Archives for the month of: September, 2010

The NYU Game Center is giving away three free passes to Indiecade, but to win your pass, you need to be clever.

The full rules are here, but in short, you need to send a tweet that includes the #nyugamecenter hashtag with the formula “X is the Y of videogames” or “P is the Q of game designers.” Some of my favorites so far:

Shadow of the Colossus is the Citizen Kane of video games-Everyone claims to have finished it, most are lying.

Farmville is the Macarena of videogames.

Jesper Juul is the Carl Sagan of game designers: two parts highbrow egghead, one part tuned into mass culture sensibility!

It’s definitely a case of the productive power of constraints. Tune in Friday to the NYU Game Center website to see how things turn out.

Babycastles is a budding NYC-based independent game exhibition space. If you haven’t heard of them yet, a great introduction is this profile written by Leigh Alexander for the LA Times. Aside from annual festivals like Indiecade and IGF, independent games don’t have many venues for reaching the public, and in its short lifetime, Babycastles has put together a stellar program and a well-earned reputation for doing smart – and playful – curatorial work.

Recently, Babycastles secured an exhibition space in Manhattan that will run for a few months later this fall, and they are raising money for the cause on Kickstarter. Matt Hawkins, who has put together several excellent Babycastles shows, has written a more detailed blog post about this fundraising effort. As of this writing, Babycastles is $1000 short, and only a few days away from their fundraising deadline, so now is the time to support indie games - send in a donation!

And in the interest of full disclosure, I do have a selfish reason for asking you to support Babycastles. Nathalie Pozzi and I will be premiering a new game project in the Babycastles exhibition space in December. But more on that in another posting.

Hot off the digital presses is a book project I created with all-star game scholars Seann Dikkers, Kurt Squire, and Constance Steinkuehler. Real-Time Research is the outcome of a series of workshops we staged at conferences like the Game Developers Conference and Games, Learning, & Society. At at Real-Time Research workshop, people form guerrilla research teams across wildly different disciplines and conduct experiments in game scholarship during the conference they are attending. The RTR process was modeled on game design itself and involved game-card constraints, improvisational design, and enforced uncertainty.

The book chronicles these misadventures, including many examples of the resulting projects as well as in-depth guidelines (and even game card templates!) for creating your own Real-Time Research events. Special thanks to Drew Davidson at the ETC press for publishing the book – and with such a lovely cover and interior design too! Props to my co-authors Constance, Kurt, and Seann. Available in paper and digital form.

Quest to Learn, the school created by The Institute of Play – the non-profit I founded with Peter Lee a few years ago – has an amazing cover story in today’s NY Times Magazine. Quest to Learn is a school that uses games and play as the basis for the curriculum and the model for student learning. They’re located in Manhattan, and just started their second year, with sixth and seventh graders, with the plan to add a grade each year through high school.

I have written about games and literacy, and I was involved in the very early planning and concepting phases of the school’s development, but I’m not involved at all in the running of the school. (Although I do sit on the board of the Institute of Play.) All credit to Katie Salen and her team for creating a truly groundbreaking educational institution. It will be exciting to see how things develop.

The Washington Square Journal, a small paper that covers the NYU area, has written a small piece on my appointment at NYU. You can read the online version here. Apologies to Nick Fortugno and Peter Lee, who should get the lead design credits on Diner Dash – but you can’t expect journalists to get everything right.

The podcast for a presentation that Local No.12 gave at South by Southwest this past spring is now online here.

It’s Mike Edwards, Colleen Macklin, John Sharp, and myself holding forth on the design and technology challenges of creating games for the Twitter platform. We dissect the anatomy of a tweet, survey existing Twitter games, and list some of the the unexploited potentials of the platform.

Enjoy!

Now it’s official. Local No.12 – Mike Edwards, Colleen Macklin, John Sharp, and me – have made our conference Twitter game BackChatter free and available to the public. Check out this page on the Local No.12 website to access the code on sourceforge, as well as our handbook for running the game and our visual design templates for posters and postcards.

So far, Education Technology conference DevLearn is planning on running the game, following indie game festival Freeplay this summer. You can take BackChatter to your event too. Really. It’s free.

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