My day began with my own frustration over not being able to narrow down the specifics of my schoolwork for this spring, trying to find the exact questions I should answer in my studies. It is mainly hard because that is not where I’m mentally right now, I feel that I need time to just digest game development, politics and news and make notes, reflecting on everything in games, on my future and what I will contribute, and at the same time explore game making.
I spent most of the day with A Theory of Fun in Game Design by Raph Koster. Really amazing book that’s pointing to the weaknesses and strengths of games, what they are and what they are not, and explaining the theory of play and fun in a really rhetorically fun way. He also writes about what we should push for the future, not just making the same bunch of games over and over, often pasting on fluffy presentations to hide the outdated core mechanics.
Also read lots of Blogs about interactive storytelling in games, there’s really a plethora of good Blogs out there on the subject of design, and lots of interesting discussion being had. Even had time for some Game Maker studies in this tornado of information.
Finally ended my evening with the documentary Playing Columbine that describes the controversy around a game that got made in RPG Maker, where in you play the two killers from the massacre. Probably the most important game ever made, because it really kicked the door open the issue of games not just being toys for children and adults, a view fostered by media to an extreme level in the past and present, but that horrific events could be handled by the medium as well as in any other. Lots of blame has been put on the game as expected, but the future will show that games are a part of our critical analysis of the world, that we can make games really diverse, update the content so that all people can play games and add different kind’s of value to their lives.
The cast for the documentary was amazing! I included many of the important developers in avant-garde games of today, but also non-gamer related voices that where just as important giving a more angles to the whole controversy. This is a must see for people who are interested in development of games and for the historical significance, but also because games are heading down a road of not just being “juvenile power fantasies”, but actually affecting societies, and doing it in a way that is unique for games.