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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 32 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: "All games are, is systems" - interesting article about game design  (Read 1221 times)
Eszed
Member

Posts: 31


« on: December 15, 2010, 03:51:08 PM »


I'm not developing a game, I just want to direct attention to an article that may be of interest.  It's about Brenda Braithwaite, a long-time video game designer who has designed a series of 'art' games around difficult topics:

Quote
The series was sprung one afternoon in 2007, when her daughter Maezza followed a thoughtless rehash of the day’s school lesson about the Middle Passage by asking to play a game. Brathwaite invented a game on the spot. She had Maezza spend half an hour painting wooden pawns and grouping them into families. Brathwaite then scooped the pawns at random, placed them on an index card, and explained the rules: You have 10 turns to cross the ocean and 30 units of food; each turn you must roll the die and use that much food. After a series of high rolls, Maezza looked to her mother: “Mommy, we’re not going to make it.”

Afterwards, Maezza cried as she asked for the first time about the family history of her father, who is part black. Summarizing the experience at the Game Developers Conference this year, Brathwaite said, “All these amazing questions that came about not because she saw a movie, not because she got a poster, not because she got some dumb interactive lecture, but because she made characters. She spent half an hour with those characters, and those characters mattered to her, and those characters’ lives were affected by a Middle Passage that happened on an index card.”

There's more, including an Actual Play report on the game with a Holocaust theme, and this gem:

Quote
“I wanted to do a design exercise to see if you could use game mechanics to express difficult subjects,” Braithwaite says. “Every single atrocity, every single migration of people—there was a system behind it. If you can find that system, you can make a game about it. All games are, is systems.”

Go read the whole thing.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2010, 05:10:55 PM »

This is a great link, but here's what this thread needs in order to continue at the Forge. You need to:

1. Relate anything you find in the link to something experiential, for you, in your history of role-playing. It can be big or little, recent or long past, and by "relate," I mean alike or in sharp contrast. Post about that here.

2. Then I'll move the thread to Actual Play, and all will be well.

Best, Ron
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Eszed
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2010, 07:34:17 AM »

My apologies, Ron.  I don't have any experience that directly relates.  I thought the Game Design forum would be the place to post something interesting about game design.  Move or delete as you feel appropriate.

/back to lurking...
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