199 results back to index
Gamification by Design: Implementing Game Mechanics in Web and Mobile Apps by Gabe Zichermann, Christopher Cunningham
Chapter 3. Game Mechanics: Designing for Engagement (Part I) Game design is a relatively new, unaccredited discipline with roots in both psychology and systems-thinking. When creating a gamified experience, we leverage many aspects of game design, while focusing on the core elements that will produce the greatest impact for our players. For example, we generally ignore narrative structure in gamification because we are building “nonfiction” experiences. That is, the arc of your gamified system is based on your player’s and your brand’s stories—as they already exist. Luckily, you don’t need nor should you want to become a full-fledged game designer. While many reference works (such as the excellent The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell [Morgan Kaufmann]) can help deepen your understanding of how to make games, we’ve filtered the key elements of the discipline here to focus on the most important.
Only by carefully unpacking consumer emotions and desires can we design something that really sticks—and only through the power of gamification can we make that experience predictable, repeatable, and financially rewarding. We wrote this book to help demystify some of the core concepts of game design as they apply to business, written from the perspective of what a marketer, product designer, product manager, or strategist would want to know. In that regard, we are indebted to the work of notable game designers who helped clarify and amplify the process of game design, making it into a quantifiable art and science. We have leveraged their work and refined the concepts to focus on those elements that are most relevant to business. We extracted good and bad patterns from both famous and lesser-known case studies, and we tested our concepts on countless (valiant) real-world customers to arrive at the set of demonstrable, high-impact ideas presented in this book.
You can take a concept for gamifying your product, service, or idea and bring it to fruition using the techniques we describe. Gamification by Design takes a unique approach to this exciting, fast-moving, and powerful trend, and makes it practical. We hope you’ll find it as useful as we enjoyed writing it. Acknowledgments We want to recognize the game-design writing and work of key thinkers, including Jesse Schell’s The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses (Morgan Kaufmann), Jon Radoff’s Game On (Wiley), and Ralph Koster’s A Theory of Fun for Game Design (Paraglyph Press). We are also lucky to have been able to access and distill the insights of Sebastian Deterding, Susan Bonds, Jane McGonigal, Amy Jo Kim, Ian Bogost, Nick Fortugno, Nicole Lazzaro, Rajat Paharia, Kris Duggan, Keith Smith, and Tim Chang. And a special thanks to the folks at Badgeville who sponsored Chapter 8, providing insight into their groundbreaking product, as well as practical coding and design tips that can be used in any implementation.
Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges and Leaderboards by Yu-Kai Chou
Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, bitcoin, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Firefox, functional fixedness, game design, IKEA effect, Internet of things, Kickstarter, late fees, lifelogging, loss aversion, Maui Hawaii, Minecraft, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, performance metric, QR code, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs
But those are all excuses to simply keep the player happily entertained inside the system, further engaging them enough to stay committed to the game. The harsh reality of game designers is that, no one ever has to play a game. They have to go to work, do their taxes, and pay medical bills, but they don’t have to play a game. The moment a game is no longer fun, users leave the game and play another game or find other things to do. Since game designers have spent decades learning how to keep people consistently engaged with repetitive activity loops towards “purposeless” goals, games are a great source of insight and understanding into Human-Focused Design. Indeed, depending on how you qualify a game (think of chess, hide-and-seek, and Monopoly), you could stretch back centuries to learn what game designers can teach us on creating compelling, playful experiences. Through gamification, we can look through the lens of games to understand how to combine different game mechanics and techniques to form desired and joyful experiences for everyone.
Often, there are only a few building blocks to select from, but based on the context, challenges, and constraints, these building blocks come into play in varying ways for different scenarios. In the book A Theory of Fun for Game Design, game designer Raph Koster introduces a hypothetical game with a single hammer that can only do one thing, which likely results in a dull experience. Koster compares it to the game of Tic-Tac-Toe, which also does not require a meaningful range of abilities and strategy. In comparison, checkers players can start to learn the importance of forcing other players into disadvantageous jumps. “Most games unfold abilities over time, until at a high level you have many possible stratagems to choose from.”30 Game designer Jesse Schell points out that one of the most exciting and interesting ways to add Meaningful Choices is to allow players to choose between playing it safe, and go for a small reward, or take a big risk, and try for a big reward.
It is worth remembering that every single game in the market has what we call game mechanics and game elements. However, most are still boring and are financial losers. Only a few well-designed games become engaging and even addictive. Are you designing your experience to be the failing game or the successful game? How would you know? So let us look at how a good game designer might tackle the problem. Instead of starting with what game elements and game mechanics to use, the good game designer may begin by thinking, “Okay, how do I want my users to feel? Do I want them to feel inspired? Do I want them to feel proud? Should they be scared? Anxious? What’s my goal for their intended experience? Once the designer understands how she wants her users to feel, then she begins to think, “Okay, what kind of game elements and mechanics can help me accomplish my goals of ensuring players feel this way.”
All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture by Harold Goldberg
activist lawyer, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Apple II, cellular automata, Columbine, Conway's Game of Life, G4S, game design, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Oldenburg, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Good Place, Thorstein Veblen, urban planning
Yet the Millers’ travails paled in comparison to the pals who decided to make a game filled with live action video. Inspired by a board game and a television show, The 7th Guest and its sequel were so fraught with frights that they drove one of the game designers crazy, literally. Like Myst, The 7th Guest was responsible for selling millions of personal computers. Occasionally terrifying, always campy and over the top, The 7th Guest boldly led the way for the future of horror games. However, the making of The 7th Guest and its follow-up, The 11th Hour, showed in microcosm the rift that could develop when those who held strong ideas about movies worked side by side with those who cared more about game design. The 7th Guest co-creator Graeme Devine was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and then moved to Crawley, a south-of-London town famous for its Stone and Bronze Age artifacts.
The staff at Blizzard in Irvine was not immune to its many enticements, and Adham, now back in the fold, was completely fascinated. So was one of his newer hires, Rob Pardo. Pardo originally had dreams of becoming a movie director, but he ended up managing a local Software Etc. store. After becoming a game tester, he worked his way up to producer at Interplay and was slowly moving into game design. Pardo looked at the smart but soft-spoken Adham as a game design mentor. They began to have intense, constructive discussions; but the two really began to bond when playing EverQuest together. Pardo was so fascinated by EverQuest that he became the Guild Master of Legacy of Steel, one of the gangs of guys who became über-experts at the vagaries of the game. Meanwhile, Blizzard was bogged down in creating a role playing game called Nomad, which had a post-apocalyptic theme and dinosaurlike monsters that were outfitted with tanklike weapons.
As the game ended, players were in a cave (a trope that had spread widely since the days of Colossal Cave). Thunderous roars were heard as the cave crumbled in as a kind of animated payoff for playing. Before they went further, the team had to ascertain whether they should include a timed mode to quicken the pace and spice up the action. When showing the timer-less version to game designers, they received negative feedback, including a rude response from a Pogo executive: “This stupid thing isn’t a game at all.” More and more professional game designers offered snotty and snooty remarks. They were almost viscerally opposed to what the three were doing, seeing the jewel matching game as an example of exceptionally poor game theory. Yet when Kapulka traveled home to Canada, he performed what he described to John and Brian as the Mom Test. He gave Roma, his mother, a laptop to play on, and he noticed that she enjoyed the game when it wasn’t timed, so much so that once or twice, he couldn’t get her away from the computer.
Fun Inc. by Tom Chatfield
Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Boris Johnson, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, credit crunch, game design, invention of writing, longitudinal study, moral panic, publication bias, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, upwardly mobile
Games have long been one of the world’s most important engines for computing innovation – along with, more recently, the mobile phone. It’s largely thanks to the ever-evolving ambitions of game designers that modern computers have a DVD drive, a graphics card, decent sound capability, a staggering amount of RAM, a large colour monitor, and so on. None of this, technically, is required for word processing or even for producing presentations; the multi-media PC is very much a child of gaming, and has been since its youngest days. Now, though, with the power and speed of even inexpensive modern computers at an unprecedented level in historical terms, games designers have begun to turn to perfecting the field of access and interface design – to help as many people as possible to perform complex tasks on a machine in a manner that is engaging and intuitive.
Within the increasingly distinguished field of video games studies, perhaps the most influential person to have discussed games as learning engines is the designer and author Raph Koster. Koster has, among other things, worked as lead designer on Ultima Online (1997), the world’s first commercially successful massively multiplayer online game (MMO), and as creative director on another MMO milestone, Star Wars Galaxies (2003), based on the Star Wars universe. He’s also the author of an influential book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design (2004), that was one of the first to set out in precise terms what it means to say that games are tools for learning: Games are something special and unique. They are concentrated chunks ready for our brains to chew on. Since they are abstracted and iconic, they are readily absorbed. Since they are formal systems, they exclude distracting external details. Usually, our brains have to do hard work to turn messy reality into something as clear as a game is.
But the social integration they offer is subtle and extremely powerful, seamlessly integrating with users’ Facebook accounts so that they can instantly keep track of – and attempt to better – their friends’ scores, or admire each other’s pets. And behind it all lies a network of data analysis and tracking that sets a global standard not just for gaming, but for anyone hoping to make money from media in a digital world. Playfish’s CEO, Kristian Segerstråle, has a successful background in game design for mobile phones. Yet, as he explained to me at Playfish’s London office in mid-2009, the scale of success that Playfish has experienced had caught him by surprise. ‘It’s fair to say that we have been overwhelmed. We started off eighteen months ago with four of us. We are well over 100 people now in four offices: China, America, London, Norway. Our games have been installed nearly 80 million times globally.
Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam L. Alter
Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, augmented reality, barriers to entry, call centre, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, easy for humans, difficult for computers, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, game design, Google Glasses, IKEA effect, Inbox Zero, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Richard Thaler, side project, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, telemarketer
” — The success of slot machines is measured by “time on device.” The longer the average player stays seated at the machine, the better the machine. Since most players lose more money the longer they play, time on device is a useful proxy for profitability. Video game designers use a similar measure, which captures how engaging and enjoyable their games are. The difference between casinos and video games is that many designers are more concerned with making their games fun than with making buckets of money. Bennett Foddy, who teaches game design at New York University’s Game Center, has created a string of successful free-to-play games, but each was a labor of love rather than a moneymaking vehicle. They’re all available on his website, foddy.net, and apart from attracting limited advertising revenue, they aren’t a significant source of income, despite some having achieved cult status.
And also the games ranked fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, eleventh, twelfth, nineteenth, twenty-first, twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-sixth, thirty-third, and thirty-fourth. The industry would have been much the poorer without his influence. What Miyamoto seemed to recognize better than anyone was that addictive games offered something to both novices and experts. Games designed only for beginners would grow stale too soon, and games designed only for experts would lose newcomers before they became masters. When Miyamoto was twenty-four he joined Nintendo. For ninety years Nintendo had traded in the stagnant playing card business, but now, in the late 1970s, it was branching out into video games. As a young man Miyamoto had fallen in love with the arcade game Space Invaders, so his father pulled some strings to arrange an interview for his son with Nintendo’s president.
“That’s the point,” he said, “not to make something sell, something very popular, but to love something, and make something that we creators can love. It’s the very core feeling we should have in making games.” When you compare Super Mario Bros.—regularly voted by game designers as the greatest game of all time—to others on the market, it’s easy to recognize in the competition the hallmarks of a predatory game. Adam Saltsman, who produced an acclaimed indie game called Canabalt in 2009, has written extensively about the ethics of game design. “Predatory games are designed to abuse the way you’re wired,” Saltsman said. “Many of the predatory games of the past five years use what’s known as an energy system. You’re allowed to play the game for five minutes, and then you artificially run out of stuff to do.
Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System by Nick Montfort, Ian Bogost
Seen in this way, the licensed arcade game was not very different from a book or movie, which could also supply a video or computer game with valuable recognition and a ready market of fans. Even if an arcade game hadn’t been a huge success, as was the case with Star Castle, it would often be ported. A deployed arcade game contained a complete and fully implemented game design, one that had been tested on the playing (and paying) public. Ironically, however, the hardware capabilities of an arcade machine—in terms of processing  power, graphics, and controller setup—were always signiﬁcantly different from those of the Atari VCS, so that having a well-tested and implemented game design on the arcade platform didn’t mean very much when it came to the home console’s hardware. A “port” from the arcade to Atari’s home system was not like a port from one computer system to another, in which the program being converted would function in the same way on both platforms with only minor differences, after a few small changes were made.
David Crane’s design philosophy was quite different from Cartwright’s. Crane saw Atari VCS development less as a reﬁnement of the gameplay in known interaction models and more as a challenge to make the highly constrained VCS hardware do new and exciting things. In Crane’s words, “I got more enjoyment out of discovering a new trick than from the game design itself. More often than not, I used this technique to lead me in a new direction of game design, and some of the tricks were to me as much an accomplishment as solving the Rubik’s Cube the ﬁrst time.”11 Freeway, which Crane developed in 1981, offered an improvement on the techniques of same-screen sprite register rewrites (which Larry Kaplan had ﬁrst used in Air-Sea Battle) and multicolored sprites (ﬁrst used in the 1978 Superman) accomplished by changing both the sprite color 6 Pitfall!
Keeping a secret like that is not easy.”13 Robinett expressed in this statement the same sort of gripe that would cause David Crane, Larry Kaplan, Alan Miller, and Bob Whitehead to quit Atari in 1979 to start the industry’s ﬁrst third-party developer, Activision. Robinett and his colleagues worked long, solitary hours without much guidance or supervision—and with no royalties—and Atari then made a fortune on their games without giving them credit, publicly or internally.  Today, there are perhaps a handful of game designers whose names are well known. Will Wright, Shigeru Miyamoto, Hideo Kojima, and Richard Garriott are among them. Far fewer are directly marketed as creators of their games—Sid Meier and American McGee are the only two whose names actually precede titles of their games, in the way that an Alist ﬁlm director or a best-selling author might get top billing above a work’s title. Readers familiar with the labor controversies of the contemporary games industry may imagine that Robinett and others merely wanted credit or royalties.
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Dow Schüll
airport security, Albert Einstein, Build a better mousetrap, business intelligence, capital controls, cashless society, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, deskilling, game design, impulse control, information asymmetry, inventory management, iterative process, jitney, large denomination, late capitalism, late fees, longitudinal study, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, profit motive, RFID, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, statistical model, the built environment, yield curve, zero-sum game
Despite the fine line between these objectives and the solicitation of addiction behavior, most industry members manage to maintain a cognitive disconnect between the two, distancing their script for profit from its potential harmful effects on consumers. Connie Jones, IGT’s designated “Director of Responsible Gambling,” describes the situation well: “Our game designers don’t even think about addiction—they think about beating Bally and other competitors. They’re creative folks who want machines to create the most revenue.”95 Although Jones’s statement is meant to defend against the charges of intentional harm that are sometimes leveled at the gambling industry, the fact that her defense rests on an open admission of the mercenary nature of game design, along with the dismissive assertion that “game designers don’t even think about addiction,” does more to illustrate the problem than to pardon it. My aim in the following pages is not to single out specific designers or companies for blame, nor even the gambling industry as a whole.
“Not everyone got paranoid and it would have cost too much to redo the graphics and animation,” he remembered, “so we added some stuff where you could tickle the monkeys on the interactive screen and they’d giggle, or you could drop a coconut on one of their heads.” Over the years, many in the industry have lost faith in the value of focus groups to the game design process. “People tell you what they want and you produce it and it doesn’t work. Absolute failure. They don’t really know what they want.”5 Today, focus groups are more often used to “confirm hunches” than to guide game development. A top executive at IGT who held a master’s degree in psychology suggested to me that methods of cross-cultural anthropology, such as participant observation, were better suited to the task of game design. Randy Adams agreed. “You could do it up on a PowerPoint type presentation and sit down with a little laptop in front of these people and tell ’em to use the key and play the game,” he told me, “but you’re not gonna learn anything that way.
Reviewers Lucy Suchman, Emily Martin, and Vincent Crapanzano gave invaluable feedback on the first version of the manuscript. Scholars of gambling Henry Lesieur, Charles Livingstone, and Roger Horbay read the book in its draft form and offered excellent advice and suggestions. Rachel Volberg made thorough and incisive editorial comments on significant portions of the text. Mirko Ernkvist, Nigel Turner, and Kevin Harrigan read the chapters on game design and helped to clarify important details on the programming of probability, as did gambling machine specialists Mike Shackleford (a.k.a. “Wizard of Odds”), Bob Dancer, and Stacy Freidman. The Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, made much of the archival research possible, and its capable staff helped me track down many a wayward citation. Final revisions to the book were conducted during my first years in the Program on Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Making of Prince of Persia: Journals 1985-1993 by Jordan Mechner
This version is probably the best I’ll ever get out of them. Oddly enough, this makes me more psyched to do the new game. It reminded me why I’m good at this – of what I can do that others can’t, or won’t. August 1, 1986 Ed sent sketches of someone’s ideas for Karateka II – Gene’s, presumably. I wasn’t too enthused at first, but now it occurs to me there is a way that this could work. If I get actively involved in the game design – make up a storyline, draw up sketches, brainstorm with Gene, etc. – and stay on in a kind of supervisory capacity, while turning the programming over to Steve Ohmert – that’ll let me keep some control over the project’s development, and also justify asking for a higher royalty rate than if I weren’t involved at all. It makes sense. They can’t very well turn me down – I own the copyright to Karateka, so there’s no sequel unless I agree to it.
But the best Apple games have been developed on a plain Apple II with two disk drives. Lucasfilm spent a million bucks to make Rescue on Fractalus and Ball Blazer, and those games aren’t significantly better than, or different from, the competition. The real strides forward – Raster Blaster, Choplifter, (what the hell) Karateka – were the work of solo programmers with no special resources. Maybe Danny is leading game design into the 21st century. Maybe he’s just flushing money down the toilet. I’ll stick with my Apple II. September 11, 1986 Met with Gene, Lauren, and Ed Badasov and showed them my Baghdad ideas. (Ed B. made up the working title Prince of Persia.) The storyline didn’t impress them much, but I think they saw promise in it. It doesn’t really matter a whole lot what they think – I’m the one that has to do it – but it sure as hell wouldn’t hurt to have them enthusiastic.
November 18, 1986 Digitized the running skidding turn-around that was so amusing on videotape. It looks OK. I’ll need to redo the straight running, but I think everything else will work as it stands. About half the animations are in now. Next step will be getting the character to interact with the environment (climbing a rope ladder, pulling a lever, etc.) At this juncture I think I’ll redirect my attention to the game design. December 2, 1986 Spent most of the day trying to figure out the velocity of a falling human being as a function of time. Enlisted practically everyone at Broderbund at one point or another. They all seemed to find this a more interesting problem than whatever they were working on. December 24, 1986 Home for the holidays. It’s good to be back. Not much has changed except that David has taken over my room.
Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner
Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, book scanning, Columbine, corporate governance, game design, glass ceiling, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Marc Andreessen, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software patent, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, X Prize
There was just no one who possessed that hysterically comic streak. Worse, the split from id was so painful that Romero and Tom had hardly spoken since the firing. But at least Tom had managed to land on his feet. Scott Miller, another casualty on the way to id’s success, offered him a job as a game designer for Apogee. It was bittersweet, but Tom accepted; maybe now he would be able to make the games he had always imagined. Back at id, the guys started sifting through resumes for a new game designer of their own. Kevin had received a resume from a promising-looking gamer named Sandy Petersen. At thirty-seven wars old, Sandy was ancient compared with the id guys and an admirable veteran of the gaming scene. In the early eighties, he had created a pen-and-paper role-playing game, Call of Cthulhu, that featured flesh-eating zombies and tentacle-legged alien parasites.
“There’s no proof of concept for game design,” he declared. Everyone concurred that the game was taking forever. There was no cohesive plan. American McGee finally made the inevitable suggestion to abandon Romero’s ambitious idea of a hand-to-hand combat game for something more simple. “I think it will be better,” he said, “if we make a game with rocket launchers and stuff like that.” “Yeah,” Sandy said, “lets do Doom III, and the next game we’ll do something innovative.” Romero was floored. First the smackdown bonus, now this? Who the fuck were these guys? What did they know? They had never worked on a new game from start to finish. They didn’t understand id. “Every id game proceeded just like this before!” he said. “Carmack makes a revolutionary engine, then we put a revolutionary game design on top of it. Let’s just get the engine done, then we can make this really cool game idea that no one’s seen before.
So he ventured into the nearby bluecollar neighborhood ol Raytown, where he found an old farmhouse on two acres of land within city limits. Overnight, it seemed, Carmack was in a strange house, with a strange family and going to a strange school, a junior high with no gifted program or computer’s. He’d never felt so alone. Then one day he realized he wasn’t. 19 The book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution was a revelation. Carmack had heard about hackers: In 1982 a Disney movie called Tron told the story of a video game designer, played by Jeff Bridges, who hacked himself into a video game world; in a 1983 movie called WarGames, Matthew Broderick played a young gamer who hacked into a government computer system, and nearly triggered Armageddon. But this book’s story was different–it was real. Written by Steven Levy in 1984, it explored the uncharted history and culture of the “Whiz Kids Who Changed Our World.” The book traced the rise ol renegade computer enthusiasts over twenty-five rollicking years, from the mainframe experimentalists at MIT in the fifties and sixties to the Homebrew epoch of Silicon Valley in the seventies and up through the computer game start-ups of the eighties.
The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax
Airbnb, barriers to entry, big-box store, call centre, cloud computing, creative destruction, death of newspapers, declining real wages, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, hypertext link, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, low cost airline, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Minecraft, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Rosa Parks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Travis Kalanick, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog
Deal: American Dream had filmed its Kickstarter video at Snakes & Lattes, and I first encountered Vernaza there just before it launched, during one of the monthly game designer nights the café holds in its back room. If Kickstarter and Board Game Geek are the digital communities driving the revenge of board games, then these evenings are their analog equivalent. Each month, twenty to thirty game designers, ranging from well-known professionals to first-time amateurs, invite their peers to play and give feedback on prototype games. The crowd is less diverse than Snakes & Lattes normally. It is more male and geeky (Star Wars T-shirts abound), but the breadth and scope of the games on display are truly representative of the creativity this new age of game design has unleashed. There were simple card games about bike couriers and home contractors, tricky-looking number games, funny trivia games, games that were written on cut-up scraps of paper, hand-carved wooden boards with intricate player pieces, and slick-looking games that looked store ready.
Players had to match cards by memory so as to cross a raging river. It looked so simple and perfect, I asked the designer, Daniel Rocchi, whether I could buy the prototype right there. These guys were members of the Board Game Designers Guild of Canada, a community built around mentoring and helping fellow designers get their games to market. It was partly led by Sen-Foong Lim, an occupational therapist and professor of developmental psychology, who had designed games as diverse as the hilarious infomercial party pitch But Wait, There’s More! and an adaptation of the TV show Orphan Black. Lim saw game designing as a “jobby,” a mixture of a job and a hobby that made just enough money to justify the time it required away from his family. Even though there were blockbuster games out there, the vast majority of tabletop games were made for the love of gaming.
