Posts written by Lia Fetterhoff

Musings: “Design for a human pace of thought”

I attended the Games for Change Festival in New York a few weeks ago, and was inspired by one game in particular. Walden, a game by Tracy Fullerton really inspired me and resonated with how I want her life, inspired to become.

In a panel where she talked about how unique the game is, she said:

“Humans need practice unpacking life, what it means to be human: open-ended, wrestling with questions, space for reflection.”

That space for reflection is important. As we progress through our moments, our hours and our days, we’re constantly responding: to other people, to the environment, to what we feel is the best next move. However, if we move too fast we lose the ability to reflect– to understand what others have already arrived at, to understand what’s happening and to look beyond the obvious, what’s-right-in-front-of-you situation.

Imagine a game (as I’m currently doing), that allows you to wake up and take action in your life. A fantasy world you’re immersed in so deeply that it bleeds into reality. A reality that you view as a gap between where you are and where you want to be.

How do you even capture that feeling, to not only grasp the immediate need to take action, but to realize that you have to look beyond your now to see what could be?

I’ve been struggling with this for a while, but maybe it’s simply this: build in space for reflection.

Maybe, unanswered questions are okay.

Maybe it’s worth contemplating about.

As Tracy so aptly put it: Design for a human pace of thought.

Book review: Someday

This is one of those books that I thought was a kids book, but is really for the parents. A similar vein to I will love you forever, it’s a tear-jerker. The kind where you project yourself becoming older and looking back at this present moment where you’ll go, “I miss the good old days…”

For me, those good old days are now. But I have to actually be mindful of it. I’m used to tag-teaming the kids after work, but with the husband at a soccer game I was on my own. Alone with a 2 year old (who loves to push boundaries) and a 7 month old (who just learned to crawl) for the dinner/bath/bedtime routine. Very intimidating. Did I mention there’s an old dog in the mix who happens to know the worst time to decide he needs to go outside to do his business (and I don’t know where the husband put his leash)?

I won’t lie, there were some frustrating moments, but overall I was able to avoid extreme meltdowns and tantrums, dinner was somewhat eaten, and both kids got baths. Yay.

The silence after both kids go to sleep is an interesting one. All of a sudden the things I looked so forward to weren’t so inviting. I just want to do nothing.

So I did nothing except eat a cold half-eaten bowl of macaroni and cheese, and re-read this book that just happened to be on the kitchen table.

The words are simple and the illustrations are the right amount of not-too-kiddie and not-too-serious. Just enough feels where it’s not too sappy, and are genuinely echoing my hopes and dreams for my little ones.

And a reminder of how fleeting life is.

It still amazes me that no matter how much more aware or mindful I try to be about life, I can still get caught up in to-dos and running around. Trying to do it all, and having a right way to do it.

I love books like these that serve as gentle reminders that in the blink of an eye, this too will be a distant memory. That I’ll miss having dance parties with my son and rushing to get the dog food bowl away from my daughter’s reach. Watching him pound keys on my keyboard (the musical kind), watching her giggle while flinging and swinging a spoonful of pureed veggies. Her angry cry to get her to bed, giving a one minute bath and still turning around to see macaroni and cheese all over the floor, his hair, and him grinning that mischievous smile while uttering “uh-oh”.

Yes, someday I will miss these days, and I appreciate the moments that I can.


I also look forward to seeing how the journey unfolds.


I want this game to feel personal enough where the player can envision herself acting on decisions in real life, kind of like anticipating a situation and visualizing the desired outcome. I want this virtual world to feel tangible.

And, I also want it to be fun. I want it to go beyond a self-help book or a how-to guide, and put the player in the driver’s seat of a narrative that’s delightful for the very fact that she’s not tied to the constraints of her past history, but can start from the current moment and guide someone else to the live the live they have imagined. In turn, it will empower her that this can be realized in her own life.


From the design doc:

  • Player experience goals
    • Player creates a personal goal/intention based on life experience design process
    • Player should feel inspired and confident to apply goal/execute behavior in the real world
    • Player should feel delighted in discovery process
  • Game mechanics
    • Interactive narrative with choices/decision points