My book about gamification is out! You've Been Played (Bookshop.org, Goodreads) examines how points, badges, and leaderboards are creeping into every aspect of modern life as tools for profit and coercion. It’s a critique of gamification, sure – but by an actual game designer, games journalist, and former neuroscientist. And it goes far beyond the usual suspects like Fitbit and Duolingo to look at the historical roots of gamification. Foucault, Lewis Mumford, Skinner, medieval indulgences, Taylorism, ARGs – this book has it all! Reviews, talks, and excerpts inside... [more inside]
A few months ago, I posted a rough translation of the rules to a collaborative fairy tale storytelling game more than 200 years old. I've now put that onto a Neocities site with many additional translations: a total of 5 variants of the same game re-published many times between 1801 and 1867, several variants of a game the same age that involves role-playing, and several variants of even older poetry and nonsense games related to the Surrealist game "Exquisite Corpse." There are also pages and translations explaining the history of the games' penalty phase, offering advice on running demos of the storytelling game especially using motifs from the earliest "secondary world" fantasy novel, and possible round-robin storytelling from the 1600s-1700s, as well as links to many additional sources for parlor games from 1551 to 1899.
I worked up a rough translation of one of the collaborative story-telling games linked in this post: Pre-Surrealist Games. It's called "The Impromptu Tale," and there's a lot to it that modern tabletop gamers may find familiar.
It feels like there's a Wordle clone for everybody nowadays. But I decided to go in a slightly different direction when I made DNDle, a game in which you try to guess the Dungeons & Dragons "monster of the day" by assigning values to its attributes and being told where you've got them right. [more inside]
Mixolumia is an entrancing, musical block-clearing puzzler released on itch just the other day. I wound up documenting the 18-month development process in a big twitter thread (also in twitter moment format) that folks have found interesting. Besides bringing a fresh twist to the puzzler genre, Mixolumia also has a dynamic soundtrack (by Josie Brechner and myself) that responds and evolves as you play. The cool thing is that the music system is open to players to create and share their own songs/sound packs. There's documentation on how to do that if you're interested in reading how it works. The game comes with a wide range of color palettes and players can customize and create their own as well. [more inside]
A bunch of my friends and I like roguelike computer games, and we keep organizing an annual community conference for players and developers of games in this beloved genre (such as Nethack) and games they've influenced (such as Dwarf Fortress). If you're into this kind of thing (or curious about it) and nearby, please join us for some neat and thoughtful talks about roguelikes, retrocomputing, procedural generation, and game design!
Odlaw (as seen on Waypoint) is a two-player stealth game about visual distraction. You and your opponent must seek each other out in a field of one hundred fake players, but with such a populated space, the first challenge is to find yourself. There's also a black-and-white mode for folks who have trouble discerning color.
An multimedia storybook and its inscrutable magazine, The Seers Catalogue is a world of weights and measures, strange encounters and necromantic cabals, where the key to all secrets is an obtuse and enthralling magazine. [more inside]
Do you like roguelike computer games (such as Nethack) or games they've influenced (such as Diablo, Dwarf Fortress, and Spelunky)? (See also: past Metafilter posts.) Roguelikes are a fascinating genre of game that started in 1980, with both old and new ones still actively developed. My friends and I are organizing a one-day conference about roguelike games on September 17, 2016 in downtown San Francisco! Get a ticket here. [more inside]
A simple quiz: Guess whether the text is from a subject in my spam folder or a news headline. Or: 21 scandalous true uncensored answers no one wants you to know, but everyone — including your future life partner — is talking about. [more inside]
Explode patents. Freeze patents. Set patents on fire. Dissolve them in acid. But they'll fight back. A sidescrolling shooter inspired by the awfulness of patent illustrations. Available on Windows/Mac/Linux.
Glenn Wichman is one of the three people who made the computer game Rogue, bits of which are visible in roguelikes (of course), many computer RPGs, and MMORPGs. We interviewed him today for the Roguelike Radio podcast.
It's a 2D fighting game for iPhone and iPad. Bonus: features music from mefi's CarrotAdventure! [more inside]
Dueling Masters of Space time is a two player board game my family invented about 30 years ago. It's a kind of amalgam of Battleship, Chess, and Stratego, along with some unique aspects of its own. [more inside]
Super Mario-style flash fun! Bride and Groom are happily heading down the aisle when pieces of their wedding are scattered by the mischievous Mr. X. Can they find their food, friends, and decorations and save the day? [more inside]
Happy Hour is a card game based around serving drinks. Currently in alpha/playtesting phase. [more inside]
Curiosity is a new literary journal published by the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas. Issue one includes contributions from metafilter members Miko, COBRA!, luckypozzo, and Lentrohamsanin, as well as illustrations by Noel Tuazon and Adam Koford, and myself. [more inside]