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1  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Designing notgames - Discuss design for digital "entertainment"? on: April 06, 2010, 08:40:37 PM
> In terms of people playing games, I like to make a distinction between games that aspire to be a medium and games that are just games, casual games, basically.


I for one am particularly interested in things that may have some lasting effect on their users - forming new memories, changing perspectives, encouraging the imagination or curiosity - as opposed to filling time, or (possibly overstating this? trying it on...) merely providing an alternative context for social interaction where the main draw is still other people. Is this the sort of distinction that you have in mind, or possibly close to it?

> I don't see nearly as much variety in videogames as I see in cinema, literature or music. It's not only the intellectuals that are not being served. It's also people who like romance, people who like comedy, people who like relaxing, etc.

There's a degree to which I think that action and strategy in videogames is a bit like love or rage in songs - the structure of the medium and how it interfaces with the consumer makes those particular applications both easier to produce successfully and also more profound in their effect on the user. While songs can be made about surgery or algebra, they are novelty mostly and lack the sort of reach (even across the many genres) of love songs or angry music. Likewise we can make things like videogames that are mechanically about something other than action or strategy, but they often come across as little more than novelty (often being labeled a "toy" or "virtual experience" depending upon its level of abstraction) to most users, even if they strike a chord with folks that the conventional varieties didn't appeal to.

> In other words: the public wants to be addicted, addiction is no longer a disease that needs to be cured.

There is definitely an element of this going on with regard to smoking here in the US, where (at least from what my self-filtered media exposure has me suspect) it is simultaneously less socially acceptable than in much of Europe but consequently also seen as more rebellious. The same goes for fast food like the double bacon cheeseburger. "Yeah, I know it's bad for me. I don't give a **** it's a free country, and no one can tell me what to do" being a sort of rarely spoken attitude underlying these things.

I think that how much this applies to addiction related to games though very much depends upon the particular audience and type of game. Casual games and Facebook games seem more like minor distractions, that someone isn't even going to try to excuse themselves for ("I was bored, so I did this to fill the time"), as opposed to World of Warcraft, an addiction which I have seen people attempt to hide on a number of occasions due to minor embarrassment over it (telling people they quit, then sneaking in matches when they say they're out with friends, etc.). The main form of addiction-as-defiance may be in the hardcore gamer market, the people that obsess over the latest $60 shelf games for the PS3/360/PC, squirming in rationale to defend gamer culture (which I'm not really sure even needs to be defended? perhaps I'm too close to it?).
2  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Designing notgames - Discuss design for digital "entertainment"? on: April 03, 2010, 01:07:23 AM
> I have changed the subtitle of the board to "Discuss the design of things that are not games."

I find this change most agreeable! Thanks!

> People don't get our work, so we hope to make it more appealing.

The people that do get your work find it very appealing! But this, as you've mentioned, is not everything.

> I disagree that videogames have reached a wide audience. Maybe that's because I'm in Europe where no-one above the age of 16 plays videogames.

Ah! I'm in San Francisco CA, US. Many people in their 20's and 30's here play Rock Band at social gatherings, gather around for PS3 and 360 Tiger Woods Golf and Madden Football, spend their afternoons playing online playing deathmatch and RTS games on their 360's and PC's. People here of all ages are playing Wii Sports at bars, nursing homes, and family gatherings. Right before GTA4 came out, there was perhaps no spot along Market Street along the Soma/Financial district divide where I could spin around with my eyes open without seeing at least one GTA4 ad on a billboard, bus, or freestanding advertising space. College kids wear shirts with classic videogame characters, and people standing in lines are playing games on their mobile phones and DS's. Moms are playing Bejeweled in the evenings, non-nerds are also playing games on Kongregate, and grown people of both genders are playing Facebook games. Where I'm at I am not concerned with how many people videogames are reaching, I'm concerned instead with the relative lack of variety in what's reaching people.

> In fact, most intellectuals and artists that I know do not play games.

