Today’s episode features an hour-long discussion with game designer at NYU Game Center teacher Charles Pratt. Charles and I met at the Practice conference and had some good discussions, and I think our perspectives live at that rare place where they’re not too different so that we can’t communicate, but they’re also not so similar where we have nothing to discuss. Overall, I think it was a great conversation and I hope you guys agree.
Also, be sure to check out Charles’ podcast (if you haven’t already), called Another Castle. His podcast hasn’t recorded an episode in a few years, but there’s a bunch of interviews there with a ton of interesting people.
As always, you can support the show by becoming a patron at Patreon.com.
Frank Lantz wrote an article last night called “Against Design“. When I read the article, I was kind of confused by what I was supposed to take away from it, as there are some conflicting statements in the article. However, based on the title and what I know of Frank, I took it as “to some extent I am rejecting the idea of game design as a discipline”.
I’ve started a new video series called 3 Minute Game Design. I created a YouTube channel for it, and have posted the first entry in the series. Episode 1 discusses some fundamental ideas like prescriptive language and the very idea that we can prescribe guidelines for better game design.
If you like this video series and want to see more episodes, please support my Patreon campaign.
I’m launching a Patreon campaign to support my article writing and possibly help me create other game-design-related media.
With my second book, Clockwork Game Design finished (it will be out March of next year), I want to really up my game in terms of article writing. You’ll notice that I’ve re-designed my site. That’s only the beginning! I want to write articles more regularly and constantly increase the level of quality with each article.
Further, I want to go back and maintain articles. I want to update, or in some cases completely re-do articles if they’re no longer valid/relevant. In other words, I want keithburgun.net to be a reliable source for the latest in cutting-edge game design philosophy.
Homeopathy, for those who don’t know, is a form of alternative “medicine”. It involves diluting an active medicinal ingredient into a solution so many times that there ends up being a mathematically near-zero chance of the solution containing even a single molecule of the active ingredient. Yet the United States spent 3.1 billion on homeopathic products in 2007, which can seem pretty strange to someone who understands what it really is.
Now, clearly homeopathy doesn’t “work” in the sense of having actual medicinal effects. Homeopaths have tried to claim that it does by conjuring all sorts of bizarre theories, one of the most common being that “water has a memory” – it can “remember” the molecules that used to be in it, and somehow that memory has an effect. Whatever – pretty obviously nonsense but that’s not what concerns me here.
What does interest me is the fact that homeopathy does work in the sense that people think it works. The placebo effect is very powerful (for some kinds of ailments, anyway), and having a “school of medicine” with practitioners all telling you that this sugar pill will stop your headache may alleviate the pain, since pain is understood to be a highly subjective sense that can be affected by the state of mind of a person. The simple concept that “you’re being taken care of now, everything will be OK” may bring comfort to that person. Here’s a really great Derren Brown video showing the great power of placebo. Continue reading “Game Placebo”