Friday, March 24, 2006

What's Next: Will Wright

The description of Will Wright's keynote at the Game Developers' Conference was "Why are you still reading this? It's Will Wright." I'd say that was a fairly accurate synopsis.

Will Wright spoke to a packed Civic Auditorium yesterday, and blazed through a laundry list of topics. For example, tying astrobiology to his latest beast, Spore. The coolest thing about the speech wasn't actually any crazy revelation about Spore, or some brilliant insight into the myriad fields he touched on. Rather, his frantic speech showed "What's Next in Game Design" without actually explicitly stating it.

Satoru Iwata had a very different keynote earlier that day, but the two talks definitely resonated. Today's games (the ones that the industry complains about) are just pushing pixels to the screen. What's next in game design is tying fields together. Whether it's for kooky simulations like Spore, or the novel Brain Training series for Nintendo DS, games that show a level of competency beyond "Play-Win-Repeat" are what the industry needs to move forward.

Thankfully, game makers seem to understand this. One game that comes to mind is Cloud, an entrant into the Independent Games Festival that, as was mentioned at the Game Developers' Rant, concerns itself with emotion over scores, fraglimits, blue cardkeys, etcetera. It's also important to note that this game isn't some CPU-melting meterological simulation. You, quite simply, play with clouds.

Emotion, interdisciplinarity. That's what's next.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Serious Games Presentation

If you're here for the Serious Games slides, look no further.

You can download them in PDF format, or SWF (Flash) format.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, on March 1st I held a couple of workshops at the National EAST Conference in Hot Springs, where I talked (and talked and talked) about Serious Games. If you're interested, grab the slides, or follow these citations for more information.

Adage's HCI study with Shadowgrounds
Social Impact Games