Most intellectuals and artists don't necessarily enjoy Hollywood blockbuster films, but in some cases indie films appeal to them. Most intellectuals and artists don't necessarily enjoy chart topping pop music, but in some cases other styles (classical, jazz, obscure techno or metal, Philip Glass) appeals to them. Most intellectuals and artists don't necessarily enjoy mainstream videogames, either, but the ones I know that do (they're largely computer science types or other indie videogame developers themselves) have a preference for either old and obscure stuff or little unconventional indie stuff they find online (is Jason Rohrer the Philip Glass of videogames?).

Or maybe Marc ten Bosch?

> When I say "wide", I mean "diverse", as in consisting of many different kinds of people. I don't mean "mass".

Thank you for clarifying! *applauds*
3  General / Check this out! / notgame "feelforit" for iPhone/iTouch + detailed write up on: April 02, 2010, 11:13:43 PM
For the Special Topic section of my Text Lessons last month I did a lengthy write up about my recent notgame "feelforit" for iPhone/iTouch:

Included is discussion of how I am presenting it, what's underlying the mechanics, and the conceptual basis. It opens up with a ~1 minute video doing a quick show and tell, for anyone without an iPhone/iTouch that wants to get a better sense of what it looks like and how it works.

At the time of this posting, feelforit is free, so that anyone interested can try it out or suggest it to peers that have suitable hardware.
4  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Designing notgames - Discuss design for digital "entertainment"? on: April 02, 2010, 11:05:57 PM
> I think entertainment is good; you have good reasons, MichaĆ«l.  It's entertain in the engaging and fictional sense of the word.  Not really in the candy sense, which you might have first thought, Chris.

I understand that engaging and fictional are the connotations of the word. That is the definition that I am objecting to.

And funny you should clarify the candy sense, as this is one of my favorite notgames that I have made:

> I've grown a bit scared of provocation.

This was certainly not the impression that I got from the ToT presentation at AHoG.

> much more interesting and perhaps even appealing to a wider audience

Ah! But I am interested in a significantly more narrow audience! Videogames already have a huge audience. I'm looking to make and understand the things that appeal deeply to fewer people, rather than the things that appeal in a shallow way to as many people as possible (the market has done an excellent job of promoting the creation of the latter).

Professional wrestling and monster truck shows appeal to a wide audience.

> Anyway, words are lies.

Extreme forms of nihilism or skepticism aside, words are useful in setting expectations and direction, as it relates to both development efforts and consumer search/selection.

> Is "leisure software" a better word?

Leisure, pleasure, and joy are all in the same bin to me as entertainment. I.e. no, but your use of these words has perhaps helped to clarify what I am objecting to.

A dessert is more entertainment than it is food. A meal is more food than it is entertainment.

A romance novel is more entertainment than it is literature. A classic is more literature than it is entertainment.

Television news is more entertainment than it is journalism. Newspapers, at their best (which they certainly don't always achieve) are more journalism than they are entertainment.

A comedy show is more entertainment than it is instructive. A university lecture is more instructive than it is entertainment.

Hiring a stripper is more entertainment than it is fulfilling. Entering a relationship is more fulfilling than it is entertainment.

At least, based on the definition that I had in mind which had me excited about notgames:

Videogames are more entertainment than they are [anything else]. Notgames are more [anything else] than they are entertainment.

I recently wrote a bit of a tirade/polemic about "fun", a descriptor that isn't far from saying that something is "entertaining":

> If you have a better one than entertainment, let me know and I'll replace it.

I propose that "notgames" is a better word.

I pictured notgames as including art, but not just being art. I pictured notgames as including entertainment that does not prescribe to established game conventions, but not just being entertainment that does not prescribe to established game conventions.

> I also chose "entertainment" to differentiate the software we make from utilitarian software

While understandably we'd like to exclude Microsoft Office and Firefox from notgames (otherwise we'd just use the word software), I think the main distinction to me  here is that (at least as I understand it) technologies from videogames are borrowed, such as real-time rendering of spatial metaphors, settings and systems that carry on between user interactions, and so on.

Is something that has utility discounted from being a notgame? Slide 29 of this presentation from the serious games initiative seems relevant:
Despite the word "game" being used in many of those titles, most lack the same purpose, target demographic, or structure of most commercial videogames. Do any of those categories fall within notgames? Do none of those categories fall within notgames?

