robertogreco + games   1563

Othertongue 1: Spellbound - Language Card Games
"Othertongue is a language learning card game where players use vocabulary from target languages they are studying to fight each other! The best part is: two or more people can play together even if they are studying different languages. In this game, players are required to speak vocabulary words in their target language, which belong to different categories (like animals) and different linguistic types (like loanwords). By doing this successfully, they activate the magical powers of their cards and battle."
games  lanaguages  cardgames  boardgames  othertongue  languagelearning  srg  vocabulary 
2 days ago by robertogreco
Sign – Thorny Games
"Nicaragua in the 1970s had no form of sign language. In 1977, something happened. Fifty deaf children from across the country were brought together to an experimental school in Managua. Without a shared language to express themselves, the children did the only thing they could -- they created one. In Sign, we follow a small piece of their journey. 

To learn more about, or to download the free digital edition here (booklet and cards). All proceeds from the physical version go to the Nicaraguan Sign Language Foundation.

Sign is also available digitally in Dutch (booklet, cards - courtesy of Willeke Kort), and Norwegian (booklet, cards - courtesy of Aleksander Husøy)."
games  cardgames  communication  boardgames  thornygames  1970s  nicaragua  1977  deaf  deafness  signlanguage  srg  language  languages  sign 
2 days ago by robertogreco
Xenolanguage – Thorny Games
"Xenolanguage: A Game About Language and Thought

It's five minutes in the future and we've just made first contact. In Xenolanguage, you are a linguist tasked with deciphering an alien language. As you gain fluency, you begin to see the world differently.

Xenolanguage is currently in active playtesting and gearing up for a 2019 release.

We'd love to share some of the current design and prototypes with you here.

What Makes Xenolanguage Different?
As characters decipher the language, memories are awakened in them. They use these memories as the foundation for interpreting the meaning of the language. They grab the pieces they didn’t previously have words for, the complex parts of their lived experience, and discover those pieces in the alien language.

The words don't have clean translations, they're confusing, vague, and alien. We gain understanding through our interpretation, but can only hope to glean parts of the language.

As they decipher the language piece by piece, the players use a shared channeling board with the new symbols to communicate with the aliens. You ask them questions in their language, and use it to hear their response.

Play With Us!

By signing up to our newsletter above, you'll be the first to know when we open Xenolanguage for public testing. Until then though, there are still plenty of opportunities to play!

We'll be at GenCon, Metatopia, Dreamation, GoPlayNW, and BigBadCon where we'll be listing open games for playtesting.

Hope to see you there!"
games  language  puzzles  srg  boardgames  2019  thornygames  xenolanguage 
2 days ago by robertogreco
Dialect: A Game about Language and How it Dies by Thorny Games — Kickstarter
[See also:
https://thornygames.com/pages/dialect

"Dialect is a game about an isolated community, their language, and what it means for that language to be lost. In this game, you’ll tell the story of the Isolation by building their language. New words will come from the fundamental aspects of the community: who they are, what they believe in, and how they respond to a changing world.

Players take away both the story they’ve told and the dialect they’ve built together. Includes hardcover book, deck of language generating cards used to play the game, and a free digital copy delivered immediately.

Click here for a preview of the game.

Available as:

- The Digital Edition
- The Standard Edition (includes the digital edition, hardcover book, and language deck)
- The Glossopoet Edition (includes everything from the Standard Edition and a one-of-a-kind cloth bag to keep the game book and cards, illustrated by master letterer Jill DeHaan and printed in Olympia Washington)"]
games  cardgames  srg  languages  isolation  language  extinction  boardgames  thornygames  dialect 
2 days ago by robertogreco
Meritocracy Is Killing High-School Sports - The Atlantic
"Obsessive competition in high-school athletics is inseparable from the gargantuan role that sports plays in college admissions.

“Athletic recruiting is the biggest form of affirmative action in American higher education,” says Philip Smith, a former dean of admissions at Williams College, has said. (About 30 percent of Williams students are recruited athletes.) In the 1990s, Division I and Division II colleges annually distributed less than $300 million in student-athlete scholarships. Today that figure is more than $3 billion.

You might think most of that scholarship money is going to help kids from poor families who couldn’t otherwise afford college. That’s not the case. In 2010, just 28 percent of Division I basketball players were first-generation college students, meaning they likely came from low-income families. Five years later, that figure has fallen by nine percentage points. Today, fewer than one in seven students receiving athletic scholarships across all Division I sports come from families in which neither parent went to college. Farrey calls this the slow-motion “gentrification” of college sports.

This process starts in youth and high-school sports. Both historically served as a pipeline to flagship universities for low-income kids. But when they’re shut out from pricey travel leagues and the expensive coaching that early specialists receive, lower-income kids are denied not only the physical benefits of playing sports, but also the jackpot that is college recruitment and Division I and II scholarships.

Institutions that were meant to be opportunity-equalizers for the rich, poor, and everybody in between—community youth sports leagues, public high schools, the American college system—are being stealthily hijacked to serve the primary goal of so many high-income parents, which is to replicate their advantages in their children’s generation."
meritocracy  athletics  colleges  admissions  sports  scholarships  inequality  highered  highereducation  universities  games  failure  education  competition  economics  anxiety  parenting 
9 weeks ago by robertogreco
A Short Hike is one part Animal Crossing and one part Breath of the Wild - The Verge
"It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend.

Claire is on a camping trip with her Aunt May, but she’s also waiting for an important call. Unfortunately, the only reception in the park is at the top of the island’s giant mountain. Claire’s trek up the mountain is the core of the game A Short Hike, and how you get her to the top is pretty open ended. You could go straight up the path to the top of the mountain — but then you’d be missing out on the point of the game.

A Short Hike feels like what you would get if you turned Animal Crossing into an adventure game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Yes, it’s an experience full of cute cartoon animal people, but more importantly A Short Hike has a similar sensibility to those two Nintendo games. Like both, the goal of the game is less important than how you spend your time getting to it. And so your trek up a mountain ends up full of much smaller tasks, which, like in Animal Crossing, are nice and relaxing.

You can spend time collecting seashells, searching for buried treasure, fishing, or helping other visitors to the park find lost items. However, while those serve as relaxing distractions, the rewards for doing them also help with your ascent up the mountain. At the start of her trek Claire is only able to jump, glide, and climb up walls or cliffs until she gets too tired and lets go. But by completing these side activities you’ll usually get some sort of tool that allows you to perform more actions, like being able to run by getting running shoes or dig by getting a shovel.

Mainly, though, you’ll be trying to collect golden feathers. These feathers act like Link’s stamina bar in Breath of the Wild: the more you have, the more you can climb before tiring out. Except, unlike Link’s stamina bar, each feather also provides you with an additional jump (which, because Claire is a bird, is more of a flap than a jump). Each flap consumes a chunk of your climbing stamina, while not providing as much height as you could have gotten just from climbing.

The climb up the mountain becomes about balancing. You have to determine how much you jump before you start climbing, in order to maximize what stamina you have. Although this is really only a concern if you try to get up the mountain as quickly as you can. If you spend your time exploring the park and taking part in all the different activities available, you’ll end up with more than enough golden fathers to make those later sections a good bit easier.

And you’ll want to spend time exploring, because the mountain is much bigger than you expect it to be. It’s a place full of interesting environments and ruins, as well as quirky and clever characters who you can’t help but want to hang around with or help out. In fact, the writing is maybe the best thing about the game. There is very little of it, but every character feels distinct from the next, and charming in their own way (even the kid that overcharges you for feathers). And when you do finally get to the top of the mountain it’s an emotional gut punch that both validates and recontextualizes whatever path you took to get there.

Luckily, getting to the top isn’t the end. Instead, it essentially frees you up to explore the park without any explicit goal. Maybe you want to catch all the different fish, win the foot race, or just stand near the beach and watch the waves. It’s a perfect structure, because even if the game had ended at the top of the mountain, I’d have found it pretty hard to not start a new game just to wander around the park some more."
games  gaming  videogames  toplay  srg  edg  animalcrossing  ashorthike  2019  adamrobinson-yu 
12 weeks ago by robertogreco
Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) | Twitter
"A catalog of pettable and non-pettable dogs in video games. Manual input resulting in visual representation of petting is required for affirmation."
dogs  animals  videogames  games  gaming  pets  multispecies  twitter  petting 
march 2019 by robertogreco
LOVELY WEATHER WE'RE HAVING.
"A video game about going outside.

Out now.

"The vibrantly colored world of Lovely Weather We're Having doesn't take you back to a specific time necessarily, but to a mind set, when the world seemed bigger and brighter and more mystifying."
-Jess Joho, Kill Screen

"Lovely Weather is a clever little mood stimulator on the contemplative end of the scale, a kind of dynamic Zen box. You open it and poke around a little and maybe close it, thinking “Is that all?”
And then you come back, and the weather’s different, and the time of day’s just so, and it takes your breath away."
-Matt Peckham, WIRED

"Watched the trailer and I have no idea what the game is about."
-Someone on reddit "

[See also:
https://glander.co/Lovely-Weather-We-re-Having
https://vimeo.com/136570202
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXGVxnEVJiE
https://glander.itch.io/lovely-weather-were-having ]
gaming  games  videogames  weather  srg  edg  toplay  location 
march 2019 by robertogreco
TOUCH MELBOURNE by Andrew Gleeson, haraiva
"Explore the city of Melbourne through its various, tiny everyday interactions."
melbourne  art  games  gaming  videogames  everyday  andrewgleeson  cecilerichard  illustration  toplay 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Model Metropolis
"Behind one of the most iconic computer games of all time is a theory of how cities die—one that has proven dangerously influential."



"Forrester’s central claim about complexity wasn’t a new one; it has a long history on the political right. In a 1991 book, Rhetoric of Reaction, the development economist and economic historian Albert O. Hirschman identified this style of argument as an example of what he called the “perversity thesis.” This kind of attack, which Hirschman traced back to Edmund Burke’s writings on the French Revolution, amounts to a kind of concern trolling. Using this rhetorical tactic, the conservative speaker can claim that they share your social goal, but simultaneously argue that the means you are using to achieve it will only make matters worse. When commentators claim “no-platforming will only make more Nazis,” that welfare programs lock recipients into a “cycle of dependency,” or that economic planning will lead a society down a “road to serfdom,” they’re making this kind of perversity argument.

What Forrester did was give the perversity thesis a patina of scientific and computational respectability. Hirschman himself makes specific reference to Urban Dynamics and argues that the “special, sophisticated attire” of Forrester’s models helped reintroduce this kind of argument “into polite company.” In the nearly fifty years since it has come out, Forrester’s “counterintuitive” style of thinking has become the default way of analyzing policy for mainstream wonks. For many, “counterintuitivity” is the new intuition.

Expert knowledge, of course, has an important place in democratic deliberation, but it can also cut people out of the policy process, dampen the urgency of moral claims, and program a sense of powerlessness into our public discourse. Appeals to a social system’s “complexity” and the potential for “perverse outcomes” can be enough to sink transformative social programs that are still on the drawing board. This might not matter in the context of a virtual environment like that of Urban Dynamics or SimCity, but we have decades of real-world evidence that demonstrates the disastrous costs of the “counterintuitive” anti-welfare agenda. Straightforward solutions to poverty and economic misery—redistribution and the provision of public services—have both empirical backing and moral force. Maybe it’s time we start listening to our intuition again."
simcity  libertarianism  history  games  gaming  videogames  cities  simulations  simulation  2019  kevinbaker  urban  urbanism  policy  politics  economics  bias  willwright  urbanpolicy  urbanplanning  complexity  democracy  alberthirschman  edmundburke  danielpatrickmoynihan  jayforrester  paulstarr  urbandynamics  johncollins  dynamo  class  classism  motivation  money  government  governance  poverty  systemsthinking  society 
february 2019 by robertogreco
UNBORED: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun
"The UNBORED team — coauthors Josh Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, and designer Tony Leone — are friends who got tired of lamenting the fact that we couldn’t find any activity books for families who enjoy getting unbored both indoors and outdoors, online and offline. So we decided to make one.

Our inspiration? Do-it-yourself guides from the 1970s like The Whole Earth Catalog, maker/builder websites like Instructables and Make, parenting blogs, old scouting manuals, and even Neal Stephenson's sci-fi novel The Diamond Age.

In creating our first book we drew on our own memories of childhood — the made-up games we played, the rhymes we used to figure out who was “It,” the handicrafts we enjoyed, you name it. We also drew on our experiences as parents of kids growing up in the 21st century… with the Internet and smartphones and apps. And we roped in a couple dozen scientist, activist, and maker friends to help out, too. Perhaps most importantly, we recruited three very talented artists — Mister Reusch, Heather Kasunick, and Chris Piascik — to contribute hundreds of illustrations."



"UNBORED GAMES
2014
Paperback, 176 pages

In the fall of 2014, Bloomsbury published the paperback UNBORED Games. In its 176 (full-color, richly illustrated) pages, you’ll find the rules to dozens of indoor, outdoor, online and offline games, including: back of the classroom games, bike rodeo games, jump rope games, alternate reality games, clapping games, apps and videogames, secret-rules games, drawing games, rock-paper-scissors games, card and dice games, backyard games, guerrilla kindness games, stress-relieving games, and geo-games.

PLUS
Expert essays by gamers Chris Dahlen, Catherine Newman, Stephen Duncombe, and Richela Fabian Morgan; Best Ever lists; DIY game-building projects; Secret History Comics; Q&As with Apps for Kids podcasters Mark and Jane Frauenfelder, Anomia inventor Andrew Innes, and others; Train Your Grownup features; classic literature excerpts; and brain-teasing Mindgames."



"Our second book received glowing reviews, too. (For example, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune described it as “chock-full of smart, totally not-lame ideas to amuse and give the brain a workout.”) So our team set to work on a third book…"



"UNBORED Adventure
2015
Paperback, 176 pages

In the fall of 2015, Bloomsbury published the paperback UNBORED Adventure. In its 176 (full-color, richly illustrated) pages, you’ll find adventure apps, adventure gear, adventure skills (from building a fire to open-mindedness), adventure-building projects (e.g., bean shooter, box kite, ghillie poncho, paracord bracelet, upcycled raft), indoor adventures (e.g., sewing your own ditty bag, survival origami), instant adventures, and outdoor adventures (from the pervasive game Assassin to fire-pit recipes to shootin’ craps).

PLUS
Expert essays by adventurers Chris Spurgeon, BikeSnobNYC, Catherine Newman, and Liz Lee Heinecke; Best Ever lists; Secret History Comics; Q&As with Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras of Atlas Obscura, Playborhood author Mike Lanza, and urban biking activist Elly Blue, among others; Train Your Grownup features; and classic lit excerpts."



