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IN DEFENSE OF HAYSTACKS
DIGRA 2013
@ranarama

www.hideandseek.net
In defence of haystacks
Chapter 1 - vomit
Chapter 2 - fear
Chapter 3 - revenge
Chapter 4 - ghosts
Chapter 5 - death
Chapte...
Disclaimers
#1 - talk contains disclaimers
#2 - wrong sort of academic

First up - some disclaimers. Definitely important t...
Disclaimers
#1 - talk contains disclaimers
#2 - wrong sort of academic

Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Bonnecombe, 1194
First u...
Disclaimers
#1 - talk contains disclaimers
#2 - wrong sort of academic
#3 - failed wrong sort of academic
#4 - not even a ...
Chapter 1 - vomit
But let’s talk about that game world none-the-less. I mentioned I used to be a game journalist. I was of...
Chapter 1 - vomit
But let’s talk about that game world none-the-less. I mentioned I used to be a game journalist. I was of...
Chapter 1 - vomit
But let’s talk about that game world none-the-less. I mentioned I used to be a game journalist. I was of...
Lonely

Lovely

And it should seem clear that we’ve made enormous progress in the last 10 years. Now, instead of 30 intern...
Lonely

Lie!

Lovely

And it should seem clear that we’ve made enormous progress in the last 10 years. Now, instead of 30 ...
Chapter 2 - fear
There was definite elation the first time I came together with people with whom I had a shared language. Wh...
A bit!

Not at all!

Nope!

Not enough!

Nuh-uh!

Sorry everyone...

Chapter 2 - fear
There was definite elation the first t...
16,000 square miles
Ski-ing, hang-gliding, sniping, snowmobiles
Sabotague, prison breaks, high explosives
32 playable char...
Midwinter, Mike Singleton (1989)
Midwinter isn’t a hot new game, it’s a forgotten old game. Nearly 25 years old, in fact. ...
Midwinter, Mike Singleton (1989)
So much about this game is remarkable. The set-up is genuinely politically interesting. T...
Captain Blood, ERE Informatique/Exxos (1988)
I could have pulled the same stunt with Captain Blood - frankly with anything...
Captain Blood, ERE Informatique/Exxos (1988)
Captain Blood has a brilliantly deranged premise - you play a game-maker who ...
Amped 3, IndieBuilt (2005)
And it’s not just weird European 16 bit games that we’ve lost. Amped 3 - a nice fat, AAA, Xbox ...
Amped 3, IndieBuilt (2005)
I’m not making that up either. This was a snowboarding gaming about an evil villain who runs a ...
Chapter 5 - death
And so, whereas 5 years ago when I saw a bit of Mario needlepoint, or a webcomic about GoldenEye, I was ...
Chapter 5 - death
And so, whereas 5 years ago when I saw a bit of Mario needlepoint, or a webcomic about GoldenEye, I was ...
Chapter 5 - death
And so, whereas 5 years ago when I saw a bit of Mario needlepoint, or a webcomic about GoldenEye, I was ...
But now, when I see that same canon emerging in games, I get flickers of the same feelings. I love the shared vocabulary, t...
I love all these games!

But now, when I see that same canon emerging in games, I get flickers of the same feelings. I love...
I love all these games!
Well, most of them...

But now, when I see that same canon emerging in games, I get flickers of the...
And those other games are utterly amazing - often more interesting, in their flawed inventiveness or their weird niche appe...
But I learned as much from these

And those other games are utterly amazing - often more interesting, in their flawed inven...
But I learned as much from these
...if not more

And those other games are utterly amazing - often more interesting, in th...
The learned as much from these
But Itruth is I have nothing as smart
to say about these games as what
these games have to ...
Tiny Haystack Game
Step 1: Pick an interesting game you’ve played
Step 2: Ask, ‘Has anyone played X?’
Step 3: If anyone an...
THANK YOU!
DIGRA 2013
@ranarama

www.hideandseek.net
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In Defense Of Haystacks

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My keynote from DIGRA 2013 - or at least, my *memory* of what I said at DIGRA. Apologies for any deviation from reality!

