What do a museum heist and a disdain for hot dogs have in common?
Both have been the subject of video games developed by Arielle Johnson ’25 and Dillon Remuck ’25 in collaboration with Professor Terrasa Ulm.
“The Case of the Sticky Vandal: A Detective Hunter Mystery” asks players to become detectives and investigate who placed “anti-hot dog” stickers across a small town. Players must canvass the game’s neighborhood and hunt down clues. Eventually, they make their way to a hotel, searching each room for evidence to guess where the vandal is staying.
Johnson created an evidence log, an interactive journal, character art, and more than 40 stickers that appear plastered throughout the fictional town. Remuck programmed dialogue for characters, who include a café owner and food truck operator.
“The neighborhood level of the game is where you’re testing spatial reasoning because you rely on a map for navigation,” Remuck says. “The second level tests logical reasoning because you’re in a hotel and investigating each room. Each room has clues, and you have to determine if the clues correlate to the person you’re looking for.”
Through Ulm’s Game Studio course, Johnson and Remuck also worked on a project called Caligo, which tests how well two players can communicate using only nonverbal clues. The game centers on a museum heist with digital art pieces that must be “stolen” within a certain amount of time.
“When you put your head into something and think about how to solve a problem, it puts you into a zone where it doesn’t feel like class,” Remuck says. “It feels like a puzzle.”