"Our third book was also well-received. We think it’s our best book yet! But a whole new phase of the UNBORED project was just beginning…"



"UNBORED ACTIVITY KITS [x4, so far]…
Unbored Disguises…
Unbored Treasure Hunt…
UNBORED Carnival kit…
UNBORED Time Capsule…"
books  children  classideas  parenting  fun  creativity  elizabethfoylarsen  joshglenn  nealstephenson  wholeearthcatalog  play  games  gaming  adventure 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Valdivia, Ecuador - 2100 BC
["I made a text adventure game called "Valdivia". It's about a woman on a mission, feelings and family. You can play it here: https://helena.computer/valdivia/ "

https://www.linkedin.com/in/helenajaramillo/ ]
cyoa  helenajaramillo  textadventures  games  gaming  twine  ecuador  interactivefiction  if  srg 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Foxhunt by anomalina
"An atmospheric, Witness-like first person puzzle game based on clues left by the enigmatic Fox... are you clever enough to meet him and escape this deathless, dimensionless, cold white desert?"

[via: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/6/18166692/foxhunt-the-witness-itch-io-short-play ]
games  gaming  videogames  edg  srg  multispecies  morethanhuman  2019  thewitness 
january 2019 by robertogreco
EarthBound / MOTHER 2 Translation Comparison « Legends of Localization
"I was a big fan of EarthBound when it was released in 1995. It’s silly to admit, but even though it’s just a game it’s been a big part of my life. In fact, comparing EarthBound with its original Japanese counterpart, MOTHER 2, was one of my earliest EarthBound projects and eventually led to the creation of Legends of Localization!

Naturally, in this sub-section of Legends of Localization we’ll be exploring how MOTHER 2 was localized into EarthBound. It’s more than just comparing simple graphical changes – we actually dig deep into the text to see what was changed, why it might have been changed, and how it was an improvement (or the opposite) over the original version.

For what it’s worth, I’m a professional translator and translating games, anime, movies, etc. is what I do for a living (see my list of my translations here), which also gives me a unique and detailed view of how EarthBound’s translation was handled. Some of the stuff I point out might seem super-picky or uninteresting, but don’t pay it too much mind, that’s just how translation analyzing tends to be 😛

If you’d like a quick taste of the kinds of differences between the two games, here are just a handful of interesting changes that Nintendo of America made:"

[There is a 432-page book about this:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1945908904/ ]
earthbound  mother2  localization  translation  videogames  games  gaming 
november 2018 by robertogreco
EarthBound Fans Are Releasing a Book About Years of Hoping for a Mother 3 Western Release - IGN
"Titled “C'mon Nintendo, Give Us Mother 3,” the book is coming to Fangamer in late 2018 and chronicles years of waiting for the follow-up to Nintendo’s beloved quirky RPG.

“Today, asking Nintendo to translate Mother 3 has become a huge running joke - it's even been featured on national television and parodied by top Nintendo executives,” the book’s description reads. “But how did hope for a simple game translation blow up into something so big? Rumors, hype, letdowns, and lies - this is the story of the most-wanted game translation ever.”

The EarthBound series is called Mother in Japan, with EarthBound known as Mother 2. In 2006, Mother 3 was released for Game Boy Advance in Japan, but Nintendo made it clear that there were no plans to release it in the West. Later that year, fans rallied to put together a translation that was ultimately released in 2008 and later offered to Nintendo for free by fans.

Nintendo has never discussed plans to release Mother 3 outside of Japan, though main character Lucas was included in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii in 2008 as well as Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS as DLC.

Last year, Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime told IGN that releasing Mother 3 “has a different set of complexities” and “really isn't a Nintendo-owned franchise,” but didn’t rule out the possibility of it eventually heading West.

Rumors about a Western release of Mother 3 have circulated for years, most recently fueled by a Japanese release of Mother 3 on Wii U virtual console in 2015. Since then, EarthBound was re-released on Wii U virtual console, and later ported to New Nintendo 3DS and included in the Super NES Classic, and characters were even included in Super Mario Maker. In 2013, Nintendo told us EarthBound re-releases had no impact on Mother 3's release chances.

Still, some hope remains for EarthBound fans since the original Mother, long unreleased in the West and known among fans as EarthBound Zero, was eventually released in the West as EarthBound Beginnings in 2015.

IGN has reached out to Nintendo about this book and will update this story with any comment we receive.

For anyone new to EarthBound, be sure to listen to Nintendo Voice Chat's breakdown of why EarthBound is a big deal, plus read our EarthBound review of the 2013 re-release."
mother3  earthbound  mother2  ninendo  games  gaming  srg  edg  2018 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Inside the EarthBound strategy guide, one of the rarest Nintendo collectibles - Polygon
"We’ve already linked you to a lovely collection of Super Nintendo game manuals that Nintendo uploaded in honor of the SNES Classic Edition’s launch. But it’s important to highlight that EarthBound’s strategy guide is included in the mix — as it’s long been coveted by fans of the role-playing game, still fetching high prices because of its extreme rarity.

Here’s the story behind this cool collectible: When EarthBound came West in 1995, it carried a higher price tag than most other games on the console. For $70, buyers received not just the cartridge, but a full-sized player’s guide — a book that ran 135 pages-long. Even cooler was that this guidebook included some scratch-and-sniff stickers in the back, another special piece of memorabilia for Nintendo fans.

But as those same fans know well, EarthBound failed to make waves with buyers who hadn’t quite warmed to the RPG genre, or who were ready to move on from the late-in-life SNES. Nintendo reportedly sold less than 150,000 copies, which isn’t a huge hit, considering the added manufacturing costs from the guidebook.

This has led to the wildly in-depth strategy guide becoming the EarthBound diehards’ holy grail of artwork, strategies and, above all else, nostalgia. Not only does it have tips and tricks, but it has a “travel guide,” which is a funny and totally engrossing take on the classic walkthrough. Instead of drily charting where to go and when, the book introduces players to the game’s various locations through newspaper clippings, shopping tips and some beautiful character art.

Used copies of the physical edition of the guide routinely go for more than $100 on eBay even now, 22 years later. It’s especially wild that this remains the case, as Nintendo actually uploaded an optimized digital version of the guidebook back in 2013, when EarthBound launched on Wii U virtual console.

But the file that’s available through the Super Nintendo Classic Edition portal is a much more legible recreation of that classic manual. There aren’t any stickers included, sure, but printing out this file is a lot cheaper than buying the book from eBay. If nothing else, it’s a spectacular glimpse into a time when Nintendo actually took a chance on the Mother series. And what a chance it took!"

[PDF of guide is here: https://www.nintendo.co.jp/clvs/manuals/common/pdf/CLV-P-SAAJE.pdf ]
earthbound  mother2  videogames  games  gaming  nintendo  2017 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Why did Nintendo quash a book about EarthBound's development? - Polygon
"When Marcus Lindblom decided to write a book about his old memories of translating a much-loved game from Nintendo, he figured it would be something that the fans would appreciate.

After all, few gaming communities are as passionate and active as those who follow EarthBound, the game that Lindblom translated from Shigesato Itoi's Japanese original, produced by current Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata, almost 20 years ago.

In recent years, Lindblom has been welcomed by the still-active EarthBound fan-base, as he has come forward to share stories about his time working on the game. This interest has intensified with the re-release of EarthBound on Wii U, which has sold well in the console's download store.

Lindblom planned to return the favor by writing a book and launching a Kickstarter that might just about cover production costs. He sent a note to an old pal at Nintendo, "as a professional courtesy" just to let the company know about his plans, just to check in and make sure there would be no problem.

There was a problem. Nintendo did not want this book published.

Although no reason was given for Nintendo's lack of enthusiasm for the project, Lindblom was gently reminded that, as a former employee of the company, he had signed an NDA. Legally, a book about his time at the company might be unwelcome. Reluctantly, he acceded to Nintendo's request.

In agreeing to talk to Polygon, Lindblom is keen to stress that, even though he is disappointed, he doesn't want to come off as someone who is angry with Nintendo.

"I owe a lot to Nintendo," he told Polygon. "They gave me my start in the game business. I don't want to do anything that makes them seem bad. I wanted to just write about the fun bits in the game that I think the fans would enjoy. But I have no desire to rock the boat with Nintendo at all."

Not everyone is quite so understanding of the company's desire to squash a piece of warm nostalgia.

Reid Young runs a company called Fangamer that sells game-related geek-chic clothing and memorabilia. The firm grew out of a dedicated community of EarthBound fans.

"Marcus is a great guy and I am sure they [Nintendo] appreciate his cooperation, but from the perspective of an Earthbound fan it's really disappointing," he said. "A lot of this comes from the culture of an old corporation. They have their own way of doing things. It's like that story about how no-one is allowed to die at Disneyland. They don't want anyone to see behind the curtain."

When it comes to reputation, Nintendo is one of the most ferociously diligent organizations in the entertainment business. Press access is always strictly controlled. Interviews with key executives are notoriously scripted and bland. Case in point; the company declined to comment for this article.

It's interesting though, that even warm and fuzzy memories of such an old game should trigger the firm's ultra-defensive reflexes.

Lindblom (above) joined Nintendo in 1990 and began working on the EarthBound translation in late 1994. He had lived in Japan for four years and was trusted as a solid producer who understood Nintendo games.

Playing EarthBound (Mother 2: Gyiyg Strikes Back in Japan) he admired the game's originality and its wit. Both he and Nintendo understood that it required a detailed translation. The RPG is set in small-town USA but is written from the perspective of an outsider. Many of Itoi's jokes would seem idiosyncratic to an American audience.

Lindblom was given the freedom to rewrite as required. In those days, localization was handled by one person working with a contact at HQ, instead of the departments and hierarchies that are the norm today.

"When I did the localization I went in and gave it some American flavor and humor because that is what the developers wanted," he said. "They didn't just want a straight translation. There were a lot of things that were not easy to translate and so I had freedom to put in weird American humor to flavor things and it worked out pretty well. All these years later people still find it charming which is nice."

Lindblom left Nintendo in 1996 and has spent the intervening years working as a producer for various companies, including Midway, EA and THQ. Five years ago he and some friends set up Partly Cloudy Games, which has mostly been involved in contract work for the likes of Microsoft and is currently working on an RTS for Facebook, called The Robot Apocalypse.

Over the years, he thought occasionally about the work he had done on EarthBound. He'd visit the fan sites and he'd watch as they sent yet another petition to Nintendo for a sequel or for a re-release on a new console.

"I realized there was a large and vocal fan community," he said. "About a year and a half ago I went to PAX and I kind of walked up to the Fangamer booth and said that I had worked on the game. They were really surprised. They wanted to hear about my work on the game."

With Nintendo finally deciding to re-release EarthBound for Wii U (a Wii version had been mooted for years, but never appeared) interest in his work increased, and he was interviewed by reporters and invited to appear on podcasts and at an EarthBound fan convention. "A number of people asked me if I would ever consider writing a book about the game and the process I had gone through," he said. "A lot of EarthBound fans are huge localization fans as well."

Lindblom said that he felt like the fans deserved to hear the full story. EarthBound, the way it was brought to the U.S, its commercial failure and the ongoing devotion of its fanbase, is an interesting story, at least to a particular subset of the gaming audience.

"I was never going to make money from the book. I just wanted to pay for the cost of publication," he explained. "It was just something for the fan community. They seemed so dedicated after all these years. I thought that, in a way, I owed them something."

It is not often that a game translator can command an audience, most particularly for a cultish game from the mid-1990s. "There were a lot of little things I thought they might appreciate hearing about like why a certain character might say something in the game or why something was named the way it was or whatever," he said. "That was my original intention. Just to give the fans some insight into the way the game was localized."

He rejects the idea that Nintendo has something to hide in the story of the translation. While it is true that some games from that period contained dialog or graphics that might seem questionable today, he does not believe EarthBound features anything controversial. The most likely explanation, is that Nintendo is just being Nintendo, which means no-one gets to see how the sausages are made.

"It isn't anything that I can speculate on," he said. "All I will say is I was the one who went and talked to Nintendo because I thought I might as well see if I can get their blessing. I asked them and they came back and said we'd rather you didn't."

He plans to continue talking to fans, for as long as they seem interested, but the book is shelved for good. "My goal was always to honor the game and the fans and Itoi's writing," he said. "I am going to honor Nintendo's wishes that I don't put something down into a book, but I know that the fan community is owed some tidbits of information and I will continue to do that and to talk about it.""
earthbound  mother2  videogames  games  gaming  nintendo  2014  marcuslindblom 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Cooperatives: EarthBound - Polygon
"Is EarthBound the best game, my favorite game or both?

For the past few years, I've had an ongoing argument with my friend, the film critic and reporter Matt Patches. When he isn't evangelizing The Legend of Korra, Patches enjoys rapping about why and how we become so passionate about our favorite media. He believes that when we say a movie (or video game or television show or subway line) is our favorite, we are also saying it is the best.

In his words:
We're taught to think that there are objective standards for art. A movie earns points for its technical, dramatic and critical achievements. But in the end, the movie we love the most works to that effect because it's running on all the cylinders a great piece of art should. Best is an objective term that has no place in the subjective conversation of art, and if we're going to use it, it should be a substitute for favorite.

I'd long believed the opposite — that I can claim one game is my favorite and that another game is "the best." I wasn't sure why I believed this, besides the obvious pleasure of making Patches' face scrunch with frustration, like a constipated bullfrog.

After playing EarthBound this week, I crafted an answer. It's selfish, really.

Within minutes of booting EarthBound on Frushtick's Wii U, I was agitated by the middling fighting mechanics and slow pace. It's a fantastic, weird, bold and fascinating game. It's just not the best. Not for me, at least. But I think EarthBound's my favorite game, because I cherish the entirety of the experience. Sitting in my boxers on the linoleum floor of my family's kitchen, losing weekends to an adventure that, for the first time, felt familiar and believable to me. EarthBound also introduced me to the internet and forums and other people who loved video games. Looking over my shoulder, I can see the game was the starter pistol for my entire career.

So, by bending already warped definitions of favorite and best, I have two games I absolutely love. I can namedrop them in conversation and hold them up as examples of what I appreciate the most about this hobby. My favorite game is EarthBound.

Now the best game, that's a tough one."
earthbound  mother2  videogames  games  gaming  nintendo  2013 
november 2018 by robertogreco
EarthBound by Ken Baumann: New Boss Fight Book on the SNES RPG Classic – Boss Fight Books
"An RPG for the Super NES that flopped when it first arrived in the U.S., EarthBound grew in fan support and critical acclaim over the years, eventually becoming the All-Time Favorite Game of thousands, among them author Ken Baumann.

Featuring a heartfelt foreword from the game's North American localization director, Marcus Lindblom, Baumann's EarthBound is a joyful tornado of history, criticism, and memoir.

