Chin Music: Analysis of User Experience

Image taken in BCM300 Seminar Week1

Chin music is a twist on classic memory card games. It requires its users to effectively compose their own rap. The game is produced by Invincible Ink. It plays out in a style reflective of the iconic car-trip game or icebreaker, When I Went Shopping; each player must remember and recite the entirety of the deck before adding their own card on top. Many of the words are onomatopoeic (“biff, boffo, whack”), creating tongue-twisting, awkward sounding raps absolutely bereft of logical meaning.  The results resemble a truncated Shakespearean soliloquy. 

Rulebook: Design v Play

Because reciting the rap incorrectly means collecting the entire deck of cards, and thus having a smaller chance of winning, it was imperative to memorise the phrasing effectively. Interestingly enough, if you could ramble on with enough confidence, your bluff could go unnoticed. If the next person repeats your bluff and you call them out on it, they have to take the deck. This tactic sneaks around the rulebook but is a legitimate form of play, which made the game significantly more interesting. On a separate note, ‘calling out’ a player for messing up a round took immense effort, and thus we ended up letting a lot of mistakes slide to avoid reading through the whole deck! Player analysis  undertaken via user experience can shed new light on game theories, given that much of the current literature in this field assumes games are “defined and constituted by rules”  (Mosca 2017 p.587). 
See the source image
The ability to side-step the rules and create a different user experience in this game is akin to the classic user experience v. design pattern we often see illustrated in infrastructure design (image source: UX)
The small box of cards was bereft of any rule book; instead, a QR code and URL on the bottom of the box leads the user to a PDF file online. The rule book is a comedic companion to a game story that’s easy to enter; it’s one of those rule books that doesn’t really need to be read. It starts out with acknowledgements, giving a sincere thanks to a person named Casey, who inspired the designer at a bus stop, and also to Aryn, who “talked punchin'”. It’s also intentionally careless and vague with certain procedures:
Determine who’s going to be the first player, by a roll of a die or a coin flip or who has the longest middle name, or some other method that strikes your fancy.
Fists Gem 3
The graphics on the website also reinforce the rap battle theme of the game (source: Inkspace).
The game itself thus becomes another hip-hopping, too cool for school, teenage dropkick-esque player in the game. The packaging even has its own comically swaggering demeanour, stating clearly:
Bring yer mam! (sic)
The game’s aesthetics cleverly reinforce its personality (image taken in BCM300 Seminar Week 1)

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