May 2010 Archives

I spent a bunch of this week at the Games 4 Change 2010 Festival and thinking about the potential for games, mostly digital, to effect change in the world.  Luminaries at the conference (uncited in case I've botched their eloquence) have called games the "art form of social discourse" and "unique as a medium that enacts formal discourse and cultural interpretation with the audience."  Certainly, games are a medium of interaction and engagement, and often model rules that we believe the world to work by.  Playing games can be a powerful way to consider alternative ways of looking at the world within the safe space "of just a game."

As I was preparing for the conference, a friend forwarded me this letter or comment from the Atlantic Monthly's site, and it couldn't have been more timely.  An excerpt (beyond the cut), though it's short and you really should take three minutes to read the whole thing:

I don't have a whole lot to say on Red Dead Redemption, as I myself am not playing it.  Though I'm a bit embarrassed to admit, I haven't yet played many "sandbox" games, or enough Rockstar to offer a well-informed opinion.  Things I have enjoyed watching Red Dead Redemption, though:


I was drawn to 30 Second Hero because of its potential to be targeting me: someone with a taste for casual gameplay and limited time; someone who liked RPGs and their conventions; someone who could appreciate a design  built around a sarcastic nostalgia for old-school games.  Though the execution has some real problems, 30 Second Hero  largely delivers on that promise.

Read on...

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