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In Defense Of Haystacks

  1. 1. IN DEFENSE OF HAYSTACKS DIGRA 2013 @ranarama www.hideandseek.net
  2. 2. In defence of haystacks Chapter 1 - vomit Chapter 2 - fear Chapter 3 - revenge Chapter 4 - ghosts Chapter 5 - death Chapter 6 - takeaways Here’s a quick precis of what we’re going to cover in this talk. Don’t be scared. There are takeaways!
  3. 3. Disclaimers #1 - talk contains disclaimers #2 - wrong sort of academic First up - some disclaimers. Definitely important to address whether or not I’ve got any business keynoting an academic conference. I did *used* to be an academic - studying 12th century southern French monastic development - but entirely the wrong sort of academic. And it’s important to say up front that I’m also a failed wrong sort of academic. Never did finish that doctorate, which - cut me some slack - was super hard. Hand-written latin! Dendrochronology! Then, for a while, I had a role that did make it make sense for me to speak at events like this - editor-in-chief of Edge magazine, but I’m not even a journalist any more. Worse, I know make games in a living, which means I have a dog in all the fights I’m about to talk about. At least as an academic or a journalist, I had a veneer of objectivity. Now I definitely have a subjective view of the games world.
  4. 4. Disclaimers #1 - talk contains disclaimers #2 - wrong sort of academic Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Bonnecombe, 1194 First up - some disclaimers. Definitely important to address whether or not I’ve got any business keynoting an academic conference. I did *used* to be an academic - studying 12th century southern French monastic development - but entirely the wrong sort of academic. And it’s important to say up front that I’m also a failed wrong sort of academic. Never did finish that doctorate, which - cut me some slack - was super hard. Hand-written latin! Dendrochronology! Then, for a while, I had a role that did make it make sense for me to speak at events like this - editor-in-chief of Edge magazine, but I’m not even a journalist any more. Worse, I know make games in a living, which means I have a dog in all the fights I’m about to talk about. At least as an academic or a journalist, I had a veneer of objectivity. Now I definitely have a subjective view of the games world.
  5. 5. Disclaimers #1 - talk contains disclaimers #2 - wrong sort of academic #3 - failed wrong sort of academic #4 - not even a journalist any more #5 - vested interests First up - some disclaimers. Definitely important to address whether or not I’ve got any business keynoting an academic conference. I did *used* to be an academic - studying 12th century southern French monastic development - but entirely the wrong sort of academic. And it’s important to say up front that I’m also a failed wrong sort of academic. Never did finish that doctorate, which - cut me some slack - was super hard. Hand-written latin! Dendrochronology! Then, for a while, I had a role that did make it make sense for me to speak at events like this - editor-in-chief of Edge magazine, but I’m not even a journalist any more. Worse, I know make games in a living, which means I have a dog in all the fights I’m about to talk about. At least as an academic or a journalist, I had a veneer of objectivity. Now I definitely have a subjective view of the games world.
  6. 6. Chapter 1 - vomit But let’s talk about that game world none-the-less. I mentioned I used to be a game journalist. I was often asked then - am still often asked - by keen young kids and students how I got my start. I have systemantically lied to these keen young people, because the truth of how I got my start is pretty grubby and embarassing. It basically happened on this street, in a small town in England called Bath, well over ten years ago now. I had gone to Bath to attend the second ever Edge forum meet. 30 or so people were going to meet in a pub and talk about videogames. This was an unbelievably exciting prospect. It’s easy to forget how much more underground gaming was 10 years ago - depending on your age you might never have experienced it. But there were very few opportunities to talk to other people beyond your immediate circle of friends. There were far fewer sources of information. Meeting up with 30 strangers from all over the country that you knew only by their forum names was an *enormous* deal. Rare and extraordinary wonders were there - 10 player Saturn Bomberman. Someone had an imported Japanese Xbox controller X - this was back in the fat-pad dark ages - that we all cooed over . It was a wonderful, wonderful night. We played games, ate curry, drank beer and gathered at the end of the night for a group photo. And during that group photo - too full of beer and curry and joy - I vomited spectacularly all over the pavement. I think a little bit of it got on Basil The Fox’s coat. Sorry Basil The Fox. I thought I’d never be able to show my face again, but the reality was I came home with a sort of forum celebrity, or at least notoriety. And I decided that if people were going to be reading what I wrote I should at least work hard to make sure it was worth reading. And the stuff I wrote got noticed a bit, and the Edge editor asked me to contribute to a side-project, and then that turned into a tiny bit of freelancing and a few months later I applied for and got my staff writer slot on Edge. And now I’m here. It’s a straight line from that pool of vomit to the career I have now.
