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It Comes In Waves is a game prototype about being an essential worker during a global pandemic, created as part of the Class & Games research project. Designed in Twine, the game began as a way to explore how socioeconomic class intersects with the COVID-19 pandemic. The underlying themes of the game are rooted in numerous news media accounts of employees in the Canadian health sector from the early days of the pandemic. How does it feel to be an “essential worker” while still facing precarity every day? What does it mean to fear for your health and safety when going to work, especially when without it, you can’t earn a living? No game is capable of definitively answering such questions, but we attempted to weave a narrative that touches on these ideas without overly simplifying or diminishing them.
My role on the project was narrative designer, which is just a fancy way of saying that I helped set up some Twine infrastructure and did some light writing. Most of the heavy-lifting in terms of narrative and coding was completed by Courtney Blamey, Lyne Dwyer, and Mia Consalvo.
This was my first experience working on a game of this type and I, of course, fell into the common traps of “writing entirely too much” and “severely underestimating development timelines.” Whoops! However, I’m happy with how the project turned out and extremely proud of the development team.