The game design lineages method is the most viable historical research tool I’ve yet encountered for examining games and videogames, although it is only a part of the wider research project into player practices that I have been pursuing for much of the last decade. It began with Imaginary Games, applying Walton’s concept of props that prescribe certain imaginings to games, and then asking about the key props for videogames – such as inventories, maps, and save games, all of which condition the play of videogames in highly significant ways. This also brought out how videogames were dominated by two particular props – guns and goals – leading me to suggest (back in 2011) that authentic artistic innovation in these media would have to subvert the player practices surrounding these props, as Dear Esther, Proteus, and everything by Tale of Tales does to great effect.
If you just saw a post about game design lineages... that shouldn't have gone up until tomorrow. Temporal powers asserted!
Welcome back to Only a Game, the musings and nonsense of game designer, philosopher, and author Chris Bateman! I am busily weaving my magic behind the scenes, preparing for a host of new blog pieces exploring historical game lineages, cybervirtue, and more besides, not to mention gearing up for the promotional tour for The Virtuous Cyborg, which is coming out this March. Some things to look for…
- Virtuous Cyborg Endorsements: The endorsements for The Virtuous Cyborg are in, and can be read over at the landing page at cyborg.ihobo.com. Check it out! My thanks to Jane McGonigal, Justin Robertson, Michaël Samyn, and Babette Babich for their kind words about the new book.
- UK Speaking Tour: I will be touring the UK and further afield to promote the book in March, April, and May, culminating at some point in a big event in London to coincide with Justin Robertson’s new art exhibition (more on this soon!). If you would like me as a visiting speaker, please get in touch using the contact link at ihobo.com, or any of the usual methods.
- Player Practices Research: My player practices research project continues to gather steam, and I will be engaging in some more work on game design lineages this Spring prior to the book coming out. Expect something to appear in the next week or so to set the scene for this.
- History of Videogame Shops: I am working on tracing the game design lineages of videogame shops and money – I would be grateful for any input anyone has concerning early examples of stock trading games like the 1940s SHOC (which I used to own…), games influenced by trading in 1984’s Elite, the origins of the round shop in 1999’s Counter-Strike, or any other significant development in videogame shops and money.
- Lineages of Zelda: Have started another game of The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild on the Switch, having already played it on the Wii U, and am getting dangerously close to writing about it. There may be a Lineages of Zelda serial this Spring if this all works out!
See y’all in the corners of the internet!
The Winter Solstice, the oldest of the religious festivals at this time of the year, and the origin of a great many of the traditions of Christmas, and thus too the traditions of its more widely-celebrated successor Swik.
The shortest day and the longest night… small wonder this time of year is peak time for depression. But don’t let your demons get their talons into you… there’s always hope, always a chance at rebirth. The days will get longer, life is eventually renewed, and every volcanic devastation is followed by a wild season of bloom.
A new dawn is coming, and beyond it another, and another, and so on and so forth until the last syllable of recorded time… Macbeth wields this metaphor to express his weariness with life – but nothing stops us from taking this repetition in another direction, as Nietzsche attempted. Maybe life is indeed a tale told by an idiot – by many idiots, actually! – but that cannot also mean it signifies nothing.
Only a Game returns in the Gregorian New Year.
Over at Adventure Gamers is a new interview with me talking about my first game as lead writer and designer, Discworld Noir. Here’s an extract:
Pretty sure every character in Noir that wasn't borrowed from the books (like Vimes, Gaspode, Death etc.) was invented by me. The one exception was Laredo Cronk, which was created by me at Terry's request. He loved Tomb Raider and wanted a Discworld pastiche of Lara, and I was happy to oblige! I had some fights with him about the names, but he had given me a broad licence to make a new cast for this one, owing to the concept being so original. I guess that makes me the only person other than Terry to have made Discworld characters... Hadn't really considered that before!
Cross-posted from ihobo.com.