Abstract: Matchmaker is a cooperative two-player tabletop video game for couples. In Matchmaker, players must work together to match the adorable, round-headed people Peeps. But it’s not as simple as it sounds! If the players work too slowly, Peeps will begin to become depressed and lovelorn. When a lovelorn Peep begins crying, it cannot be matched up; if enough Peeps become lovelorn, the players are sure to lose the game! The only way for players to cure a lovelorn Peep is by restoring their faith in the power of love; by physically holding hands with their partner and then touching a lovelorn Peep, players can show the Peeps the true Power of Love. Through its romantic motifs and its use of interpersonal touch, Matchmaker seeks to cultivate a subtle form of emotional intimacy between its players by encouraging teamwork, cooperation, and the pursuit of a shared goal. Matchmaker was designed as a tribute to the importance of love; In Matchmaker, interpersonal touch serves two purposes: is it at once a tangible expression of a cooperative gameplay mechanic but also a recognizable symbol of the love that the two players share.

Researchers: Cody Watts, Ehud Sharlin, Peter Woytiuk