Koster's keynote from Game Developers Conference

The Game Developers' Conference is on in San Francisco, and Raph Koster — the guy behind Star Wars Galaxies and author of the magnificent book A Theory of Fun — gave the opening keynote. Alice was there and here are her notes:

Games are training us to find underlying patterns. Games are teaching us to find patterns in a systemic way. The downside to learning is that you only get to do it once. Once you've learned something, you're done .. until you forget it, of course. Take Tic tac toe. It's a finite mathematical space. Any six year old can tell you that tic tac toe is a stupid game. oh that's dumb, it's always a tie. Read BLINK, it's a great hi level intro to this. Once you've chunked this and figured tic tac toe out, it's time to move on.

 All games are entertainment. Tetris: spatial relationships. Some games – Mario – teach you to explore. This is an interesting and subtle lesson to teach; the fact is as adults, as we build a large library of chunks, we get lazy. "I don't need any more chunks, I have enough to survive now". Then we get Alzheimer's and die. Seeking out new information, hidden behind bricks, books, people, is actually pretty important. There's interesting work in early stage Alzheimer patients … learning a new language or playing videogames both retard the onset. Some games teach motor skills. A recurrent internet meme is this web based bubble wrap popping. I submit that this memegame and Quake 3 are the same game. Finding a point in 2d space and clicking on it…