Saturday, February 9, 2008

Game of Life

I just found out about this great game called Passage

I don't want to give too much away check it out first. It might seem simple and crude but play it through, then read the statement from the creator Jason Rohrer.

This is part of the Gamma 256 contest where people have to create games using no more than 256 pixels. It's a great piece of homebrew content that shows how games can connect with us in emotional ways beyond visceral blasting.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A democracy of content.

In my first post to this blog, I wrote about how unique video games are compared to movies/TV etc because of the active participation games seek from the player. I was feeling pretty smart about how well positioned games are to tap into the generation of people growing up that want to engage with their entertainment in a more user-driven way.

Well a day later I read this article by Mike Elgan about cell-phone novels and it got me thinking about how other 'old media' entertainment mediums are adapting to meet the demands of this audience.

Turns out games are not so unique after all.

User generated content and a democratization of the content creation landscape, is bringing about a sea change in every industry and absolutely has to be factored into your dreams of creating that brand new, hit IP.

As intoxicating as the thought of being that single auteur is, we are moving from old school autocratic storytelling towards finding ways to involve the audience in a much more participatory way. This is happening in many creative ways.

Some shoot from the hip examples that have facilitated huge cultural shifts in our global landscape -

Blogosphere - Every successful blog has a comments section that allows the reader to participate in the debate, not be a passive observer. Everyone can generate an opinion and guide the debate!
News - digg allows users to select which news story is important and should be shared with a wider audience.
Social Networking - Facebook, MySpace allow people to create their own social space and community. This is a huge time suck!
Mashups - Popular on Youtube. I'll also pimp create your own Star Wars mashup here.
Novels - cell-phone novels democratize writing. Also services like createspace allow people to self-publish books, movies, music.
Music - I want to mention hip hop here as an early example of how technology facilitated user content in a way that changed a whole industry. But I love hip hop so much I'm going to leave it for a bigger post at a later date!

UPDATE: To read something far more eloquent than my scattered thoughts on this subject, check out ninja creative and eloquent transmedia spokesperson Jesse Alexander's post on the Spiderwick Chronicles. Jesse is out in front on all this stuff.... I no doubt subconsciously picked up thought patterns on this topic from his blog dammit!

So what am I taking away from my thoughts on this? This doesn't spell doom for those of us who have stories to tell. People will always need a campfire to rally around at night, with a storyteller (or group of storytellers) to provide the core outline and capture the imagination of the audience. But those stories absolutely should go that extra step further and provide the engaged audience with tools to take our worlds and ideas, and have their own fun with it.

The results will be surprising and often times awesome!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

What is Joyful about Game Development?

For many of us involved in the creation of video games, finding the joy in what we do can sometimes be elusive. We work crazy hours, with huge development teams, on projects that span many years before we see the fruits of our labor. The final product can often be compromised by actions beyond our control and sometimes we have the crushing experience of working on a project that never sees the light of day.

But this blog is not to highlight the problems and issues that plague game development. There are many places online that articulate these issues with more authority than I can.

This blog is dedicated to the pursuit of joyful, creative development of ideas, stories and worlds!

Video games provide something truly unique in the entertainment medium. We create worlds and stories and then ask our players to be full participants, to be co-creators of the reality we provide. pretty cool.

I'm dedicated to creating intellectual properties and bringing them to as wide an audience as possible. In this blog, I'll be presenting thoughts and ideas on how to do so, sharing my experiences, past and present, and articulating some of the ways that I (a humble new recruit to the powers of transmedia) believe that media convergence can help break new ground for those of us interested in creating and owning our content.

And the joy? Absolutely, every day, try and find the joy and the love in what we do, that passion is what allows the creativity to flow. That's what allows us to create and share the best of our work. To make people love our games, we absolutely have to love making games.

Love from Development