Duration: 2 weeks | Passion Project | Teammates: Henry Chang, Nabeeha Fatima
My contributions

I led game idea brainstorming sessions, overhauled the game story, designed 95% of the game assets and finished 6 levels out of 7, conducted 10+ rounds of iterations with play testings.
Problem Space
How Might We help players sympathize the protagonist with different emotions through performing in-game actions ?
Forrest Gump (movie) - “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you might get!”
What would you do if you lost all your memories of the person you love and suddenly find out something that is related to themselves? Follow our protagonist to explore the mysteries chocolate box sent by his wife.

*Please use a full-screen laptop webpage to have the best experience.
Game tricks
To experience different levels without passing every one of them, you can enter the url followed by the level names: “https://april-xu.github.io/chocolate-therapy/[level name here].html”. For example, if you want to go to level “Surprise”, enter ”https://april-xu.github.io/chocolate-therapy/Surprise.html”.
Levels available - timestamp
Joy - the daughter was born
Sadness - broke girlfriends’ heart
Nervous - before the baby was born
Shy - the first time they met
Anger - caught a fight
Anticipation - exchanged gifts
Surprise - the truth
The story (spoil alert!)
This is a story about Watson and his wife, Anna. They used to be a happy couple with a lovely daughter until Anna got into a car accident. Watson was too grieved to handle the fact that Anna was gone; in shock, he lost all of his memories with Anna.

Years passed and Watson received a box of chocolate with a nand - that’s where the game starts. Through eating the chocolates, Watson gets to experience different emotions that are associated with some life moments he had spent with Anna. He wants to make a chocolate for Anna in exchange but the heart-shaped chocolate can never be completed and keeps cracking. That’s the moment he recalls the fact that she is gone forever and finally moves on with the memory of their stories.
Behind the scenes
We had 3 rounds of brainstorming sessions starting from 150+ ideas. The ideas list was then refined and narrowed down during the later sessions where we wanted to explore the theme of emotions, colors, and holes.

After some research into the theory of emotion and inspired by the emotionshop from Entertainment and Technology Center in Carnegie Mellon University, we then proceeded to think of designing different level ideas and how they can be used to bring players with a “hollow heart” to a land of colorful emotions.
Design surprising and engaging interactions
The use of sound and feedback creates different problem-solving interactions at each level, which are related to the unique emotions we want players to experience with. By doing this, players get surprises at each level and thus gain deeper understanding of the story.

For example, in the “Nervous” level, we use chocolate to simulate a bomb and ask players to it by clicking wires in correct order with a ticking clock. The scenario in the protagonist’s memory is waiting for his daughter’s birth.
Craft and connect the plots in a immersive way
We intended to not spoil the story until the end, so we need to be very careful about when to reveal a piece of story and what to present to the players. Our initial assumption was that players are able to understand the story by reading some dialogues. But it turns out unsuccessful because players have no familarity with the idea behind the game so they need more context and hints.

Our final solution was to compile the story into different scenarios in each level explicitly telling players what’s happening now and what memories are being recalled. By doing this, the game is able to have the players experience, think, and feel from the perspective of the protagonist.
Use simple but intuitive assets to avoid confusion
As the importance of aesthetic values in digital interface design, the assets design holds the key to initial understanding of the game. Due to the time limitation, we weren’t able to implement the game in 3D, which could be more intuitive to shape the chocolates. However, the flat design with text explanation also worked well explaning the contexts.

The insight I got from asset design is to perform actual playtests to uncover different understanding to avoid potential misunderstanding of the interface, which would be disastrous to the gaming experience.