See manual work farmers’ markets, 127 faxes, 31, 44 Federico, Christopher, 175, 176, 200 Federle, Tim, 147 Fellini, Federico, 53–54 Ferrania Technologies, 51–52, 57, 58 See also FILM Ferrania Fetch, 224 Fiegl, Matthias, 59–61 Field Notes, 43–44 Fields, Billy, 19 film cameras, xv, 54, 55, 59–60, 61, 62, 66, 67, 68, 69–70, 71, 73, 115, 240 FILM Ferrania, 158 challenges in reviving, 52–53, 57–58, 65–66, 73–74 film market and, 58–59 history of, 53–54, 55, 56–57 film market, 59, 62, 66–67 film photography appeal of, 60, 62, 67, 72, 238 transition from, 54–56 film processing, 56, 60, 73 film production manufacturing process in, 64, 65–66 reviving, 52–53, 67–69, 71 Filofax, 34 “finishability,” 110, 114 Fitting, Rebecca, 129 flea markets, 145 Flickering Mind, The (Oppenheimer), 187 floppy disk drives, 65 Foo Fighters, 24 Forbes (magazine), 106 Ford, Henry, 158 Ford Motor Company, 161 Foreign Affairs (magazine), 163 Forerunner Ventures, 137, 138 Fossil, 150, 168, 169 fountain pens, xiv, 227 Foxconn, 163, 165 Francese, Alberto, 48 Franchesci, Francesco, 32–33 Frank & Oak, 137 Franklin, Aretha, ix Franklin, Tarez, 158 Free Comic Book Day, 14 free content model, issue with, 109–110, 115–116 free shipping, 135–136 freelance work, 164, 165–166 Fresh Direct, 124 friction, creating, 219 Friedman, Thomas, 154, 157, 165 Fröbel, Friedrich, 194 Frobert, Tristan, 95–96 Front Row Partners, 134 Fujifilm, 55–56, 57, 63, 70, 71 Galloway, Scott, 136, 137 game design, shift in, 88–89, 91 game designers, 77, 82, 96–98 game gurus, 86–88, 89 Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA), 77 Game of Life, The, 86 game stores, 78, 86 games, digital. See digital games; online gaming; video games games, physical, benefit of playing, 81–82 See also tabletop games gaming conventions, 77 Gates, Bill, 177 Gates, Melinda, 177 Gawker, 107 geek/nerd culture, 14, 78, 84–85, 94, 211 GenCon, 77, 85 General Electric, 155 General Motors, 155, 163 Genius Bar, 139 Gentlewoman, The (magazine), 112 Getting Things Done (Allen), 37, 38 Ghostface Killah, 27 Gilt Group, 133 Glass Cage, The (Carr), 159, 239 global economy, 153, 154 globalization, 33, 153, 156 Glowforge, 226 GoldenEye 007 (game), 80 Gonzales, Daniel, 132 Google, 20, 46, 110, 137, 161, 162–163, 171, 187, 194, 201, 206, 221–222 Google Ad words, 107 GoPro, 215 Gotta Groove, 17 GPS guidance, 159 Grayson, Bob, 125–127, 128, 144 Grayson Company, 126 Great Recession, 10, 107, 113, 125, 155, 156, 157 Greenlight, 129, 130, 131, 148 Greenwood College School, 198 Grohl, Dave, 24 Guardian, The (newspaper), 110, 116–117 Guarino, Jennifer, 160 hackers/hacking, 186, 215, 216, 224, 225 Hadfield, Tom, 224 Haimerl, Amy, 160–161 handmade products stores focused on, xiv, 149–150 See also leather goods; watches handwriting benefits of, 37, 38 creating an experience out of, 132 of letters, 234 scanning, 46, 234 transcription of, 47 See also notebooks/journals; whiteboards Hard Day’s Night (album), 25 Hare, Steve, 108 Harman-Ilford, 71 Harrison, George, 26 Harrold, Chris, 46 Harvard, 202 Hasbro, 76 Hearst, 105 Hedrick, Annie, 141, 142 Heffernan, Virginia, 238 Heiferman, Scott, 220 Heights Vinyl, 13 Hewlett Packard (HP), 162 Hey, That’s My Fish!
Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming by Anthony Dunne, Fiona Raby
3D printing, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, Cass Sunstein, computer age, corporate governance, David Attenborough, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, global village, Google X / Alphabet X, haute couture, life extension, Mark Zuckerberg, mouse model, New Urbanism, Peter Eisenman, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social software, technoutopianism, Wall-E
In fashion, too, it is common to use advertising to suggest the imaginary world behind the brand, especially for perfumes, which often drift toward a form of contemporary fairy tale. But game design has to be the area where fictional world building is most developed. Whole worlds are designed, visualized, and linked. Some readers probably remember the first time they experienced an open world video game such as Grand Theft Auto (1997) and how enjoyable it was to drive around and explore the world created by its designers rather than playing the game. Although extraordinarily detailed, game worlds tend to focus on the setting, geography, and environment more than ideology, and their purpose is primarily escape and entertainment. There is, however, a growing number of artist - and activist-designed games that aim to challenge assumptions about game design, their social and cultural uses, and encourage social change.'
The relationship between reality and unreality is particularly interesting in architecture because many buildings are designed to be built but remain on paper due to economic or political reasons. House VI is unusual because it was intentionally an uncompromising piece of architectural art someone could live in, just about. It was as though the owner lived inside an idea rather than a building. Beyond this lies the world of film design and more recently game design, which deals less with conceptual objects and more with imaginary worlds. We will return to this subject later in chapter 5. Peter Eisenman, House VI, east facade, 1975. Photograph by Dick Frank. Photograph courtesy of Eisenman Architects. Peter Eisenman, House VI, 1975, axonometric drawings. Drawings courtesy of Eisenman Architects. COMMODIFIED IMAGINATIONS In the fields of applied arts, graphics, fashion, furniture, vehicle, and architecture, conceptual design is a highly valued, mature, and interesting way of working, and it embraces one-off experiments by individual designers through to products available in shops.
Although rarely discussed in design beyond the construction of brand worlds and corporate future technology videos, there is a rich body of theoretical work in other fields dealing with the idea of fictional worlds. Probably the most abstract discussion is in philosophy where differences between the many shades of real, fictional, possible, actual, unreal, and imaginary are teased out. In social and political science the focus is on modeling reality; in literary theory it is on the semantics of the real and nonreal ; in fine art, make-believe theory and fiction; in game design, literal world creation; and even in science there are many rich strands of discourse around fictionalism, useful fictions, model organisms, and multiverses.4 For us, the key distinction is between actual and fictional. Actual is part of the world we occupy whereas fictional is not. 5 Of all these areas of research, it is literature and fine art that offer the most promising sources of inspiration.
Game Over Press Start to Continue by David Sheff, Andy Eddy
affirmative action, air freight, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Buckminster Fuller, game design, HyperCard, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, pattern recognition, profit motive, revision control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak
For a coin-operated game to make money, players had to become immersed in it as soon as the first coin was inserted. Many senses had to be taken over almost instantly to make the game play “hot,” to use Uemura’s term. The entire consciousness of a player had to be captured. There seemed to be two keys to accomplishing this: fast action, or a combination of fast action and intellectual challenge. The headier stuff was up to the game designers, but fast action required complex and expensive circuitry. Uemura spent eighteen-hour days with the arcade engineers trying to determine the essence of the key components to the circuitry in the best coin-operated games. Only that essence could be carried over to the central processing unit of the new system. Finally he chose a relatively standard microprocessor called a 6502, but the one low-cost chip couldn’t power all the aspects of a complex video game.
The Famicom could have been as powerful as a mainframe computer, but no one would have noticed if the games were ordinary. Now the problem was that there were not enough good games. Yamauchi had wisely anticipated the importance of software and prepared for it. One of the instructions he had issued to Uemura was that the Famicom must “be appreciated by software engineers.” It had to be easy to program and able to do the kinds of things that game designers dreamed of doing. Any company, given the time, could copy the Famicom hardware. The key to staying ahead was software. By the time a competitor came out with a game that was as good as a successful Nintendo game, Nintendo had to be releasing a game that left the others in the dust. Nintendo would, Yamauchi decided, become a haven for video-game artists, for it was artists, not technicians, who made great games.
Nintendo would, Yamauchi decided, become a haven for video-game artists, for it was artists, not technicians, who made great games. “An ordinary man,” Yamauchi said, “cannot develop good games no matter how hard he tries. A handful of people in this world can develop games that everybody wants. Those are the people we want at Nintendo.” He was interested only in the one genius, as he put it, who would drive Nintendo. He wanted to turn Nintendo into the single place the hottest game designers wanted to be associated with. Since, in Japan, most employees stayed with one company for their entire career, it was generally impossible to seduce good designers from other companies. That meant that they would have to come to Nintendo on their own, fresh from college. Yamauchi wanted to create a place where his geniuses would be encouraged and inspired. But how? He was used to badgering and cajoling, or simply demanding—and that was certainly not the same thing as inspiring people, nurturing them.
Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Gobal Crisis by James Rickards
Asian financial crisis, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, game design, German hyperinflation, Gini coefficient, global rebalancing, global reserve currency, high net worth, income inequality, interest rate derivative, John Meriwether, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Myron Scholes, Network effects, New Journalism, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, one-China policy, open economy, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price mechanism, price stability, private sector deleveraging, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, time value of money, too big to fail, value at risk, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game
Our third group planning session took place in mid-November; this time there were a few new faces, including senior officials from the intelligence community. We were no longer contemplating the feasibility of a financial war game; by now it was game on and we were specifically focused on game design. I presented detailed financial warfare scenarios and made a pitch that the game design should incorporate unpredictable outcomes that would surprise both attackers and defenders due to the complex dynamics of capital markets. By the conclusion, the Defense Department and the APL game design team had received enough input from the experts to complete the final design. All that remained was to select the participants, set the date and let the game begin. After some delays and uncertainty during the changeover of administrations, the Obama administration gave the go-ahead to proceed as planned.
As a result, rival nations and transnational actors such as jihadists have increasingly developed capabilities in unconventional warfare, which can include cyberwarfare, biological or chemical weapons, other weapons of mass destruction or now, in the most unexpected twist of all, financial weapons. The financial war game was the Pentagon’s first effort to see how an actual financial war might evolve and to see what lessons might be learned. The war game had been many months in the making, and I had been part of the strategy sessions and game design that preceded the actual game. Although a well-designed war game will try to achieve unexpected results and simulate the fog of real war, it nevertheless requires some starting place and a set of rules in order to avoid descending into chaos. APL’s game design team was among the best in the world at this, but a financial game required some completely new approaches, including access to Wall Street expertise, which the typical physicist or military planner does not have. My role was to fill that gap. My association with the lab started in December 2006 in Omaha, Nebraska, where I was attending a strategy forum hosted by U.S.
A typical game might involve a red cell, usually bad guys, versus a blue cell, the good guys, although some games have multiple sides. One critical cell is the white cell, which consists of a game director and participants designated as umpires or referees. The white cell decides if a particular game move is allowed and also determines who wins or loses during each round of the game. Generally the game designers attribute specific goals or objectives to each cell; thereafter the players are expected to make moves that logically advance those objectives rather than move off in unexplained directions. The game design team will also use political scientists, military strategists and other analysts to describe the initial conditions affecting all the players—in effect, they determine the starting line. Finally, some system of power metrics is devised so that the relative strength of each cell can be established at the beginning of the game, in the same way that some armies are larger than others or some economies have greater industrial potential at the start of any war.
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made by Jason Schreier
But it’s a real journey in the dark up until that point.” Which leads us to . . . 5. It’s impossible to know how “fun” a game will be until you’ve played it. You can take educated guesses, sure, but until you’ve got your hands on a controller, there’s no way to tell whether it feels good to move, jump, and bash your robot pal’s brains out with a sledgehammer. “Even for very, very experienced game designers, it’s really scary,” said Emilia Schatz, a designer at Naughty Dog.* “All of us throw out so much work because we create a bunch of stuff and it plays terribly. You make these intricate plans in your head about how well things are going to work, and then when it actually comes and you try to play it, it’s terrible.” In all the stories in this book, you’ll see several common themes. Every game is delayed at least once.
