Writing Sample: Youth Mystery

I wrote this as a submission in consideration for a position as a game writer for the game High School Story. My writing sample concerns the introduction of a new character to HSS. Arthur is a smart guy who wants to become a detective when he grows up. He fancies a good mystery in everything he does. His introduction follows below:


One afternoon, you, Payton, and Julian are sitting and chatting in the bleachers of the football field.

Payton: Chirp! Ooh, a new question for @AskPayton!

Player: Is it love troubles? Academic problems? Social woes?

Payton: No, this is more… a rumor I guess? The question is, “Have you heard the moaning that comes from classroom 1337? Someone did the Charlie challenge in there and now people have been hearing sounds.”

Julian: …g-g-ghost? Julian shivers.

Player: You look a bit pale Julian. What’s wrong? Ghost got your gullet?

Julian: My what? The ghost doesn’t have my anything!

Payton: Except your fear.

Julian: Whatever!

Player: Hahaha well anyway, we should go check it out to make sure it isn’t something serious, assuming there really is a moaning sound at all.

Julian: Yeah… You do that.


You and Payton make your way over to the classrooms and find the one from the tweet.

Payton: Well, we’re here, room 1-3-3-7.

Player: After you milady.

Payton: Why thank you good sir.

You and Payton sit down at desks next to each other.

Player: You really think there’s a ghost… named Charlie?

Payton: No, I don’t believe in that… Wait, shh!

A soft moaning can be heard faintly.

Player: What’s that?!

Payton: I don’t know. Maybe it’s a stray cat. Or maybe it’s a… why is that wall panel moving?!


Player: It can’t really be Charlie, can it?!

Payton: Of course not! But what if it’s a wild animal?!

The panel falls forward onto the floor. A cloaked figure emerges from the shadows.

Payton: O-M-G!!!

The figure begins to look up at you, covered in an ashy haze of dust and dirt. Its black hair barely peaks out of its hood. Suddenly it sees your faces and starts!

Ghost: Ah!

Payton: AHHHHHHHH!!!

Player: AHHHHHHHH!!!


Stranger: WAAHHHHH! Don’t do that!

Player: Wh-who are you?!

Stranger: I’m Arthur. Who are you?

Payton: We’re Payton and Virgil. What were you just doing?

Arthur: I was investigating the rumors of moaning Charlie. What were you two doing in here? Wait… Oh, sorry to intrude…

Payton: Oh no, no, nothing like that! We’re here for the same reason! Did you find the ghost?

Arthur: About that…

Arthur is a student who’s seriously into detective work. Check out the All Stars section in the store to admit Arthur to your school and unlock special quest lines discovering all of its mysteries!


TF-CBT Triangle of Life: A Game to Help With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is an academic research paper I wrote in conjunction with Eric Chang, Seungsuk Cho, Vivek Kotecha, Bing Liu, Hannah Turner, Yan Zhang, Michael G. Christel, and Scott M. Stevens at the Entertainment Technology Center of Carnegie Mellon University. It was published in CHI PLAY ’14: Proceedings of the First ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-human Interaction in Play.

Under direction of medical professionals associated with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a mobile game was developed for children ages 10-12 to teach the Cognitive Triangle concept of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. This triangle is an essential component of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). A storybook experience with minigames was quickly prototyped, but first playtests showed a lack of engagement with children. The game was revised to emphasize side- scroller platform advancement where success in a level was tied intrinsically to cognitive triangle classification. Children rated the game highly across a series of playtests. The game has potential to be used by clinicians delivering TF-CBT as an appealing exercise for children.

Full paper available in Association for Computing Machinery’s Digital Library.