Apr 26, 2010

Honey Nut Cheerios Augmented Reality

Cereal Boxes are playing video games ahead of schedule, courtesy of Augmented Reality! Thanks to David Shaver for this link!

Apr 22, 2010

Critical Compilation

Whoa -- David Carlton, who writes the blog Critical Distance, went through the trouble to round up the many thoughtful blog posts about my Beyond Facebook talk at DICE 2010, in a post called Critical Compilation. It's a great collection of the surprising amount of thoughtful discussion that talk engendered. I wish more of it were positive! But, as Lily Tomlin wisely said, "The human ability to communicate is based on a deep inner need to complain." I'm just glad people are thinking!

Apr 20, 2010

Wii Vitality Sensor

Somehow I missed this -- Nintendo is planning to release a pulse meter for the Wii. So, your heartbeat can be part of a game.

Apr 18, 2010

Game Informer Interview

I recently did an interview with Game Informer about the Gamepocalypse. It's on pages 36 and 37 of issue 205 (May 2010). Scanned here. Would have been cooler if they spelled my name right, but, hey. +5 Jesse points to the first non-Schell Gamer who can guess what game that is in the picture.

Cultivated Play: Farmville

Here is a very thoughtful essay by A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz about the potential woes of social gaming, calling into question whether Farmville is actually a game. He tries to do this by invoking Callois's definition of game, but, by that definition, one who plays organized sports is not necessarily playing a game either. And, semantics aside, it is an interesting thought that cultivation based games like Farmville have rather a lot in common with sports -- they both involve gradual improvement over time, they both involve time-based obligations, they are usually more work than fun, and they both involve social pressure to succeed in order not to let others down. Which makes me think that detractors of social games who say "no game that is not fun can survive very long" should perhaps take a moment to consider why organized sports are still going strong after six thousand years, or at least read this paper by Scott Rigby about why "fun" does not seem to be the key reason that people play games.

So -- in short, my opinion is that just because Farmville is not "fun" does not mean it will not survive. Instead, the sustained popularity of a "not fun" game may well mean we've found a new kind of gameplay, and woven one more strand into the mesh that is the Gamepocalypse.

Apr 14, 2010


We all try to stick to our commitments -- to lose weight, to quit smoking, to write that novel, but it's hard. Mainly because we're not letting anyone down but ourselves. But now there is stickK. It works like this -- you decide a punishment for not making your commitment, and appoint a referee. So, like, you might say, "If I don't lose five pounds this month, I'll pay $100 to a charity I hate.", and you appoint your friend to decide if you've done it or not. You give the appropriate email info and your credit card to stickK, and now you are stuckK! If you don't do it, you lose the money, and are ashamed in front of your friends! So, you might at least be pleased to know that it isn't impartial machines that will decide your fate in the gamepocalypse, it will be your gloating "friends."

Oh! and if you want to, you can try to meet certain business goals, and get Staples "EasyPoints"!

Apr 4, 2010

TED Talk

Apparently, I gave a TED talk! Well, not really, but the TED folks put an edited version of my DICE talk on their site. Some of the discussion in the comments section is interesting.

Now that I've given a TED talk, maybe one day, I'll actually get to go to TED!

Apr 3, 2010

New York City Bails on its Anti-Poverty Game

New York City had been experimenting with paying poor people for "good behavior" -- good grades, getting a library card, going to the dentist... but they've pulled the plug on the program.

Read about it here.

Is this a step back from the Gamepocalypse? I don't think so -- I think it is a step forward, because now New York realizes that these programs only work when the game design is good enough. Or as they put it: “Big lesson for the future? Got to make it a lot more simple.”

One lens down (#42), ninety-nine to go. :)

Apr 2, 2010

Google ReaderAdvantage

This is a joke... for now!

"Now that I've reached the secret Diamond Princess level, my points accrue in triplicate. I can just sit and press 'j' all day long without actually reading anything, use my points to pay for food & clothing, and keep doing just that... forever."

I wonder if they saw my talk? :)