Baumann explores the game’s unlikely origins, its brilliant creator, its madcap plot, its marketing failure, its cult rise from the ashes, and its intersections with Japanese and American culture, all the while reflecting back on the author's own journey into the terrifying and hilarious world of adults."
earthbound  videogames  games  gaming  srg  edg  2014  marcuslindblom  mother2  nintendo 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Emulator.Games - Download FREE ROMs for GBA, SNES, PSX, N64, 3DS, PSP, PS2, XBOX, WII, NDS, SEGA, NES and more
"Play Game ROMs on your PC, Mobile, Mac, iOS and Android devices.
Download Emulator Games and Free ROMs fast and start playing the best games.
Available to Play Online directly in browser or Download."

Mother [NES]
https://emulator.games/roms/nintendo/mother-h1/

Mother 1+2 [Gameboy Advance]
https://emulator.games/roms/gameboy-advance/mother-1-2/

Mother 3 [Gameboy Advance]
https://emulator.games/roms/gameboy-advance/mother-3/

Mother 3 (Eng. Translation 1.1) [Gameboy Advance]
https://emulator.games/roms/gameboy-advance/mother-3-eng-translation-1-1/

Earthbound [Super Nintendo]
https://emulator.games/roms/super-nintendo/earthbound/
games  gaming  videogames  retro  mother  mother3  mother2  mother1  earthbound  srg  edg  nintendo 
november 2018 by robertogreco
One Hour One Life
"a multiplayer survival game of parenting and civilization building by Jason Rohrer"



"This game is about playing one small part in a much larger story. You only live an hour, but time and space in this game is infinite. You can only do so much in one lifetime, but the tech tree in this game will take hundreds of generations to fully explore. This game is also about family trees. Having a mother who takes care of you as a baby, and hopefully taking care of a baby yourself later in life. And your mother is another player. And your baby is another player. Building something to use in your lifetime, but inevitably realizing that, in the end, what you build is not for YOU, but for your children and all the countless others that will come after you. Proudly using your grandfather's ax, and then passing it on to your own grandchild as the end of your life nears. And looking at each life as a unique story. I was this kid born in this situation, but I eventually grew up. I built a bakery near the wheat fields. Over time, I watched my grandparents and parents grow old and die. I had some kids of my own along the way, but they are grown now... and look at my character now! She's an old woman. What a life passed by in this little hour of mine. After I die, this life will be over and gone forever. I can be born again, but I can never live this unique story again. Everything's changing. I'll be born as a different person in a different place and different time, with another unique story to experience in the next hour..."



"The thinking behind One Hour One Life [a YouTube playlist]

"How to Deal With A Crisis of Meaning" (The School of Life)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu8d3iW2yxM

"Bonsai: the Endless Ritual | Extraordinary Rituals | Earth Unplugged"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEGevD5jd64

"Power of the Market - The Pencil"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5Gppi-O3a8

"Primitive Technology: Forge Blower"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVV4xeWBIxE

"The Game Design Challenge 2011: Bigger Than Jesus Panel at GDC 2011"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAG6XzGah8Q

"Last Day Dream"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWlbZO92ZyA

"334 Time Life - Rock A Bye Baby - 1976"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63fBJPFPCbs "
games  gaming  videogames  jasonrohrer  civilization  parenting  philosophy  gamedesign  small  change  purpose  meaningoflife  meaning  generations  srg  edg 
november 2018 by robertogreco
OpenEmu - Multiple Video Game System
"OpenEmu is about to change the world of video game emulation. One console at a time...
For the first time, the 'It just works' philosophy now extends to open source video game emulation on the Mac. With OpenEmu, it is extremely easy to add, browse, organize and with a compatible gamepad, play those favorite games (ROMs) you already own."
emulators  games  gaming  videogames  mac  osx  srg  edg 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Tacit Dimension – game design for urban design | game design for urban design
"Tacit Dimension creates games to close the gap between urban research and the development of things and technologies used in urban life. As a lab we constantly develop the method of ‘research through design’ to generate knowledge and test innovative designs.

The term ‘Tacit Dimension’ is borrowed from the philosopher scientist Michael Polányi. He coined the term to elaborate on knowledge that we acquire through experience and through interactions with our environment, but which we can’t explicitly formulate. Yet tacit knowledge is always at the bottom of what we can put into words, draw or create.

Street Game Design
Streets, stairs, and the rhythm of traffic lights constitute our platform. We create games in which rules of the game blend in with every day rules of urban life.

Research Through Design
We create games to explore research questions regarding the urban. Games function as probes that provide knowledge in context. Often the game design process itself is the research tool.

Technology Testing
We use urban games to test prototypes of technologies and services that are designed for urban use."
games  gamedesign  play  urban  ubanism  technology 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Heather Penn
"Heather Penn is a designer and artist living in Los Angeles. She is currently working on the game Overland and other various personal projects in her spare time. If you're interested in keeping up with her work check out https://momoss.tumblr.com "

[See also: https://twitter.com/heatpenn ]
heatherpen  illustration  art  games  gaming  overland 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Why the return of Animal Crossing feels so good - Polygon
"THE POWER OF NICE

A seemingly-unrelated selection of shows and movies in the past few years have each gained their fair share of critical acclaim, popularity and financial success, all linked by one common trait: They’re unrelentingly nice.

The Paddington movies have both found massive critical and box office success, all while essentially being feature-length commercials about the virtues of being polite and kind. Paddington 2 is currently the highest-rated Rotten Tomatoes movie of all time, usurping Toy Story 2’s record of the most consecutive certified Fresh ratings from reviewers. The total number of tracked positive reviews for Paddington 2 is 205, compared to zero negative reviews, for those counting at home.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a heartfelt and straightforward documentary about the life and work of Mister Rogers, is now the highest-grossing biographical documentary of all time.

[embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhwktRDG_aQ ]

But this trend (can I call it “nicecore?”) isn’t just limited to theatres.

On the small screen, NBC’s Making It, which may be the first craft-based reality competition show I’ve ever seen, pulled in millions of viewers over its six-week summer run and was just greenlit for a second season. And on Netflix, there is the runaway success story of the Queer Eye reboot, which, on top of effortlessly conveying a message of positivity, kindness and betterment through self-care, also won three Emmys this year. It was nominated for four.

The trend of Nice Media seems to be the sun-filled, hopeful answer to the negativity and division offered nearly everywhere else. No single video game series encapsulates that sense of safe, intentional and welcoming niceness like Animal Crossing, and it has been doing it for almost 20 years.

BELLS AND WHISTLES

There is no game quite like Animal Crossing, which makes it hard to properly explain and even harder to recommend. Most people won’t share your enthusiasm when you sit them down and tell them that the minute-to-minute gameplay mostly involves harvesting fruit, paying off personal debt to an enterprising raccoon, and delaying your Saturday night plans to make sure you can watch a dog play guitar.

But at its core, Animal Crossing is about living in a small town composed entirely of anthropomorphic animals. Sometimes you’re a villager, and sometimes you’re the mayor. What you do from there is up to you.

It shares the general God’s-eye-view life simulator vibe of The Sims, but it’s way less interested in letting you micromanage a neighborhood of people. Instead, it gives you direct (but decidedly less omnipotent) control over a single villager’s life.

[embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ6eGtsgbfM ]

While it can be just as surprisingly addictive and compelling as farming games like Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons and Stardew Valley, the looming threat of bankruptcy is the driving force of those games, compelling every player in the same direction of a more profitable farm. Meanwhile, Animal Crossing is happy to let your debt remain unpaid forever, and your villager has no discernible job or occupation. At least until New Leaf shoved you into the world of municipal governance.

The only real goal in these games is to pass the time in the best way you see fit; the endgame is to be happy. Along the way, like most fans of the series, you’ll likely find yourself having your own moments of emotional connection with the game. Everyone ends up with their own personal Animal Crossing moments, and those personal stories are a huge reason why people love the games as much as they do.

Feel free to share your own stories in the comments. I’m going to start with some of my own.

SMALL TOWN STORIES

My time with Animal Crossing goes all the way back to the GameCube original, a game that announced its humble intention to take over my life right on the front cover. The game’s save files were so large that they required an entire 59-block memory card’s worth of space, so that initial release came bundled with its own memory card as a gesture of practical kindness.

That memory card would soon hold a world that I relied on in a very direct way.

I went through a months-long depressive episode near the tail end of my sophomore year of high school, thanks to a mixture of hormones and early-era cyberbullying. I did all my schoolwork remotely, and spent my days either visiting a child psychologist or playing the GameCube. I would send letters to my villagers (specifically Rasher, Pierce and Goldie) about how sad, lonely and suicidal I was feeling.

They would send me carpets and shirts in return; that’s just what Animal Crossing villagers do. And it helped, especially since they would remember if I didn’t visit them for a few days. The game would tell me, specifically, how many days it had been since I had last interacted with it. It kept me accountable, made me feel needed and got me through a difficult (but all-too-common) part of my teenage years.

While reminders to come back to games are now common in the age of mobile gaming, Animal Crossing never felt like a nag. It was a relationship that gave as much as it asked me to give, and it held me accountable when even playing a game felt like it would be too much.

This trend would continue throughout my life, with major emotional moments supported and enhanced by my time in a virtual village. Animal Crossing: Wild World was there when I was dealing with constant insomnia-inducing stress nightmares during my time in university, with soothing music and absolutely no judgment about my sleep patterns.

[embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ITM1vFiV6U ]

My New Leaf town was a monument to the people I loved at the time: fruit trees from a visiting friend, rare Nintendo-specific items from my brother, and clothing and letters from my partner at the time. The town was also essentially abandoned during our breakup, left for Isabelle (the player’s Deputy Mayor and the newest addition to the Smash Bros. Ultimate roster) to run during my years-long absence.

I logged back in when the game updated two years ago. And although Isabelle remembered the exact number of days I had been gone, the damage wasn’t beyond repair. My house was filled with roaches, but they could be cleared out within a few minutes. The once-pristine fields of Fürville had become overgrown with weeds, but a helpful sloth would cheer you on as you removed them or, for a small fee, get rid of them all for you overnight. Friends would move away, but they’d always send a goodbye letter, and new villagers would be eager to greet you and start virtual relationships.

There is no way to win in Animal Crossing, but that also means there’s no way to lose. Life in your village goes on without you, but it always welcomes you back.

A PLACE TO CALL YOUR OWN

The most valuable currency in Animal Crossing is time. An hour in the game is the same as an hour outside of it, so the game marches to the beat of your own life. At the same time, there is no real way to grind out progress in these titles, because they’re about patience; in fact, they seem to actively punish players who try to rush.

You cannot make a tree grow faster, but you’re liable to destroy your flower gardens or wear grass down into dirt paths by running through your town instead of walking.

You can have all the bells in the world, but you’re limited by the rotating daily stock at each of of the shops. You can catch bugs, go fishing and dig for fossils for hours each day, but you’ll still have to live through four real-world seasons to see them all. The game has its own pace, and you have to give into it if you want to get everything it has to offer. Few games are as capable of slowing us down, a trait that is sorely needed when everything else seems to be speeding up.

All of this — the emphasis on patience, the freeform approach to player agency, the overwhelming sense of forgiveness and kindness that stretches from the game’s systems to its text — combines to make a game that is, above all else, nice. And this commitment to niceness makes it an oasis of positivity in an increasingly reactionary and fragmented media landscape.

[embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEJXS0MiKOA ]

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? transports you to a reality of kind actions and good deeds — for 93 minutes. The entire run of Queer Eye currently consists of 16 episodes and one special; you could charitably watch the whole thing in a weekend (if not an afternoon). Making It is only six episodes long, and won’t return for another year. This gathering wave of nicecore media is truly a gift, but it’s finite and fleeting — a few welcome drops of clear, cool water in an overwhelmingly murky bucket.

But the most powerful thing Animal Crossing offers us is an experience that doesn’t end after an hour or a season, but stays with us for as long as we need it. Because what we remember about these games are how they made us feel, and the stories they left us with long after we left our villages behind. They made us part of a community, and that community felt welcoming and generous.

Most games are power fantasies, and the easiest kind of power to convey is violence. They’re all about enforcing your will on the world through straightforward, goal-oriented action. And that’s enjoyable, without a doubt. But Animal Crossing offers a different sort of power fantasy: a world where you have unlimited kindness to spare, and you’re never punished for it. That doesn’t happen in real life; even Mr. Rogers’ funeral was picketed.

If nicecore is the natural artistic reaction to the state of the world, then it’s all too fitting that Animal Crossing should return and claim its throne (or, more likely, its comfortably weathered armchair) as the nicest franchise in gaming history.

It has been sorely missed."
2018  animalcrossing  nintendo  games  gaming  videogames  nicecore  niceness  fredrogers  mrrogers  mikescholars  paddington  paddingtonbear  small  slow  time  care  caring  power  violence  patience  agency  kindness  forgiveness  pace  play  presence  friendship 
september 2018 by robertogreco
The Ren'Py Visual Novel Engine
"Ren'Py is a visual novel engine – used by thousands of creators from around the world – that helps you use words, images, and sounds to tell interactive stories that run on computers and mobile devices. These can be both visual novels and life simulation games. The easy to learn script language allows anyone to efficiently write large visual novels, while its Python scripting is enough for complex simulation games.

Ren'Py is open source and free for commercial use.

Ren'Py has been used to create over 1,500 visual novels, games, and other works. You can find them at the official Ren'Py Games List, and the list of Games made with Ren'Py on itch.io."
games  gaming  gamedesign  design  ren'py  visualnovels  if  interactivefiction  lifesimulation  software  mac  osx  linux  chromeos  chrome  android  ios  applications  windows  gamemaking  classideas  writing  multiliteracies  opensource  onlinetoolkit  storytelling 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Unravel Two - Wikipedia
[via: "Lovely game by Coldwood, which encourages collaborative play—really works if kids are roughly the same level (roughly). Beautiful setting, too. (Discovered via good games exhibition at Tekniska Museet in Stockholm, feat many Swedish games.)"
https://www.instagram.com/p/BmnSFiBgevo/ ]

"Unravel Two is a puzzle platform video game developed by Swedish studio Coldwood Interactive and published by Electronic Arts under the EA Originals label. It was released on 9 June 2018 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game centres on two Yarnys, small anthropomorphic creatures made of yarn.[2] It is the sequel to the 2016 game Unravel.

