Monday, July 28, 2008

Ghost Patrol -- We're In!

With 47 applications for 20 slots, I feel quite privileged that coed astronomy made it in. We put a ton of effort into our app, and while I thought it turned out well, it's difficult to really judge one's own work. Our video is funny to us because we know what we were going for, but you never know if it'll fall flat with a real audience.

There's been much discussion on the_game mailing list about how to handle the popularity that games have been facing lately. The two main suggestions--encourage the running of more games by weighing GC work heavily in the app process, and run games over two weekends--really fall flat for me. The first seems somewhat infeasible to me, and the second really cheapens the parts of the game that I like.

BANG died because everyone who wanted to run one did. Despite a tremendous growth in popularity, the number of people who wanted to run BANGs simply did not scale linearly with the number of people interested in playing in them. I fear it is the same or worse with big games. Planning a game usually takes a year or more, and most of the people "hardcore" enough to do that have already been playing in games. Trying to force people to run games will only result in a bunch of crappy games. You have to be really dedicated and interested to stick it out.

Where I think we can pick up new teams who would run games is the fresh-out-of-college/grad student crowd. coed astronomy and XX-Rated both fell into this category when we started. Both teams were willing to run both BANGs and big games, and the likely reason we weren't on this bandwagon a lot earlier was that we were undergraduates/not in the bay area/too busy with school/etc. To give props to a friend, Jesse Young's team CRANEA is one of the teams I'd put into this category. It's unfortunate they didn't make it into Ghost Patrol because I think it just prolongs the time before Jesse inevitably runs some sort of game (be it BANG, a day game, a puzzle hunt, or whatever).

The problem with simply running more games is that every team wants to play in every game. And to do that, you need to accept more teams or run each game twice. Neither is particularly appealing to me. A lot of the charm and the magic of the game for me comes from the clues and clue sites that place the biggest restrictions on the number of people. The entirety of Hogwarts (my favorite game of all time, even though I only playtested it) would never have worked with 30+ teams. And frankly, I don't know many people who have the stamina to run an all-weekend game more than once.

So what do we do about this? I don't really know, and that's why I tried to kick off discussion on the mailing list. The real innovation in the game happens when people run one, however, so I hope to be pleasantly surprised sometime next summer when some team steps up with a game format which attempts to solve these problems. Even in the short few years that coed astronomy has been around, we've seen some pretty big changes in how games are run, so I'm quite hopeful for the future. =)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ghost Patrol App

Well, coed astronomy has applied to Ghost Patrol. I was going to wait until we knew whether or not we got in to post a link to our app, but everyone's been discussing app videos on the_game mailing list anyway. So here it is:

I'm sure you can guess which segment is mine. Bonus points if you can tell me where each of the sounds comes from.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Narita: 2, Dale: 0

It's been confirmed, Narita airport got me sick both coming and going. Thanks, Japan.