Jun 302006

Click Nothing: Understanding Games (by proxy) is Clint Hocking assessing Understanding Comics for game design. But this is the bit that really caught my eye:

Pong was a systemic simplification of the rules of a number of racket-based sports. Thirty-four years later, Rockstar Table Tennis has complexified the rules considerably. Now it cannot represent tennis, squash, 1 vs 1 volleyball, or any other racket-based sport… it represents ping pong. Period.

Imagine if Pong had been called ‘Argument’. And instead of squares for paddles, they were shaped like faces in profile. Imagine if instead of a moving square, the ‘ball’ was a comic-style speech bubble with the word ‘Yes’ written in it when one player returned it, and the word ‘No’ written in it when another player returned it. No rule changes. The words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ would be bouncing back and forth from the mouths, occasionally slipping by and not being responded to. It’s clear, then, that this simplification of systems represented by Pong could have been about any number of things aside from a racket-based sport. The rules were simple enough that they could in fact represent a huge range of things. If Pong had been called ‘Argument’, what would its successor look like 34 years later?

Jun 302006

Sulka Haro says,

Hi! I wanted to have your 40 ways accessible somewhere but wanted something that looked nicer than a print of the site so I made it a background on my desktop. 🙂 I uploaded it to http://www.kotska.com/sulka/kuvat/gamedesign.jpg in case you want to see it. The damselfly in the picture in Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura Elegans).

It’s very cool. 🙂 Looks like it does require a 1280 x 800 widescreen, though.

Jun 292006

MTV has posted their take on the Games for Change conference, including my talk. The tone of the article is really interesting, and I get the impression that the reporter is one who resented some of the cold water he says I threw on the proceedings. He asks,

The first knock on anyone criticizing games is that they possibly haven’t played them. It wasn’t clear if Koster had attended the Tuesday-night game expo and sampled some of the activism in action. Continue reading »

MiscHotSpot redux

 Posted by (Visited 5864 times)  Misc
Jun 292006

Remember a while back when I blogged about how I couldn’t figure out how to log into a T-Mobile HotSpot? Well, I just got a text message from T-Mobile that apparently went out to everyone with the Total Internet Plan, explaining how to do it. (Login: phone number, Password: last 4 digits of your SSN.)

Guess I wasn’t the only one confused.

Game talkHardcore casual gamers

 Posted by (Visited 8059 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Jun 292006

It really shouldn’t be surprising that studies are showing that so-called “casual gamers” are hardcore about their game. Playing casual games isn’t about a choice of timespan; people who have hobbies devote the time they want to their hobbies. Interruptibility may be a factor, but far more important is whether they enjoy what they are doing.

Continue reading »

Game talkGames for Change summary

 Posted by (Visited 5432 times)  Game talk
Jun 292006

Games for Change writeups are filtering out, which is good, because frankly, I missed most of the conference. I saw five minutes of Bob Kerrey’s Q&A, and I saw Mary Flanagan moderate a panel but only with half of one eye, because I was rearranging the notes for my talk.

I had to sign a podcast release, so I would guess that at some point the audio for the talk will show up; if and when it does, I will see about transcribing it and posting it here. My notes are just notes, and the talk itself was, as usually, largely improvised, so I don’t have anything to post here.

Steven Johnson’s keynote was liveblogged a couple of places, though.

The discussion hosted by Harper’s was fascinating and wideranging and the folks there were brilliant (Steven included). I cannot even attempt to do it justice. You’ll have to wait for the magazine!

Game talkHere in NYC @ G4C

 Posted by (Visited 6335 times)  Game talk
Jun 272006

Ah, the Long Island Expressway. 🙂

I’m here in NYC, taking a quick break before heading out to dinner with an old friend from high school whose current location here in Manhattan I found serendipitously on Google just day before yesterday. Tomorrow I’ll be doing the lengthy panel discussion-cum-interview with Harper’s, plus giving the closing address at Games for Change. I note that the conference website states that the backchannel for the conference is open and can be found starting here at tag 06-CG4.

No time to write more, have to get changed for dinner…!

Game talkThe Merchant of Pixels

 Posted by (Visited 12212 times)  Game talk
Jun 272006


To bait the intelligence of our youth: if nothing else,
it will make them happy. They have disgraced me, and
hindered me many millions; laughed at my losses,
mocked at my gains, scorned my mechanics, assigned me to
bargain bins, wrecked my reputation with licensed copies
of poor games; and what’s the reason? I am non-electric.
Continue reading »

Game talk40 ways to be a better (game) designer

 Posted by (Visited 175151 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Jun 262006

I’m always looking for ways to become a better game designer. I frequently think I am no good at it, after all. (Just ask in random forums such as Blue’s News or the Fires of Heaven guild forums). So it’s with interest that I read articles like 50 ways to become a better designer.

Much of the list isn’t directly applicable, but some of it is, and it inspires a list of my own, centered around games. Not exhaustive, and probably not even accurate, but stuff I have often helped myself with. Many are cribbed and adapted.

Continue reading »