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games research

Gaming 2: Odd Man Out

Odd Man Out is a drinking game I developed this past year. At the start of game play, one person is ‘it’. This person says a word or phrase, then immediately turns out the lights for an unspecified amount of time. As soon as the lights cut out, the other players physically respond to the word. When the lights come back on, the ‘it’ player selects the top performance to be ‘it’ next and asks the weakest performance drink.

Odd Man Out has the temporality of Snapchat. That, combined with uninhibited context of alcohol, allows for personality to live freely in the name of play. I imagine the alcohol qualifies the game as rated MA or 21+ here in the States, and could be as controversial as video game violence. Nonetheless, drinking acts as an incredibly rewarding punishment. There are no specified quantities, so the game is compatible with everyones limits. It can be fun to play without alcohol as well, but there is something inherent in the context of social drinking that beautifully cultures the elements that make Odd Man Out a good game.

The success of Odd Man Out rests in how it rewards subjective expression in the social setting. Like Derrida’s playful interpretation of play or his linguistic interpretation of conveying truth, play in this game intersects with reality in a way that removes itself. Odd Man Out allows players to interpret language and interject associations through the once removed context of acting/body language (sound happens frequently too). The competitive linguistic personifications that form the diegesis of the game push players to get as silly as possible. They look inward in the dark, and outward in the light. The loose rules allow for collective bargaining and even team work during play. Rounds almost always reinforces individuality and effort with hearty laughter.

I decided to include this game in my research blogs because successful play represents uninhibited social interaction that fluidly builds connections between friends and strangers in ways that transcend play. This is very similar to the type structure I’d like to achieve with the video games I’m working on now. However, I have decided to avoid connecting drinking with the video games. I do want to achieve the same levels of distortion between socializing, winning, loosing and playing that Odd Man Out has strongly exhibited.

P.S.  If you want to play a game, you’ve got to forget how you can pin it down with words, because you can’t have both!  (paraphrased Derrida)



One thought on “Gaming 2: Odd Man Out

  1. This actually sounds like a pretty fun game, I might suggest it the next time my friends and I can’t decide on a game. I remember reading about the positive aspects of failing in McGonigal’s book Reality is Broken and thinking ‘this chick is crazy, I hate losing.’ There are countless broken TVs and smashed controllers that prove others feel the same way I do. However, I was not thinking about drinking games when I made this assumption. When you lose a drinking game it’s as if you have gotten an award for it and the winner gets nothing but bragging rights. It’s like second place in the NHL finals getting to flaunt the Stanly Cup around and first place laughing at them going ‘haha we won you suck!’

    Posted by sccrdude540 | June 24, 2013, 5:18 pm

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