I was read­ing David Chang’s Momo­fuku cook­book, and there’s a pas­sage in there where he points out that there’s this con­ven­tion amongst top-flight chefs,” he con­tin­ues. “They are all expect­ed to offer their own per­son­al take on two basic stan­dards: bread ser­vice, and an egg dish. These foods are so neu­tral in flavour and so depen­dent on tech­nique that you can use them to ana­lyze the dif­fer­ence between chefs as artists.”

And I reflect­ed on what that would mean for game design­ers. I decid­ed that we should all make our own ver­sions of Pong (which is eggs), and chess (which is def­i­nite­ly bread),” Fod­dy sug­gests. “I would strong­ly rec­om­mend it as an exer­cise to any­one in a cre­ative field—figure out what the bread is, and what the eggs are, and then give them your best shot. It’s a great way of fig­ur­ing out your own iden­ti­ty as a cre­ator.”

(via Gama­su­tra — The very good rea­sons for Ben­nett Foddy’s mad Speed Chess)

I’ve been track­ing the emer­gence of a “play eth­ic” in the inter­net of things / con­nect­ed prod­ucts field for a while because most of the projects are so damn util­i­tar­i­an. This new series of works by Bren­dan about email is kind of inter­est­ing in that regard. Lana in par­tic­u­lar is nice because it appears to “con­tain” email and spits it back at you in a sort of ran­dom man­ner.

(via Bren­dan Dawes — Six Mon­keys)

He cred­it­ed his friend and fel­low artist Lawrence Abu Ham­dan with show­ing him that Wik­iLeaks and the NSA actu­al­ly have a very sim­i­lar view of the world. “They both believe there’s a mas­sive secret out there, and if they just get hold of the secret every­thing will be bet­ter,” Bri­dle said.

Been work­ing on a card game about drone sur­veil­lance and war­fare for a while now and James’s work has been a big influ­ence. Nobody I know has put as much thought in the impli­ca­tions of these tech­nolo­gies through mak­ing things as he has.

(via This Artist’s Data­base Com­piles All Known Data on the Drone Wars | Moth­er­board)

I’ve spent a lot of time watch­ing dogs play­ing and it’s been a source of fas­ci­na­tion and hap­pi­ness for years. So the sub­ject mat­ter felt real­ly nat­ur­al to me. But as a game design­er, I find the dynam­ics of how dogs play togeth­er real­ly inter­est­ing. Dogs are expert play­ers. Dog play is made of all these rit­u­al­ized moments of vio­lence and dom­i­nance, but when it’s healthy play, it doesn’t cross the line into real vio­lence. Dogs are real­ly good at reg­u­lat­ing their play. Play­ing and play­ing well is this real­ly deep instinct for dogs, and I thought it would be inter­est­ing to try to pull some of that into a game for humans. Healthy dog play isn’t about defeat­ing a bunch of oppo­nents — it’s about hav­ing fun above all, while sim­u­lat­ing all these real­ly dark and dan­ger­ous real-life sit­u­a­tions and work­ing out social rela­tion­ships.

So the pre­ten­tious idea at the heart of Dog Park is to make a game that has all kinds awe­some “fight­ing” in it that’s not about defeat­ing your ene­mies. It’s about how we work togeth­er, by pre­tend­ing to fight each oth­er, by com­pet­ing with each oth­er, to cre­ate enjoy­ment for each oth­er. In oth­er words, it’s about try­ing to turn my play­ers into dogs, for a few min­utes at a time.

(via » Kevin Can­ci­enne)

There’s a les­son here. The great­est thing I learned from my for­mal­ist train­ing in paint­ing was actu­al­ly not about paint­ing. It was about the nature of knowl­edge itself: what it means to define a cre­ative prac­tice as a craft, or as a dis­ci­pline, or as a set of ideas, and how such a prac­tice relates to cul­ture at large. In oth­er words, the impor­tant thing to ask is not What is paint­ing? or What is game design? Instead, the real ques­tion is: What is gained and what is lost when we define it in a par­tic­u­lar way?

(via How I Teach Game Design. (Les­son 3: Games and Rules) | being play­ful)

Super­sti­tion, myth, and reli­gion offer ratio­nales that fill in the emp­ty spaces between per­for­mance and results. Their sor­cery acts as a mor­tar that plugs the gaps between the phys­i­cal and men­tal bricks that form the walls of our per­for­mances. With­out that glue, the edi­fice would crum­ble. For peak per­for­mance, super­sti­tion isn’t a defect but a neces­si­ty.

(via Swing Copters: The Ran­dom­ness of the Uni­verse, Cap­tured in Pix­els — The Atlantic)

Play­ing a song changes your under­stand­ing of it. Play­ing music changes how you lis­ten to it. Doing changes know­ing.”

Great piece on how the inter­net is facil­i­tat­ing a new lit­er­a­cy of media pro­duc­tion. Doing def­i­nite­ly changes know­ing. How­ev­er, I dis­agree old struc­tures of pow­er and access are no longer in place on the inter­net. And I also dis­agree learn­ing to play a song on a gui­tar is the same as “learn­ing” to post a tweet. There’s a dif­fer­ent rela­tion­ship between the tool, the media and the per­son going on there.

(via Doing is know­ing: “Sweet Jane” and the Web — Word­yard)

Mana did not make it into the D&D rule­book because Gary Gygax and the oth­er cre­ators of D&D based their mag­ic sys­tem on the nov­els of Jack Vance, where a lim­it­ed num­ber of spells could be mem­o­rized, cast once, and then for­got­ten.”

One of many amaz­ing insights into how the con­cept of mana made its way from Poly­ne­sian antiq­ui­ty into today’s gamer cul­ture.

(via The His­to­ry of Mana: How an Aus­trone­sian Con­cept Became a Video Game Mechanic—Vol. 2, No. 2—The Appen­dix)