As part of my ongoing attempt to update my website, I’ve just added a few new pages about my game writings. These include pages on Rules of Play, The Game Design Reader, and a page with 21 essays I’ve written over the last 15 years.
It’s curious and satisfying to see all of the essays together on one web page. They range from highly practical articles about running an independent game studio to more theoretical essays on how game design can be considered a model for literacy. Many of the essays are out of print and a couple of them never actually got published, such as a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure interactive narrative called No Future I wrote with Frank Lantz back in 2001.
For those interested in the genealogy of Rules of Play, you can trace the evolution of key concepts in essays like Narrative, Interactivity, Play, and Games: Four naughty concepts in need of discipline and Rules, Play and Culture: Towards an Aesthetic of Games – an article I wrote with Frank that includes my first use of the term “magic circle” as well as the formal/experiential/cultural structure that became Rules of Play.
Many of the essays are very much reflections of the time in which they were written. The insurrectionary A Bill of Rights for Game Developers was written in 2005 – just as digital distribution was beginning to change everything. Do Independent Games Exist? from 2002 – published long before the rise of even the term “independent games” – still feels relevant.
Some of the essays are collaborations with former Gamelabbers – including Frank Lantz but also articles I wrote with game designer Nick Fortugno, designer/producer Catherine Herdlick, and Gamelab co-founder Peter Lee. Perhaps there really was something to that “culture of research” at Gamelab after all.
Enjoy the essays. Apologies in advance for the clunky format of some of the text.
You can find all 21 of them here.