptor and audience is the true author. Or something like that.

If you're designing experiences instead of, say, recording a podcast, you want to think about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Like, if you're recording a podcast, you're not really thinking about whether your audience is safe and comfortable: if they're not safe or comfortable, they probably pressed the pause button on your podcast anyhow. But if you're routing a puzzlehunt and you haven't thought about where the snack places and restrooms are, your players won't be able to concentrate on those puzzles you worked so hard on. Instead, they'll be hangry and nerving themselves up to risk peeing in alleys. OK, she didn't use the puzzlehunt example, instead talking about Sleep No More, but my thoughts drifted where my thoughts were gonna drift.

People who studied the Happenings a la Kesey turned into folks who studied "Relational Aesthetics" turned into folks studing experiences as art. I wouldn't have thought to google Relational Aesthetics in a million years because it sounds like nothing at all, but now I'm thinking I should hunt down some books.

Allen Cohn was there. We talked about metapuzzles: the tendency to make them complex, because you're trying to tie up all the elements of your hunt. But you want the last puzzle of the hunt to be smooth, not a hard slog. Puzzlehunts are emotional experiences; and much of folks will remember is how they felt in the last few minutes. So make those fun, not sloggy.

Tags: writing puzzlehunts

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