  7. 7. Chapter 1 - vomit But let’s talk about that game world none-the-less. I mentioned I used to be a game journalist. I was often asked then - am still often asked - by keen young kids and students how I got my start. I have systemantically lied to these keen young people, because the truth of how I got my start is pretty grubby and embarassing. It basically happened on this street, in a small town in England called Bath, well over ten years ago now. I had gone to Bath to attend the second ever Edge forum meet. 30 or so people were going to meet in a pub and talk about videogames. This was an unbelievably exciting prospect. It’s easy to forget how much more underground gaming was 10 years ago - depending on your age you might never have experienced it. But there were very few opportunities to talk to other people beyond your immediate circle of friends. There were far fewer sources of information. Meeting up with 30 strangers from all over the country that you knew only by their forum names was an *enormous* deal. Rare and extraordinary wonders were there - 10 player Saturn Bomberman. Someone had an imported Japanese Xbox controller X - this was back in the fat-pad dark ages - that we all cooed over . It was a wonderful, wonderful night. We played games, ate curry, drank beer and gathered at the end of the night for a group photo. And during that group photo - too full of beer and curry and joy - I vomited spectacularly all over the pavement. I think a little bit of it got on Basil The Fox’s coat. Sorry Basil The Fox. I thought I’d never be able to show my face again, but the reality was I came home with a sort of forum celebrity, or at least notoriety. And I decided that if people were going to be reading what I wrote I should at least work hard to make sure it was worth reading. And the stuff I wrote got noticed a bit, and the Edge editor asked me to contribute to a side-project, and then that turned into a tiny bit of freelancing and a few months later I applied for and got my staff writer slot on Edge. And now I’m here. It’s a straight line from that pool of vomit to the career I have now.
  8. 8. Chapter 1 - vomit But let’s talk about that game world none-the-less. I mentioned I used to be a game journalist. I was often asked then - am still often asked - by keen young kids and students how I got my start. I have systemantically lied to these keen young people, because the truth of how I got my start is pretty grubby and embarassing. It basically happened on this street, in a small town in England called Bath, well over ten years ago now. I had gone to Bath to attend the second ever Edge forum meet. 30 or so people were going to meet in a pub and talk about videogames. This was an unbelievably exciting prospect. It’s easy to forget how much more underground gaming was 10 years ago - depending on your age you might never have experienced it. But there were very few opportunities to talk to other people beyond your immediate circle of friends. There were far fewer sources of information. Meeting up with 30 strangers from all over the country that you knew only by their forum names was an *enormous* deal. Rare and extraordinary wonders were there - 10 player Saturn Bomberman. Someone had an imported Japanese Xbox controller X - this was back in the fat-pad dark ages - that we all cooed over . It was a wonderful, wonderful night. We played games, ate curry, drank beer and gathered at the end of the night for a group photo. And during that group photo - too full of beer and curry and joy - I vomited spectacularly all over the pavement. I think a little bit of it got on Basil The Fox’s coat. Sorry Basil The Fox. I thought I’d never be able to show my face again, but the reality was I came home with a sort of forum celebrity, or at least notoriety. And I decided that if people were going to be reading what I wrote I should at least work hard to make sure it was worth reading. And the stuff I wrote got noticed a bit, and the Edge editor asked me to contribute to a side-project, and then that turned into a tiny bit of freelancing and a few months later I applied for and got my staff writer slot on Edge. And now I’m here. It’s a straight line from that pool of vomit to the career I have now.