Unlike the first game, Unravel Two is both a single-player and a multiplayer game, though local co-op only. The game centres on two Yarnys, which can be controlled with either one player or two, which must work together in order to solve puzzles and manipulate the world. The game contains a main storyline, set on an island, as well as challenge levels, significantly more difficult levels.[3]"

[See also:
https://www.ea.com/es-es/games/unravel/unravel-two

Trailers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2TmLrTl6gs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eRmkCVHEbQ ]
games  videogames  toplay  collaborative  srg  edg  glvo  yarn  puzzles  classideas  cooperativegames 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Max Kreminski 🌱 on Twitter: "calling it now: the next successful social media site will be a MUD with gardening instead of combat mechanics people want to be in a place that they personally (alongside their friends) can exert effort to make better, eve
"calling it now: the next successful social media site will be a MUD with gardening instead of combat mechanics

people want to be in a place that they personally (alongside their friends) can exert effort to make better, even if only in small ways

we’re all tired of living in the virtual equivalent of shopping malls – common spaces we’re not allowed to shape to our own needs

we need shared virtual spaces that we can take care of as a way of taking care of each other

don’t know why it took me so long to realize this, or why it’s suddenly so clear now. maybe my gardening games stuff was always headed in this direction from the very beginning, & I just hadn’t made all the connections yet

current social media platforms have the mechanics all wrong.

y’know how people are always posting hot takes on here? it’s bc we have a psychological need for *mutual presence* with other people & if you’re not posting stuff there’s no way for others to acknowledge your existence

so there’s a constant pressure to be *saying things* – ideally things that provoke some sort of reaction – just to be reassured (by likes, RTs, replies, etc) that yes, you still exist as a social entity, & yes, other people also still exist

MMOs “work” because shared activity directed toward a common goal creates a sense of mutual presence without you having to *say* stuff all the time.

gardening, decorating etc (when implemented correctly) are activities of this type at which you also can’t meaningfully fail

in conclusion, we need a social media platform that lets you sit next to someone on a bench in the park & feed some goddamn birds"

[via: https://are.na/block/2571964 ]
maxkreminski  2018  gardening  animalcrossing  socialmedia  small  participation  participatory  virtual  being  presence  mmo  work  sharing  gaming  games  videogames  community  ethics 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Different Games Collective: inclusive games events and community resources
"Different Games Collective creates community resources and events to support marginalized voices in DIY and independent games.

Different Games Collective is a grassroots volunteer-run collaborative of a half-dozen core members, as well as an extended network of contributing members and a host of volunteer supporters. Known as the creators of the annual Brooklyn-based Different Games Conference, the collective has broadened our reach to include public programming in other US cities including smaller-scale game design workshops, lectures and more."

[See also: https://twitter.com/differentgames ]
games  gaming  videogames  inclusivity  inclusion  indy 
july 2018 by robertogreco
standardized testing: the game
[via https://twitter.com/scumbling/status/1017793272662581249 (via Allen https://twitter.com/tealtan/status/1017797863542284288 ):

I made something.

Here's a prototype for my interactive zine:

😭 STANDARDIZED TESTING: THE GAME (A NARRATIVE) (THE PROTOTYPE)

i think you'll have a feeling (at least a short one)

i hope it starts conversations about ethnicity & culture

please share!

http://goingtocollege.club/ ]
via:tealtan  education  highereducation  highered  bias  ethnicity  culture  standardizedtesting  standardization  testing  exclusion  inclusion  inclusivity  games  gaming  interactivefiction  twine 
july 2018 by robertogreco
video games skies
"the art of depicting skies in video games"

[via: "A tumblr about video game skies by @thibault_lh [Thibault Le Hégarat]"
https://twitter.com/nicolasnova/status/1017284272992989184 ]
videogames  sky  skies  tumblrs  games  gaming  art  pixelart 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Are.na / Blog – Breaking the Sequence
"When I created the channel on which this case study is based, I put the whole title in quotation marks—“experimental” “comics”—and initially made it private, wary that my descriptors were either too broad or too limiting. Categorizing these works as experimental, or even as comics, served as little more than to create a placeholder. This is where I would collect and organize works that didn’t quite look like any comics I’d seen before, but that I liked a whole lot, and wasn’t entirely sure why.

As the channel grew, patterns arose, and it became clear that the comics that read to me as experimental were ones that integrated aesthetic principles and practices from fine art, graphic design, experimental music, sculpture, architecture, poetry, video games, and text adventures. They often didn’t employ the typical narrative devices—dialogue, plot, climax, even characters—but they still told a story. Sometimes it was the form that I identified as experimental, other times it was the processes by which they were made.

That explained the experimental. But if these works were so genre-fluid, what kept them considered comics?

In a lecture, the writer and webcomics artist Daniel Merlin Goodbrey provides a helpful outline of characteristics that are distinct to comics as a visual medium. Defining the norm gave me a framework for understanding the works that deviate from it. Goodbrey’s characteristics were a useful jumping off point for articulating what the works I was collecting were doing, and why they struck me so powerfully. They are:

Juxtaposition of images
Spatial networks
Space as Time
Temporal Maps
Closure between Images
Word & Image Blending
Reader Control of Pacing

Experimental comics, then, are works that acknowledge the traditional framework of comics but, rather than adhere to it, tend to tilt, twist, and warp it into other things. This case study offers a survey of comics that abandon one or more of these characteristics, honoring innovations by artists, video game designers, poets, and educators alike. It should go without saying that these categories are by no means mutually exclusive. There are comics that exist outside of and in between these make-shift categories. As you may expect, there are very few rules.

1. Abstract Formalist Comics
2. Comics Poetry
3. Digital and Game Comics
4. Scores, Maps, and Designed Constraints"

[each of those four examples is expanded on in the following text with images and videos to explain]
sheafitzpatrick  comics  form  design  are.na  2017  graphicnovels  art  poetry  games  gaming  videogames  space  time  words  images  experimental 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Florence on the App Store
[See also: http://florencegame.com/
http://annapurna.pictures/interactive/florence ]

"Florence is an interactive storybook from the award-winning lead designer of Monument Valley about the heart-racing highs and heartbreaking lows of a young woman's very first love.

Florence Yeoh feels a little... stuck. Her life is an endless routine of work, sleep, and spending too much time on social media. Then one day, she meets a cello player named Krish who changes everything about how she sees the world and herself.

Experience every beat of Florence and Krish's relationship through a series of mini-game vignettes - from flirting to fighting, from helping each other grow... to growing apart. Drawing inspiration from 'slice of life' graphic novels and webcomics, Florence is an intimate and unforgettable story."

[See also: "Falling in Love? Sounds Glorious. A new series celebrating great game soundtracks. This week: Florence." ("This story can only be viewed in the App Store on iOS 11 with your iPhone or iPad.")
https://itunes.apple.com/us/story/id1371611263 ]
games  ios  gaming  videogames  stories  storytelling  applications  graphicnovels  webcomics 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Russian Subway Dogs — Spooky Squid Games
"Every morning dozens of stray dogs make the commute by train from the Moscow suburbs to the downtown core in search of food and fortune."

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPi2PeKxCh8 ]
games  videogames  gaming  dogs  russia  multispecies  morethanhuman  animals 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Old memories, accidentally trapped in amber by our digital devices
"Part of what humans use technology for is to better remember the past. We scroll back through photos on our phones and on Instagram & Flickr — “that was Fourth of July 5 years ago, so fun!” — and apps like Swarm, Timehop, and Facebook surface old locations, photos, and tweets for us on the regular. But sometimes, we run into the good old days in unexpected places on our digital devices.

Designer and typographer Marcin Wichary started a thread on Twitter yesterday about “UIs that accidentally amass memories” with the initial example of the “Preferred Networks” listing of all the wifi networks his computer had ever joined, “unexpected reminders of business trips, vacations, accidental detours, once frequented and now closed cafés”.

[image: screeshot of macOS wi-fi panel]

Several other people chimed in with their own examples…the Bluetooth pairings list, the Reminders app, the list of alarms, saved places in mapping apps, AIM/iChat status message log, chat apps not used for years, the Gmail drafts folder, etc.

John Bull noted that his list of former addresses on Amazon is “a massive walk down memory line of my old jobs and places of residence”. I just looked at mine and I’ve got addresses in there from almost 20 years ago.

Steven Richie suggested the Weather app on iOS:
I usually like to add the city I will be travelling to ahead of time to get a sense of what it will be like when we get there.

I do this too but am pretty good about culling my cities list. Still, there are a couple places I keep around even though I haven’t been to them in awhile…a self-nudge for future travel desires perhaps.

Kotori switched back to an old OS via a years-old backup and found “a post-breakup message that came on the day i switched phones”:
thought i moved on but so many whatifs flashed in my head when i read it. what if i never got a new phone. what if they messaged me a few minutes earlier. what if we used a chat that did backups differently

Similarly, Richard fired up Google Maps on an old phone and was briefly transported through time and space:
On a similar note to both of these, a while ago I switched back to my old Nokia N95 after my iPhone died. Fired up Google Maps, and for a brief moment, it marked my location as at a remote crossroads in NZ where I’d last had it open, lost on a road trip at least a decade before.

Matt Sephton runs into old friends when he plays Nintendo:
Every time my friends and I play Nintendo WiiU/Wii/3DS games we see a lot of our old Mii avatars. Some are 10 years old and of a time. Amongst them is a friend who passed away a few years back. It’s always so good to see him. It’s as if he’s still playing the games with us.

For better or worse, machines never forget those who aren’t with us anymore. Dan Noyes’ Gmail holds a reminder of his late wife:
Whenever I open Gmail I see the last message that my late wife sent me via Google chat in 2014. It’s her standard “pssst” greeting for me: “aye aye”. I leave it unread lest it disappears.

It’s a wonderful thread…read the whole thing. [https://twitter.com/mwichary/status/996056615928266752 ]

I encounter these nostalgia bombs every once in awhile too. I closed dozens of tabs the other day on Chrome for iOS; I don’t use it very often, so some of them dated back to more than a year ago. I have bookmarks on browsers I no longer use on my iMac that are more than 10 years old. A MacOS folder I dump temporary images & files into has stuff going back years. Everyone I know stopped using apps like Path and Peach, so when I open them, I see messages from years ago right at the top like they were just posted, trapped in amber.

My personal go-to cache of unexpected memories is Messages on iOS. Scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the list, I can find messages from numbers I haven’t communicated with since a month or two after I got my first iPhone in 2007.

[image: screenshot of Messages in iOS]

There and elsewhere in the listing are friends I’m no longer in touch with, business lunches that went nowhere, old flames, messages from people I don’t even remember, arriving Lyfts in unknown cities, old landlords, completely contextless messages from old numbers (“I am so drunk!!!!” from a friend’s wife I didn’t know that well?!), old babysitters, a bunch of messages from friends texting to be let into our building for a holiday party, playdate arrangements w/ the parents of my kids’ long-forgotten friends (which Ella was that?!), and old group texts with current friends left to languish for years. From one of these group texts, I was just reminded that my 3-year-old daughter liked to make cocktails:

[screenshot]

Just like Sally Draper! Speaking of Mad Men, Don’s correct: nostalgia is a potent thing, so I’ve got to stop poking around my phone and get back to work.

Update: I had forgotten this great example about a ghost driver in an old Xbox racing game.
Well, when i was 4, my dad bought a trusty XBox. you know, the first, ruggedy, blocky one from 2001. we had tons and tons and tons of fun playing all kinds of games together — until he died, when i was just 6.

i couldnt touch that console for 10 years.

but once i did, i noticed something.

we used to play a racing game, Rally Sports Challenge. actually pretty awesome for the time it came.

and once i started meddling around… i found a GHOST.

See also this story about Animal Crossing. (via @ironicsans/status/996445080943808512)"
digital  memory  memories  2018  jasonkottke  kottke  traces  animalcrossing  videogames  games  gaming  flickr  wifi  marcinwichary  death  relationships  obsolescence  gmail  googlhangouts  googlechat  iphone  ios  nostalgia  xbox  nintendo  messages  communication  googlemaps  place  time  chrome  mac  osx 
may 2018 by robertogreco
DERC - Digital Ethnography Research Centre | Melbourne
"The Digital Ethnography Research Centre DERC focuses on understanding a contemporary world where digital and mobile technologies are increasingly inextricable from the environments and relationships in which everyday life plays out. DERC excels in both academic scholarship and in our applied work with external partners from industry and other sectors.

The Digital Ethnography Research Centre DERC focuses on understanding a contemporary world where digital and mobile technologies are increasingly inextricable from the environments and relationships in which everyday life plays out. DERC excels in both academic scholarship and in our applied work with external partners from industry and other sectors.

DERC approaches this world and how we experience it through innovative, reflexive and ethical ethnographic approaches, developed through anthropology, media and cultural studies, design, arts and documentary practice and games research.

Our research is incisive, interventional and internationally leading. Going beyond the call of pure academia we combine academic scholarship with applied practice to produce research, analysis and dissemination projects that are innovative and based on ethnographic insights.

DERC partners and collaborates with a range of institutions in Australia and globally, including other universities, companies and other organisations. This includes collaborative research projects, conferences, symposia and workshops, and international visits, fellowships and publications.

DERC members are aligned into Labs to represent their research interests, DERC Labs include:

• Data Ethnographies Lab
• Design+Ethnography+Futures (D+E+F) Lab
• Bio Inspired Digital Sensing-Lab (BIDS-Lab)
• Migration and Digital Media Lab

WHAT IS DIGITAL ETHNOGRAPHY?

Recognising the differential meanings and uses of the term ethnography across and between academic disciplines, DERC utilises a broad definition of ethnography that views ethnography as an approach for understanding the world that cannot be reduced to a single method. Through DERC, our aim is to engage in research and conversations that are committed to the following:

• transdisciplinary research that is inquiry-based;
• engagement with empirical research and/or materials;
• socially and historically contextualised analyses;
• comparison across local, national, regional and global frames.

DERC welcomes partnerships and collaborations with national and international centres with expertise in digital media and ethnography. Through research, workshops, talks and publications, we collectively seek to critically engage with and push the boundaries of ethnographic practice in, through and around digital media. To learn more about our perspectives on Digital Ethnography see our Introduction (Horst, Hjorth & Tacchi 2012) and articles by Sarah Pink and John Postill in the Special Issue of Media International Australia published in 2012."
ethnography  digital  digitalethnography  anthropology  online  web  internet  design  culture  documentary  games  gaming  videogames  transdisciplinary  inquiry  materiality  sarahpink  johnpostill 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Caves of Qud
"Caves of Qud is a science fantasy RPG & roguelike epic. It’s set in a far future that’s deeply simulated, richly cultured, and rife with sentient plants.

Now in Early Access.
Full release coming to PC, Linux, Mac, iOS, and Android in 2019.

Come inhabit an exotic world and chisel through a layer cake of thousand-year-old civilizations.

Play the role of a mutant from the salt-spangled jungles of Qud, or play as a true-kin descendant from one of the few remaining eco-domes: the toxic arboreta of Ekuemekiyye, the ice-sheathed arcology of Ibul, or the crustal mortars of Yawningmoon.

Do anything you can imagine.

• Dig a tunnel anywhere in the world.
• Purchase rare books from an albino ape mayor.
• Contract a fungal infection and grow glowing mushrooms on your hands.
• Charm a goat into joining you, then give him chain mail and a shotgun to equip.
• Clone yourself, mind-control the clone, hack off your own limbs, then eat them for sustenance."



"Caves of Qud weaves a handwritten narrative through rich physical, social, and historical simulations. The result is a hybrid handcrafted & procedurally-generated world where you can do just about anything.

• Assemble your character from over 70 mutations and defects, and 24 castes and kits — outfit yourself with wings, two heads, quills, four arms, flaming hands, or the power to clone yourself; it’s all the character diversity you could want.

