More genocidal Tetris

 Posted by (Visited 7432 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Apr 282011

A screenshot of FojbaOne of the most commonly repeated or recited snippets from Theory of Fun for Game Design is the notion of dressing substantially changing a game experience, using the example of a Tetris clone reskinned to mimic a gas chamber.

Let’s picture a game wherein there is a gas chamber shaped like a well. You the player are dropping innocent Jews down into the gas chamber, and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are old ones and young ones, fat ones and tall ones. As they fall to the bottom, they grab onto each other and try to form human pyramids to get to the top of the well. Should they manage to get out, the game is over and you lose. But if you pack them in tightly enough, the ones on the bottom succumb to the gas and die.

I do not want to play this game. Do you? Yet it is Tetris. You could have well-proven, stellar game design mechanics applied towards a quite repugnant premise.

Folks who have been reading the blog for a while may also recall that a team in Brazil actually built such a Tetris, called Calabouço Tétrico. I blogged about it here.

Today, I stumbled across this little gem of an article relating a similar story I had never heard. It’s in Italian (Google translation here), but the gist of it is that a Slovenian website called Mladina  made an editorial game about Tito partisans and the pro-Nazi Slovene Home Guard, back in 2000.

Apparently this game caught the notice of the Italian parliament and was censored! You can play it here anyway.

And now, EastPak uses the same concept for an ad. 🙂

Avatar rights come back

 Posted by (Visited 11939 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Apr 102011

The Lawbringer: A prelude to avatar rights is an article kicking off what appears to be a series looking at avatar rights in the context of World of Warcraft. It has been a while since the original article on avatar rights has been commented on much on the web, though it still regularly gets discussed in books on Internet law. Very few worlds ever adopted any variant of this as a terms of service, and Metaplace doing so back when we ran a customer-facing service had no real impact other than garnering some publicity.

Oddly enough, the article has been much on my mind lately, mostly because of how it closes, with a prediction that avatar service providers will both hold immense quantities of personal information but also dominate the market, making it hard to use an alternate provider:

Someday there won’t be any admins. Someday it’s gonna be your bank records and your grocery shopping and your credit report and yes, your virtual homepage with data that exists nowhere else…  it may be a little harder to write to Customer Service. Your avatar profile might be your credit record and your resume and your academic transcript, as well as your XP earned.

On the day that happens, I bet we’ll all wish we had a few more rights in the face of a very large, distributed server, anarchic, virtual world where it might be very very hard to move to a different service provider…

…It’s a hypothetical exercise.

For now.

“Declaring the Rights of Players”, 2000

Not very long ago my daughter was banned from Facebook. She has no idea why; neither do I. I would keep an eye on her page, and there was nothing untoward on it that I saw. She hadn’t been using it actively, and it took her several days to notice it was gone. And she’s just not interested in it enough to bother setting up a new one.

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The Sunday Song: April Snails

 Posted by (Visited 5387 times)  Music  Tagged with: , ,
Apr 102011

We moved to a new house. There is a huge backyard, with fruit trees. And there are many snails.

This is the first thing I have recorded in quite a while, and the first in the new house’s music room.

It’s pretty rough. I just wrote it, and haven’t learned to play it very smoothly yet, and I didn’t even try to mix it right, so it clips in places.

download April Snails.mp3

Open D tuning, on the 1962 Gibson acoustic.

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