Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 9 : Being a Student of Games

(As part of the Hackforge Summer Games Challenge, I'm trying to design a game with the theme of light and darkness by August 31st. This day nine of the fourteen day challenge).

I'm came back from vacation late this afternoon and so this evening I did mountains of laundry and other chores while listening to various game-related talks to keep me in the spirit of game-design.

I follow Jane McGonigal on Twitter and yesterday she retweeted this recommendation:

And I watched it - it being "Create New Genres" by Daniel Cook (no, not that Daniel Cook! The Daniel Cook who wrote that awesome essay about games as a life-long hobby). I almost didn't because I was underwhelmed by the beginning of this Game Developers talk from last year but I'm glad I stuck with it.  In fact, it gives a nice context to the Hackforge Summer Games Challenge.

Cook believes that there are three levels of game designers : apprentice (who copy), journeyman (who copy but extend and polish) and true game masters who invent. (This makes me feel better about my largely derivative attempts at game design. I'm a student! This is how I am learning).

Anyways,  Cook forgives students who copy games but he has no love for those companies ("clone factories) that simply grab another designers game mechanic and add different artwork. (This only seems to apply to video games. Around the 54 minute mark, Cook points out that board games have mostly unique mechanics that are rarely copied). I didn't realize this, but this practice occurs because games aren't really covered by patents because they are not 'useful inventions'.

I'm hoping to eventually spend some time working through the idea of games *becoming* the economy of the post-scarcity age but it must wait.

I was hoping to end this post with some related insights from the video that personally set me on the path of exploring the world-saving potential of games: Jane McGongial's 2008 talk at the New Yorker Festival of the Future. Unfortunately, that video is not working for me now.  So I will download Twine instead.

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