> I have added the word "art" to the description of this board. Does it make sense?

This certainly helps, and is greatly appreciated. However I still that it's overlooking non-trivial portions of potential notgames. If the words "entertainment and art" sufficed, why would we need to term notgames?

Why does a forum section titled "Designing notgames" need to be clarified with a subtitle "Discuss the design of digital entertainment and art"? Isn't this communicating by parallel that "notgames" = "digital entertainment and art"?
5  Creation / Notgames design / Designing notgames - Discuss design for digital "entertainment"? on: March 30, 2010, 09:06:38 PM
I've been making some tiny notgames for iPhone lately ("feelforit" is the best received at the moment), and when I came to catch up on the notgames forums I noticed that the Designing Notgames forum section (this one) bears the description, "Discuss design for digital entertainment."

I was vaguely of the impression that 'notgames' was coined with the intent of serving as a broader label, bringing with it a broad vocabulary of techniques from videogame development minus the roles that videogames have been assumed to fill (challenge me, facilitate my role in a competition, direct me through a narrative-supported obstacle course, entertain me, etc.).

Discussing design for digital entertainment seems not much further from videogames than discussing design for digital play. Many books are not for entertainment, and some movies are not for entertainment.

Was this merely my projecting my assumptions and own interests as an outsider to the movement? Or perhaps the word entertainment is intended here in an unusually broad sense, insofar as meeting new kinds of people is a form of entertainment, learning about new ideas is a form of entertainment, and freely exploring the artifact of another person's imagination is a form of entertainment?

Sorry to be concerned with semantics - escaping the baggage that words take on from their most common usages seems to me a big part of why the notgames concept is so important (!).

Edit: I've noticed this is prevalent, as in...
[another forum heading]
> Why notgames - Discuss the theory behind the idea of making interactive entertainment that is not games.
[from the manifesto]
> Can we create a form of digital entertainment that explicitly rejects the structure of games?
...I think maybe I have misunderstood - perhaps I am in the wrong place?
6  Creation / From the ridiculous to the sublime / Re: You found a dead body in the street! Draw on it. on: March 03, 2010, 05:42:11 PM
> And it was boring.

I reject your implied claim that something which becomes boring is at fault Wink

In October 2007, Ian Bogost wrote in Gamasutra*, "Proponents argue that casual games both open up new audiences for games and make new styles of games possible, but the genre has largely floundered in copycat titles. One reason for this is a lack of imagination about what casual might mean. I propose an alternative: casual games that players use and toss aside -- one play stands, serendipitous encounters never to be seen again."


Here's another one play stand, that I think makes its point rather clearly after the first play:

> I'm curious on how you made Tumult.

Tumult is a set of particles that use the vector field from Number28 (which resets its particles every frame) in a way that carries momentum for every particle. Here's Number28 for reference:

And some others...

Drift into love, and fall back out of it:

Express yourself through the private destruction of symbols:

Eat bugs:
(Warning! That one is sort of a videogame. I apologize.)
7  Creation / From the ridiculous to the sublime / You found a dead body in the street! Draw on it. on: March 03, 2010, 07:29:06 AM

While I'm at it...

Talk to this squirrel:

Float the city:

Make the sand dance:
8  General / Introductions / Greetings (Is it ok for my post subject to not start with an "H"?) on: March 03, 2010, 07:06:23 AM

I'm Chris DeLeon.


My 219 daily Experimental "Gameplay" Projects (many are Not Games - like LobsterClaws, Amor, or FireWriter):

My site where I help people get started in hobby videogame development, entirely for free (much if the written material is equally applicable to Not Game development):

Lightweight portfolio about my other projects and game work, including a link to information about my iPhone games:

On the side I have also spent the last few years researching and tinkering on ways to use interactive software (Not Games) for efficient and accurate conveyance of mental models. More on that soon though... it's not quite ready for launch.

I'm glad that this Not Games stuff is going on. The monopoly on entertainment and toy applications for interactive technologies is like if mechanical engineering were only used to make roller coasters, throughout all of history, and then one day some people suggested, "Hey, maybe we could use these skills to accomplish other things, too?" Grin
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