Game talkManifesto Games is closing

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Jun 232009

Greg Costikyan has posted on Play This Thing! that Manifesto Games is closing. It was essentially a web-based publisher and distributor of indie downloadable games, something which is perhaps less relevant today than it was when he started it.

An excerpt from his posting:

In the years since we started the company, there have been hopeful changes in the independent games market; Steam has become a profitable and viable channel for some developers, XBLA and WiiWare for others, and the iPhone for still others. In addition, the casual game market has started to experiment with a small handful of titles that break the inordinately restrictive genre mold of that form. Attention paid to independent games by the games media has grown (though why is it that the Independent Film Channel covers the AIAS awards, and not the IGF awards?)

These are all positive signs, but they are dangerous ones, too; Apple, Microsoft, and Nintendo have complete, monopolistic control over distribution through their proprietary channels, and while they may, today, generously grant a high revenue share to developers who sell through them, developers are in the final analysis utterly at their mercy…

The Play This Thing! blog will continue.

Apr 072009

Boy, am I neglecting blogging lately. Even my Twitter has gone mostly silent.

There have been several stories that caught my eye. For example, this one about musicians making decent gig money in Second Life was interesting, in part because some of what a virtual environment provides is an easier way to do marketing. As I have said before, I think the future of a lot of the arts is around personal relationships with their fans because of the way the landscape is shifting around information and money, and there’s something about virtual worlds that helps build fandoms.

Speaking of personal relationships, while at the IGF and GDC awards, I was struck by the clear signs of “celebrity” that some of the event had. Some of this was due, no doubt, to the fact that Tim Schafer’s performance as emcee was funnier and more entertaining than that of the emcees for any televised awards show. Some of it, though, was the evident fact that the creators of indie games are getting known as names, in large part because they produce quirky and individualistic games at a rapid rate. Which brings me to mention The Croopier, just because it’s a neat project.

Which reminds me that there’s a new documentary premiering on journalism in virtual worlds — talk about a profession that is in upheaval thanks to changes in business models and the value of information! I’m halfway through a galley copy of Cory Doctorow’s upcoming novel, in which a journalist figures pretty prominently… and struck by how prescient Bruce Sterling was when he said “information wants to be worthless.”

Which leads me to idly speculate… if anything that can be digitized will be, and anything that is digitized becomes worthless, then what will eventually remain both undigitizable and therefore monetizable?

Game talkIndieCade call for submissions!

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Mar 082009

Celia writes,

IndieCade Call for Submissions:

IndieCade invites independent game artists and designers from around the world to submit interactive media of all types – from art to commercial, ARG to abstract, mind-bending to mobile, serious to shooter, as well as academic and student projects – for consideration. Work-in-progress is encouraged.

A diverse jury of creative and academic leaders will select entries for top prizes at the IndieCade 2009 Festival. All entries for the Festival will also receive consideration for presentation at all 2009 IndieCade international exhibitions including:

IndieCade 2009 Events:
IndieCade @ E3, Los Angeles (June 2-5)
IndieCade Asia TBA
IndieCade @ SIGGRAPH, New Orleans (Aug 5-7)
IndieCade 2009 (Oct 1-10)
IndieCade Europe, GameCity, UK (Oct 26-29)

Submissions Deadline: April 30, 2009 at Midnight PST.

For more information and to enter:

IndieCade’s successful flagship 2008 festival held last October at Open Satellite contemporary gallery in Bellevue, Washington, was the first major intertaional exhibition of independent videogames and videogame art in the area. Event organizers include IndieCade Founder Stephanie Barish, Chair Celia Pearce, and Festival Director Sam Roberts.

Game talkWritingATOF Tetris variant comes true

 Posted by (Visited 13490 times)  Game talk, Writing  Tagged with: ,
Feb 132009

logo_jogo1Those of you who have read Theory of Fun for Game Design may recall this passage:

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.

We don’t need to wonder anymore. A comment in the last thread by the felicitously named Raphael Aleixo (my brother’s name is Alex!) tells us that the Brazilian game design club Loodo has made it, with a slight tweak to the theme: I give you Calabouço Tétrico. Read on for my thoughts!

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