• Explore procedurally-generated regions with some familiar locations — each world is nearly 1 million maps large.

• Dig through everything — don’t like the wall blocking your way? Dig through it with a pickaxe, or eat through it with your corrosive gas mutation, or melt it to lava. Yes, every wall has a melting point.

• Hack the limbs off monsters — every monster and NPC is as fully simulated as the player. That means they have levels, skills, equipment, faction allegiances, and body parts. So if you have a mutation that lets you, say, psionically dominate a spider, you can traipse through the world as a spider, laying webs and eating things.

• Pursue allegiances with over 60 factions — apes, crabs, robots, and highly entropic beings, just to name a few.

• Follow the plot to Barathrum the Old, a sentient cave bear who leads a sect of tinkers intent on restoring technological splendor to Qud.

• Learn the lore — there’s a story in every nook, from legendary items with fabled pasts to in-game history books written by plant historians. A novel’s worth of handwritten lore is knit into a procedurally-generated history that’s unique each game.

• Die — Caves of Qud is brutally difficult and deaths are permanent. Don’t worry, though — you can always roll a new character."
games  gaming  via:tealtan  videogames  roguelike  toplay  2019  android  ios  mac  osx  steam  windows  linux  edg 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Neo Cab — a game by Chance Agency
[https://twitter.com/neocabgame/status/974329646828474369

"HELLO WORLD.

We are Chance Agency, a new studio working on our first game as a team. It's called Neo Cab and we are SO. EXCITED. to start sharing a glimpse of it with you.

Neo Cab is an emotional survival game about gig labor, tech disruption & the experience of being a driver-for-hire... perhaps the last of their kind.

Neo Cab is transit for riders who don’t… fit.

No Capra account. No account of any kind. No identity. Too many identities. A secret. A story.

Choose your passengers— and your words— wisely."]
games  gaming  videogames  robinsloan  toplay 
march 2018 by robertogreco
Why Norway Is So Good at the 2018 Winter Olympics | Time
"But a distinctly Norweigan rule for their youth sports may strike a particular chord with many Americans. (This one included: I’m a youth sports parent, and wrote a TIME cover story on the booming kid sports industry last summer).

Ovrebo says that in Norway, organized youth sports teams cannot keep score until they are 13. “We want to leave the kids alone,” says Ovrebo. “We want them to play. We want them to develop, and be focused on social skills. They learn a lot from sports. They learn a lot from playing. They learn a lot from not being anxious. They learn a lot from not being counted. They learn a lot from not being judged. And they feel better. And they tend to stay on for longer.”"
norway  sports  play  games  winterolympics  olympics  2018  children  youth  judgement  competition  confidence  anxiety 
february 2018 by robertogreco
small workshop | games
"games for creative activity in everyday life
by xin and chris
this page first developed for what could an art centre be?
what could be an art centre?

*ideas for use:
all of these games are free and require little or no preparation. we've got 'something' from all of them.
*most of the time we didn't even realise that they were games until later...

+ try them! (depending on your circumstances they will be more or less improvised and off-the-cuff - don't worry!)

savour, notice,
how do you feel?
+ click on the links to read more, and add your own thoughts/experiences
+ add your general thoughts, comments, ideas, uses here
+ email ANYTHING to chris@a-small-lab.com"
games  play  chrisberthelsen  classideas  unschooling  deschooling  learning  everyday  life  living  sfsh 
february 2018 by robertogreco
In Thailand, Buddhist Monks Grapple with the Meaning of Video Games - Waypoint
"Discussing games and reincarnation with Monks at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai, Thailand."

[via: "Buddhist monks on the value of video games"
https://kottke.org/18/02/buddhist-monks-on-the-value-of-video-games

"In Thailand, Buddhist monks, and students studying to be monks, play video games sometimes like everyone else. But many of them are ambivalent about the games’ value.
The danger in playing a game is not the game itself, but the desire it may cause—since in Buddhist thought, desire is the cause of suffering. “If you lose or win, you want to do it again and again. You’re always thinking about the game. If you cling to that mindset, it causes mental suffering or physical suffering.”

This danger of competition and desire are why monks are generally not allowed to play sports. (Though, to be honest, I’ve seen more than a few novices playing covert soccer games.) Sports offer many benefits, both men agree, but if they become too much about winning or lead to bad feelings it can damage attempts to attain enlightenment.


Robert Rath, the author, tries to get the monks to dive deep on the connection between spawning, dying, and respawning in video games and an idea of a cycle of life and rebirth, but for the most part, the monks aren’t buying it. Games are fun, they’re challenging, they’re big distractions from study and meditation — and that’s about it. Not a lot of deeper meaning there.

Which to me, is refreshing, and very Buddhist (as I understand it). Why does everything have to mean anything? Most things are just nonsense. Let them be what they are, and be wary of the power you give them."]
games  gaming  videogames  monks  buddhism  meditation  attention  2018  thailand  desire  enlightenment  addiction  robertrath  study  meaning  reincarnation 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Seedship
"Seedship, a simple text-only game about interstellar exploration & colonization. My best result was "Corrupt Post-Singularity Democracy" (9952 points) http://philome.la/johnayliff/seedship/play "
game  text  games  gaming  videogames  scifi  sciencefiction  toplay 
january 2018 by robertogreco
The Culture of Childhood: We’ve Almost Destroyed It
[previously posted here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201609/biological-foundations-self-directed-education ]

"Children learn the most valuable lessons with other children, away from adults."



"I don’t want to trivialize the roles of adults in children’s lives, but, truth be told, we adults greatly exaggerate our roles in our theories and beliefs about how children develop. We have this adult-centric view that we raise, socialize, and educate children.

Certainly we are important in children’s lives. Children need us. We feed, clothes, shelter, and comfort them. We provide examples (not always so good) of what it’s like to be an adult. But we don’t raise, socialize, or educate them. They do all that for themselves, and in that process they are far more likely to look to other children than to us adults as models. If child psychologists were actually CHILD psychologists (children), theories of child development would be much less about parents and much more about peers.

Children are biologically designed to grow up in a culture of childhood.
Have you ever noticed how your child’s tastes in clothes, music, manner of speech, hobbies, and almost everything else have much more to do with what other children she or he knows are doing or like than what you are doing or like? Of course you have. Children are biologically designed to pay attention to the other children in their lives, to try to fit in with them, to be able to do what they do, to know what they know. Through most of human history, that’s how children became educated, and that’s still largely how children become educated today, despite our misguided attempts to stop it and turn the educating job over to adults.

Wherever anthropologists have observed traditional cultures and paid attention to children as well as adults, they’ve observed two cultures, the adults’ culture and the children’s culture. The two cultures, of course, are not completely independent of one another. They interact and influence one another; and children, as they grow up, gradually leave the culture of childhood and enter into the culture of adulthood. Children’s cultures can be understood, at least to some degree, as practice cultures, where children try out various ways of being and practice, modify, and build upon the skills and values of the adult culture.

I first began to think seriously about cultures of childhood when I began looking into band hunter-gatherer societies. In my reading, and in my survey of anthropologists who had lived in such societies, I learned that the children in those societies — from roughly the age of four on through their mid teen years — spent most of their waking time playing and exploring with groups of other children, away from adults (Gray, 2012, also here). They played in age-mixed groups, in which younger children emulated and learned from older ones. I found that anthropologists who had studied children in other types of traditional cultures also wrote about children’s involvement in peer groups as the primary means of their socialization and education (e.g. Lancy et al, 2010; Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1989). Judith Harris (1998), in a discussion of such research, noted that the popular phrase It takes a village to raise a child is true if interpreted differently from the usual Western interpretation. In her words (p 161): “The reason it takes a village is not because it requires a quorum of adults to nudge erring youngsters back onto the paths of righteousness. It takes a village because in a village there are always enough kids to form a play group.”

I also realized, as I thought about all this, that my own childhood, in Minnesota and Wisconsin in the 1950s, was in many ways like that of children in traditional societies. We had school (which was not the big deal it is today) and chores, and some of us had part time jobs, but, still, most of our time was spent with other children away from adults. My family moved frequently, and in each village or city neighborhood to which we moved I found a somewhat different childhood culture, with different games, different traditions, somewhat different values, different ways of making friends. Whenever we moved, my first big task was to figure out the culture of my new set of peers, so I could become part of it. I was by nature shy, which I think was an advantage because I didn’t just blunder in and make a fool of myself. I observed, studied, practiced the skills that I saw to be important to my new peers, and then began cautiously to enter in and make friends. In the mid 20th century, a number of researchers described and documented many of the childhood cultures that could be found in neighborhoods throughout Europe and the United States (e.g. Opie & Opie, 1969)."



"Children learn the most important lessons in life from other children, not from adults.
Why, in the course of natural selection, did human children evolve such a strong inclination to spend as much time as possible with other children and avoid adults? With a little reflection, it’s not hard to see the reasons. There are many valuable lessons that children can learn in interactions with other children, away from adults, that they cannot learn, or are much less likely to learn, in interactions with adults. Here are some of them.

Authentic communication. …

Independence and courage. …

Creating and understanding the purpose and modifiability of rules. …

The famous developmental psychologist Jean Piaget (1932) noted long ago that children develop a more sophisticated and useful understanding of rules when they play with other children than when they play with adults. With adults, they get the impression that rules are fixed, that they come down from some high authority and cannot be changed. But when children play with other children, because of the more equal nature of the relationship, they feel free to challenge one another’s ideas about the rules, which often leads to negotiation and change in rules. They learn in this this way that rules are not fixed by heaven, but are human contrivances to make life more fun and fair. This is an important lesson; it is a cornerstone of democracy.

Practicing and building on the skills and values of the adult culture. …

Getting along with others as equals."



"The adult battle against cultures of childhood has been going on for centuries.

Hunter-gatherer adults seemed to understand that children needed to grow up largely in a culture of childhood, with little adult interference, but that understanding seemed to decline with the rise of agriculture, land ownership, and hierarchical organizations of power among adults (Gray, 2012). Adults began to see it as their duty to suppress children’s natural willfulness, so as to promote obedience, which often involved attempts to remove them from the influences of other children and subordinate them to adult authority. The first systems of compulsory schooling, which are the forerunners of our schools today, arose quite explicitly for that purpose.

If there is a father of modern schools, it is the Pietist clergyman August Hermann Francke, who developed a system of compulsory schooling in Prussia, in the late 17th century, which was subsequently copied and elaborated upon throughout Europe and America. Francke wrote, in his instructions to schoolmasters: “Above all it is necessary to break the natural willfulness of the child. While the schoolmaster who seeks to make the child more learned is to be commended for cultivating the child’s intellect, he has not done enough. He has forgotten his most important task, namely that of making the will obedient.” Francke believed that the most effective way to break children’s wills was through constant monitoring and supervision. He wrote: “Youth do not know how to regulate their lives, and are naturally inclined toward idle and sinful behavior when left to their own devices. For this reason, it is a rule in this institution [the Prussian Pietist schools] that a pupil never be allowed out of the presence of a supervisor. The supervisor’s presence will stifle the pupil’s inclination to sinful behavior, and slowly weaken his willfulness.” [Quoted by Melton, 1988.]

We may today reject Francke’s way of stating it, but the underlying premise of much adult policy toward children is still in Francke’s tradition. In fact, social forces have conspired now to put Francke’s recommendation into practice far more effectively than occurred at Francke’s time or any other time in the past. Parents have become convinced that it is dangerous and irresponsible to allow children to play with other children, away from adults, so restrictions on such play are more severe and effective than they have ever been before. By increasing the amount of time spent in school, expanding homework, harping constantly on the importance of scoring high on school tests, banning children from public spaces unless accompanied by an adult, and replacing free play with adult-led sports and lessons, we have created a world in which children are almost always in the presence of a supervisor, who is ready to intervene, protect, and prevent them from practicing courage, independence, and all the rest that children practice best with peers, away from adults. I have argued elsewhere (Gray, 2011, and here) that this is why we see record levels of anxiety, depression, suicide, and feelings of powerlessness among adolescents and young adults today.

The Internet is the savior of children’s culture today

There is, however, one saving grace, one reason why we adults have not completely crushed the culture of childhood. That’s the Internet. We’ve created a world in which children are more or less prevented from congregating in physical space without an adult, but children have found another way. They get together in cyberspace. They play games and communicate over the Internet. They create their own rules and culture and ways of being with others over … [more]
childhood  culture  learning  children  play  rules  age  adults  parenting  schools  petergray  2016  sfsh  openstudioproject  lcproject  self-directed  self-directedlearning  games  unschooling  deschooling  society  behavior  howwelearn  democracy  change  practice  communication  autonomy  online  internet  web  authenticity  courage  hunter-gatherers  augusthermannfrancke  obedience  willfulness  youth  generations  jeanpiaget  ionaopie  peteropie  psychology  anthropology  peers 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Brave Sparrow – Buried Without Ceremony
"You’re a sparrow, brave and terrified. Brave Sparrow is an alternate reality experience, a game for one, a journey toward recovering your wings."

[game: http://buriedwithoutceremony.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/brave-sparrow.pdf ]
games  toplay  arg  birds  sparrows 
january 2018 by robertogreco
The Quiet Year – Buried Without Ceremony
"For a long time, we were at war with The Jackals. But now, we’ve driven them off, and we have this – a year of relative peace. One quiet year, with which to build our community up and learn once again how to work together. Come Winter, the Frost Shepherds will arrive and we might not survive beyond that. But we don’t know about that yet. What we know is that right now, in this moment, there is an opportunity to build something.

The Quiet Year is a map game. You define the struggles of a post-apocalyptic community, and attempt to build something good within their quiet year. Every decision and every action is set against a backdrop of dwindling time and rising concern.

The game is played using a deck of cards – each of the 52 cards corresponds to a week during the quiet year. Each card triggers certain events – bringing bad news, good omens, project delays and sudden changes in luck. At the end of the quiet year, the Frost Shepherds will come, ending the game.

a game by Avery Alder
with endless support and vision from Jackson Tegu
and art by Ariel Norris
(header photo taken from Shut Up & Sit Down review.)"
games  cardgames  play  maps  mapping  toplay  time  srg 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Opus Magnum en Steam
"Opus Magnum is the latest open-ended puzzle game from Zachtronics, the creators of SpaceChem, Infinifactory, and SHENZHEN I/O. Design and build machines that assemble potions, poisons, and more using the alchemical engineer’s most advanced tool: the transmutation engine!"

