Puzzle Clubhouse is a series of quirky, episodic web games created by Schell Games with input from a highly involved player community. Funded through Kickstarter as an experiment in community-driven game development, the series chronicles the adventures of Jasper Jones and his unpredictable Uncle Cornelius as they explore Puzzle Clubhouse, a place where anything can happen.
Our core team of seven developers released a new Puzzle Clubhouse game each month from September to December 2012. Between games, Puzzle Clubhouse players created, submitted, and voted on concepts, mechanics, story ideas, artwork, and sound effects for upcoming games. Like a comedy improv troupe working with audience suggestions, we produced each game by weaving together a variety of community-generated ideas and content into a cohesive new episode.
I joined Puzzle Clubhouse as project director and lead game designer in March 2012, shortly after the project’s successful Kickstarter campaign. The Puzzle Clubhouse universe had been developing for years prior to the campaign, so much of my initial work was in prioritizing existing material and clearly articulating project vision and scope. I designed, playtested, and iterated on the systems by which the community participated in episode creation, and managed community submissions and voting after Puzzle Clubhouse launched in August 2012. As project director I also oversaw development on the Puzzle Clubhouse website, games, animations, and social media channels, engaged with members on the forums, and promoted community involvement in the game creation process.