experimental multi-media game
(TRIGGER WARNING! This game contains some concepts and interactions revolving around eating disorders.)

EDcards is an experimental card game.

Participants are asked to identify with an eating disorder to represent abnormal eating behaviours. During the game each player is trying to perform according to their disorder. Their goal is to balance social expectations and fulfilling their nutrition needs.

The audience’s participation is crucial. Their role is to socially pressure players. They are given the hidden cards and the choice to expose those cards onto the screen behind the participants using QR codes.

Photo by Nicole Pacampara

Photo by Nicole Pacampara6While dieting seems to be promoted on the cover of almost every single women’s magazine, the fasting often happens in secret. We all pretend that losing weight is something that just happened to us, as if we were all born lean, fit and without an appetite. These unrealistic social expectations often lead to extreme measures that can cause body dysmorphia and eating disorders (ED) among others. Eating disorders are surrounded with shame in public, but sometimes appreciated within their own circle. People who live with eating disorders arrange their lives around food, their habits are dictated by the binary relationship to society: pleasing it or hiding from it.

Since eating disorders (ED) are so seldom discussed in public, and those times often shamed, people with ED live a secret life. Friends and family are kept in the dark to avoid possible shaming and refusal. ED is a psychological disorder, just like alcoholism and OCD behaviour, people who suffer from it need support, love and help from society to be able to live a healthy life. EDcards hope to spread awareness and promote understanding of the mechanics behind developing and maintaining an eating disorder. EDcards is not a cute game, it’s a disturbing, heartbreaking, emotional journey, where players have to pretend they have an eating disorder but they have to hide it from the other players.

The game consists of turns representing meals, and rounds representing days. The cards designs are simple, visually resembling of hand-written food diaries, something that people with ED often have. The players have the choice to hide their meals, but once a round/day they have to eat with their friends, in public. At the end of the game the players have to guess each others’ ED and the winner (or looser, that’s up for discussion) is the person who hid it the best.

The game has a built in option for interacting with the bystanders. They can chose to reveal secret meals thus shame the player. This aspect of the game has been very controversial and something I am still working on.

Screen behind the audience to expose cards.


Have something to share about the game? Use #EDCards to participate in the conversation!