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They Lied to Us

They promised us the future, but it’s just not here yet.

All these “connected” devices fail all around me.

It’s a luxury problem, for sure – but still I get the feeling that we have been shortchanged.

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They’re not taking your food away

It’s funny how I read article after article (the last one in German) about Soylent and every one of them goes into full-blown panic mode in the second half: OMG, it’s going to destroy all our food, we’re going to be forced to drink this, this isn’t fun, what’s with the cultural heritage of preparing and eating food – alone and in a social setting?

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So-Called Social Games

[The following text is part of my upcoming master’s thesis on the use of game mechanics in therapy games for children. This is just a rough first draft, and I gladly welcome all critique and suggestions – be it on a content level or regarding my use of language.

After having analysed some of the most-played Facebook games in previous instalments of this series (Candy Crush Saga, FarmVille 2, Puzzle Bobble Clones, Diamond Dash and Pet Rescue Saga), this final chapter looks at what is so “social” about these “social games” – if at all.]

It is a common assumption that games that are part of the Facebook platform are inherently more “social” than other games, since that platform offers the possibility to developers to tap into the social graph.

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Game Designer Discovered Pacing!

Over at The Astronauts, someone figured something out. Sometimes, games work even when you’re not shooting things.

Listed below, there are five well known action-adventure games. Think about your favorite, most memorable moments from the single player part of each, then click on the + spoiler button and see if I have managed to guess any of these moments.

What do all these moments have in common?

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Value and Temperature Structure as Guiding Principles in Game Art

If you follow my Twitter account, then you should already know that I regularly post stuff from Muddy Colors.

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Well Played

Since I’m always on the lookout for game studies related material, here is a new, interesting journal: Well Played.

The Well Played Journal is a forum for in-depth close readings of video games that parse out the various meanings to be found in the experience of playing a game. It is a reviewed journal open to submissions that will be released on a regular basis with high-quality essays.

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Disney's Appmate

Actually, this is quite old and Janina told me about it a long time ago, but it remained in my little box of ideas that still need to be processed.

So, Disney actually produced an iPad game for their Cars franchise – using actual toy cars, that can be dragged over the iPad screen, controlling the game.

Probably best to have a look at it:

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Drama, baby, drama! About Coping Mechanisms in Teenage Bullying

Given the fact that I’ve produced a game that is all about bullying as my bachelor’s thesis, I’m now more aware of the topic. Even more so given the fact that the game in its current form is still more a proof of concept rather than a proper game. Since I plan to finish and release the game at some point, I keep an eye open for any developments and insights on the field.

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Swiss Game Development: Block Duel by Bummzack

When there is actually something happening it the Swiss games’ scene, it should be noted. Even more so when the game is

  • available for free
  • based on a clever idea
  • and released without much fanfare.

Well, here comes the fanfare.

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First Person Shooter – Rethought

If it weren’t for developers like Defiant Development, you’d easily believe that creativity in the games industry is nearly extinct.

But those guys actually manage to take a really old and tired concept – i. e. a first person shooter – and spin it in order to make something else entirely:

A first person shooter.

Seriously. Hear me out.

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Would You Kindly? Playing Irrational Games' Bioshock

The praise that Bioshock has received from other critics is – after having played through the game – definitely well earned. Even though I’m usually not exactly a very good FPS player, I managed to get through the whole game. And it definitely was worth it. The world building in Bioshock is excellent, be its embedment into the historical background, or the rich story that shines through at every corner, or finally the beautifully captured art deco architecture, which simply is a joy to explore and walk through.

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Laundropong

‘I realised that the skills I had developed in the virtual world were useless in the real world. I wanted to make them useful,’ says the 27-year-old [Lee Wei Chen].

So, as any self-respecting 27-year-old design student would, he clamped a game onto a washing machine, as Design Week reports.

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Blogs for Game Design Students

And as long as we’re at the lists for game design students, this one might come in handy as well: A list of 20 game design blogs that students will love:

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Meta Games

Hidden deep in the trenches of Instapaper I found this little gem – as a matter of fact, this should be required reading for all game design students.

A huge list of meta-games: games about games.

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Offline for a while

Currently, I’m sitting on a plane leaving for Amsterdam. So yes, I’m on holidays!

Internet connectivity might be limited during the next two weeks until August 8 – depending on the availability of free WiFi. All your pending requests and mail will be dealt with after my return, promised.

But then again, you might be in for some new flickr pictures afterwards … ;)

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