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]
An exploration of Ocarina of Time's mini-map, and of just how many layers of design it contains. For fans of Nintendo and/or information design!
I thought to myself, what was the least zeitgeisty thing we could create in this year of our frog 2022? As a result, me and a couple of friends have started a new gaming blog, called Set Side B! I was inspired by the final loss of the archives of old GameSetWatch, where I wrote @Play long ago. You can still find it on the Wayback Machine, but even so, that site hasn't been updated since 2011 anyway. Set Side B is our effort to do something about its loss. I will be writing on a bunch of topics there, both shortly and longly, but mostly shortly. Including roguelikes. Please enjoy our overbearing randomess!
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]
About eight months ago, some discord friends and I decided we wanted to make a zine to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII. It's been a long ride, but happy to share the result with you guys because so many people poured their souls into this passion project and it came out amazing. Includes original art and writing from ~60 people, including eight non-fiction essays discussing topics ranging from Carl Sagan to 90s Japanese environmental activism. Cheers!
Preserving Worlds is a documentary travelogue through aging but beloved virtual worlds. Join us as we explore dated chat environments, appreciate player-created art, and meet people working against obsolescence to keep the communities they care about alive and accessible. [more inside]
Play Comics is a weekly podcast where a guest and I look at video games based on comic properties and how well those games stick to the source material. Think more along the lines of a book vs movie thing than a game review thing. [more inside]
I have, with some help, revived the Glitch Strategy Wiki for the long-gone and much-mourned MMO, Glitch. [more inside]
Procedural brutalism vs. lesbian plant magic. Search for your lover in an infinite building, climbing further and further downward into its depths. Uncover surreal revelations, grow plants to aid your descent, and forge a relationship with your surroundings that goes much deeper than expected... [more inside]
Assuming the NES view of Hyrule is plate carrée, how might it look under other projections? Fortunately, I just saw a talk by Rob Simmon (which has corresponding detailed articles) about how to use these gdalwarp (one of a set of powerful geospatial tools provided by GDAL) to find out!
Inspired by dialogues in role-playing games like Baldur’s Gate II and King of Dragon Pass, I made an app that lets your write problems and put faces to your choices! [more inside]
From the Kickstarter: "My book is divided into two parts. The first part is a point-by-point response to McKenzie Wark's excellent Gamer Theory (2007, Harvard University Press). The second part offers an expanded definition of Gamer Theory, complete with suggestions for ways the reader can think critically about gaming and still enjoy the hell out of it. " [more inside]
Watch out! Listen! BAD GUYS FROM VIDEO GAMES somehow joined up to form a 90s boy band. I just wrote, composed, arranged, and produced their entire debut album. In Big Bad Bosses - Power Overwhelming, caricatures of Bowser, Ganondorf, Sephiroth, and Dr. Eggman sing honest, soulful songs about how even their terrifying fury can't protect them from the big questions in life. It's been #1 on the iTunes comedy charts for a week, and I couldn't wait to post it to MeFi Projects! [more inside]
A six-part video series on angry video gamers as means of talking about privilege, feminist backlash, do-gooder derogation, harassment, and online community. They are functionally the sequel to my video about internet fame, This Is Phil Fish. (previously) [more inside]
I made an interactive fiction story with Twine. It's about finding out a childhood friend you lost touch with has died, and playing through an old video game you started together but never finished. [more inside]
In 2025, games are so immersive that teenagers learn skills just by playing. After she enables the haptics, Maxine's favourite rabbit-ninja fighting game gets a whole lot more punishing, with the new tech beating skills into her muscle memory. Which is good: she needs to level up quick once her employer discovers her on-the-job theft... [more inside]
My latest t-shirt project: mundane everyday challenges (such as finding a job, dealing with ultra conservative relatives, or deleting unwanted dick pics on a dating site) envisioned as classic black box retro 8bit Nintendo games. Hope they give you a chuckle!