  9. 9. Lonely Lovely And it should seem clear that we’ve made enormous progress in the last 10 years. Now, instead of 30 internet weirdies hanging out on a street corner, gaming has a vast, passionate community who can come together at academic conferences, and festivals, and expos, and e-sports tournamets, and cool arcade bars and all sorts. It’s obviously good that we’ve moved on from that lonely isolation to a more vibrant community. Or is it?
  10. 10. Lonely Lie! Lovely And it should seem clear that we’ve made enormous progress in the last 10 years. Now, instead of 30 internet weirdies hanging out on a street corner, gaming has a vast, passionate community who can come together at academic conferences, and festivals, and expos, and e-sports tournamets, and cool arcade bars and all sorts. It’s obviously good that we’ve moved on from that lonely isolation to a more vibrant community. Or is it?
  11. 11. Chapter 2 - fear There was definite elation the first time I came together with people with whom I had a shared language. Which whom I could just reference a game or a mechanic or a designer or a piece of music and trust that it would be understood. Having that mutual vocabulary is a great pleasure, and can be incredibly valuable in making communication quicker, clearer, more concrete. But at the same time, I find that I’m increasingly anticipating events like this one not with enthusiasm but with fear. That shared vocabulary feels a little like it’s setting into a fixed canon - a slowly increasing list of games which you must have played and must have an opinion about. I worry before events like these that I haven’t done my homework properly, because I haven’t. I know that I ought to have smart insights about games like Howling Dogs and Monaco, but I haven’t played them enough - or played them at all. And because I haven’t, I feel more excluded from this big new community. I don’t have the smart thing to say about the new hot game.
  12. 12. A bit! Not at all! Nope! Not enough! Nuh-uh! Sorry everyone... Chapter 2 - fear There was definite elation the first time I came together with people with whom I had a shared language. Which whom I could just reference a game or a mechanic or a designer or a piece of music and trust that it would be understood. Having that mutual vocabulary is a great pleasure, and can be incredibly valuable in making communication quicker, clearer, more concrete. But at the same time, I find that I’m increasingly anticipating events like this one not with enthusiasm but with fear. That shared vocabulary feels a little like it’s setting into a fixed canon - a slowly increasing list of games which you must have played and must have an opinion about. I worry before events like these that I haven’t done my homework properly, because I haven’t. I know that I ought to have smart insights about games like Howling Dogs and Monaco, but I haven’t played them enough - or played them at all. And because I haven’t, I feel more excluded from this big new community. I don’t have the smart thing to say about the new hot game.
  13. 13. 16,000 square miles Ski-ing, hang-gliding, sniping, snowmobiles Sabotague, prison breaks, high explosives 32 playable characters Real-time clock Realistic damage modelling So, for this event, I thought I would fix that. I thought I would guarantee that I had smart things to say about the hot new game, by introducing a game that’s so hot and so new that most people haven’t heard of it yet. It’s made by a very small UK team, and it’s a really good example of how rich and fascinating independent game development has become in 2013. The game is called Midwinter, and is set after catastrophic climate change has redrawn our geography. Much of the world is now ice-bound, and the remaining human settlements that have survived the destruction huddle where they can around sources of heat or energy. One small community is based on the island of Midwinter, where geothermal vents give them some hope of suriviing the Artic temperatures that now afflict the tropics. Life is hard but generally peaceable, until a local warlord gets to hear about vents and decides he wants to own their power for himself. You play as the lone village policeman, the first person on the island to notice the invading force, and the only person who can piece together a civilian resistance force that might save your community. It’s also a technical tour-de-force, and action/strategy game which plays out across a whole island, with 32 distinct personalities who must interact and co-operate if they’re to have any hope of defeating the enemy. But more importantly, this whole introduction was a big fat lie.
