MIT's The Restaurant Plays You

Customer finds exploring more interesting than achieving.
ROFFLE, let's make fun of the graphics. AHahahah.
More alcohol, more alcohol, he continued to shout.

The Restaurant Game is a research project at the MIT Media Lab that will algorithmically combine the gameplay experiences of thousands of players to create a new game. In a few months, we will apply machine learning algorithms to data collected through the multiplayer Restaurant Game, and produce a new single-player game that we will enter into the 2008 Independent Games Festival. Everyone who plays The Restaurant Game will be credited as a Game Designer.

I took it for a spin as a waitress and received my first customer within minutes. Funnily, this first scene progressed very similarly, I imagine, to real life: initial handshakes and posturing (wherein small chit-chat of "man, this is weird" in-game is like "oh, what lovely weather" in-life), to actually serving the food and receiving payment, to mindless wandering and wondering ("can I get drunk?" in-game vs. "can I get no bacon and extra sour cream?" in-life) and, most curiously, the personal opinions we develop with little actual data.

After "completing my objective", I was asked to fill out a personality poll about the other (anonymous) player, with questions like age, location, what they ate for breakfast, and a rating scale of 1 through 10 for the aspects of intelligence, funny, considerate, honest, well spoken, and patience. Due to my customer's constant demand for more alcohol, I judged him a 20 year old male ("so, are you really a girl?" he asked) with no occupation (in college) who eats leftover pizza for breakfast. He was certainly considerate (he did his job, which allowed me to do mine) and patient, average on honesty and clarity, but relatively low on intelligence and humor.

Unbeknownst to me, after profiling is complete you get to see what the other person said of you. This is quite unlike real life (unless, of course, you "whisper" loudly and deliberately) and, knowing my second customer will see it will probably affect my ratings even though everything is anonymous. While you can't respond to these profiles in-game (chatting is disabling once your objective is complete), I did second-guess my own cynical analysis. I received the following ratings (age defaults to 50):

Gender = M
Age = 50
From = don't know
Occupation = waitress
Breakfast = nothing
Intelligent = 7
Funny = 3
Considerate = 7
Honest = 4
Well Spoken = 8
Patient = 9


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