“For a game, especially with the ‘fun factor,’ you don’t really get it until you start playing it and seeing it,” said Brennecke. “You [think]: ‘There’s something that doesn’t feel right. What doesn’t feel right about this game?’ That’s where Josh and I come in and we sit down and we really analyze what is actually wrong with this.” After building a few technical prototypes, the team’s first major goal was to hit “vertical slice”—a small chunk of the video game designed to resemble the final product in as many ways as possible. During traditional, publisher-funded development, it was important for a vertical slice to look impressive, because if the publisher didn’t approve, the studio wouldn’t get paid. “When you’re focusing on a publisher, a lot of the times you’ll just do things the wrong way [on purpose],” said Bobby Null, the lead level designer. “It’s smoke and mirrors, hacking stuff in and trying to impress the publisher so they’ll keep paying the bills.”
Each index card contained a story beat or scene idea—one midgame sequence, for example, was just called “epic chase”—and taken together, they told the game’s entire narrative. “One thing we’ve never done here is sat down and written down an entire script for the whole game start to front,” said Josh Scherr, a writer who sat with Straley and Druckmann for many of these meetings. “That never happens. And the reason it doesn’t happen is because game design is an iterative process, and if you do that you’re just asking for heartbreak when things inevitably change because the gameplay doesn’t work out the way you expected it to, or you have a better idea further down the line, or anything like that. You have to be able to be flexible.” Over the next few weeks, Druckmann and Straley put together a two-hour presentation that outlined their vision for Uncharted 4, then showed it to the rest of Naughty Dog.
The Making of Karateka: Journals 1982-1985 by Jordan Mechner
It’s a good field, it’s fun, and I’m good at it, and there’s lots of money in it, and it’s up-and-coming! My hesitation has always been “How could I devote my whole life to programming arcade games? Can you see me at 65?” But why limit myself to arcade games? Why not adventure games, AI games…? Why not invent a whole new style of games, games that go beyond games? And when I get too old to code, why not do game design? July 17, 1982 Got up relatively early (9) and worked on Deathbounce for a few hours. Then it got so hot and I got so sleepy that I just didn’t feel like working anymore. So I read Catch-22. Great book. July 18, 1982 95°. Too hot to work. The Apple’s overheating. Gonna take it to be fixed. July 21, 1982 Took the 12:33 into the city and bought a “System Saver” fan at 47th Street Photo for $75.
After you beat him you must kick the door down to get into the dungeon – an element of Adventure in a video game. If you die, the princess falls on the floor in grief as the villain exults. For the first time in a long time, I’m satisfied. The vision in my head is now OK. Now all that remains is to make it reality. I’m indebted to Dad for his good ideas and advice. Really, what’s as important as anything in game design is taste: choosing between alternatives. In the beginning, I envisioned this game as two players facing each other across a mat. Hah! This game is gonna be great! August 21, 1983 More good ideas: You fight the villain in the dungeon. You kick the door open, and he’s hiding behind it. For the first time in the game, you have to turn around and fight an enemy who attacks you from the left.
I’m shooting for B’s. From now on, I’ll have to pour all my spare time into Karateka. The stakes are too high to waste this. I have a feeling this year is a turning point. If I stay in my rut another year, I’ll never get out of it. Be At Cause. Be powerful, dangerous. Take responsibility for your actions. © 1972 est Open up to people. Be generous. Care. September 25, 1983 Put in three “game-design” hours on Karateka. Not nearly the 20 hours a week I’ll have to average to finish in mid-October according to schedule. September 28, 1983 Tried to work on Karateka, but I just was not in the mood. This is not good. Should I force myself to just sit in front of the computer until it’s finished? I might end up hating it. But if I wait until the “mood” strikes me, I may never get back to it at all.
A Burglar's Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh
A. Roger Ekirch, big-box store, card file, dark matter, game design, index card, megacity, megastructure, Minecraft, off grid, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, smart cities, statistical model, the built environment, urban planning
* For Randy Smith, a Texas-based game designer and a level architect on the legendary Thief games, designing a game environment in order to foreground deeply enjoyable opportunities for criminal stealth, deception, and subterfuge is a complex but rewarding challenge. The Thief series, the first of which came out in 1997, is widely credited as introducing the three-dimensional, first-person stealth game. Moving through an architectural interior without being detected was, in many ways, the entire point of the story. The player’s goal was not to kill as many people as possible, but to slip past them unseen and unheard. Sound—or, rather, not creating any—became a central design feature of the Thief universe. During our in-depth conversation about burglary and game design, Smith laughed as he explained, “You would think it was our job to design buildings that are hard to break into, but what we actually want to do is design buildings that will channel the movement of the player along different sequences.
At first, this might seem relevant only to the world of computer games or burglary fiction, but game play in the Thief series is not at all unlike the way security worked at Toys “R” Us, for example, with Jeffery Manchester hidden in the walls, staring at his baby monitor, watching the internal traffic of the store ebb and flow, preparing for his moment of attack. Smith pointed out how incredibly easy it is for a game designer to create an impossible level or an impenetrable environment—a castle gate that no one can get past, a high-rise no one will ever be able to sneak into. The real challenge is to find just the right level of difficulty so that slipping past the guards and maneuvering through the rooms and corridors becomes enjoyable. This is what he meant when he suggested that game designers need to “introduce deliberate weak points or blind spots” into their environments, such as removing the guards from a room at key moments or creating otherwise unrealistic amounts of shadow at the edge of a courtyard so that a player can walk past without being seen.
This is what he meant when he suggested that game designers need to “introduce deliberate weak points or blind spots” into their environments, such as removing the guards from a room at key moments or creating otherwise unrealistic amounts of shadow at the edge of a courtyard so that a player can walk past without being seen. Real-world scenarios also contain weak points and rhythms of vulnerability—but it often takes the eyes of a burglar, or a cop, to appreciate them. As fellow game designer Andy Schatz looks at it, however, stealth is not the only or most interesting criteria by which a heist game should be judged. While watching people play his burglary game Monaco, Schatz saw that breaking the rules of the game’s architecture was the essence of a successful heist—not sneaking past the guards, but cutting through the walls themselves. He explained this to me in terms of efficiency: “You could say that following a winding path across your lawn is more efficient if what you’re trying to do is keep your shoes clean. The winding path—not the direct path—has different efficiencies and rewards built into it.”
Marx at the Arcade: Consoles, Controllers, and Class Struggle by Jamie Woodcock
4chan, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, anti-work, augmented reality, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Boris Johnson, Build a better mousetrap, butterfly effect, call centre, collective bargaining, Columbine, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, David Graeber, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, game design, gig economy, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global value chain, Hacker Ethic, Howard Zinn, John Conway, Kickstarter, Landlord’s Game, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Minecraft, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Oculus Rift, pink-collar, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, union organizing, unpaid internship, V2 rocket
,” Twitter, May 14, 2018. 2Quoted in Chris Kohler, “On ‘Videogame’ Versus ‘Video Game,’” Wired, November 12, 2007. 3“Game Definitions,” Molleindustria, http://www.gamedefinitions.com/#. 4Nicolas Esposito, “A Short and Simple Definition of What a Videogame Is,” Proceedings of DiGRA 2005 Conference: Changing Views – Worlds in Play, 2005; italics in the original. 5Jesper Juul, “Introduction to Game Time,” in First Person, eds. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), 140. 6Richard Rouse, Game Design (Sudbury, MA: Wordware Publishing, 2004), xx. 7Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (Winchester: Zero Books, 2009). 8Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture (Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2006), 1. 9Huizinga, Homo Ludens, 9. 10Notes from Below editors, “The Workers’ Inquiry and Social Composition,” Notes from Below, January 29, 2018, www.notesfrombelow.org/article/workers-inquiry-and-social-composition. 11Huizinga, Homo Ludens, 13. 12Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman, Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003), 94. 13Edward Castronova, Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2005), 147. 14Salen and Zimmerman, Rules of Play, 95. 15Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter, Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), xxxiv. 16Roger Caillois, Man, Play and Games (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2001), 5–6. 17Caillois, Man, Play and Games, 9–10. 18Caillois, Man, Play and Games, 12, 13. 19Lars Kristensen and Ulf Wilhelmsson, “Roger Caillois and Marxism: A Game Studies Perspective,” Games and Culture 12, no. 4 (2017): 388. 20Kristensen and Wilhelmsson, “Roger Caillois and Marxism,” 388. 21Kristensen and Wilhelmsson, “Roger Caillois and Marxism,” 393. 22Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (London: Routledge, 2001), 258. 23McLuhan, Understanding Media, 259. 24“Video Game History Timeline,” National Museum of Play, www.museumofplay.org/about/icheg/video-game-history/timeline. 25Claude E.
The game represented an important break, showing that “simulations could also be a diversion from working on mass death if they were cut loose from serious application, enjoyed for their technical ‘sweetness’ and oddity without instrumental purpose, transformed into play.”32 Unlike the previous demonstrations of potential uses for computers, of working through the practicalities of nuclear war, Spacewar! was a game designed to be played. These kinds of escapes became possible, in the words of Dyer-Witheford and de Peuter, “because the military allowed its immaterial workers a lot of latitude.” Unlike the user of the Raytheon military simulations, these immaterial workers understood how to program these computers. Therefore, “transgressing standard procedures, fooling around with computers, was at least tolerated because that was the way to discover new uses and options.
Within this process, “the creative role of designers and developers faces off against the economic imperatives of efficient production for a competitive market, reflected in the demands of publishers and console manufacturers and embodied in technology.”59 Most videogames are not made from scratch. Instead, developers build upon existing game engines using something called “middleware.” This makes “the process of game design easier by offering programmers standardized modules,” also known as software development kits (or SDKs).60 As Graeme Kirkpatrick has noted, the use of technology in the labor process of videogame development involves three related processes. The first is a type of standardization that narrows the creative possibilities for making games. By using the standard packages, there is “a, perhaps imperceptible, effect of inhibiting” programmers’ “own ideas about the direction a game might go in, the kinds of event it might include, even its central concept.”61 The second is the use of SDKs to rationalize the labor process, breaking it down into clearer component parts.
The Simulation Hypothesis by Rizwan Virk
3D printing, Albert Einstein, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, butterfly effect, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, game design, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Minecraft, natural language processing, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Zeno's paradox
You may never look at reality the same way again!" Adam Curry, founder of Entangled, former researcher for Princeton's PEAR Lab “The Simulation Hypothesis provides a deft and knowledgeable blend of video game history, hard science speculation, and science fiction references. Whether or not you believe we all exist in a simulation, I found it both fascinating and entertaining.” Noah Falstein, former chair of the IGDA, former Chief Game Designer at Google “In The Simulation Hypothesis, Riz Virk takes current trends of immersion in video games and personalized entertainment to their logical conclusion: how to build a simulation as real as what we experience in daily life. While no one can say for certain how many lives we have, my advice is to the assume it's a "one-life game" and make the best of it!" Brent Bushnell, Founder and CEO of Two Bit Circus, “The idea that we might be in a simulation is one of the most interesting and provocative around.
., only when someone is “logged in”? And of course, the biggest question of all: Why would we be in a probabilistic world where making a choice (or having an observation) collapses a probability wave to a single timeline or probability? As I began to explore this last question in some depth, it brought back my early experiences with Tic Tac Toe and with more sophisticated video game algorithms. As video game designers, we have to map out the possible “futures”—paths that might be taken inside the game. Most simple AI in games simulates moves of “possible futures” and then picks the “best possible move” based on those possible futures. These possible futures are similar to the idea of a probability wave. In fact, the whole field of probability was originally created for gaming. Rather than referring to potential outcomes as probabilities, they were first called “possible futures” in rolling dice.
