Archives for the month of: April, 2012

PAX East, that great gathering of all things geeky, is happening later this week. And I’m happy to report that Metagame decks will be there and on sale.

After the success of the Metagame at GDC (we sold about 350 decks at iam8bit’s booth in the bookstore), we decided we’d be crazy to pass up the opportunity of PAX East. After some hurried emails and tweets, indie media veteran Matt Hawkins hooked us up with Attract Mode, who was sharing a booth with Fangamer – and we worked out a deal for them to sell the game at PAX. We’re happy to be part of the PAX presence for these two gamer ware companies. Look for the Fangamer booth in booth 172 of the PAX East expo floor.

PLAY, the short film I co-created with director David Kaplan about a future in which everything is a game, has been selected to be part of the PBS Online Film Festival. I’m not sure what we might win, but if you visit our film’s page, be sure to click on the LIKE button, which acts as a vote for the audience award.

Also, let me take this opportunity to say that PLAY is not a prefiguration of what is now called gamification. At least for me, it is not meant to be a film that envisions some kind of game-like future which may or may not come to pass. In fact it is the opposite – it is not a film about games, but rather a film that uses the idea of games as a metaphor to talk about what it feels like to live in our alienating hypermediated society. Of course it goes without saying that you are free to interpret the film however you like. Enjoy.

The busiest week of my life every year, the Game Developers Conference 2012 was no exception. Even if I wasn’t giving a full slate of talks and panels, and organizing a conference-wide game, I’d still have my schedule full of meetings, conference sessions, and late-night socializing.

Overall, I was happy with my sessions. Richard LeMarchand came out on top of the Game Design Challenge, which this year was “Upgrade Humanity in 60 Seconds or Less” – design a game to improve people’s lives that took a minute or less to play. Constance Steinkhuler, a close friend and the current White House Czar on games, was on hand to deliver the prizes. Here’s a nice writeup on Jason Rorher’s entry – a game that involved tearing US currency into pieces.

The annual Rant Session blazed forward as well, themed on game developer parents holding forth on whatever they wanted. A personal highlight for me was seeing Frank Lantz and his game designer son James rant back to back – surely the start of a game industry dynasty. My own lecture, Let the Games be Games, was a theoretical dive into game design and aesthetics. I was happy with how it came out, but you can view it on the GDC Vault for yourself and let me know what you think.

Lastly, the Metagame returned for year two of massively multiplayer debating about videogames. GDC is surely one of the perfect contexts for the game – and we had more than 3,000 players arguing about games for the week of GDC. Special thanks to our sponsors BBC, Loot Drop, Microsoft, Parsons, and IGDA who made the game happen. And a big acknowledgement to iam8bit, who sold hundreds of Metagame decks and expansion sets in their bookstore booth.

I’m a glutton for punishment, and I have already begun thinking about next year’s conference. It will be the 10th anniversary of the Game Design Challenge, and I only promise that it is going to be a very different session next year… more to come.

Leon Neyfakh from the Boston Globe penned this delightfully enlightened article about the state of boardgames today. It’s clear that Leon is not just a journalist dipping into an exotic nerdy phenomenon, but he’s a passionate player as well. Don’t skim too fast or you’ll miss my quote near the end of the piece.

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