AGC talk posted

 Posted by (Visited 9110 times)  Game talk
Sep 182003

The talk from the Austin Game Conference has now been posted. Go here.

In other news, (and it’s old news by now), I’ve been named Chief Creative Officer of Sony Online Entertainment, and will be moving to San Diego.

I’m also supposed to speak at CES next year, and at the the State of Play conference in New York City in November.

I have tons of other updates to do to the site (the poor Timeline is badly in need of new info!) but I don’t have time just now.

Apr 142003

If you are here today, odds are it is because of reading this.

Revisiting the Garden of Remembrance

A few years back, I wrote that some of the events from the Ultima Online days were going to get seized up by the playerbase and turned into some of the formative myths of cyberspace. I never expected that one of the things that people would seize on most fervently was A Story About a Tree. In the end, sadly, it has turned out that like most myths, it has a kernel of truth circles by layers of fiction and wishes.

A few weeks ago, I started trading emails with Tracy Spaight, a documentary filmmaker who was researching Karyn’s story. He came to the conclusion that it was a hoax, and you can read about his investigations in his article for

How do I feel about this? To be honest, very much like I felt at the time that the events in A Story About a Tree took place. Stages of disbelief, anger, and sorrow, the all-too-familiar pop-psych litany.

Right now, as I write this, members of the LegendMUD community are going through the same stages, a few weeks behind me, as they learn for the first time of this deception.

Here’s the thing, though: we come back to myths not because they are true, but because they are True. So I am going to state this as bluntly as I can: I am not ashamed about having been taken in. Frankly, it’s not the first time, and I am sure it won’t be the last. But I would much rather be willing to approach other people online without endless layers of hardened cynicism, than to have to live a life online always skeptical of others’ intentions.

To me, the heart of the story still stands: that the bonds we form with others online are real. Realer, it seems, than the people themselves, sometimes. The crux of the matter is that real or not, Karyn is lost to us. And to me, that fact will always be deserving of a Garden of Remembrance.

Small Worlds now posted

 Posted by (Visited 10427 times)  Game talk
Mar 072003

This is just a very quick update. The Small Worlds talk from GDC 2003 is now online in the Gaming/Essays section. This is an expanded version that includes many more conclusions and bits of concrete advice.

My name is on the cover of Jessica Mulligan and Bridgette Patrovsky’s new book–I wrote the foreword, and it also includes a hunk of the Online Worlds Timeline. Expect to see a chunk of material from this website in the upcoming Ernest Adams design book as well.

DICE was fun. Supposedly I will be interviewed on G4 at some point in their news program. I have no idea when, though. Let me know if you have a better idea than I do!

I’ve been cited in a couple of places lately. I’ve also heard that Timothy Burke over at Swarthmore is using this website as assigned reading in one of his classes. Yikes.

I have a lot of materials to put up from the last six months (and more) that I have been neglecting the site, but I don’t have time just now…