Whenever we create karma, a new “task” gets created on a virtual manifest, stored somewhere outside the material world. When we incarnate in the future, we can choose which particular tasks of our past karma we should tackle in our new life. Buddha’s endless “Wheel of Life” tells of the purpose of reincarnation: The reason we keep incarnating in future lives is to fulfill the “missions” created in our present and past lives. To a video game designer like myself, the twin concepts of karma and reincarnation sound a lot like video games in which a player has multiple lives and an on-going list of “quests” and “achievements.” The accomplishment of one task (or quest) unlocks new quests that get added to the list. This is a lot like the process of creating new karma described in Buddhism. As I thought about it, I realized that the architecture of a sophisticated video game played out over many lives mirrors the idea of Buddha’s endless wheel of reincarnation.
Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play by Morgan Ramsay, Peter Molyneux
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, Bob Noyce, collective bargaining, game design, index card, Mark Zuckerberg, oil shock, pirate software, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Von Neumann architecture
Physical exercise and video games are big elements on the short list of healthy ways to use hormone management to improve life and health. We are not Pavlov’s dogs, but B.F. Skinner proved long ago that the strongest form of behavioral modification is variable-ratio reinforcement. The slot machine thrives on it, but is a social ill because it is a dehumanizing addiction. In a more interesting, thought-provoking, and truly interactive game design, the principles of reinforcement are very useful. Nobody is going to do anything if, in the end, it doesn’t constructively involve your emotions. Ramsay: In 2006, quality of life became a hot-button issue for EA. Can you provide any insight into the labor environment then? Did you do anything differently with the culture at Digital Chocolate? Hawkins: I don’t know the details, but I’ve always been interested in organizational culture, and I want to help my employees win and become better people.
Although it was your decision to raise his status, were you ever personally uncomfortable with his shadow? Stealey: No, because I got to be the CEO, and I got to be the big cheese. He got to be the brilliant programmer. In the end, I probably should have done it a different way. It should have been “Wild Bill’s Pirates!” But you know what? Sid is really the programmer. He’s really the brilliant game designer. I’m just the business guy, and I was a good marketing guy. And I had some very good marketing people working for me. I was the first marketing guy, but later, we had a lot of marketing muscle. Ramsay: Who was your marketing muscle? Stealey: We had Gerry Blair, a great marketing guy. We had Deborah Tillett, one of our really great marketing persons. Deb was a smart, little lady. One of our European managing directors had a little bit of a lisp.
She could take any situation and turn it into fun and enthusiasm. She was really one of the very best, Mrs. Deborah Tillett. The very first marketing guy was Fred Schmidt, who eventually went on to run Origin Systems. Fred is a brilliant marketing guy. Those three people were really marketing geniuses as far as I’m concerned. Ramsay: Where was Sid’s interest concerning game development? What drove him to create: design or technology? Stealey: Game design only. His first original game after the many military games was the Pirates! game. Later, we were doing the original Railroad Tycoon, and I said, “Boy, this is really a neat game. Where’d you get the idea?” He said, “Oh, from this box.” It was an Avalon Hill board game called 1830. Oh, no! Eric Dott, the president of Avalon Hill, called me and said, “Bill, you’re doing my board game as a computer game.”
Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide by Henry Jenkins
barriers to entry, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, collective bargaining, Columbine, deskilling, Donald Trump, game design, George Gilder, global village, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, means of production, moral panic, new economy, profit motive, Robert Metcalfe, Saturday Night Live, slashdot, Steven Pinker, the market place, Y Combinator
The game has attracted international interest—42 percent of visitors to the official America's Army Web site log in from outside the United States (though some of these are probably service personnel and their families stationed overseas.) There are organized groups of players and brigades, representing a range of different nationalities, including some from parts of the world that have traditionally been regarded as enemies. The game's designers advocated successfully for the suspension of many military regulations restricting the expression of opposing ideas to create a robust forum—which they call a "Virtual Community of Interest in Soldiering." There, civilians and service men ' W a g n e r JamesAu,"John K e r r y : T h e V i d e o Game," So7on, April 13,2004, http://www.salon.com/tech/ feature/2004/04/13/battlefiekLvietnam/.
The idea that contemporary H o l l y w o o d draws on ancient myth structures has become common w i s d o m among the current generation of filmmakers. Joseph Campbell, the author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), praised Star Wars for embodying what he has described as the " m o n o m y t h , " a conceptual structure abstracted from a cross-cultural analysis of the w o r l d ' s great religions. Today, many screenwriting guides speak about the "hero's journey," popularizing ideas from Campbell, and game designers have similarly been advised to sequence the tasks their protagonists must perform into a similar physical and spiritual ordeal. Audience familiarity with this basic plot structure allows script writers to skip over transitional or expository sequences, throwing us directly into the heart of the action. 42 43 Similarly, if protagonists and antagonists are broad archetypes rather than individualistic, novelistic, and rounded characters, they are immediately recognizable.
I've got m y w o r l d , I've got m y arcs, some of those arcs can be expressed i n the video game space, some of them can be expressed i n the film space, the television space, the literary space, and you are getting to the true transmedia storytelling." With Enter the Matrix, the "origami u n i c o r n " takes several forms, most notably refocusing of the narrative around Niobe and Ghost. A s the game's designer, D a v i d Perry, explains, every element of the game went toward helping us understand w h o these people are: "If you play as Ghost, who's a Z e n Buddhist Apache assassin, y o u ' l l automatically ride shotgun i n the driving levels, which allow y o u to fire out the w i n d o w at agents hunting y o u d o w n . Niobe is k n o w n i n Z i o n as being one of the fastest, craziest drivers i n the Matrix universe, so when you play the game as her, y o u ' l l get to drive through a complex Matrix world filled w i t h real traffic and pedestrians, while a computer-controlled Ghost takes out the enemies."
Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire by Bruce Nussbaum
3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, longitudinal study, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar
Ruben Rausing is usually credited: “Who We Are: Our Legacy,” Tetra Pak USA website, accessed September 10, 2012, http://www.tetrapak.com/us/ whoweare/heritage/pages/default.aspx. 117 Continuum then launched: Harry West interview, March 20, 2012, New York City. 118 In a recent Harvard Business Review: “Life’s Work: Richard Serra,” Harvard Business Review, March 2010, accessed September 13, 2012, http://hbr.org/2010/03/lifes-work-richard-serra/ar/1. 119 Though there are countless ways of playing: My conversations with Katie Salen, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design in game design, and my reading of her book, have had a huge impact on how I understand the creative process. Salen introduced me to the idea of “magic circles” and connected the engaged interaction of gaming to the educational philosophy of John Dewey, who talked about “learning by doing.” Salen is helping to remake the face of public education; she has set up three public schools—two in Chicago, one in New York—that team up teachers with game designers to build an exciting learning experience for students; Institute of Play, http://www.instituteofplay.org/about, accessed September 17, 2012. 119 Though scholars are in disagreement: Marilyn Yalom, Birth of the Chess Queen (New York: HarperCollins, 2004), 3; David Shenk, The Immortal Game (New York: Doubleday, 2006), 16–20. 119 “This was a war game”: Shenk, The Immortal Game. 119 According to military strategist: Max Boot, War Made New (New York: Gotham Books, 2006), 122. 120 In 2002, General Tommy Franks: GlobalSecurity.org, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/ internal-look.htm, accessed September 13, 2012. 120 Internal Look was also used: Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker, “U.S.
It’s created what business strategists are calling an “ecosystem,” much like Apple’s, that’s composed of a community of consumers, followers really, participating in activities that are fun and meaningful to them. More than six million runners log on to see how they fared against their competitors. Once you’ve thought a little bit about who’ll be playing your game, you can begin to develop some rules. BUILD YOUR OWN GAMES There are many different kinds of games, but game designers frequently distinguish between two kinds: simple and complex. Simple games include puzzles and, like the New York Times crossword, they do not change as a consequence of the decision you make. Puzzles are simple to solve (though not necessarily simple to create, as anyone who’s crafted a crossword will attest), they often are played alone, and they have exactly one solution. A more sophisticated puzzle takes the player to a higher level of difficulty.
Salen puts on a weeklong summer camp to train fifth graders in the skills of designing location-based games. At the end, these children have improved the following competencies: digital literacy, creative problem solving, and collaboration. They’ve designed and traded digital avatars via Bluetooth, solved mysteries with GPS tags, and created and played their own digital and “physical” games. While these kinds of summer camps for adults don’t exist (yet), what follows are some basic principles of game design that you can keep in mind when you’re embarking on a new project, meeting with a team, or planning to deal with a serious issue that has resisted resolution so far (like getting kids to eat vegetables). Playing a game may provide the motivation and rewards to get people to change their behavior and their goals. Perhaps that is why 72 percent of US households play digital games. 1. Complex games are dynamic and require adaptability.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Maybe I’d record the whole thing and post it on YouTube. I prepped for the meeting by pulling up a search engine and learning everything I could about Nolan Sorrento. He had a PhD in Computer Science. Prior to becoming head of operations at IOI, he’d been a high-profile game designer, overseeing the creation of several third-party RPGs that ran inside the OASIS. I’d played all of his games, and they were actually pretty good. He’d been a decent coder, back before he sold his soul. It was obvious why IOI had hired him to lead their lackeys. They figured a game designer would have the best chance of solving Halliday’s grand videogame puzzle. But Sorrento and the Sixers had been at it for over five years and still had nothing to show for their efforts. And now that gunter avatar names were appearing on the Scoreboard left and right, the IOI brass had to be freaking out.
He was tall, gaunt, and painfully shy, and he preferred to stay out of the limelight. People employed by Gregarious Games during this period say that Halliday frequently locked himself in his office, where he programmed incessantly, often going without food, sleep, or human contact for days or even weeks. On the few occasions that Halliday agreed to do interviews, his behavior came off as bizarre, even by game-designer standards. He was hyperkinetic, aloof, and so socially inept that the interviewers often came away with the impression he was mentally ill. Halliday tended to speak so rapidly that his words were often unintelligible, and he had a disturbing high-pitched laugh, made even more so because he was usually the only one who knew what he was laughing about. When Halliday got bored during an interview (or conversation), he would usually get up and walk out without saying a word.
But Art3mis didn’t know that. She was still under the assumption that I’d had to fight the lich. “There you go,” she said, stepping back. “Thanks,” I said. “But you shouldn’t have. We’re competitors, you know.” “I know. But we can still be friends, right?” “I hope so.” “Besides, the Third Gate is still a long way off. I mean, it took five years for the two of us to get this far. And if I know Halliday’s game-design strategy, things are just going to get harder from here on out.” She lowered her voice. “Listen, are you sure you don’t want to stick around? I bet we can both play at once. We can give each other Jousting tips. I’ve started to spot some flaws in the king’s technique—” Now I was starting to feel like a jerk for lying to her. “That’s a really kind offer. But I have to go.” I searched for a plausible excuse.
Emergence by Steven Johnson
A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, edge city, epigenetics, game design, garden city movement, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, pez dispenser, phenotype, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, slashdot, social intelligence, Socratic dialogue, stakhanovite, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush
The hard work of tomorrow’s interactive design will be exploring the tolerance—that suspension of control—in ways that enlighten us, in ways that move beyond the insulting residue of princesses and magic spells. * * * With these new types of games, a new type of game designer has arisen as well. The first generation of video games may have indirectly influenced a generation of artists, and a handful were adopted as genuine objets d’art, albeit in a distinctly campy fashion. (Tabletop Ms. Pac-Man games started to appear at downtown Manhattan clubs in the early nineties, around the time the Museum of the Moving Image created its permanent game collection.) But artists themselves rarely ventured directly into the game-design industry. Games were for kids, after all. No self-respecting artist would immerse himself in that world with a straight face. But all this has changed in recent years, and a new kind of hybrid has appeared—a fusion of artist, programmer, and complexity theorist—creating interactive projects that challenge the mind and the thumb at the same time.
