Lift12: Tom Armitage. Games: Systemic Media for a Digital Age

[fr] Je suis à la conférence Lift12 à Genève ces jours. Voici mes notes de sessions.

Live-blogging from Lift12 conference in Geneva. These are my notes and interpretations of Tom Armitage’s session — best effort, but might be imprecise or even wrong!

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What is the toy I give a child to teach it about algorithmic trading?

Video games.

What are games?

Greg Costikyan: games change with the players actions, have interactions, have goals, are non-linear, demand participation…

Eric Zimmerman: games = “systemic media”

The building block of systems is rules. Rules cluster in mechanics. Friction between mechanics — this is where the player intervenes.

Systems: bedrock of games design.

How do you read a game? The first thing you do with a game is play with it. Figure out what space there is inside it. (// “play” in the wheels of a car).

Between us and the game: we exert an action (play), there is an outcome, and somewhere in the middle is meaning. “Understanding” the game. Play also exists inside the feedback loop.

Games only work with a player. So a game must be designed with space for player agency.

Being literate in systems = being able to read them.

But what do we mean by literacy? The ability to read and write a medium (Alan Kay). You need both.

We make games through play, just as we understand them through play.

Make sure the game reveals how it needs to be played, hints at how its systems work. Game design is interaction design. Making games is a step into the unknown.

Games are everywhere. The systems we encounter the earliest in our lives.

Games give us tools to understand other things. Take the models we’ve learned by playing and apply them outside.

Go back to the first definition of “games”: isn’t that what society is like now?

Systems literacy may be the literacy for the 21st century. Doesn’t mean everything is a game! But games are the training ground for the literacies we need.

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