A fast-action scrolling maze game for Android, intended for tablets. Guide an octopus through a huge maze, collecting eggs and avoiding sharks. Consume "mega eggs" to attack the sharks back. Intended as a riff on classic Namco arcade maze games of the 1980s, including Pac-Man and Rally-X. [more inside]
Ten years from now, video games are so immersive that gamers learn lethal skills just by playing. They’re called hapheads. [more inside]
My latest t-shirt project is a collection of designs featuring the iconic weapons from classic 8 bit Nintendo video games composed of all of the enemies you'll slay during your quest. [more inside]
I was bored one day and started sketching out some old computer/video games screen shots in MS Paint. Somebody suggested I put them on a tumblr, which I did, then promptly forgot about it again until now.
If there are any GW2 players on Metafilter, my girlfriend (MeFi's nonmerci) and I have created a guild whose purpose is to gather like-minded players who are tired of constantly being barraged by homophobic and misogynistic banter in map chat, team chat... pretty much all parts of the game. We haven't advertised it in game because we are afraid of getting trolled but we have made a post on a community forum. Our guild "advertisement" can be found here. If you have any tips on how we are approaching this, how the announcement sounds, etc. that would be greatly appreciated! If you are interested in joining the guild or you know someone who might be interested, our in game names are: "Finola Redmayne" and "Magen Gaderian"
Cat Context is "smart talk about PC games" served every other week by two women and one feller, all three in our mid-30s and full of sass. The most recent episode is about violence and video games, including modern challenges for parents, the quality of non-combat games, and the ESRB. [more inside]
1990s video game magazines are (rightfully, perhaps) remembered with little more than ridicule. But those of us who grew up with them still love their overly aggressive, poorly layed-out and sometimes puerile charm. Tune in for
erudite commentary hilarious one-liners, found vaporware footage and more!
Taking the Mars Rover augmented reality symbol and injecting it into classic 8-bit videogames.
Listen to and submit personal renditions of memorable video game themes. I've had some contributions by the fine people at Mefight Club. You can submit something elaborate [this version of the SMB3 airship theme] or simple [Contra, Stage 1]. [more inside]
In the tradition of the Mark Reads . . . series, my friend & co-blogger Sean Wills has been recapping the Animorphs series, a '90s tween book franchise about shapeshifting kids who battle evil alien slugs, over at our site, the Intergalactic Academy. [more inside]
Mapstalgia is a new blog collecting people's drawn-from-memory maps of video game worlds and levels. Zeldas and Marios; detailed Final Fantasy cartography and sketched Contra recollections; crayon Kings Quest and graph paper Castlevania. Submissions are open, draw something yourself and send it in! [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]
Eye-gouging! A fist-fight with the Pope! Helicopter thieves! Key plot points in big budget video games, retold to emphasize their ridiculosity.
As a burnt out, cynical, bitter programmer from the games industry, this is the site I _wish_ had been around when I started out looking for work all those years ago. It's a combination of scraped and paid-for vacancies, covering a whole bunch of games companies and recruitment agencies from around the world.
I recently worked with the fine folks at Kill Screen to launch a website companion that's (almost) as pretty as their magazine. Like the magazine, it's a place for more thoughtful discussion about video games and the medium.
Just in time to help you decide what to ask Santa for, reccr is the amazing automated video game recommender; rate the games you've played, and it'll tell you what other games you'll like, in a similar fashion to Netflix's "Movies You'll ♥" feature. It's in early beta and currently capped at 500 users, but the all-important "recommendations" core feature is working great, and the more people add their ratings the better the recommendations will get! [more inside]
Join me and my co-host Rob for the pilot episode of our new video game vidcast which features updates on the revived NBA Jam, PC sensation Minecraft, and the layoffs at developer n-Space. Then there's a Halloween-centric discussion about frightening video games followed by a review of Sonic the Hedgehog 4. [more inside]
My secret project for three-and-a-half months, Mayflight is a procedurally-generated platform game (Windows only, unfortunately) with billions of screens, surreal algorithmically produced graphics, and a hectic pace. You could explore it for hundreds of years and still never see all of it.
YouTube playlist depicting a demonstration game - one of the more hectic parts. [more inside]
YouTube playlist depicting a demonstration game - one of the more hectic parts. [more inside]
This is a small, highly filtered list of what are, in my opinion, the best iPad games available. I plan to add to the list as I come across the rare new entry for the list. I figure it might be helpful to people to see a short list of reliably good games rather than a ton of variable-quality games spread out over many pages, like most sites do. (I also maintain a list of Web games and iPhone games via the tabs available on the top of the page.)