Books: Impro

Impro and
Impro for Storytellers,
by Keith Johstone

Any designer who wants to talk seriously about the possibilities of storytelling through games really ought to have some experience with improvised theatre. And if you read only one book on impro, then these two are it. Written by the father of modern Theatresports, they go well beyond the games and discuss why they were first invented and what they were designed to teach. For the teacher, they are a humbling example of how to be sensitive to the needs of your class and free your students from the fear of failure, but to the game designer they provide the most valuable thing: a shining example of the real possibility of “interactive storytelling” in all its glory, along with practical advice on how to achieve it.

Published in: on August 22, 2008 at 8:55 am  Comments (4)  
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Understanding Games

On the Secret books thread I asked the question whether it would be possible to create a game which does for games what “Understanding Comics” does for comics. That is, a game which taught some of the history and design theory for games. Two readers pointed me towards “Understanding Games” a series of four short Flash games (#1 pictured above) by pixelate.

Published in: on August 12, 2008 at 7:58 am  Comments (1)  

Magrat and Sir Henry: Steampunk Heroes

GameCareerGuide‘s latest Game Design Challenge is to create the next video game hero. I was taken by this challenge. In my entry, below, I decided on not one hero, but two:

Published in: on August 7, 2008 at 6:59 am  Comments (3)  
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Books: Playing Politics

Playing PoliticsPlaying Politics: The Nightmare Continues
by Michael Laver

This book is a rare little gem that deserves wider exposure in the game-design community. Written by a Professor of Politics, its aim is to teach readers the forces that drive the political process. Prof. Laver has cleverly distilled a number of common political scenarios into a dozen small games. The rules to each game are simple, but the dynamics that they unleash are subtle and complex, including electioneering, coalition negotiation, bribery, backstabbing and more.


Published in: on August 7, 2008 at 2:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Game design lessons: Scrabble and Wordscraper

Wordscraper is the new attempt by the Agarwalla brothers to keep the Scrabulous legacy alive. I am not going to comment on the legal issues, as others have done already. Rather, I’d like to explore what the comparison between Scrabble and Wordscraper teaches us about game design.

Published in: on August 4, 2008 at 3:33 am  Comments (9)  
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