Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Week 4: Interactivity

Amazing mystery machines today.

I loved the inpenetrable absurdity of the first group's (as-yet-unsolved) mystery machine. You kept us in such a highly entertaining loop between stage 2 (exploration) and stage 4 (reciprocal change)... and your performances were so funny in how deadpan you were able to stay. I hope we can get to stage 3 (modification) so we can play more strategically with you!

The second group was wicked fun to interact with, no? Its function was such a surprising reveal, and that moment of realization ("It's a massage machine! Yay!" --> "Oh no! It's also a tickle machine!" --> "ACK! It's a punching machine!") resulted in such a frenzy of spontaneous and motivated interaction. This one is an instant classic, I think.

The third group had such terrifically clear and clever affordances! The prize candy was a great clue that there was an absolute goal and that a win-condition was possible. The rocks-paper-scissors interface was also extremely legible to us newbie users. I also really enjoyed the site-specific use of the fountain as a level indicator. Nice work.

Good stuff, all around.

Now: for your game critique this week, please use Chris Crawford's definition of interactivity and/or Mark Stephen Meadow's four steps of interaction to analyze the interactivity in a game.

Week 4: Scale and Duration

For your next project post, I'd like you to think about the 3 measures of scale and duration we discussed this week: the number of players, the spatial-geographic scale, and the temporal duration.

In other words:
-Do you want your game to be solo-player, massively multiplayer or somewhere in between?
-How big, literally, will the game's literal "magic circle" be-- a table, a field, a city block, a city, a single computer, 20 networked computers, 100 cellphones?...
-And, how long will a game take? Will it be persisent (you never turn it off) or periodic (you can put it on pause)?

Of course, you can change your mind about any of these decision decisions as you develop the project. For now, however, it's important to start laying a foundation for your game by making some "big-picture" decisions. Good luck!

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Week 3: Site Specific Play

For your first project post, I'd like you to write a bit about *where* you think your final game will be deployed. Is it a space or place that requires or suggests a site-specific game design? Or do you prefer to design a site-interchangeable game for some kind of traditonal game space? What kind?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Week 3: The Magic Circle and Lusory Attitude

Great discussion yesterday on Suit's lusory attitude and Huizinga's magic circle (as explored by Salen & Zimmerman... who will guide us through many interesting topics this semester!)

For your game critique this week, please be sure to:
1) pick a different genre/platform than last week's critiqued games
2) include in your critique some analysis of the game's magic circle, and/or its "pleasurable inefficiency" (a la the lusory attitude)
As always, feel free to refer back to earlier concepts (Costikyan's meaningful decisions or Avedon's elements, e.g.)

Meanwhile... work on an Assassins-inspired original SFAI game design continues. It looks like we will have a final "collaborative" project this semester as well as your individual final projects. Based on the very exciting design ideas that bubbled up just in the final moments of class, our re-design of Assassins seems like an excellent prospect for an ongoing group project. Looking forward to continue discussion on blogs and in class!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Week 2: Structural Elements of Games

Thanks to Avedon and Costikyan, we have two sets of really specific tools for analyzing and critiquing games. When you write up your second game critique this week, pick some of the structural elements from either article to help you explain your game play experience.

Next up: The Magic Circle! A perfect game theory to go with an SFAI mod of Assassins. You can read about one campus banning Assassins after extreme play here. A very clear set of one school's particular rules is here, including the following details, which answer some of the questions raised in class: If you are sure someone is your assassin, you may risk killing them. Killing a player who is not your target or your assassin will result in your own death and the usual 24 hour waiting period. Attempting to kill someone who is not playing Assassin will likely result in a very confused person. Totally magic circle design issues! (Read up for Monday, everyone.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Week 2: Surrealist Art Games

A big shout-out to the Coolest Team Ever and the Coolest Team Ever +1 for your creative, clever, absurd solutions to the Zen Scavenger Hunt. The surrealists would be proud. Also, many thanks for your great suggestions for future re-designs of the game.

Speaking of the surrealists: for your first blog post this week, write a brief critique of your experience playing one of the four surrealist art games decribed in this week's reading: the Exquisite Corpse (words) for 3 or more players; the Exquisite Corpse (images) for 3 or more players; Question and Answer for 2 players; or The Irrational Nature of Objects for 1 player. You can mod these games any way you want-- if you change the design in some way, tell us about it and how it worked out!
Here are some "quickfire" (60 seconds for each segment) exquisite corpses collected from students last spring. I'd love to see (and photograph) your surrealist play, so bring in any remnants of, or artifacts from, your surrealist art gaming this week. Thanks!