Of everything I did at GDC this year, I’m most pleased with the success of the Metagame, the large-scale social game created by Local No.12 (Mike Edwards, Colleen Macklin, John Sharp, and myself) for the conference.
We had close to 3,000 players actively playing from start to end of the conference.In my twelve years of creating large-scale games for the GDC, the Metagame is clearly the game that generated the most activity and dedicated play. Between (and during) sessions, at parties and mealtimes, it was easy to find small circles of players throwing down Metagame cards and arguing with heartfelt enthusiasm. I detailed some of the design principles of the Metagame in an earlier post, and the history of the game as well (it is based directly on a series of games that Frank Lantz and I designed).
The Metagame is interesting on a lot of levels, but one is that it engenders game literacy in several ways. To play the game well, you need to be familiar with a wide range of contemporary and historical games, you need to be able to think about those games in unusual ways, and you need to be able to articulate your thoughts about those games in a competitive social context. One intervention that happened with the Metagame at GDC is that it temporarily turned 3,000 game developers into 3,000 videogame scholars. Thanks especially to our sponsors: BBC, the NYU Game Center, and the IGDA.
We have started to receive some press about the game. Pretentious Gamer has blogged about it, and Bytejacker in a write-up about it said it might be “the most enviable part of GDC.” In fact, the game went so well, and so many people asked us where they could get a full set of cards, that we have decided to raise money for a full print run on Kickstarter. com. Visit the project site here. If we raise $10,000 in the next month, we’ll have enough to send decks out to everyone that pledged $25 or more.
You can bet that there will be more posts here about the Metagame, but in the meantime, please help spread the word!