  14. 14. Midwinter, Mike Singleton (1989) Midwinter isn’t a hot new game, it’s a forgotten old game. Nearly 25 years old, in fact. I played it on the Atari ST - still play it emulated - and it amazes me as much now as it did then.
  15. 15. Midwinter, Mike Singleton (1989) So much about this game is remarkable. The set-up is genuinely politically interesting. The presentation is glorious, holding up incredibly well for a 25 year old experiment in 3D. The game play is incredibly varied and taut - ski-ing and hang-gliding have incredibly game feel and the sense of threat from the much-better-equipped warlord forces is utterly heart-in-mouth terrifying. The cast of characters you play with are varied and as nuanced as the game’s structural limitations allow. In a world where we’re still clamouring for more variety in our playable characters, Midwinter put you in the boots of old ladies and young children. It’s emergent narrative was incredibly strong, as tiny frail humans tried to scratch out their desperate plans across miles and miles of unforgiving snow and ice. So many of our games still treat war as a fairground show - fireworks and bombast and excitment. Midwinter treated it as a desperate, exhausting, often futile slog. It’s a wonderful, wonderful game and we’ve forgotten it. And there are *thousands* of games like it.
  16. 16. Captain Blood, ERE Informatique/Exxos (1988) I could have pulled the same stunt with Captain Blood - frankly with anything in the Exxos backcatalogue.
  17. 17. Captain Blood, ERE Informatique/Exxos (1988) Captain Blood has a brilliantly deranged premise - you play a game-maker who has been accidentally sucked inside their own game - a space-faring adventure. In the course of the accident, you’ve been cloned 30 times, with each clone taking part of your vital essence. Now you must hunt the galaxy and kill your clones, to ensure your own humanity. To find the clones you need to visit planets, meet their resident aliens, and find ways to communicate with them. The game used a fantastically tactile interface which let you hold free-ish text conversations with aliens, stringing together concepts and nouns to try to get your point across. It felt then, and now, a much more realistic rendering of what talking to aliens might actually feel like, rather than the sleek easiness of cross-species conversation in the Mass Effect universe say. It was awkward and coarse and clumsy and when it worked it felt like magic. And again, I could see Steam Greenlight going crazy for this now, but it’s been forgotten and discarded by the gaming community.
  18. 18. Amped 3, IndieBuilt (2005) And it’s not just weird European 16 bit games that we’ve lost. Amped 3 - a nice fat, AAA, Xbox title is totally forgotten now. Despite the fact that it’s a snowboarding game which spent *half its budget* on musical numbers and stop-motion animation.
  19. 19. Amped 3, IndieBuilt (2005) I’m not making that up either. This was a snowboarding gaming about an evil villain who runs a company called Colonotronic Arts from a zepellin that circles the globe and is trying to take over the world by making videogames. Each of the game’s main characters had a different visual style associated with them, so cut scenes starring them would be delivered in decoupage, or ball-point pen jotterdoodles or whatever. There was definitely a bit where there was live action footage of someone barbecuing some Barbies. There’s a gameshow set in Russia about potatos where all the characters are played by peoples real hands with googly-eyes stuck on them. The game ends with a massive musical number featuring every single NPC singing to thank the player for sticking with it. It’s by far the most joyously anarchic game I’ve ever played. And it was inventive from a gameplay structure as well - every challenge in the game was freely editable. If you couldn’t make it through a course, you could drop into edit mode and add a rail or a jump. Before any of us were really talking about UGC, way before Little Big Planet, this was a major triple AAA game that made creating and playing indistinguishable.
  20. 20. Chapter 5 - death And so, whereas 5 years ago when I saw a bit of Mario needlepoint, or a webcomic about GoldenEye, I was thrilled, now my heart sinks a bit. It feels like by coalescing around these shared reference points, we’re losing the vitality and unpredictability that I used to love about games culture. It feels like we’re starting to calcify. And this is the source of my anxiety. One of the reasons that I got out of academia - other than that I sucked at it - was that it was utterly moribund and self-referential. It was impossible to write anything without referencing the core canon of books that came before. My particular bete-noir was this text. The big question about early Cistercian life - forgive the mini history lecture - was whether or not