Defamiliarisation isn’t the same thing as obtuseness or cryptic designs etc. Rather, it’s about working against expectation, and this can be done in all kinds of entirely accessible ways.
When you get together to play games with friends, the space you’re in becomes a ritual space, like the stage at a concert or the altar at a wedding. It’s a space where you can trash-talk your friends or howl in defeat, where you can trick people, where you can laugh at their expense and dance on their grave. It’s a space where you have permission to look foolish in front of your family members. Importantly, it’s a space where you can look up at your opponent’s face, lock eyes and dare them to make the first move before your split-second counter-attack. The best local games aren’t just offline versions of online games — they are designed to intensify these social dimensions of gameplay.
Clear and detailed argument by Foddy on the virtues of local multiplayer. I love these kinds of games. And I appreciate designing for local multiplayer is a completely different thing from networked play.
Found via the previously posted article on Sicart and playfulness. I must play this some time. From reading the description it’s impossibly hard—a good example of abusive game design.
Playing Hohokum and watching others play really helps you understand his point about play being more important than the game itself. The game itself is not a magical, fun generator; instead it’s a tool and a toy that, like Katamari Damacy, encourages the players to simply try things, to experiment.
It’s not the clearest of articles, but somewhere in there are some good points on play being expressive, not consumptive.
Status play. This was an eye-opener to me, that in all human interactions one can observe status signals. Johnstone goes on to suggest you can play with status signals in all manner of situations. I’ve started doing just that and it can be quite liberating.
Mask work. Reading this section I was mostly just super eager to try mask work myself. Johnstone talks about masks having an inherent personality that is channeled through the actor, similar to being possessed by a spirit… I’m wondering if a larp based on the ideas about masks presented here would work. It’d be interesting to try out.
It’s a good reminder of how rationality will only get you so far when inventing new things.
Videogames and the Spirit of Capitalism (by paolo pedercini)
Paolo Pedercini on videogames and capitalism is rather good and thought-provoking. I am grateful he’s willing to discuss gamification (most “serious” thinkers in games have started to ignore it, but that doesn’t mean it has gone away). His suggestions for steering computer-assisted gaming and playing away from a super-rational and utilitarian mode reminded me of soft gamification and are worth exploring further.
I am firmly in the present,” she said as she headed toward the exit. “But, sometimes, I want to drag the future here and see if we want it.
I saw Genevieve Bell speak once at Interaction and really enjoyed her sharp eye for how humans relate to technology. I don’t think this reporter succeeds in bringing those observations across but it’s a nice portrait of one of the most inspiring people working in technology today.
Games are powerful and important partly because they help us test out the limits of ordinary life. That’s why we play. And these free-to-play games allow us to feel the edges of the unholy reality of our current winner-take-all neo-Gilded Age.
Bogost on free-to-play games, arguing they are the latest incarnation of a long line if swindles. Hardly a novel insight, but well-argued as usual.
whenever we talk about science and society, it helps to keep two rather humbling premises in mind: very few of us are anywhere near rational. And pretty much all of us are hypocrites.
Comparing Whole Foods to the Creation Museum might seem ludicrous but it actually makes sense to me.