[via: "uh it’s frightening how much fun Opus Magnum is"
https://twitter.com/tealtan/status/947559009216794624

"I love how it’s relatively easy to get through but you can optimize to your heart’s content and make it hard for yourself"

"also love love love how you can choose to optimize for size, cost, or speed (I only ever do the last one)"

"(of course the best solutions are not the most optimized but the most extravagant or batshit beautiful)"]

[See also:
http://www.zachtronics.com/opus-magnum/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opus_Magnum_(video_game)
https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/tag/opus-magnum/ ]
via:tealtan  games  gaming  puzzles  toplay  videogames 
january 2018 by robertogreco
The Heresy of Zone Defense | Thomas Cummins Art & Architectural Photography | San Antonio, Tx
"Consider this for a moment: Julius Erving’s play was at once new and fair! The rules, made by people who couldn’t begin to imagine Erving’s play, made it possible. If this doesn’t intrigue you, it certainly intrigues me, because, to be blunt, I have always had a problem with “the rules,” as much now as when I was younger. Thanks to an unruled and unruly childhood, however, I have never doubted the necessity of having them, even though they all go bad, and despite the fact that I have never been able to internalize them. To this day, I never stop at a stop sign without mentally patting myself on the back for my act of good citizenship, but I do stop (usually) because the alternative to living with rules—as I discovered when I finally learned some—is just hell. It is a life of perpetual terror, self-conscious wariness, and self-deluding ferocity, which is not just barbarity, but the condition of not knowing that you are a barbarian. And this is never to know the lightness of joy—or even the possibility of it—because such joys as are attendant upon Julius Erving’s play require civilizing rules that attenuate violence and defer death. They require rules that translate the pain of violent conflict into the pleasures of disputation—into the excitements of politics, the delights of rhetorical art, and competitive sport. Moreover, the maintenance of such joys requires that we recognize, as Thomas Jefferson did, that the liberating rule that civilized us yesterday will, almost inevitably, seek to govern us tomorrow, by suppressing both the pleasure and the disputation. In so doing, it becomes a form of violence itself.

An instance: I can remember being buoyed up, as a youth, by reading about Jackson Pollock in a magazine and seeing photographs of him painting. I was heartened by the stupid little rule through which Pollock civilized his violence. It’s okay to drip paint, Jackson said. The magazine seemed to acquiesce: Yeah, Jackson’s right, it seemed to say, grudgingly, Dripping paint is now within the rules. Discovering this, I was a little bit more free than I was before, and I know that it was a “boy thing,” about privileging prowess at the edge of control and having the confidence to let things go all strange—and I know, as well, that, in my adolescent Weltanschauung, the fact that Jackson Pollock dripped paint somehow justified my not clearing the debris from the floor of my room (which usually, presciently, resembled a Rauschenberg combine). Even so, I had a right to be shocked a few years later when I enrolled in a university and discovered that Pollock’s joyous permission had been translated into a prohibitive, institutional edict: It’s bad not to drip! the art coaches said. It means you got no soul! Yikes!

Henceforth, it has always seemed to me that the trick of civilization lies in recognizing the moment when a rule ceases to liberate and begins to govern—and this brings us back to the glory of hoops. Because among all the arts of disputation our culture provides, basketball has been supreme in recognizing this moment of portending government and in deflecting it, by changing the rules when they threaten to make the game less beautiful and less visible, when the game stops liberating and begins to educate. And even though basketball is not a fine art—even though it is merely an armature upon which we project the image of our desire, while art purports to embody that image—the fact remains that every style change that basketball has undergone in this century has been motivated by a desire to make the game more joyful, various, and articulate, while nearly every style change in fine art has been, in some way, motivated by the opposite agenda. Thus basketball, which began this century as a pedagogical discipline, concludes it as a much beloved public spectacle, while fine art, which began this century as a much-beloved public spectacle, has ended up where basketball began—in the YMCA or its equivalent—governed rather than liberated by its rules."



"The long-standing reform coalition of players, fans, and professional owners would have doubtless seen to that, since these aesthetes have never aspired to anything else. They have never wanted anything but for their team to win beautifully, to score more points, to play faster, and to equalize the opportunity of taller and shorter players—to privilege improvisation, so that gifted athletes, who must play as a team to win (because the game is so well-designed), might express their unique talents in a visible way. Opposing this coalition of ebullient fops is the patriarchal cult of college-basketball coaches and their university employers, who have always wanted to slow the game down, to govern, to achieve continuity, to ensure security and maintain stability. These academic bureaucrats want a “winning program” and plot to win programmatically, by fitting interchangeable players into pre-assigned “positions” within the “system.” And if this entails compelling gifted athletes to guard little patches of hardwood in static zone defenses and to trot around on offense in repetitive, choreographed patterns until they and their fans slip off into narcoleptic coma, then so be it. That’s the way Coach wants it. Fortunately, almost no one else does; and thus under pressure from the professional game, college basketball today is either an enormously profitable, high-speed moral disgrace or a stolid, cerebral celebration of the coach-as-auteur—which should tell us something about the wedding of art and education.

In professional basketball, however, art wins. Every major rule change in the past sixty years has been instituted to forestall either the Administrator’s Solution (Do nothing and hold on to your advantage) or the Bureaucratic Imperative (Guard your little piece of territory like a mad rat in a hole). The “ten-second rule” that requires a team to advance the ball aggressively, and the “shot-clock rule” that requires a team to shoot the ball within twenty-four seconds of gaining possession of it, have pretty much eliminated the option of holding the ball and doing nothing with it, since, at various points in the history of the game, this simulacrum of college administration has nearly destroyed it.

The “illegal-defense rule” which banned zone defenses, however, did more than save the game. It moved professional basketball into the fluid complexity of post-industrial culture—leaving the college game with its zoned parcels of real estate behind. Since zone defenses were first forbidden in 1946, the rules against them have undergone considerable refinement, but basically they now require that every defensive player on the court defend against another player on the court, anywhere on the court, all the time."



"James Naismith’s Guiding Principles of Basket-Ball, 1891
(Glossed by the author)

1) There must be a ball; it should be large.
(This in prescient expectation of Connie Hawkins and Julius Erving, whose hands would reinvent basketball as profoundly as Jimi Hendrix’s hands reinvented rock-and-roll.)

2) There shall be no running with the ball.
(Thus mitigating the privileges of owning portable property. Extended ownership of the ball is a virtue in football. Possession of the ball in basketball is never ownership; it is always temporary and contingent upon your doing something with it.)

3) No man on either team shall be restricted from getting the ball at any time that it is in play.
(Thus eliminating the job specialization that exists in football, by whose rules only those players in “skill positions” may touch the ball. The rest just help. In basketball there are skills peculiar to each position, but everyone must run, jump, catch, shoot, pass, and defend.)

4) Both teams are to occupy the same area, yet there is to be no personal contact.
(Thus no rigorous territoriality, nor any rewards for violently invading your opponents’ territory unless you score. The model for football is the drama of adjacent nations at war. The model for basketball is the polyglot choreography of urban sidewalks.)

5) The goal shall be horizontal and elevated.
(The most Jeffersonian principle of all: Labor must be matched by aspiration. To score, you must work your way down court, but you must also elevate! Ad astra.)"
davehickey  via:ablerism  1995  basketball  rules  games  nfl  nba  defense  jamesnaismith  play  constrains  aesthetics  americanfootball  football  territoriality  possession  ownership  specialization  generalists  beauty  juliuserving  jimihendrix  bodies  hands  1980  kareemabdul-jabbar  mauricecheeks  fluidity  adaptability  ymca  violence  coaching  barbarism  civility  sports  body 
december 2017 by robertogreco
PICO-8: FANTASY CONSOLE
"PICO-8 is a fantasy console for making, sharing and playing tiny games and other computer programs. When you turn it on, the machine greets you with a shell for typing in Lua commands and provides simple built-in tools for creating your own cartridges.

Specs

Display:128x128 16 colours
Cartridge Size: 32k
Sound: 4 channel chip blerps
Code: Lua
Sprites: 128 8x8 sprites
Map: 128x32 cels
Controls: D-pad + 2 buttons

The harsh limitations of PICO-8 are carefully chosen to be fun to work with, encourage small but expressive designs and hopefully to give PICO-8 cartridges their own particular look and feel.

Creative Tools
PICO-8 has tools for editing code, music, sound, sprites, maps built right into the console. Create a whole game or program in one sitting without needing to leave the cosy development environment!

Shareable Cartridges
PICO-8 cartridges can be saved in a special .png format and sent directly to other users, shared with anyone via a web cart player, or exported to stand-alone HTML5. Binary exporters are coming soon!

Get PICO-8
Become a registered user of PICO-8 and receive access to DRM-free downloads for Windows, Linux, Mac, and Raspberry Pi along with all future updates. You can buy PICO-8 separately, or included with Voxatron (see below)."

[See also: https://www.lexaloffle.com/info.php?page=schools

"Schools and Workshops

All Lexaloffle products, including Voxatron and PICO-8, come with a standard license allowing users who are teachers or administrators at a school, workshop, or other educational institution to install and use the software on any number of on-site machines in that space.

Individual take-home licenses are also available at an 80% discount from the non-sale price. These can be redeemed once by each student, and used off-site for things like homework, or to continue working on projects after a course has completed. Take-home licenses are otherwise identical to regular ones and provide access to future updates and multi-platform downloads.

If you would like to purchase take-home licenses, please contact us to discuss your requirements."]

[See also: https://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?pid=12506&tid=2255 ]

[via Robin Sloan on Twitter:

The PICO-8 "fantasy console" (https://www.lexaloffle.com/pico-8.php ) is such a sleeper hit. It makes me realize how amazing it would have been, back in the '80s and '90s, to have had an open console—no license required. Video game culture would be different today. Better.

A couple of years ago, when the PICO-8 first came out, I spent a day making this cart. I am very pleased with how the lil goblins move. It is a parable about greed. Also, it crashes sometimes 🤓 https://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?pid=12506&tid=2255 "
via:robinsloan  games  gaming  videogames  development 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Erase All Kittens - A game that inspires girls to code by Erase All Kittens — Kickstarter
"An epic adventure game that inspires girls to code and teaches them professional coding languages."



"Girls need to learn digital skills!

The vast majority of girls say that learning digital skills is ‘too difficult’, 'boring' or ‘more for boys’.

Since 65% of school children will be in jobs that have yet to be created - most likely involving tech skills - this is a massive, and growing issue for the economies of the future...

We need to do more to inspire girls to code, if don't want them to get left behind.

A new way to learn

We want to take on this problem, so we decided to create an epic Mario-style adventure game to make learning to code easy and fun.

Erase All Kittens teaches professional languages via quirky characters and an original storyline, centred around saving kittens in a fantasy internet universe."



"How it works

We carried out eighteen months of research, interviewing hundreds of students aged 8-13 and immersing ourselves in their culture, to discover the best ways to teach young children - especially girls - digital skills.

As a result, we spent over two years developing a code education tool which is first and foremost a game - where the educational elements are woven into the core fabric of high quality gameplay, rather than a few gaming features or characters being bolted on at the end.

In Erase All Kittens, players build and fix real levels using practical coding skills to save the Earth's kittens (displayed as kitten gifs) which have been captured in the internet universe.

Our prototype teaches basic HTML and how to create links, through Mario-style gameplay and interactive dialogue with strange and fantastical creatures - such as Tarquin Glitterquiff, a half-unicorn, half-mermaid serial entrepreneur, and Boris J. Buttstacks, the self-appointed mayor of PonyHead Bay."
girls  coding  games  gaming  videogames  programming  howto  education 
november 2017 by robertogreco
EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK by alienmelon
"It is a collection of life experiences, commentary on struggle, and oddly enough my own version of a power-fantasy. I have come to think that we have a backward idea of power, and perception of strength. We always have, and I think this is a byproduct of a historically patriarchal system. From religion, to politics, to economics, power is viewed as how many people you can subjugate. Respect is how many people fear you because of your power. How you can get what you want at the expense of others, how you are the biggest dog in the dog-eat-dog world that we have created for ourselves...

Our popular entertainment has always drawn from this point of view. It's simply fact. You use your power to hurt your enemies and eliminate them.

We don't really have a concept, in our culture, or discussion about alternative views of power from a survivor's standpoint. How is it like for survivors? Are people that live with trauma strong? Are people with mental disorders, or PTSD strong? Why is suicide seen as selfish and weak, when the person that lived with it got as far as they did? We don't popularly view survivors, victims, traumas, etc, as strength. It is a weakness, and I don't like that. I think this is because we have created a culture where we cannot really ever move past pain. We don't teach people how to heal, to overcome, or be powerful. We teach people to be perpetual survivors. We live with pain, but no way of transcending it. I think a lot of this can be credited to how we view "strength". I don't think the icon, epitome, of strength should be how many people you can hurt, conquer, overcome, but how much of this abuse you can overcome. How long you can live with what happened to you. How strong you are for being here. How powerful you are for being strong because you have no other option but to be strong.
Surviving is one thing, but living with it is an entirely different fight, and I think this is where examples of real strength are.

If approached from this point of view then it is an obvious conclusion that you should be celebrated simply for being here.

You are normal for your imperfections, and the way you cope. You are the hero in the story of your life, and you have every right to be proud.

These are a collection of very abstract life experiences, things I felt while going through hard times, and how I felt, or moved on, afterward.

A lot of it is presented via humor, or creates ridiculous circumstances, because I feel like life is ridiculous. It's one damn thing after the other and after a while there's nothing left to do but laugh at it. Humor is what helps take the edge off, perhaps even create a platform for transcendence. Either way, it has been cathartic."
games  gaming  videogames  seriousgames  power  subjugation  bing  life  everyday  small  smallness  living  imperfections  presence 
november 2017 by robertogreco
The Board Soul - Fuck Colonialism | Unwinnable
"The board game community continues to have a big problem when it comes to theming certain games. Designers still fetishize and romanticize the so-called “Age of Discovery.” So many games portray settlers as the protagonists of games, lionizing them while casting native peoples as either savage enemies to be defeated or resources you need to use. What’s more, designers on the whole refuse to reckon with the violent history of colonialism even as they use it as a theme for their game. The result is a whitewashed genre of board game that paints over every uncomfortable part of what happened during this era, costuming a game with an uncritical, damaging theme.

Settling lands by developing them up via buildings and other improvements is a incredibly common theme among board games. Arguably the biggest name in the hobbyist side of the medium, The Settlers of Catan, has it right in the name. Though you never really see any natives in the game, you’re importing and trading resources with other settlers to build settlements, roads, and developments to try and win the game. It’s all very innocuous on first blush, but there are hints of a Eurocentric viewpoint when you stop to consider the Thief, who steals resources from whoever they’re next to when someone rolls a seven. It’s not explicit that the Thief is a native from the fictional Catan Island, but the solution of playing Knight cards to move the Thief somewhere else suggests a militaristic approach to setting land and pushing around hypothetical natives.

Catan skirts the colonialism issue somewhat by being set on a fictional island, but plenty more board games represent real historical locales and events with varying degrees of self-awareness. One of the more unfortunate examples of this is the classic game Puerto Rico, where you’re tasked with building up your piece of the city of San Juan through shipping goods and constructing buildings. But to make said buildings function, you had to place little brown discs on them to represent workers working in them.

