Why (and how) games are art

I sat down for an interview with the LA Times's Hero Complex to talk about my book In Real Life (I'm touring it now: Chicago tomorrow, then Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Warsaw, London…), and found myself giving a pretty good account of why games are art, and how the art of games works:

Theory of Fun tenth anniversary edition ships today

As mentioned earlier, the new edition of A Theory of Fun For Game Design by Raph Koster ships today — with updated text and color illustrations. It's an absolutely indispensable book about the phenomenon of fun, full of mind-blowing and very applicable insights into games, from a legendary designer (Koster led the design of Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima Online, among other accomplishments). — Read the rest

What is a game?

Back from the Games Developers' Conference in San Francisco, Raph Koster weighs in on the perennial debate about what makes a game, starting with his own classic formulation, "Playing a game is the act of solving statistically varied challenge situations presented by an opponent who may or may not be algorithmic within a framework that is a defined systemic model." — Read the rest

Taxonomy of social mechanics in multiplayer games

Yesterday's Game Developer Conference in San Francisco saw a smashing presentation from game-design legend Raph Koster, entitled, "Social Mechanics: The Engines Behind Everything Multiplayer." Alice from the Wonderland Blog took copious notes, and Raph has uploaded his slides.

#5: Tournaments: bracketing users.

Read the rest

Chat in Metaplace

I'm about to do an in-game chat with Metaplace, the online world started by Raph Koster — creator of Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima Online. It starts at 0600h Pacific/0900h Eastern/1300h UK. You can get online through the embed above.

(Disclosure: I am an unpaid advisor to Metaplace)

Update: We're done! — Read the rest

Learning makes your brain happy

Learning generates a brain reward:

This preference for knowledge about the future was intimately linked to the monkeys' desire for water. The same neurons in the middle of their brains signalled their expectations of both rewards – the watery prizes and knowledge about them.

Read the rest

Why the EVE Online industrial espionage econopocalypse is "fun"

Recently, the spreadsheets-in-space game EVE Online was rocked by a huge scandal — one of the largest virtual "corporations" in the game was infiltrated and toppled through in-game espionage. Much phosphor has been spilled over this, but master game designer Raph Koster has the smartest analysis I've seen — explaining how this scandal was inherent to the nature of what made the game fun. — Read the rest

Get a sneak peek at Metaplace MMO with Boing Boing Offworld


Raph Koster's Metaplace is offering the first 250 Offworld readers a chance to play around with the company's web-embeddable virtual meta-world.

Brandon has more:

Metaplace is also jumping ahead of the pack in modeling the software's Terms of Service around his 2000 manifesto "Declaring the Rights of Players", which gives creators "freedom of expression, ownership, including earning money & running their own world, privacy," and the ability to develop their own individual terms of service.

Read the rest