[Doris Rusch + Andrew Phelps| The Witch's Way]

The Witch’s Way is a text adventure game in which you play a middle-aged woman named Lou, who decides to take a time out from her outwardly successful but inwardly unfulfilled life, and move to the cottage in the woods her aunt has left her. There, she establishes contact with nature, the Unknown Forest behind the cottage, and the mysterious beings that dwell within it. Guided by animals, a wise and quirky bookshelf and her aunt’s magical clues, Lou learns about the Witch’s Way and how to live in greater alignment with herself and the world around her. The DIS-Connection from her everyday business, the noise of “culture” and habitual yet unchallenged social rules and environments, facilitates a profound RE-Connection to Lou’s true nature, her deeper self and a reclaiming of her integrity. Through the symbolism, mythical imagery and rituals of the interactive narrative, players get to explore the possibility space of Lou’s inner world. By choosing which of her parts to listen to – the one that knows or the one that doubts – players can own the journey and discover what might be most true for themselves. Conceptualized in four seasons that tackle various personal development themes, the first part – Spring – has been released. It focuses on the re-awakening of creativity through three technologies of magic: Wordlessness, Oneness and Imagination. (Martha Beck, 2012, Finding your Way in a Wild New World). It further ties up to several years of research on existential transformational game design, which addresses the bigger question of how we can design games that contribute to a meaningful life. The existential, transformational game design framework draws on existential psychotherapy as well as myth and ritual studies, particularly from a psychotherapeutic perspective, and in conjunction with experiential notions of play and design.