Saturday, November 12, 2005

MGIS: Eric Zimmerman on "Game Design as Critical Practice"

[A week ago I attended the Montreal Game Summit. I'm only getting around now to posting some notes from the sessions, and will do the posts, one-per]

GameLab’s Eric Zimmerman on ‘Game Design as Critical Practice’. Eric is an interesting speaker. Best known for some of his GameLab titles (Loop, DinerDash, to name a couple), Eric also wrote Rules of Play, an academic text on game design. Eric spoke about problems facing the medium, the industry, and the culture, and asked whether the same rules that apply to game design can apply to these systems as well. Games at their root are comprised of rules. “play” happens when we experiment with the results of taking different courses of action within those rules, not breaking them, but perhaps exploiting them or pushing their limits. If this results in interesting gameplay, can the same not be said for the ‘rules’ by which the business operates? He raised some interesting ideas, but I’m not quite sure which can be put into action. I did really like his demonstration of rules systems: He did a 600 person MMRPS tourney (massive multiplayer rock paper scissors). I was eliminated first round.

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