they lived up to their own hype. Cistercianism had at its heart an opposition to the lazy luxury that was seen, by the 12th century, as the hallmark of Benedictine monastic life. The Cistercians, by contrast, were going to seek out hardship and isolation. They were going to live poor, pure lives that would be more pleasing to God. Much scholarship has been devoted to the question of whether or not they ever really managed to, or if over-excited doners, swayed by their promise of impoverished piety, immediately deluged them in so much cash that they ended up rich before they ever had a chance to be pure. Lekai’s Ideals and Reality is seen as a pivotal text here. Except, if you read it, what he actually says is ‘dear god don’t get suckered into an endless debate about ideals vs reality. Of course the truth is more nuanced and there are a million more interesting questions to ask’. Except, for 50 years, no-one seems to have read beyond the title and if you want to write anything about the Cistercians you are first required to ‘sitatuate yourself in the Ideals vs Reality’ debate. I was determined to let the thing die - it felt utterly self-defeating to write a big chapter about how we needed to let this thing drop. A much more effective way to drop it would just be to *drop it*. But I was also an inexperienced, ignorant idiot who failed their doctorate for exactly this kind of pig-headedness.
  21. 21. Chapter 5 - death And so, whereas 5 years ago when I saw a bit of Mario needlepoint, or a webcomic about GoldenEye, I was thrilled, now my heart sinks a bit. It feels like by coalescing around these shared reference points, we’re losing the vitality and unpredictability that I used to love about games culture. It feels like we’re starting to calcify. And this is the source of my anxiety. One of the reasons that I got out of academia - other than that I sucked at it - was that it was utterly moribund and self-referential. It was impossible to write anything without referencing the core canon of books that came before. My particular bete-noir was this text. The big question about early Cistercian life - forgive the mini history lecture - was whether or not they lived up to their own hype. Cistercianism had at its heart an opposition to the lazy luxury that was seen, by the 12th century, as the hallmark of Benedictine monastic life. The Cistercians, by contrast, were going to seek out hardship and isolation. They were going to live poor, pure lives that would be more pleasing to God. Much scholarship has been devoted to the question of whether or not they ever really managed to, or if over-excited doners, swayed by their promise of impoverished piety, immediately deluged them in so much cash that they ended up rich before they ever had a chance to be pure. Lekai’s Ideals and Reality is seen as a pivotal text here. Except, if you read it, what he actually says is ‘dear god don’t get suckered into an endless debate about ideals vs reality. Of course the truth is more nuanced and there are a million more interesting questions to ask’. Except, for 50 years, no-one seems to have read beyond the title and if you want to write anything about the Cistercians you are first required to ‘sitatuate yourself in the Ideals vs Reality’ debate. I was determined to let the thing die - it felt utterly self-defeating to write a big chapter about how we needed to let this thing drop. A much more effective way to drop it would just be to *drop it*. But I was also an inexperienced, ignorant idiot who failed their doctorate for exactly this kind of pig-headedness.
  22. 22. Chapter 5 - death And so, whereas 5 years ago when I saw a bit of Mario needlepoint, or a webcomic about GoldenEye, I was thrilled, now my heart sinks a bit. It feels like by coalescing around these shared reference points, we’re losing the vitality and unpredictability that I used to love about games culture. It feels like we’re starting to calcify. And this is the source of my anxiety. One of the reasons that I got out of academia - other than that I sucked at it - was that it was utterly moribund and self-referential. It was impossible to write anything without referencing the core canon of books that came before. My particular bete-noir was this text. The big question about early Cistercian life - forgive the mini history lecture - was whether or not they lived up to their own hype. Cistercianism had at its heart an opposition to the lazy luxury that was seen, by the 12th century, as the hallmark of Benedictine monastic life. The Cistercians, by contrast, were going to seek out hardship and isolation. They were going to live poor, pure lives that would be more pleasing to God. Much scholarship has been devoted to the question of whether or not they ever really managed to, or if over-excited doners, swayed by their promise of