The Game Developers Conference happened a few months ago, so I suppose it is high time I posted something about it.
This past year, I organized for the second time the exhibition Doing it On the Table – a playable lounge of card and board games designed by videogame creators. The project lets me intermingle the design cultures of videogames and tabletop games – and it also gives GDC attendees a place to hang out and socialize through play. Games this year ranged from Tash-Kalar, a commercial release by designer Vlaada Chavtil to When Dragons Fight, an old-school chit-based wargame from David Wessman. More about the exhibition and the lineup of games can be found in this Gamasutra preview article.
I also co-hosted the annual rant session with Jason Della Roca. This was the 10th rant panel we have organized at GDC, this time titled Rant Apocalypse: The 10 Anniversary Mega Session. to celebrate we invited several of our favorite ranters from the past to hold forth on whatever topic they wanted. Presenters did not disappoint – from Chris Hecker holding the room hostage with a “pay to continue” business model to Brenda Romero making sure that developers understood that “Nobody wants your cock.” Other outstanding rants were hammered home by Ian Bogost, Heather Chaplin, Greg Costikyan, Justin Hall, Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris, and Frank Lantz. A detailed Gamasutra review of the panel can be found here. A full video of the session is also available in the GDC Vault, as part of their free offerings.
Although the exhibition happened last fall, I finally have put documentation online for the exhibition of Flatlands at the Museum of Design Atlanta. A collaboration with architect Nathalie Pozzi, Flatlands is a game installation where two players search through an archive of 200 game boards to find the right one that will please a judge. Both players play cards that change and modify the judge’s criteria over time.
Flatlands was part of XYZ – Alternative Voices in Game Design, and Nathalie and I want to thank the curators Celia Pearce, Cindy Poremba, Adam Rafinski, John Sharp, and Akira Thompson for including us in the show and also for helping tremendously with the installation.
I’m especially excited about this amazing video shot and edited by The Raftermen in Atlanta. It gives a great sense of Nathalie’s space design and the overall experience of the game. You can more documentation about Flatlands, including complete game rules, on my project website.
It’s official. Quantum, the sci-fi strategy boardgame I started designing 4 years ago, is officially available for sale. From its origin as a little sketch I played with Jesper Juul in my kitchen to the award-winning prototype Armada D6, to the final game that designer John Sharp helped me whip into shape, it’s been a long journey.
Its been great working with FunForge, the game’s publisher, as well as Passport Studios, who are distributing the game in North America, on its release. For more about the title, here’s an essay I wrote about the Quantum’s design process for Boardgamegeek.com.
What does this all mean for you? You can finally order your own copy! Here’s a link to the Amazon page and another at Cool Stuff Inc. Stay tuned for a launch party in NYC in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to hearing about your experience playing the game.
Feels great to finally have this game out and in the hands of players!
The Museum of the Moving Image, a longtime exhibitor of digital games, recently premiered the show Indie Essentials: 25 Must-Play Videogames. The show combines classic indie games like Passage and Braid with last years winners from the IndieCade Festival of Independent Games like Killer Queen and Gone Home.
I was delighted when Diner Dash was selected to be among the winners. It was one of Gamelab’s first titles – and probably its most successful. You can read more about the show in this review published in the New York Times. The exhibition will be up through IndieCade East in February. Check it out if you’re around NYC.
photo credit: Karsten Moran for the New York Times
For better or for worse, the Manifesto for a Ludic Century – an essay I posted on Kotaku.com several months ago – continues to reverberate within game circles. This past November, the NYU Game Center where I teach hosted a debate over some of the ideas in the essay. You can watch the full video here, featuring Heather Chaplin, Ben Johnson, Abe Stein, and myself. No blood is drawn, but there is plenty of productive combat.
Heather since published a short interview with me about the Ludic Century for the MacArthur Foundation’s Spotlight Blog. In it, we chat about games, literacy, and the three elements of the Ludic Century – systems, play, and design.
And there’s more. Last night, I was delighted to watch brilliant media scholar McKenzie Wark expertly dissect the Ludic Century as part of the events series “Videogames Theory Criticism” at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. It was equal parts painful and illuminating – like watching a veteran surgeon operate on your own body. Highly recommended.