Challenge #5: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

As a group we chose the virtual reality game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, which is a game that puts players into the oddly humorous position of being a bomb defusal squad in the comfort of one’s living room. One player, the defuser, utilizing the headset, plays in virtual reality holding a timed bomb with multiple, confusing panels that each contain puzzles. On the other hand, the players in the real world give instructions using a manual on defusing the bomb with multiple, often conditional steps ranging from “let go of the button if it is blue and displays a white strip only when the timer has the number one in it” to hitting a sequence of odd characters in a certain order. These two parties cannot see each other’s respective views resulting in the only means of knowing what to do be via oral communication. People at social gatherings would enjoy playing this game as an alternative group-bonding activity. This game can serve as a fun, interactive component to a night with friends, and could also be a good way to get to know people through working together towards the same goal and assisting each other in the process. It is also possible to increase the stakes of the game by competing with another team and seeing who defuses the bomb first. Besides the entertainment aspect, the game can help people to improve their communication skills, since the way one describes the bomb and is able to get their point across to the people on the other side affects the success in the game. One can expect to actively use their teamwork and problem solving skills while playing and learn from others’ experiences when switching between being defusers and players in the real world. The core concept of the game is survival: it relies on our natural instincts to survive in a confined room and to ultimately defuse the bomb. Using VR headsets, the immersive experience augments this intense experience as the player navigates the space by herself and solves problems holding a timed bomb. The feeling of being alone in a room with a bomb and an active timer challenges you to stay calm and listen carefully. The game takes advantage of the VR format to make the bomb diffuser feel the weight of the situation. The instruction manual is designed to further add to confusion and intensity. Before making a decision such as “cutting a wire,” players must communicate back and forth, simultaneously navigating through a logic tree that ends with the specific instruction.

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