Spiele als Konzeptkunst

June 3, 2021

Lose Gedanken zu möglicherweise überraschenden Parallelen.

“In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work.”

(Paragraphs on Conceptual Art – Sol LeWitt)

In die während der 1960er Jahre entstandene Kategorie der Konzeptkunst passen auf den ersten Blick die wenigsten modernen Videospiele.

Read the rest of this entry »

Neues PICO-8 Spiel: Martial Cards

May 29, 2021

Auch hier der Hinweis: Martial Cards, ein kartenbasiertes Roguelike, ist jetzt verfĂĽgbar! Nicht nur als virtuelle Cartridge fĂĽr die Fantasy-Konsole PICO-8, auf der es entwickelt wurde, sondern auch fĂĽr Windows, Linux, Mac oder direkt im (mobilen) Browser!

You signed up for the biggest martial-arts challenge in history! In a gauntlet beyond example, contestants from all around the world face myriads of artificial monstrosities to find out who can deal with them performing the most stylish and efficient combos. There’s a twist though – you can only move in accordance with the hand of cards you’re holding. Ah, there’s nothing like the beautiful arbitrariness of game rules…

Ludomedia #80

May 15, 2021


Games media worth reading, watching or listening to.

Frank Lantz & Naomi Clark: Looking Back and Looking Forward

  • “The thing that makes a game actually work is often not the same thing as the thing that makes it sound cool.”
  • “We don’t have any idea what we’re doing. […] And actually it’s totally fine that that’s the case. […] Understanding games, in part, means finding out what we’re discovering by making them.”

Keith Burgun: How To Add Strategy To Your Tactics Game

  • “The classical way that developers have added longer arcs to tactical games has been to have a second screen, from which you draw a few variables, such as which troops have survived, what loot you’ve found, and things like that. You often have some kind of base building or RPG mini-game, as is the case in X-Com, or Into the Breach. But what if you’re interested in asking the question: ‘how can I make the tactical game – the battlefield game *itself* – more strategic?'”

Mark Brown: The Power of Video Game HUDs

  • “Ultimately, if something can’t be made clear to the player then maybe it’s not a good game mechanic and should be simplified. UI isn’t a band-aid to fix broken game mechanics. And this is why it’s important to design the HUD in tandem with everything else and not throw it together at the end.”

Rune Skovbo Johansen: Designing for a Sense of Mystery and Wonder

  • “I play games to get to explore intriguing places, while challenge and story is secondary to me. But there still has to be a point to the exploration. I don’t want to just wander around some place – I want to uncover something intriguing and ideally mysterious. But the mystery lies not in the uncovering; it lies in the anticipation, or rather the lack of knowing exactly what I might find.”

Samuel Ratchkramer: Truth and Lies in Game Design

  • The idea that games are ideally some kind of canned holodeck program induces a fixation on surface-level imagery over meaning and utility. […] I curse you with the seed of doubt. I curse you to scrutinize the games you love and wonder if they’re everything you thought they were. But I don’t curse you in order to share my pain – I curse you because in the end I promise it isn’t a curse. I really don’t miss all the lies, because experience has taught me that they absolutely cannot compete with truth, with the real.

Game Log Q1/2021

April 1, 2021

A tweet-based journal of what I’ve been playing…

Read the rest of this entry »

Crimson Company: Neuer Kickstarter am 23. Februar

January 27, 2021

Hinweis in eigener Sache: Am 23. Februar kehrt Crimson Company zurück auf Kickstarter! Neben der mittlerweile dritten Erweiterung Wildwood Tales wollen wir auch versuchen, eine PC-Version an den Start zu bringen. Letztere wird voll kompatibel mit den bereits verfügbaren Apps für iOS und Android sein, die am selben Tag (nach einem finalen Reset des bisherigen Testlaufs) in ihre offizielle Early-Access-Phase starten.

Begleitet wird das alles von einer Reihe Live-Streams, unter anderem von Tom Vasel im Rahmen der Dice-Tower-Show “What’s APPening?” und von Hearthstone-Streaming-Größe Dekkster.

Noch etwas ausfĂĽhrlicher haben wir den ganzen Prozess ĂĽbrigens in unserem aktuellen Newsletter dargelegt.

Ludomedia #79

January 5, 2021


Games media worth reading, watching or listening to.

Kevin Kuipers: A Pico-8 story: How the fantasy console unlocked Frédéric Souchu’s dreams

  • “Pico-8 provides both strict limitations and straight forward creation allowing you to easily make amazing playable creations in a few hours. Alongside the all-in-one suite, Pico-8 also provides a platform to share your creations with the community and a forum to meet other Pico-8 enthusiasts. As you would expect, some of them are insanely skilled.”

Mark Brown: How Watch Dogs: Legion Works

  • “Because it’s not supported by the game design in any real way, it’s all rendered largely meaningless. […] Watch Dogs: Legion is a strong reminder that innovation alone is not worth chasing. It’s only when those clever ideas are actually supported by the rest of the game and become a critical part of the structure, that they become legendary bits of design.”

Matthewmatosis: Meta Microvideos

  • “In a sense, games are evolving to exploit us. […] On paper, wouldn’t we all agree that getting better at a game yourself is much more rewarding than pretending you’ve gotten better by unlocking more upgrades? […] As a species, we have these collective weaknesses and, now more than ever, games are tapping into them.”

