Rafael Fajardo
Director, SWEAT collaborative
Associate Professor,
Emergent Digital Practices
University of Denver


Projects: Juan & the Beanstalk

screen capture from videogame JUAN & THE BEANSTALK

Juan & the Beanstalk is a videogame work in progress. It is being created as modular, playable, fragments by the SWEAT collaborative.

The game is set in a fictionalized Colombia where the player's character, Juan, is forced into a postition of choosing between growing coffee and growing poppies. Structures exist in the game to support either decision and to resist the other. And then “madness ensues”.

In the fragment called Seeds of Solitude Juan has decided to attempt to eradicate the poppies. Armed with his machete, he sets forth to chop them all down. He is accompanied in this scenario by butterflies who do nature's work.

In FiFa Fo Fum!, Juan and his campesino friends engage Pablo, Carlos, and Jose in a friendly game of soccer. Pablo is in a position to help Juan with his crop.

Juan Runner and Excite Burro are in a very early stage of development.

Juan Runner finds Juan in an emerald mine with a multitude of campesino workers. It is very tempting to take just a few emeralds, there are so many.

In Excite Burro Conchita, Juan's trusty “steed”, enjoys a day at the races.

Seeds of Solitude will be exhibited in an invited group show at the Museo de las Americas, in Denver, in October of 2005.

Fajardo, Rafael. “Juan & the Beanstalk: A videogame work in progress” Works & Days 43/44, Volume 22. 2004. Capitalizing on Play: The Politics of Computer Gaming. McAllister and Moeller eds. pp. 155-158.

Project master plan and direction: Rafael Fajardo
Earliest sketches and planning notes date to 2000, progress is ongoing
All fragments require Stagecast Player and Java be installed prior to play and are playable in a web browser on machines running windows, mac os, and unix
Size varies by fragment, and will eventually be reconciled when fragments are melded
There are known issues with each of these public alpha and beta versions presented below
Sometimes a fragment will freeze or lock up
The game can be reset by clicking on the red button at the top left of the game window and then clicking on the “reset” menu item that appears there

Seeds of Solitude
673 pixels x 521 pixels x 8 bits per pixel (size can vary)
Move Juan with the arrow keys on your keyboard; up, down, left, right
Juan's machete will smite the poppies with the “w”, “a”, “d” and “x” keys
Game Design: Rafael Fajardo

FiFa Fo Fum
833 pixels x 617 pixels x 8 bits per pixel (size can vary)
This is a two player game
Pablo’s team is controlled by the arrow keys on your keyboard
Juan’s team is controlled by the “w”, “a”, “s”, and “d”
move the ball by “pushing” it with your player toward the opposition’s goal
five goals wins a game
Game Design: Larry Nguyen

Juan Runner
753 pixels x 313 pixels x 8 bits per pixel (size can vary)
Move Juan with arrow keys on your keyboard; up, down, left, right
Juan’s machete will knock down stalagmites with the “a” key
you must stand next to, and face, the stalagmite you intend to knock down
this fragment does not yet have a “victory” state
Game Design: Chad Schmidt

Excite Burro
variable width x 617 pixels x 8 bits per pixel (size can vary)
Move Conchita (the light grey burro) with the right arrow key
Use the space bar to make her kick
try to be the first to finish the race
this fragment does not yet acknowledge a “victory” by Conchita
Game Design: Glen Carlson

Process Galleries
Sketches and Characters a selection of images from ten sketchbooks and from production artwork

I blogged the day by day progress of work on fragments developed by Glen Carlson, Larry Nguyen, and Chad Schmidt under my guidance during the summer months of 2004:
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004