You can probably already see the problem with this. The simple act of making the discs brown loads them with political meaning, as it’s clear they represent the different people of color that the conquistadors enslaved during the age of discovery. In Puerto Rico, these brown discs act as resources to be accumulated and spent, which takes a pretty nasty turn once you realize what this parallels – new ones even arrive by ship, further cementing the allusion. That alone could have made for a powerful statement about the true face of colonialism, but it paints over this fact by calling them “colonists”. By calling them colonists and not what they are – slaves – Puerto Rico reveals itself as a game that isn’t interested in grappling with the realities of colonialism, instead merely being content to build its mechanics on the back of a particularly ugly time in history."

[See also:

"How Board Games Handle Slavery: A medium that often looks to the past, board games often have to confront questions about slavery's place in game design."
https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/vvj39m/how-board-games-handle-slavery ]
via:tealtan  boardgames  colonialism  gaming  games  play  2017  jeremysignor 
november 2017 by robertogreco
RITES OF PASSAGE (To MLK jr.) by Audre Lorde. | African American Registry
"Now rock the boat to a fare-thee-well.
Once we suffered dreaming
into a place where the children are playing
their child’s games
where children are hoping
knowledge survives
if unknowing they follow the game
without winning.

Their fathers are dying
back to the freedom of wise children playing
at knowing
their fathers are dying
whose deaths will not free them
of growing from knowledge
of knowing
when the game becomes foolish
a dangerous pleading
for time out of power.
Quick
children kiss us
we are growing through dream..."
audrelorde  ritesofpassage  poems  poetry  children  games  play  power 
october 2017 by robertogreco
my friend pokey — futures market
"(ed. note: stephen died while writing this, may his sinful heart now rest in peace)

I think that every work implies an audience, i think that projected audience will be perpetually dreamlike and strange since it’s drawn not from human consciousness but from a form of same which has been distorted through embodiment in alien material. Refracted by some “medium” and then existing as a transferable, reproducible object and living an object life separable from the human circumstances by which it was produced. And I think that when we evaluate a work part of what we evaluate is this audience and the prospect of belonging to it, the possibility of a community with those assumptions and those values. The saying “give people what they want” always confuses me in this context because surely part of what they want is the possibility of wanting something else, of being a person who wants something else. Advertisements famously sell not just a product but also the prospect of being the kind of person who likes that product. Even the most conservative works pull a bait and switch in this regards in that part of what they suggest is the prospect of being a person who already knows what they want, of having character and qualities that persist in time rather than being a shapeless blob of experiences.

Avant-garde work could be said to be that which prioritises the formation of new audiences, or the possibility of forming new audiences, above any actual qualities which those audiences would have. It draws on the utopian aspect of creating new social structures, new communities, where whatever form they ultimately end up taking the fact that they can be made at all is in some way a celebration of agency and the possibility of new futures. But the other side of things is that even as the appeal of these imaginary communities comes partly from their distance from our real ones, they’re also evaluated on the basis of their feasibility - their power comes not just from a list of bloodless alternities but from possessing a transformative quality, the real possibility of enactment which is used to make demands on the contemporary. Not just a future but one already germinating in the present. And though I like and respect a lot of these works it’s also hard, for this reason, not to feel a little uneasy about them - because the imagery of an imminent, transfigurative break from the present has been so co-opted as a way to conceal the fundamental limitations and eerie inertia of capitalism that I think it’s hard for anything drawing on that tradition to escape lending credibility to it, even when its interests are directly opposed. 20+ years of an increasingly threadbare neoliberal consensus in the face of problems which grow more and more obvious mean the notion of an unexpected, miraculous shift in the causal order grows more and more central, from the vague sense that someone will invent, like, a moss or something which will stop global warming in the nick of time to the idea that the same clumsy, stupid videogames we’ve been bonking against invisible walls in for decades now will any minute now transmogrify into the effortless freefloating virtual lucid dreams of legend. And in fact videogames provide a constant running example of just how profitably this perception can be managed - - from a medium which from inception built upon a certain futuristic quality coming both from the historically new level of consumer access to computer technology and from decades of science-fiction representations of same, and which leveraged that into a perennial suggestion that the bright new day was always just around the corner - that by playing videogames now you were securing a kind of early-investor bragging rights to the media singularity to come. If there’s anything historically new about videogames it’s the extent to which the very suggestion of potential developments to be had later on was finally recognised as more profitable than any intrinsic qualities of the form itself.

And I think all this raises some problems when we think about avant-garde and experimental videogames, not just because in replicating some of the assumptions of the industry they risk being assimilated by it - you can’t game-design your way out of late capitalism, there are no final aesthetic solutions to economic problems etc - but because by repeating those assumptions they risk being judged by the standard of contribution to this same monolithic vidcon future, and then discarded accordingly when “the future” changes according to stockholder diktats. I mean that when you see these works as yet more expressions of “the medium” it’s harder for them to survive when that status is taken away again, and that at this point it’s difficult to conceive of a future of videogames that doesn’t in some way just flow back into the orthodox one still being sold.

Why does this matter. I think the videogame market will crash again because that’s what markets do, and when it does I believe it’ll be blamed on small engines, on unity and rpgmaker, on asset-flipping and joke simulators and walking games and political games rather than e.g. the incessant boom-bust cycles of capitalism or the fact that the particular interactive media singularity that videogames have invested so much image, money and energy into identifying themselves with looks more and more dated and less likely to happen. I think there’ll be more gamergate bullshit from people who invested in the stupid, stupid videogame dream and got told by youtube millionaires that it was being undermined from within by sjw fifth columnists making pug dating games. I think that just as places like YouTube have shown a willingness to quietly cut down on who’s able to make money through their service places like Steam will do the same thing, particularly after already raising the prospect of exponentially increasing the cost of using the store for small developers already. I think middlebrow columnists at the Atlantic will cash checks saying well, a lot of those games weren’t pushing the medium forward anyway, and that the whole thing will end up being recast as a morality tale about an overcrowded, overdiverse market, and that a lot of valuable work people are doing now will be just wiped from the record in the same way as a lot of pre-2007 indie games were, or flash games, or interactive CD-ROMs, or whatever the fuck.

I think that when this happens experimental games or avant garde games or alternative games will be seen less as possible alternatives to the mainstream tradition than as offshoots of it which got pruned, and I’m not sure how much help they will really be to anyone trying to figure out ways to make these things without getting pulled into the endless churning blood rotor of existing videogame culture.

I’ve written before that the game scenes which interest and excite me most are things like FNAF fangames, Undertale fangames, Unity horror games, RPG Maker games, hyperspecific utility pieces like the Prosperity Path orbs, less for any particular aesthetic or design qualities than for them being videogames which manage to escape some of the awful binary of Producer/Consumer and the ideas of “importance” which evolve later to help justify that perverse dynamic. Like what does it mean to experience a game if it’s just part of a big stack of almost interchangeable things and anyway you’re only absently going through it when searching for more stuff to steal for your own interchangeable thing. Which is healthier and more interesting than “art”. But I think part of it too is the sense of having a specific audience to bounce against, even if it’s just of people looking to take your Secret Of Mana midis, and the way that the concreteness of that audience helps defuse the kind of creeping tendency towards cultural speculation that comes with the belief in a big medium-wide payout somewhere down the line that’d justify the time and energies of everyone involved. I don’t think it’s enough to say people should make an effort to criticise games for what they are as opposed to what they might be, or whatever, insofar as that’s even possible. I think being able to appreciate what they are is dependent on recognizing that they have an audience which is similarly settled, similarly “just there”. And I think working towards constructing that kind of space would mean, yes, a sort of concession of “the future” to the stockholders of industry, renouncing the right to eventually reap that dread crop. But in the process being able to better engage with the present and all the disparite forces and strands within it who have similarly been lopped off that grand narrative, or were never part of it to begin with, and navigate all the ambiguities and potentials of that space. I think the future of videogames is the same kind of desperate, self-willed dream as those years worth of Twitter shares, for a company which has never actually been profitable, or the horrible locked-down image of infinity that sees new Rocket Racoon movies coming out every year til 2099, I think those dreams are ones that emerge and grow stronger as the actual basis for them either materially or affectively grows ever more decrepit, I think however overwhelming they get they can only really be strangled in the present.

As they say… no futur-what! what are you doing in my house! no-aieee!! (manuscript abruptly cuts off)"
via:tealtan  videogames  capitalism  avantgarde  audience  audiences  potential  invention  utopia  games  gaming  media  neoliberalism  2017  possibility  transcontextualism  alternative  art  future  markets  economics  alternities  transformation  change  fandom  agency  moss  transcontextualization 
october 2017 by robertogreco
How to Learn Stuff | vextro
"My understanding of a workable, comprehensive goal for education, is something that meets and facilities the needs of students. This has to go beyond surmised vocational preparation. Needs is a semantic to soften the core of education: teaching students survival skills. It’s an obvious mistake to treat kids and students like organic computers for information to be punched into. To condescend is to lose their humanity.

What I mean is, how useful will these menus and tables of arranged factoids be under economic collapse? Or maybe our future is positive: how useful will they be under automation? If the signs can be seen it feels imperative that, in whatever way possible, mentors prepare their mentees for times of crisis. And I think the most crucial element of that is reaffirming their value as a person and an individual, by encouraging and thinking through their perspectives as a collaborative effort. Though not to complicate this rhetoric anymore: anti-capitalist education is anti-hierarchical education.

Honestly I felt a vision of what edutainment together was like playing Learn 100 Words: One at a Time! It’s a deceptively simple game, made for a deviously indulgent glorioustrainwreck’s challenge to make a hundred games. So a microgame per word; play goes rapidfire through a collection of microgames, with various styles of play: quizzes, platformers, find-an-object, each based on vocabulary someone (probably) doesn’t know. It’s good natured and very goofy. Some microgames are obviously jokes, but others are very in earnest, and are surprisingly entertaining!

Lean 100 Words is made in Clickteam software (as GT games often are) and I don’t know what version, or what parts come from official asset packs, but I do recognize the buoyant, iconic clipart-esque sprites. Backgrounds are dark, hard gradients, with chunky buttons, reminiscent of web 1.0 or even a Vasily Zotov game. A wall of retro-futuristic, full bodied synth sounds greet on start up. All of the UX has a pleasant shape and exaggerated proportions, which gets me nostalgic for edutainment games of my childhood, and more oddly, the various online classes I’ve taken in my life.

I think it’s the hardest I’ve laughed at a game in a long time too. The game’s tone is just so innocuous from the get. Like the first word (when playing alphabetically instead of randomly) is aal, and I was like, that’s a word? That’s not a word… is this game about made up words? It is a word though, it’s a really technical term that I don’t really understand. But it’s a word! The hint is, “I couldn’t find a textbook definition,” so I slowly scrolled around and eventually clicked on a textbook, and completed the game. Close enough to the real definition? Honestly, sure!

Whether it’s intentional, or a happy accident of trying to do a lot with whatever means, Learn 100 Words is a genuinely hilarious parody of edutainment games. Instrumental to this are voiceovers done by the developer of every word and accompanied hint. They’re off the cuff, not really rehearsed."



"In Learn 100 Words it’s feels fine to hear misspeak, it’s fine for hints to be somewhat mistaken, or trail off, lose their thread, because it still comes back to learning 100 words. The goofs put me at ease, like, I don’t feel self-conscious about the stuff I don’t know. This is a big contrast to the real methodical approach for a standard edutainment game, games that fuss over whether its textbook blocks are working. No matter how vibrant a game like that manages to be, it’s still cut up by a very rigid, very institution-minded push for absolute legibility. A vague, palpable desperation could be felt over their needy hope that this information is getting through to my swiss cheese brain. In other words, capitalist about its use, and condescending.

Further, Learn 100 Words doesn’t shy from expressing poetic game design, like the former microgame for abaton. Maybe the most successful “mnemonics” are associations formed by emotional impact. Getting someone to care is an obvious step to engagement, but there’s a tendency to overthink, overpolish what generates care. There’s something about candidly, simply, presenting ideas, with personality. Concepts are expressive vehicles and are sometimes better expressed by individualistic interpretations.

I don’t think the process to genuine retention, learning, growing, can be calculated. In my lifetime effective education came from mentors who felt invested in my development and were willing to learn with me. I don’t think there’s a combination of software or even other programs that will magically work. Curriculum, which edutainment is, should be about creating environments that can facilitate positive relationships, that can generate a mutual investment in growth.

The coldness of profit extraction will tinge and undermine self-determination. I remember most of the silly, complicated words I learned from playing Learn 100 Words, while I’ve absolutely struggled through other language software (some from my youth, some from the now). My point isn’t that games need to “learn” from this and try to imitate a casual friendliness, it’s that compassion is done, not imitated."
via:tealtan  games  videogames  seriousgames  gaming  play  edutainment  2017  leeroylewin  sfsh  howwelearn  education  capitalism  self-determination  tcsnmy  compassion  relationships  mentorship  howweteach  curriculum  growth  environment  interpretation  engagement  emotion  learning  humanity  automation  hierarchy  horizontality  microgames 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Heterotopias |
"Heterotopias is a project focusing on the spaces and architecture of virtual worlds.

Heterotopias is both a digital zine and website, hosting studies and visual essays that dissect spaces of play, exploration, violence and ideology.

The zine can be bought from the pages listed on your left. Sales of the zine go directly to supporting the project.

For updates follow @heterotopiasZn or sign up to our newsletter.

Creator and Editor Gareth Damian Martin

Associate Editor Chris Priestman"
architecture  design  games  geography  gaming  videogames  chrispriestman  garethdamianmartin  vr  virtualreality  virtualworlds  play  exploration  violence  ideology 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Nowhere Prophet by Sharkbomb Studios
"Build a loyal band of followers and survive the journey across a broken world. Barely. Play Nowhere Prophet first, become a part of the world and help me build a better post-apocalypse.

• Find loot and recruit followers to build your deck 
• Unlock new classes and convoys across multiple playthroughs
• More than 250 cards for you to discover
• Stunning and colorful art style
• Indian infused electronica soundtrack
• Play and stream Nowhere Prophet before anyone else
• Regular updates every month 
• Future steam support included"
games  gaming  videogames 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Over The Alps
"Over the Alps is a mobile adventure game set against the turbulent backdrop of 1930s Switzerland.

Expect action, drama, suspense and yodelling.

Currently in development, sign up below to receive all the latest news."
games  videogames  1930s  gaming 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Children Of The Anthropocene | Future Unfolding | Heterotopias
"Look beneath your feet and you will see the Anthropocene. It is made of the deep concrete that paves our cities, the abundant plastics that constitute our waste and the metal pipes that funnel our water and oil. Look up and the chances are you will see it, too. Vapour trails linger in the air after an aeroplane has shot through a clear, blue sky, their chemical residue spraying delicately over the earth below.