The Game Overanalyser: The Immersive Fallacy in Game Design

  • “Maybe VR is making the same mistake as traditional games: focusing on the sensory dimensions of representation instead of recognizing what kinds of novel mechanical and storytelling experiences they can craft.”

Timothy Welsh: (Re)Mastering Dark Souls

  • “For games developed explicitly around recurrent user payment monetization models, this reorganization of play as its opposite is fairly easy to identify. Dark Souls, however, was not designed for recurrent user payments. It has never included microtransactions and its one downloadable content patch was distributed for free. […] At the same time, however, Dark Souls cannot completely resist the neoliberal reformatting of play.”

Game Log Q4/2020

January 2, 2021

A tweet-based journal of what I’ve been playing…

Read the rest of this entry »

PICO-8: Kreativität durch Beschränkung

December 2, 2020

PICO-8 ist eine frei erfundene “Fantasy-Konsole”, die es so physisch nie gegeben hat, fĂĽr die aber seit einigen Jahren von einer eingeschworenen Fangemeinde unzählige Spiele entwickelt werden. Der Clou besteht dabei nicht nur einfach im “Retro-Feeling”, sondern der Philosophie, durch Beschränkungen Kreativität zu stiften.

Alpine Alpaca ist ein alpiner Deckbuilder… mit Alpaka!

Read the rest of this entry »

Ludomedia #78

November 27, 2020


Games media worth reading, watching or listening to.

Andreas Papathanasis: The argument for simpler games, in an industry obsessed with complexity

  • “This common obsession with complexity (regardless how well intentioned it starts) is at the root of many problems in the industry. Lack of focus and vision is often cited as a reason for a project that failed, and/or caused significant crunch and stress to employees. It is directly associated with complexity.”

Brett Lowey: Axes of Victory

  • “The Strategy Dance: Players make moves that change their commitment and power along each axis (some moves also change how much an opponent knows about each). Each player tries to find a “window” in which their power along some axis is sufficient relative to their opponent or the game state to allow for a win.”

Em Lazer-Walker: Using Game Design to Make Virtual Events More Social

  • “Roguelike Celebration took place in a custom browser-based text-based social space. Most of the UI and UX design were based on modern chat apps like Discord and Slack, but structurally it much more resembled MUDs, the text-based precursors to modern online MMOs.”

Keith Burgun: Clockwork Gamefest – 5 Year Anniversary Show

  • “Clockwork Gamefest: a conversation with a bunch of designers to commemorate the 5 year anniversary of the Clockwork Game Design Podcast. Guests include: Raph Koster, Dan Cook, Frank Lantz, Richard Terrell and many more!”

Story Mode: Outer Wilds — Storytelling Through Exploration

  • “The key to beating the game lies in making these paradigm-shifting scientific discoveries. […] Your tools haven’t changed and the places you can go haven’t changed, but suddenly you’ve unlocked a new rule about how to navigate this world because YOU have changed.”

🇩🇪 Literaturhinweis

Mario Donick: Let’s Play! Was wir aus Computerspielen über das Leben lernen können

Eine durchweg lesenswerte Abhandlung ĂĽber die diversen “Mehrwerte” des Spielens (und zum Teil auch ihre Kehrseiten). Der Schreibstil ist zugänglich und der Inhalt setzt keine speziellen Kenntnisse voraus, sodass sich das Buch auch als EinfĂĽhrung fĂĽr “AuĂźenstehende” eignet und, sofern sich darauf eingelassen wird, durchaus Ăśberzeugungsarbeit leisten kann. der Der Autor ist seines Zeichens Spielemacher (u.a. LamdaRogue) und Kommunikationswissenschaftler.

  • Aus dem Vorwort: “Ich will zeigen, dass Spielen an PC und Spielekonsole uns Erkenntnisse ĂĽber unser Leben und unsere Wirklichkeit auf eine Weise vermitteln kann, wie es andere Medien nicht können, und dass wir etwas Wertvolles verpassen, wenn wir Spiele nicht ernstnehmen.”

Spelunky 2: Ă–l ins Feuer

October 28, 2020

“In a game with randomized levels, people will keep playing just to see what comes up. But to make it more than a glorified slot machine requires putting together a collection of systems and rules that is worth understanding, behind a world that feels interconnected.”

(Derek Yu in “Spelunky”, Boss Fight Books #11)

Spelunky 2 macht vieles richtig, weil es vieles macht wie sein Vorgänger. Immer wieder zufällig neu angeordnete, sich räumlich bedeutsam ĂĽberlappende, in ihrem Verhalten klar und konsistent definierte Elemente und Subsysteme sorgen fĂĽr Emergenz, wie sie kaum ein anderes Spiel bietet. Dass das Platformer-Roguelike dabei im Kern ein ziemlich klassisches Jump’n’Run ist, spielt eine seltsam untergeordnete Rolle. Denn die in der mittlerweile dritten Auflage (die ursprĂĽngliche Freeware-Version mitgezählt) auch ziemlich fein polierte Kernmechanik ist es nicht, die den Titel von Derek Yu und seinem, diesmal um einige Mitstreiter erweiterten, Team so interessant macht.

Read the rest of this entry »