impoverished piety, immediately deluged them in so much cash that they ended up rich before they ever had a chance to be pure. Lekai’s Ideals and Reality is seen as a pivotal text here. Except, if you read it, what he actually says is ‘dear god don’t get suckered into an endless debate about ideals vs reality. Of course the truth is more nuanced and there are a million more interesting questions to ask’. Except, for 50 years, no-one seems to have read beyond the title and if you want to write anything about the Cistercians you are first required to ‘sitatuate yourself in the Ideals vs Reality’ debate. I was determined to let the thing die - it felt utterly self-defeating to write a big chapter about how we needed to let this thing drop. A much more effective way to drop it would just be to *drop it*. But I was also an inexperienced, ignorant idiot who failed their doctorate for exactly this kind of pig-headedness.
  23. 23. But now, when I see that same canon emerging in games, I get flickers of the same feelings. I love the shared vocabulary, the common reference points, but I also could very gladly go to my grave without ever again hearing the word Mario or Ocarina or Bioshock. It’s not that those games aren’t good or interesting. It’s that ever time we talk about one of these are *aren’t* talking about something else.
  24. 24. I love all these games! But now, when I see that same canon emerging in games, I get flickers of the same feelings. I love the shared vocabulary, the common reference points, but I also could very gladly go to my grave without ever again hearing the word Mario or Ocarina or Bioshock. It’s not that those games aren’t good or interesting. It’s that ever time we talk about one of these are *aren’t* talking about something else.
  25. 25. I love all these games! Well, most of them... But now, when I see that same canon emerging in games, I get flickers of the same feelings. I love the shared vocabulary, the common reference points, but I also could very gladly go to my grave without ever again hearing the word Mario or Ocarina or Bioshock. It’s not that those games aren’t good or interesting. It’s that ever time we talk about one of these are *aren’t* talking about something else.
  26. 26. And those other games are utterly amazing - often more interesting, in their flawed inventiveness or their weird niche appeal. There is no book or article or keynote speech you can find that will teach you more about the possibilities and significances of games than taking the time to play and experience these things. Everything I know about games I learned from games.
  27. 27. But I learned as much from these And those other games are utterly amazing - often more interesting, in their flawed inventiveness or their weird niche appeal. There is no book or article or keynote speech you can find that will teach you more about the possibilities and significances of games than taking the time to play and experience these things. Everything I know about games I learned from games.
  28. 28. But I learned as much from these ...if not more And those other games are utterly amazing - often more interesting, in their flawed inventiveness or their weird niche appeal. There is no book or article or keynote speech you can find that will teach you more about the possibilities and significances of games than taking the time to play and experience these things. Everything I know about games I learned from games.
  29. 29. The learned as much from these But Itruth is I have nothing as smart to say about these games as what these games have to say about themselves. ...if not more And those other games are utterly amazing - often more interesting, in their flawed inventiveness or their weird niche appeal. There is no book or article or keynote speech you can find that will teach you more about the possibilities and significances of games than taking the time to play and experience these things. Everything I know about games I learned from games.
  30. 30. Tiny Haystack Game Step 1: Pick an interesting game you’ve played Step 2: Ask, ‘Has anyone played X?’ Step 3: If anyone answers ‘yes’... Step 4: ...say ‘Funny, me neither.’ Step 5: Think of a new game And so that’s my takeaway. When we all come together like this, let’s not talk about common ground. Let’s not trade notes on the thing that’s on the front page of every gaming blog this week. Try to have conversations about things that no-one’s heard of. Talk about things that came out 20 years ago as well as things that are coming out 2 weeks from now. Stop clustering around the 100 shiny needles that other people have found and instead go jump and frolic and tumble in any one of a thousand un-touched haystacks.
  31. 31. THANK YOU! DIGRA 2013 @ranarama www.hideandseek.net

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