I wrote 12,000 word piece on a recent trip to Disney's Galactic Starcruiser “Star Wars hotel”, looking at it from a game design/business/marketing perspective, with plenty of photos. My background is in designing ARGs and augmented reality games, so I was very curious to check it out before it closes next month. tl,dr: it’s extremely impressive and consciously uses a lot of ideas and mechanics from RPGs and MMOs! It's been very much misunderstood, and I'm convinced that soon as it closes, it'll be considered a lost classic.
Learn about the videogames you should play and how to think about them! Have You Played is a free weekly newsletter for novices and experts alike, written by an award-winning game design and journalist. Every post starts with a simple description of exactly how the game works and what you do in it, then explores what makes it uniquely good or flawed. I've covered games including Pentiment, Season, Terra Nil, Cyberpunk 2077, Honkai: Star Rail, and many more!
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]
QAnon isn't an alternate reality game (ARG), but ARGs can teach us why QAnon is so popular – and how to restore the lack of trust that led to QAnon's rise. This 5700 word post draws on my 19 years of playing, documenting, designing, and running ARGs.
We've recently released our first original smartphone game, Zombies, Run! It's a running game and audio adventure for iOS (and soon, Android) where you run in the real world while getting story and instructions through your headphones. As you run, you also get chased by zombies (so you need to speed up) and you automatically collect supplies that you can use to grow your home base, Abel Township. Today, we also launched our free 75 page book, The Runner's Guide, with more background on the world of Zombies, Run! plus the script and audio for Mission 1. [more inside]
I helped make the games and treasure hunt for a BBC Two series called The Code, a fantastic three-part series about maths in the world around us presented by Prof. Marcus du Sautoy. While it's just finished, you can still watch clips; play games about tessellation, prime numbers, symmetry (this one is awesome), and physics; and tackle our beautiful, free 84 page book of puzzles. Then there's the treasure... [more inside]