Aug 192017

I have posted up slides for the keynote talk I gave at the Foundations of Digital Games conference. It was called “Reconciling Games” and it was about fish tanks. Well, fish tanks as an example of a naturally occurring ludic system that offers up surprising lessons for game design, across many disciplines: internal game economics and systems balancing, but also narrative, community design, and more.

Among the key quotes from the talk (based on tweeted comments from attendees) are

  • “When game devs start a game, they usually don’t know what they’re making.”
  • “Games were born multiplayer.”
  • “Games are a medium of communication between players.”
  • “How many things are we not making because they aren’t framed as ‘games?'”
  • “The ball is not the game, the physics system around it is.”
  • “My favorite game is making games…. it’s one hell of a ludic system.”
  • “We all live in a digital fishbowl.”
  • “Every game I make is a society I tend.”

Unfortunately, the talk wasn’t recorded, and I spoke without notes. So you’ll have to decide for yourselves where those fall on the slides.

As a side note… this was actually the first time that I have ever attended FDG, or its original parent conference (famously held on cruise ships). I had been asked to attend many many times, particularly by the key mover in getting the whole thing going, John Nordlinger. It was really wonderful, and I wish I had been able to stay for the full event.

John passed away only a few weeks ago from accelerated ALS which had only recently been diagnosed. Sorry I took so long to go, John. You built an amazing community.

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