Sep 202013

Yup, it’s up on Amazon for pre-order!

For those who don’t know, here’s what is different:

  • Full color throughout.
  • Revisions on virtually every page.
  • Revised punchlines for a lot of the cartoons.
  • Substantial revisions to the chapter on cognitive styles.
  • Expansion of the sections on non-fun reasons to play games.
  • Some additional discussion of narrative.
  • All the science brought up to date.
  • A huge amount of new endnotes, including expanding on many of the existing ones.
  • A new afterword.
  • A new vertical layout so it fits on your shelf better!

Looks like they currently have it set to come out on November 22nd. The book is still in layout as we try to get everything to fit perfectly, and we have to fill in my current bio. But all in all, it looks awfully close!

Pre-order Theory of Fun 2nd Edition here.


Keynoting EVA 2013 in Argentina

 Posted by (Visited 5255 times)  Game talk
Sep 192013

evalogoI am off to Argentina this November, to speak at EVA 2013, put on by ADVA, the Argentine Game Developers Association. I fly back just in time to get to GDCNext immediately after — won’t even stop at home. It should be an exhausting week of travel.

This is the talk I’ll be giving:

El mundo de sistemas

La definición clásica de “juego” siempre ha involucrado la noción de un “sistema” – un sistema mecánico, de retos y oponentes y matemática. Hoy en día vemos más y más juegos que son informados por nociones muy diferentes: la poesía del narrativo, el “duende” de la experiencia. Esto sucede a la misma vez que el mundo nos está revelando sistemas de todas clases, y las grandes corporaciones nos están metiendo en más sistemas diseñadas para mantenernos clientes. Es un mundo informado por los juegos – así que nos toca a nosotros, los diseñadores de juegos, entender el rol de nuestra obra, cuando a decir verdad tenemos poco entendimiento de los sistemas que nosotros mismos hemos creado. En esta charla hablaré de mis experiencias creando sistemas de juegos los cuales yo mismo no entendía, las responsabilidades que solamente los juegos pueden tomar, y del futuro en el cual fuimos nosotros los jugadores y diseñadores de juegos quienes educaron a la niñez.

The systemic world

The classic definition of “game” has always involved the notion of “a system” — a mechanical system, of challenges and opponents and math. These days we see more and more games that are informed by very different concepts: the poetry of narrative, the “duende” of experiences. This is happening just as the world is revealing to us all sorts of systems, and the big corporations are embedding us in more systems designed to keep us consumers of their products. It is a world shaped by games — and so it falls to us, the game designers, to understand the role our work plays, when we honestly don’t have a good grasp of the systems we ourselves have created. In this lecture I’ll talk about my experiences creating game systems that I myself didn’t understand, the responsibilities that only games can shoulder, and of the coming future in which it was we, the players and game designers, who educated the world’s children.

And yes, I am going to do it in Spanish… I need the practice. 🙂

I have never been to Argentina, so it will be nice to add another country to the map. I (perhaps naively) expect grass-fed parrillada for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 🙂

ToyTalk and The Winston Show

 Posted by (Visited 6725 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Sep 062013

00_WelcomeFor the last few months I have been advising a company called ToyTalk, founded by a bunch of super-smart Pixar vets. Right now I am in an interesting and lucky place, where I can pick and choose what to engage with, and what caught my eye about ToyTalk was what they were trying to do.

In short, they are trying to use voice as a primary means of interaction. With toys, games, entertainment in general. It’s very forward looking — think “what if your plushie had Siri!” It’s also very hard.

Well, their first product has come to fruition and is on the App Store now, and FastCompany just wrote this article “Pixar Vets Unveil A Genre-Busting iPad Talk Show That Talks Back.”

This is The Winston Show, and it’s a vaguely muppety kids app featuring goofy characters that talk, branching stories, photo booths, quizzes, etc — and it’s designed for your six year old to yell at it. Seriously. Winston and crew will understand what the kid says (well, some amount of it anyway!) and answer in ways that are contextualized.

Continue reading »

A little card game prototype

 Posted by (Visited 8075 times)  Gamemaking  Tagged with: , ,
Sep 052013

I have been working on four or five 20130905-144728.jpggame projects at once for the last few months, and they are all at various stages of completion. I had been waiting to do an announcement once I had things like, oh, a company name… but this just arrived in the mail today and I couldn’t wait to share it. Shame on me for blowing the “proper” social media marketing plan, but oh well…

This here is a nicely printed copy of a prototype I have been working on. Given the photo, I can’t keep the name secret, so… it’s currently named Rainbow, obviously.

Continue reading »