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life”
In 2000, the Nobel-prize winning atmospheric chemist, Paul Crutzen, and biologist, Eugene F. Stoermer, advanced a theory suggesting we are no longer living in the geological epoch known as the Holocene. Following the Paleolithic Ice Age, the Holocene provided us with stable, mild climates for approximately 12,000 years. Weather patterns were relatively predictable while land, animals, plant and tree life carved out a flourishing existence amidst its warm, pleasant temperatures. Citing the measurable effect greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane were exacting on the atmosphere, Crutzen proposed the Anthropocene, “the age of man”, the delineation of a time defined by human action on the environment. While the term has not yet gained official designation, there are increasing efforts to scientifically prove its existence. Global warming, plastic pollution, nuclear waste and many other human-driven phenomenon leave an unmistakable trace in geological records, the data of which is being used to evidence the Anthropocene.

Despite the bleak hubris and narcissism underpinning the term, these scientific efforts are facilitating a broader dawning ecological awareness. Eschewing the apocalyptic fatalism of its many contemporaries, Future Unfolding asks not what the world looks like after the deluge but before it. The game pulls off the temporal trick of transporting both player and setting back in time, adopting an almost childlike gaze of its seemingly edenic world. Inspired by designers Mattias Ljungström and Marek Plichta’s own experiences growing up in the Swedish and Polish countryside, dense forests of coniferous trees grow unchecked and its woodland floor is often carpeted with delicate red and yellow flowers. With such a shift in perspective—a reversion back to an earlier self—Future Unfolding asks us to assume a state of naivety and rediscover a sense of openness. With it, we might relearn our relationship with nature, unpick our assumptions and dissolve the hubris of our Anthropocene.

Things don’t function as you might expect in Future Unfolding. A tree is often a tree but at other times it is a portal, capable of transcending time and space. Sometimes these portals appear in its fauna like the idly grazing sheep who possess the ability to teleport. Elsewhere, amidst the ferns and luminescent lichen, pines appear to make patterns, simple shapes that when strung together, produce an entity capable of dissolving obstacles such as the impassable boulders strewn across the land. I remember playing in the ancient woodlands of Snowdonia as a child, forging many of the same connections and exploring the same potential of the environment that Future Unfolding depicts. That landscape hummed with the vibrancy of life, from the insects that consumed the pungent, rotting leaves on the ground to the thick, green moss that covered each rock. It offered me a window into another world that, as a child, echoed in my consciousness."



"For a crisis as enveloping as the Anthropocene, there is a value in this type of universalism. Specific problems abound that require specific solutions, of course, but Future Unfolding, along with other video games, literature, art and music are beginning to craft a new vernacular capable of conveying this shift in expression. Bjork’s work has long since channelled some sort of symbiosis with nature. Speaking about utopia in a recent interview with Dazed, she said: “There’s this old argument that civilisation treats nature the same as man treats women—you have to oppress it and dominate in order to progress. I just don’t agree with that. There is another way.” Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith crafts what might be considered the sonic equivalent to Future Unfolding’s pristine wilderness, her dense latticework synths sparkling with the same primordial urgency as the game. Track titles like “Existence in the Unfurling” speak to a similar biological enmeshing that Future Unfolding works towards. Ed Key and David Kanaga’s Proteus explores similar terrain, that game’s fizzing soundtrack determined by your place in the environment. Trees, hillocks and beaches all carry specific sounds, the effect of which jostles you into paying closer attention to its procedurally generated landscape."



"Throughout both Future Unfolding and the Southern Reach Trilogy, the gap between “us” and “them”—between humans and other life—is broken down. Sleeping mammals with long, white hair populate the game’s glowing landscape, each one keen to dispense knowledge. “Things near are not less beautiful and wondrous than things remote,” one said to me. “The near explains the far. The drop is a small ocean.” Their words emphasise wholeness and co-existence at times while also asking the player to unknow. “Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything,” said another. “Not till we are lost. In other words, not till we have lost the world do we begin to find ourselves.” This might sound like the garbling of a new-age hippie but these messages signal to a wider picture while the moments of discovery and interaction enable us to peek at the minutiae of blooming flowers and bobbling rocks.

Adopting this shift in perspective allows us to understand the scope of the Anthropocene as well as a way out of it. In his 2016 book, Dark Ecology, the philosopher Timothy Morton, wrote that “ecological awareness forces us to think and feel at multiple scales, scales that disorient normative concepts such as ‘present’, ‘life’, ‘human’, ‘nature’, ‘thing’, ‘thought,’ and ‘logic.’” But in traversing and reconciling these eerie phenomena we might reach a state of intimacy with nonhumans. “Coexisting with these nonhumans is ecological thought, art, ethics and politics.” For Morton, such a coexistence doesn’t entail a deferral to primitivism but an embracing of technologies amidst a transforming viewpoint. Play is crucial to the process and Future Unfolding gives us a space where we might test out these ideas for size to see how they fit, feel and taste.

Future Unfolding’s childlike gaze gently encourages a flexibility of thinking within us. It asks us to forget old cognitive pathways and instead forge new routes of thought. It is sometimes a sticky, unsettling process and, eschewing formal instructions or direction, the game reflects our current state of unknowing. We are prone to flailing in the murky darkness of the forest. But as we reformulate our relationship with nonhumans, Future Unfolding asks us to push through the uncomfortable anxiety of dawning ecological intimacy. Only then might we reach the ecstasy the Biologist experiences in Area X. We are prone to flailing in the murky darkness of the forest. But as we reformulate our relationship with nonhumans, Future Unfolding asks us to push through the uncomfortable anxiety of dawning ecological intimacy. Only then might we reach the ecstasy the Biologist experiences in Area X."
anthropocene  2017  lewisgordon  games  gaming  videogames  timothymorton  paulcrutzen  eugenestroermer  systems  systemsthinking  edkey  davidkanaga  proteus  kaitlynaureliasmith  futureunfolding  johnmuir  nature  mattiasljungström  marekplichta  globalarming  climatechange  via:anne  trees  lanscape  toplay  universalism  jeffvandermeer  southernreachtrilogy  biology  morethanhuman  multispecies  darkeccology  ecology  björk 
october 2017 by robertogreco
The Steam Controller: An Analysis - Part 1 - YouTube
"This full length feature documentary explores the origins of the Steam Controller, the complication of controller usage, and the importance the Steam Controller and its software has on gaming as a whole."

[Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nLwRX98MJo ]

[via: "This Steam Controller analysis may make you rethink Valve’s PC gamepad"
https://venturebeat.com/2017/07/10/this-steam-controller-analysis-may-make-you-rethink-valves-pc-controller/ ]
steamcontoller  input  gamecontrollers  videogames  games  gaming  2017  jamesminicki 
october 2017 by robertogreco
The Uber Game
"This news game is based on real reporting, including interviews with dozens of Uber drivers.

For the best experience, please view this game in the latest version of Chrome, Safari or Firefox on desktop, or on the latest version of iOS or Android on mobile devices. Other browsers or versions may not be fully supported."

[via: "We made an @FT #newsgame!! Can you make it as an Uber driver for a week? "
https://twitter.com/RobinKwong/status/915829910358310912 ]
uber  games  gaming  seriousgames  videogames  labor  work  gigeconomy 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Untitled Goose Game
"It's a lovely weekday morning in the village and you are a horrible goose.

A new game by the people who made Push Me Pull You, coming 2018.

(screenshots here, mailing list here)"

[via: https://twitter.com/house_house_/status/915460576872038405 ]
games  gaming  videogames  geese  animals  multispecies  morethanhuman 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Where The Goats Are by Memory of God
""While Tikvah and her goats might meet an ultimately tragic end, the fleeting, quiet moments before this asked me to appreciate the small things while I could. "
Lewis Gordon, Waypoint

"Where the Goats Are seems to unfold like a tableau."
Stephanie Chan, GamesBeat

"I like its simplicity, and the solace that comes from designing your own daily routine."
Samuel Horti, Rock Paper Shotgun

"Where The Goats Are is a slow-paced, meditative videogame for PC and Mac, created by solo indie developer Memory of God. Play as Tikvah as she tries to maintain her way of life, looking after goats and making cheese, while the world around her falls apart.

The experience lasts around 1 hour. The game automatically saves at dawn everyday, however I recommend allowing time to play through the entire game in one sitting.

You can follow me on Twitter for updates @MemoryofGod

Music was created by Jack Taylor https://soundcloud.com/tokyorainfall

Generously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

Letters written by Michael Berto of Paws Menu

You will likely encounter some minor bugs. Any and all feedback greatly appreciated. You can send feedback to memoryofgodgame@gmail.com "
goats  multispecies  farms  farming  games  gaming  videogames  2017  agriculture 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Nicky Case: Seeing Whole Systems - The Long Now
"Nicky Case is an independent game developer who creates interactive games and simulations including Parable of the Polygons (02014), Coming Out Simulator (02014), We Become What We Behold (02016), To Build A Better Ballot (02016), and LOOPY (02017).



Nicky Case’s presentations are as ingenious, compelling, and graphically rich as the visualizing tools and games Nicky creates for understanding complex dynamic systems.

Case writes: “We need to see the non-linear feedback loops between culture, economics, and technology. Not only that, but we need to see how collective behavior emerges from individual minds and motives. We need new tools, theories, and visualizations to help people talk across disciplines.”

Nicky Case is the creator of Parable of the Polygons (02014), Coming Out Simulator (02014), We Become What We Behold (02016), To Build A Better Ballot (02016), and LOOPY (02017).



How to finesse complexity

HE BEGAN, “Hi, I’m Nicky Case, and I explain complex systems in a visual, tangible, and playful way.” He did exactly that with 207 brilliant slides and clear terminology. What system engineers call “negative feedback,” for example, Case calls “balancing loops.” They maintain a value. Likewise “positive feedback” he calls “reinforcing loops.” They increase a value

Using examples and stories such as the viciousness of the board game Monopoly and the miracle of self-organizing starlings, Case laid out the visual basics of finessing complex systems. A reinforcing loop is like a ball on the top of a hill, ready to accelerate downhill when set in motion. A balancing loop is like a ball in a valley, always returning to the bottom of the valley when perturbed.

Now consider how to deal with a situation where you have an “attractor” (a deep valley) that attracts a system toward failure:

[image]

The situation is precarious for the ball because it is near a hilltop that is a reinforcing loop. If the ball is nudged over the top, it will plummet to the bottom of the balancing-loop valley and be stuck there. It would take enormous effort raise the ball out of such an attractor—which might be financial collapse or civil war. Case’s solution is not to try to move the ball, MOVE THE HILLS—identify the balancing and reinforcing loops in the system and weaken or strengthen them as needed to reconfigure the whole system so that the desired condition becomes the dominant attractor.

Now add two more characteristics of the real world—dense networks and chaos (randomness). They make possible the phenomena of emergence (a whole that is different than the sum of its parts) and evolution. Evolution is made of selection (managed by reinforcing and balancing loops) plus variation (unleashed by dense networks and chaos). You cannot control evolution and should not try--that way lies totalitarianism. Our ever popular over-emphasis on selection can lead to paralyzed systems—top-down autocratic governments and frozen businesses. Case urges attention to variation, harnessing networks and chaos from the bottom up via connecting various people from various fields, experimenting with lots of solutions, and welcoming a certain amount of randomness and play. “Design for evolution,” Case says, “and the system will surprise you with solutions you never thought of.”

To do that, “Make chaos your friend.”

--Stewart Brand"
systems  systemsthinking  nickycase  2017  illustration  visualization  longnow  maps  mapping  stewartbrand  games  gaming  gamedesign  capitalism  socialism  monopoly  economics  technology  culture  precarity  chaos  networks  evolution  socialtrust  voting  design  complexity  abstraction  communication  jargon  unknown  loopiness  alinear  feedbackloops  interconnectedness  dataviz  predictions  interconnected  nonlinear  linearity  interconnectivity 
august 2017 by robertogreco
air mail by rubna
"aerial delivery service is a hard business"
games  gaming  videogames  edg  ludumdare  ludumdare39  rubna 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Supper Mario Broth
"A Super Mario variety blog. Screenshots, photos, sprites, gifs, scans and more from all around the world of Super Mario Bros."
tumblrs  games  gaming  videogames  nintendo  supermario 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Selected analog/board game references
"Selected analog/board game references
Hand-picked by Joe Wasserman for Paolo Pedercini

Board versus digital

Bellomy, I. (2017). What counts: Configuring the human in platform studies. Analog Game Studies. Retrieved from http://analoggamestudies.org/2017/03/what-counts/

Gandolfi, E. (2015). The online dream of old ludi. RESET. Recherches En Sciences Sociales Sur Internet, 4. doi:10.4000/reset.506

Nicholson, S., & Begy, J. (2014). A framework for exploring tablet-based tabletop games. In Proceedings of the Canadian Game Studies Association Annual Conference: Borders without Boundaries. Retrieved from http://scottnicholson.com/pubs/jsbgame.pdf

Rogerson, M. J., Gibbs, M., & Smith, W. (2015). Digitising boardgames: Issues and tensions. In Proceedings of DiGRA 2015: Diversity of play: Games – Cultures – Identities. Retrieved from http://www.digra.org/digital-library/forums/12-digra2015/

Xu, Y., Barba, E., Radu, I., Gandy, M., & MacIntyre, B. (2011). Chores are fun: Understanding social play in board games for digital tabletop game design. In Proceedings of DiGRA 2011 Conference: Think Design Play. Retrieved from http://www.digra.org/digital-library/forums/6-think-design-play/

Text, more than

Brown, A., & Waterhouse-Watson, D. (2014). Reconfiguring narrative in contemporary board games: Story-making across the competitive-cooperative spectrum. Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media, 7. Retrieved from http://dro.deakin.edu.au/eserv/DU:30069183/brown-reconfiguringnarrativee-2014.pdf

Evans, J. (2013). Translating board games: Multimodality and play. The Journal of Specialised Translation, (20), 15–32.

Analyses of more than one

Begy, J. (2015). Board games and the construction of cultural memory. Games and Culture, Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1555412015600066

Chappell, D. (2010). Success through excess: Narratives and performances in board and card games. In D. Chappell (Ed.), Children under construction: Critical essays on play as curriculum (pp. 277–298). New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Chappell, D. (2013). Circles within circles: The commercial pursuit of leisure time and morality through board games in the 18th and 19th century United States. In S. Fitzpatrick (Ed.), Work of play: Where business meets leisure (pp. 40–58). Madison, NJ: Museum of Early Trades and Crafts.

Book-length

Booth, P. (2015). Game play: Paratextuality in contemporary board games. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Costikyan, G., & Davidson, D. (Eds.). (2011). Tabletop: Analog game design. Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press. Retrieved from http://press.etc.cmu.edu/files/Tabletop-CostikyanDavidson-etal-web.pdf

Woods, S. (2012). Eurogames: The design, culture and play of modern European board games. Jefferson, NC: McFarland."
boardgames  games  gaming  play  joewasserman  bibliography  digital  analog 
july 2017 by robertogreco
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