And while Tap, Type, Write and Zelda were not, strictly speaking, emergent systems, the new generation of game designers and artists have begun explicitly describing their work using the language of self-organization. This too brings to mind the historical trajectory of the rock music genre. For the first fifteen or twenty years, the charts are dominated by lowest-common-denominator titles, rarely venturing far from the established conventions or addressing issues that would be beyond the reach of a thirteen-year-old. And then a few mainstream acts begin to push at the edges—the Beatles or the Stones in the music world, Miyamoto and Peter Molyneux in the gaming community—and the expectations about what constitutes a pop song or a video game start to change. And that transformation catches the attention of the avant-garde—the Velvet Underground, say, or the emergent-game designers—who suddenly start thinking of pop music or video games as a legitimate channel for self-expression.
In the years that followed its publication, I began to hear word of the book’s influence on a wonderfully diverse range of fields and professions: from New Urbanists rebuilding neighborhoods and planning new communities; from city mayors in Brazil creating new models of participatory democracy; from the strategists behind Howard Dean’s groundbreaking use of the Internet to build grassroots support for his presidential run in 2004; from Web entrepreneurs and game designers; from experts in management theory, who had begun to think of supply chains as ant colonies; from artists designing new forms of algorithmic expression that showcased the unpredictable creativity of emergent systems. There was one other unanticipated twist. The book was published in the United States during the first week of September 2001. Emergence happened to end with a look at the decentralized, swarm-like protest movements that had begun to capture the world’s attention, such as the 1999 anti-WTO protests in Seattle.
Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans
"side hustle", 4chan, Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, British Empire, colonial rule, computer age, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Doomsday Book, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, East Village, Edward Charles Pickering, game design, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Haight Ashbury, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Network effects, old-boy network, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pets.com, rent control, RFC: Request For Comment, rolodex, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telepresence, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Y2K
An irony: even as computer memory multiplies, our ability to hold on to personal memories remains a matter of will, bounded by the skull and expanded only by our capacity to tell stories. There are technical women in these pages, some of the brightest programmers and engineers in the history of the medium. There are academics and hackers. And there are culture workers, too, pixel pushers and game designers and the self-proclaimed “biggest bitch in Silicon Alley.” Wide as their experiences are, they’ve all got one thing in common. They all care deeply about the user. They are never so seduced by the box that they forget why it’s there: to enrich human life. If you’re looking for women in the history of technology, look first where it makes life better, easier, and more connected. Look for the places where form gives way to function.
Placed prominently in the 1978 Montgomery Ward spring catalog, the original CyberVision sold ten thousand units in its first year, not bad for a computer company from Columbus, Ohio. But the market for personal computers was small, and the competition steep: Sears had the Atari systems, Radio Shack was pushing its own Tandy computer, and the golden age of arcade games was well underway. When CyberVision folded in 1979, Brenda still hadn’t finished her dissertation. But no matter—she was a game designer now. When she moved out to California to work for Atari, she saw the ocean for the first time. We sit in her garden and talk over iced tea; Tejava and pomegranate juice, the house drink. She sucks on an American Spirit, sitting unnaturally straight. She’s recovering from back surgery, her second, and her shock of curly silver hair is accented with pops of magenta and aquamarine. As we talk, two muscular cats with Japanese names clamber around the garden, which is really a forest: five acres of pristine land near the Portola Redwoods, a senselessly beautiful two hours’ drive from San Francisco.
In 1996, Interval spun Brenda’s research team into its own company, Purple Moon, which would produce games exclusively for young girls. It stood to reason that if boys were hogging the machines at the school computer lab to play games that girls didn’t like, girls would later be disadvantaged in a workplace, and a world, where computer literacy is not only beneficial but necessary. Making games that girls did like seemed like the obvious solution. As one female game designer put it, “We cannot expect women to excel in technology tomorrow if we don’t encourage girls to have fun with technology today.” It was a smart business move, too: girls represented a huge untapped market, and the prevailing wisdom was that anyone who made a computer game that really appealed to them could conceivably double the games industry. This thinking was likely influenced by the unexpected success that year of Barbie Fashion Designer, a Mattel CD-ROM game that allowed its players to dress a virtual Barbie.
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition by Steven Levy
air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, Donald Knuth, El Camino Real, game design, Hacker Ethic, hacker house, Haight Ashbury, John Conway, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, Paul Graham, popular electronics, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, software patent, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Hackers Conference, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator
“If this opens the door to other programmers ripping off my software,” he told Al Tommervik immediately after the decision, “what happened here was a bad thing.” He would settle the lawsuit before it came to trial. Chapter 17. Summer Camp Ken Williams came to rely on people like John Harris, Third-Generation hackers influenced not so much by Robert Heinlein or Doc Smith as by Galaxian, Dungeons and Dragons, and Star Wars. A whole subculture of creative, game-designing hacker-programmers was blooming, beyond the reach of executive headhunters. They were mostly still in high school. To lure young programmers to Coarsegold, Williams took out ads in the Los Angeles Times tempting programmers to “Boot into Yosemite.” Typical of the replies was a man who told Ken, “My son’s a great Apple programmer and would like working with you.” “Why don’t you let me talk to your son?”
Meanwhile, he was working on a game based on some of Ken’s fastest, most spectacular assembly-language subroutines yet. It was a game like Space Invaders, where you had a rocketship and had to fight off waves of invaders. But the waves were full of weird shapes and moved in all kinds of directions, and if the player tried to send a constant stream of bullets off to fight them, his “laser gun” would overheat and he would face almost certain death. It was the kind of game designed to spur cardiac arrest in the feeble-hearted, so fierce were the attackers and so violent were the explosions. It was not exactly a landmark in Apple gaming, since it was so derivative of the Space Invaders school of shoot-’em-ups, but it did represent an escalation in graphic pyrotechnics and game-playing intensity. The name of this computer program was Threshold, and it made Warren Schwader almost one hundred thousand dollars in royalties, a significant percentage of which was tithed to the Kingdom Hall in Ahwahnee.
Brøderbund was riding high on Choplifter, written by a twenty-eight-year-old former artificial intelligence hacker named Dan Gorlin. The game was based on the Iran hostage crisis: a chopper crossed enemy lines and tried to rescue sixty-four hostages—little animated figures who waved when they saw the helicopter. It was the big game of the year, and consistent with the Carlstons’ classy approach to the business. They loved their hackers. They talked all the time about what great artists their “game designers” were. Sirius had been developing its own superstars, but Gebelli, the designer who had done almost all their games in the first year of Sirius’ existence, was not one of them. According to Jerry Jewell, Gebelli thought that Sirius was not the best agency for display and sale of his artworks—this after receiving a quarter of a million dollars in his first year, noted Jewell incredulously—and, along with a defecting Sirius executive, began his own company, modestly named Gebelli Software.
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris
air freight, airport security, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, disruptive innovation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, inventory management, Maui Hawaii, Ponzi scheme, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, uranium enrichment, Yogi Berra
If people craved the software, then they would undoubtedly buy the hardware. This had been Nintendo’s approach: dazzle the market with much-talked-about hits like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and as a result, seduce an entire generation into buying the NES. Unfortunately, this approach presented a problem for Katz because Nintendo held an iron grip on software developers. If game designers wanted their game on the NES, then Nintendo had them sign an exclusive agreement with a stringent noncompete clause. So if Nintendo got a game, there was no way that Sega could offer it on their system, and given Nintendo’s monstrous success, why would anyone choose Sega over Nintendo? Katz’s solution was to hitch Sega’s wagon to household names, believing the association between Sega and the likes of Joe Montana and Buster Douglas would bring about a certain level of respect and legitimacy.
Miyamoto With so much invested in this game, it would be too expensive to send all the bulky arcade cabinets back to Japan and then import something else. The last remaining hope was for a designer in Japan to quickly create a game that would be compatible with Radarscope’s infrastructure (and, when finished, send over processors with that new game to America, where NOA employees could swap out the motherboard and then repaint the arcade cabinets to reflect this new game). This task was given to Shigeru Miyamoto, a floppy-haired first-time game designer who idealistically believed that videogames should be treated with the same respect given to books, movies, and television shows. His efforts to elevate the art form were immediately given a boost when he was informed that Nintendo was close to finalizing a licensing deal with King Features, enabling him to develop his game around the popular cartoon series Popeye the Sailor Man. Using those characters, he began crafting a game where Popeye must rescue his beloved Olive Oyl by hopping over obstacles tossed in his way by his obese archenemy, Bluto.
“This is not the reaction I was expecting,” Kalinske said, echoing not only Nakayama’s earlier words but also his distinctly disappointed tone. Nakayama thought for a moment. He was a man who chose his words wisely, so it was significant whenever he took an extra moment to do so. “It doesn’t matter what I think. It only matters what will sell.” But over the following days, tempers at Sega of Japan began to flare. The games designers believed they should be in charge of every aspect of Sonic. In normal circumstances, this would likely be the case, but since the character of Sonic had initially been created for the goal of success in the United States, Sega of America believed that they knew best when it came to the tastes and preferences of their audience. Days later, Nakayama called Kalinske back, sounding less open-minded.
Effective Programming: More Than Writing Code by Jeff Atwood
AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, cloud computing, endowment effect, Firefox, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, gravity well, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Merlin Mann, Minecraft, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, price anchoring, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, science of happiness, Skype, social software, Steve Jobs, web application, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
I suppose this is because Medics don’t engage in much direct combat, so they’re not as exciting to play as, say, a Demoman or Soldier. That’s unfortunate, because the healing abilities of the medic class are frequently critical to winning a round. So what did Valve do? They released a giant set of medic-specific achievements to encourage players to choose the Medic class more often. That’s iterative game design based on actual, real-world gameplay data. Using detailed gameplay metrics to refine game design isn’t new; Bungie ran both Halo 2 and 3 through comprehensive usability lab tests. In April, Bungie found a nagging problem with Valhalla, one of Halo 3′s multiplayer levels: Player deaths (represented in dark red on this “heat map” of the level) were skewing toward the base on the left, indicating that forces invading from the right had a slight advantage.
Random discussion is fine for entertainment, but it’s not particularly useful, nor does it tend to generate the kind of artifacts that will be relevant a few years from now like Wikipedia does. So then the problem becomes how do you encourage groups to do what’s best for the world rather than their own specific, selfish needs? When I looked at this problem, I felt I knew the answer. But there wasn’t a word for it in 2008. Now there is: Gamification. Gamification is the use of game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences. […] Gamification works by … taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming. The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, or reading web sites. I had no idea this Wikipedia article even existed until a few months ago, but we are featured prominently in it.
Oftentimes, the whole reason we became programmers in the first place is because we wanted to move beyond being a mere player and change the game, control it, modify its parameters, maybe even create our own games. We used games to learn how to program. To a programmer, a game is a perfectly natural introduction to real programming problems. I’d posit that any field can use games as an introduction to the subject matter — and as a reinforcement to learning. Games help people work toward a goal It’s something of a revelation to me that solid game design can defeat the Greater Internet F**kwad Theory. Two great examples of this are Counter-Strike and Team Fortress. Both games are more than ten years old, but they’re still actively being played right now, by tens of thousands of people, all anonymous … and playing as cohesive teams! The game’s objectives and rules are all cleverly constructed to make working together the most effective way to win.
Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito, Jeff Howe
3D printing, Albert Michelson, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, buy low sell high, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, fiat currency, financial innovation, Flash crash, frictionless, game design, Gerolamo Cardano, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, microbiome, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pirate software, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Singularitarianism, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, universal basic income, unpaid internship, uranium enrichment, urban planning, WikiLeaks
English—or “English language arts,” in the argot of professional educators—is taught during “Codeworlds” and “Being, Space, and Place.” Phys ed? You won’t find it on these students’ schedules. Try “Wellness” instead. Neither do teachers organize the curriculum into “units” on, say, rocks and landforms. Instead there are “quests” and “missions” that culminate in a “boss level,” a term well known to any gamer. The goal, school administrators insist, is not to produce a generation of game designers. “We’re teaching twenty-first-century competencies,” says Arana Shapiro, Quest to Learn codirector. That might come as news to Dominic, an eleven-year-old fidgeting his way through a “crit,” an educational ritual normally endured by would-be artists and poets. His peers, the twenty-three other sixth graders enrolled in “Sports for the Mind,” are providing feedback on Dominic’s video game. “I’m just saying, the enemies all do one damage except for the boss rhino, but every time it shoots at you it does damage, but if the T-Rex knocks into you, you lose all your health.”
It’s a cruel irony that at present, the very schools most sympathetic to the Scratch Foundation’s mission are those least in need of its support. Private schools and wealthy districts have begun enthusiastically integrating robotics and programming into their curricula, a dichotomy that will only reinforce the achievement gap that already exists in our nation’s schools. “We could wind up having two school systems—one for the rich and one for the poor,” says James Gee, the linguist, educator, and game designer. The poor one will teach to the tests, adhere to common curricula, and “guarantee you the basics, thus suiting you for a service job.” The rich schools, on the other hand, will emphasize problem solving, innovation, and the skills required to produce new knowledge. “Those kids will make out very well in the global system.” The latest battleground for civil rights, says Gee, isn’t about voter rights or equal employment opportunities.
—Jeff Howe 7 Diversity over Ability In the fall of 2011 the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology published a paper revealing that after more than a decade of effort, researchers had succeeded in mapping the structure of an enzyme used by retroviruses similar to HIV.1 The achievement was widely viewed as a breakthrough, but there was something else astonishing about the article. Listed among the international group of scientists that had contributed to the discovery was something called the “Foldit Void Crushers Group.” It was the name for a collective of video gamers. Foldit,2 a novel experiment created by a group of scientists and game designers at the University of Washington, had asked the gamers—some still in middle school and few with a background in the sciences, much less microbiology—to determine how proteins would fold in the enzyme. Within hours, thousands of people were competing against (and collaborating with) one another. After three weeks, they had succeeded where the microbiologists and the computers had failed. “This is the first example I know of game players solving a long-standing scientific problem,” David Baker, a Foldit cocreator, said at the time.3 It wasn’t to be the last.
Platform Scale: How an Emerging Business Model Helps Startups Build Large Empires With Minimum Investment by Sangeet Paul Choudary
3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, collaborative economy, commoditize, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, frictionless, game design, hive mind, Internet of things, invisible hand, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, multi-sided market, Network effects, new economy, Paul Graham, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social software, software as a service, software is eating the world, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, TaskRabbit, the payments system, too big to fail, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Wave and Pay
“All you do is click that one button all day. What do you get out of it?” That one statement captures the brilliance of game design. A player may have the lofty goal of saving the princess. One may get a kick out of crossing multiple levels and collect points and lives on the way. But the player merely clicks a set of buttons that help the game character jump and stomp the evil turtles and fire cannonballs. More recently, Flappy Bird had the whole world in outrage when its creator pulled the game from the App Store. As a set of actions that players take, Flappy Bird is quite similar to Super Mario Bros. One or two simple actions, when repeated, deliver value, as long as they are performed well. That’s the brilliance of game design. A large goal can be broken down into a set of simple actions for users to perform repeatedly.
A large goal can be broken down into a set of simple actions for users to perform repeatedly. These simple actions enable users to obtain value from the game and progress towards a larger goal. GAME DESIGN AND PLATFORM SCALE The most alluring aspect of game design is the possibility that simple actions could yield important consequences. What if platforms could break complex business and social interactions down into a set of simple actions? Some of the best platforms today are designed in this fashion. A constantly evolving online encyclopedia is based on a set of repeated writing and editing actions that users perform. The world’s largest accommodation marketplace may threaten to disrupt the traditional hotel industry, but it relies on a set of simple actions from hosts and travelers to guarantee a thriving marketplace. THE CORE INTERACTION Every platform has a core interaction, a set of actions that producers and consumers on the platform perform repeatedly to gain value from the platform.
Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin
AltaVista, Apple II, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer age, discovery of DNA, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, inventory management, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, Leonard Kleinrock, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, packet switching, Ralph Nader, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, union organizing, upwardly mobile, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce
At dinner and in conversations at Ross’s opulent apartment the following day, Ross made his case. Warner knew how to create hits and get products to consumers; Warner’s WEA group had just shipped 1.1 million copies of the Eagles’ new Hotel California album in only three days.17 And Warner understood how to work with artists who needed to be coddled and coaxed, a particular draw for Bushnell, who considered Atari’s game designers artists. Ross also told Bushnell and Keenan that they would be happy at Warner. They could stay in California and continue to run Atari. Ross explained that he took a hands-off approach and even offered to sweeten top management’s incentive structure, which already included a rich bonus pool.18 By the time the Atari team flew back to California on another Warner jet—Ross arranged for Clint Eastwood and Eastwood’s partner, Sondra Locke, to join them—Bushnell was convinced that selling Atari to Warner was the best way to get the money to develop the Stella chip.19 None of the other companies Atari had approached about an acquisition had been interested.
Each cartridge sold for roughly $30, with an 89 percent gross margin for Atari, according to Gerard.24 The VCS accounted for almost a quarter-billion dollars’ worth of sales in 1981.25 A few other companies, most prominently Mattel, made cartridge systems to compete with the VCS, but 80 percent of the 4 million video game systems in American homes in 1981 were made by Atari.26 Within Silicon Valley, Atari, which had grown to nearly ten thousand employees and fifty buildings, became a prestigious employer for computer programmers and game designers.27 Saying you wrote games for Atari, one programmer noted, “didn’t get you laid, but it was seen as cool.”28 Programmers had complete control over every aspect of a game, from design and rules to graphics and sound effects. Some programmers started developing the games on paper before typing code into the hexadecimal language the VCS system could understand. To test the game, the programmer would load the code onto an eight-inch floppy disc and carry it into the main lab space for debugging on the development system that all the programmers shared.
That bonus was on top of salaries starting at about $20,000, a figure that programmer Carla Meninsky recalls felt like an enormous sum when she first applied at Atari, so absurd that she practiced saying “twenty thousand dollars” in front of her bedroom mirror so she could request it with a straight face at her hiring interview.42 Salaries and bonuses for experienced programmers could go much higher. Despite these efforts to encourage game designers’ productivity, the number of cartridges released by Atari dropped by half the year after the Activision founders left.43 Even with the higher pay, many on the engineering side felt that Kassar and the managers he hired did not appreciate their ideas or their work. Kassar gave an interview in which he called the technical minds behind the games “superstars” but also “high-strung prima donnas.”
Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman
algorithmic trading, Anton Chekhov, Apple II, Benoit Mandelbrot, citation needed, combinatorial explosion, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, digital map, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, HyperCard, Inbox Zero, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, mandelbrot fractal, Minecraft, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Parkinson's law, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, software studies, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Therac-25, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K
As mentioned in the introduction, as our technologies become more complicated, and we lose the ability to understand them, our responses tend toward two extremes: fear and awe. Contemplating a fantastically intricate technological system, some of us are overwhelmed by its power and complexity, and respond with fear of the unknown. Others tend toward an almost religious reverence when faced with technology’s beauty and power. The video game designer and writer Ian Bogost has even suggested that replacing the term “algorithm” with the word “God” changes little of what is being said about technology in today’s discourse. But technology, while it suffuses our society, is not the product of a perfect and immaculate process. Technologies are kluges. They are messes cobbled together over time from many pieces, and while they are indubitably exciting, they do not merit unquestioning wonder or profound existential concern.
For a kid who was beginning to explore computers, this visual authoring space was the perfect gateway to the machine. One program I built with HyperCard was a rudimentary password generator: it could make a random string you could use as a password, but it also had options to make the random passwords more pronounceable, and hence more memorable over the long term. It was simple, but definitely ahead of its time, in my unstudied opinion. The computer game designer Chaim Gingold calls gateways like HyperCard “magic crayons.” Like the crayon in the children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon that allows the young hero to draw objects that immediately take on reality, magic crayons are tools that, in Gingold’s words, “allow non-programmers to engage the procedural qualities of the digital medium and build dynamic things.” Even in the Apple world, commonly viewed as sterilized of messy code and computational innards, HyperCard allowed access to the complex powerhouse of the digital domain.
Shlomo Pines (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1963), 65–66. “queerer than we can suppose”: J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Essays (London: Chatto & Windus, 1928), 286. limitations to what we can know: For a further discussion on scientific humility, see Marcelo Gleiser, The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning (New York: Basic Books, 2014). video game designer and writer Ian Bogost: Ian Bogost, “The Cathedral of Computation,” The Atlantic, January 15, 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/the-cathedral-of-computation/384300/. a perfect and immaculate process: This is discussed further in Bogost, “Cathedral of Computation.” the “humble programmer”: Edsger Dijkstra, “The Humble Programmer.” Communications of the ACM 15, no. 10 (1972): 859–66.
Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World by Clive Thompson
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 4chan, 8-hour work day, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, call centre, cellular automata, Chelsea Manning, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, don't be evil, don't repeat yourself, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, HyperCard, illegal immigration, ImageNet competition, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Larry Wall, lone genius, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, microservices, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Nicholas Carr, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, planetary scale, profit motive, ransomware, recommendation engine, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, sorting algorithm, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, the High Line, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban planning, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zimmermann PGP, éminence grise
Writing the slower code might not matter when only a few people are using your app. But if suddenly thousands or millions of people start pounding away on your server? In that situation, unoptimized code can be ruinous. That’s what Lance Ivy found out when Kickstarter got popular. In 2012, three years after it was launched, Kickstarter started to get its first “million-dollar” campaigns. Among the first was a campaign by veteran video-game designer Tim Schafer to create Broken Age, his latest title. Schafer initially wanted to raise $400,000, a huge sum for Kickstarter at the time. But Schafer’s fan base rallied around the cause, and within 24 hours they had come close to raising a full $1 million. To capture the excitement of the moment, Schafer’s company streamed footage from their office, showing the staff as they followed the increasing Kickstarter pledges.
But nearly every one also described the daily fight of having to prove themselves over and over again to the wide swathe of industry peers who, tacitly or openly, assumed they didn’t have serious technical chops, that they couldn’t. One coder, Stephanie Hurlburt, was a classically nerdy math-head who’d cut her teeth doing deep work on graphics. “I love C++, the low-level stuff,” she tells me. She’d worked for a series of firms, including Unity (which makes a popular game-design tool), and then for Facebook on its Oculus Rift VR headset, cranking mad hours to release their first demo. Hurlburt was accustomed to shrugging off neg hits. There were many: She’d been told, including by many authority figures she admired, that girls weren’t wired for math. While working as a coder, if she expressed ignorance of nearly any niggling concept in graphics, some male colleagues would pounce.
Merely to be shipping live software at scale, instead of tweaking away on a dying and unused app, was thrilling. The social problems that evolved on Twitter’s service turned out to be maddeningly complex. By the early 2010s, it was clear that some Twitter users were adroitly using the service to engage in coordinated harassment campaigns. Again, the best-known example was Gamergate, a harassment campaign in which groups of mostly men hounded female game designers and game critics who’d talked and written about sexism in games, like Anita Sarkeesian. One tactic the harassers used was dogpiling: They’d pick a target and bombard her account with @-replies, sometimes using bots, in such volume that it was virtually impossible for the target to use Twitter. The victim would log on and find hundreds or even thousands of abusive messages; any real conversations with valid people got lost in the stream of hate.
Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter
Anticipation, the Velvet Rope, and Status Though surprise can help users by compressing emotion into a split-second reaction, anticipation—surprise’s temporal opposite—can also shape emotional engagement. We create anticipation when we foreshadow a desired event and give the audience ample time to ponder the experience. Parents excite their children at Christmas with “Santa is coming to our house soon!” to conjure fantasies about the magic of the holidays and the wonderful gifts to come. Anticipation is what game designers call an open system. Games designed with an open structure, like The Sims, allow users to wander and shape game play on their own terms. Open systems encourage people to use their imagination to create a personalized experience. Video games that use a closed system, like Super Mario Brothers, narrowly direct game play, forcing the user to move in a specific direction on a defined mission. The contrast between open and closed systems is what leads us so often to perceive that reading the book is better than seeing the movie.
To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov
3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Automated Insights, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Gary Taubes, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lifelogging, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, moral panic, Narrative Science, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Parag Khanna, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, pets.com, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks
They are teaching and inspiring and engaging us in ways that reality is not. They are bringing us together in ways that reality is not.” Thus, the only possible conclusion that McGonigal can draw from all of this is that reality ought to be more like games: “What if we decided to use everything we know about game design to fix what’s wrong with reality? What if we started to live our real lives like gamers, lead our real businesses and communities like game designers, and think about solving real-world problems like computer and video game theorists?” Well, replace “game designers and theorists” with “B. F. Skinner,” and the answer to all these what-ifs might be very different. What to make of McGonigal’s project and her “personal mission to see a game developer win a Nobel Peace Prize in the next twenty-five years”? She seems so utterly confused about human experience—this probably comes with a Palo Alto zip code—that it’s tempting to read the whole book as a cynical satire of the whole gamification enterprise, if not the complacency of Western consumerism as such.
What is the connection between gamification and games? Some critics of gamification point out that the best video games are not exhausted by their reward systems. Virtual points do not produce experiences “of interest, enlightenment, terror, fascination, hope, or any number of other sensations,” as game theorist Ian Bogost puts it; rather, those are produced by the content of the game and various narrative strategies adopted by game designers. In other words, one doesn’t have to hate games to hate gamification; that process doesn’t, strictly speaking, turn everything into a game—it turns everything into limited (and often completely unimportant) factors that we sometimes associate with games. Canadian media theorist Alan Chorney offers a very useful distinction between the two: “The use of game mechanics does not necessarily make the product a video game.
Likewise, the point about the potentially corrosive impact such schemes have on character holds as well: sometimes we want citizens to do the right thing for the right reason, not just because it’s more fun than playing Angry Birds. Skimming through gamification literature can be both frustrating and instructive, for it shows the rhetorical tricks deployed by game enthusiasts to promote their schemes and the inherent limitations of their mind-set. Take Gamification by Design by game designers Gabe Zichermann and Christopher Cunningham. One has to praise the book—something of a primer on gamification—for being completely transparent about its Skinnerian philosophy: the cover features five playful monkeys, who presumably are on their way to being gamified. Like most gamification literature, this book, from the very outset, blurs any distinction between games and play and posits that both are natural and inevitable.
Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us Into Temptation by Chris Nodder
4chan, affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, game design, haute couture, jimmy wales, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, late fees, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Netflix Prize, Nick Leeson, Occupy movement, pets.com, price anchoring, recommendation engine, Rory Sutherland, Silicon Valley, Stanford prison experiment, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Tim Cook: Apple, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile
Bulgarian lottery repeat numbers: Carl Bialik. “Lottery Math 101.” The Numbers Guy (blogs.wsj.com). September 22, 2009. Retrieved March 2013. Israel National Lottery repeat numbers: Mark Weiss. “Israel lottery draws same numbers as three weeks before.” The Telegraph (telegraph.co.uk). October 18, 2010. Retrieved March 2013. Use a partial reinforcement schedule Game design seen through an operant conditioning lens: John Hopson. “Behavioral Game Design.”Gamasutra (gamasutra.com). April 27, 2001. Retrieved January 2013. Dog photo credit: Chris Nodder. Make it into a game Volkswagen’s Fun Theory promotion: thefuntheory.com. Fold It: Protein folding game online at Fold.it. DigitalKoot: The Finnish National Library DigitalKoot project page at digitalkoot.fi. Google Image Labeler: Now offline. Customers should “win” rather than “finishing” or “buying” fMRI images: Mauricio R.
A fixed ratio or fixed interval schedule leads to times when the reward seems a long way off—such as just after leveling up, when it takes a lot more points before the next opportunity. To keep people playing during this time, it makes sense to use a variable ratio schedule for some other activity in the game, such as killing enemies, so that they feel there’s always a chance of being rewarded for some minor goal they’re working toward rather than being disheartened by the far-off major goal. Another approach for game designers is to produce events that are negatively reinforcing. In other words, players work to prevent them from happening. An example might be going too long without logging in to Farmville, only to find spoiled crops and rampant animals. To prevent this, players must remember to tend to their farms frequently. Negative reinforcement rewards people by taking away a bad outcome. You reinforce the behavior by associating it with bad things not happening.
Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right by Angela Nagle
4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, affirmative action, anti-communist, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, citizen journalism, crony capitalism, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, feminist movement, game design, Hacker Ethic, hive mind, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, mass immigration, moral panic, Nelson Mandela, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, open borders, post-industrial society, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, The Wisdom of Crowds, WikiLeaks
Games writer Jennifer Hepler also came under attacks, in which she claims to have been sent hundreds of abusive messages on Twitter, calling her things like an ‘obese cunt’ and threatening her. Feminist gamers complained that games writer Felicia Day was publicly dismissed as a ‘booth babe’ by a male games journalist. Games designer Patricia Hernandez drew the attention of 4chan, when she called it a ‘cathedral of misogyny’. Encyclopedia Dramatica has a permanent entry for the memes 4chan created inspired by her comment, where she is described as: A fat, wetback ‘game journalist’ with sausage fingers and a chin like Jay Leno who works for Kotaku, a gaming gossip site infamous for allowing game designers to sleep with its columnists for good reviews and publicity. Patricia is a noted lesbian and feminazi who follows in Kotaku’s proud tradition of writing countless articles about how various games either promote rape or literally rape their female players.
We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater
1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Whole Earth Catalog, Zipcar
The participants were highly organised without having much by way of an organisation. The I Love Bees game, designed by Californian company 42 Entertainment, had its roots in flash mobbing, a form of public performance art which had started in New York and San Francisco in 2003. In flash mobs, anything from a handful of people to several thousand, who have organised themselves by word of mouth, over mobile phones and via the Internet, gather in a public place, such as at a railway station or on a street crossing, to undertake an apparently bizarre activity.3 Jane McGonigal, one of 42 Entertainment’s lead designers and a pioneer of flash mobbing, designed I Love Bees to see whether a mob could become a creative force. In the four weeks after the advertisements were shown, the game designers fed clues to the players through hundreds of websites, blogs, thousands of emails and more than 40,000 MP3 transmissions.
The 600,000 players of I Love Bees showed that a mass of independent people, with different information, skills and outlooks, working together in the right way, can discover, analyse, co-ordinate, create and innovate together at scale without much by way of a traditional organisation. Their collaboration was not an anarchic free-for-all; it was organised, but without a division of labour imposed from on high. So if some ingenious west coast games designers can create the conditions in which thousands of people around the world collaborate to solve a trivial puzzle, could we do something similar to defeat bird flu, tackle global warming, keep communities safe, provide support for disaster victims, lend and borrow money, conduct political and policy debates, teach and learn, design and even make physical products? Whether this hope turns out to be reasonable or hopelessly idealistic may depend on the eventual fate of a global experiment in sharing that is still in progress: Wikipedia.
The Great Fragmentation: And Why the Future of All Business Is Small by Steve Sammartino
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, fiat currency, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, haute couture, helicopter parent, illegal immigration, index fund, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, lifelogging, market design, Metcalfe's law, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer, post scarcity, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, too big to fail, US Airways Flight 1549, web application, zero-sum game
Design the mass product. Tweak the mass product with qualitative research. Gain mass distribution. Buy mass media. Rinse and repeat. Innovate incrementally using existing infrastructure. But the linear process just doesn’t work anymore. The environment and resulting go-to-market methodology has fragmented into non-linear, unpredictable pieces. We now operate in a world where a smartphone game designed by an independent game manufacturer can end up being a major motion picture with global licensing that can compete with the likes of Disney (think Angry Birds). Or where a crowdfunding campaign can result in enough financial backing for a new wearable computing device — such as the Pebble — to be launched before Apple or Google enter the smartwatch market space. Marketing revised A simplified view of the old marketing world compared to the new marketing world could be defined by making this comparison in table 6.1.
We’re all still playing the games right now, but like many aspects of commerce, we go deep into the wormhole before we realise it. Gamification not only becomes possible in a connected and social world, it’s inevitable. If I could draw an analogy for gamification, it would be this: Pong is to consoles, what Angry Birds is to gamification. Gamification is all about intersecting behavioural economics and game design methodology for a commercial outcome. When we think about it deeply, it’s not too far removed from commerce in general. What is business other than anthropology with a scoreboard? Gamification is much more about anthropology than it is about technology, but the two elements of anthropology and technology are starting to conspire to create new commercial platforms that, when used well, have the ability to circumvent currency while also creating purchasing power.
Given we are living in a time of true revolution, we need to look outside our own realm, become exploratory and open our minds through the understanding of different fields. To help you do this, I've pulled together a reading and viewing list of work that helped me to see the world better. I've done this because the truth about business is that the patterns within it come from worlds outside it. Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of lenses Jesse Schell Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium Carl Sagan Brand Hijack: Marketing Without Marketing Alex Wipperfurth The Cluetrain Manifesto Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed Ray Kurzweil The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing.
Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier
23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Black Swan, book scanning, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, obamacare, optical character recognition, PageRank, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, post-materialism, random walk, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!
Zynga’s big-data analysts study whether sales of virtual goods are affected by their color, or by players’ seeing their friends using them. For example, after the data showed that FishVille players bought a translucent fish at six times the rate of other creatures, Zynga offered more translucent species and profited handsomely. In the game Mafia Wars, the data revealed that players bought more weapons with gold borders and purchased pet tigers that were all white. These are not the sorts of things that a game designer toiling in a studio might have known, but the data spoke. “We are an analytics company masquerading as a gaming company. Everything is run by the numbers,” explained Ken Rudin, then Zynga’s analytics chief, before jumping ship to head analytics at Facebook. Harnessing data is no guarantee of business success but shows what is possible. The shift to data-driven decisions is profound. Most people base their decisions on a combination of facts and reflection, plus a heavy dose of guesswork.
See also data anaysis; predictive analytics and big data, [>]–[>] and credit scores, [>] as driven by hypotheses, [>]–[>], [>], [>] and “end of theory,” [>]–[>] of information, [>]–[>], [>] in marine navigation, [>]–[>] of medical records, [>], [>]–[>], [>] non-linear, [>]–[>] proxies in, [>]–[>], [>], [>] of sales data, [>] vs. scientific method, [>]–[>] and subprime mortgage scandal (2009), [>] of text, [>]–[>] in video game design, [>]–[>] Coursera, [>], [>] Craigslist, [>] Crawford, Kate, [>] credit card fraud: big data and, [>]–[>], [>]–[>] Kunze on, [>] credit scores: correlation analysis and, [>] datafication and, [>] credit transactions: analysis of, [>] crime prevention: predictive policing and, [>]–[>] Crosby, Alfred, [>], [>] Cross, Bradford, [>]–[>] “culturomics,” [>]–[>] data. See also big data; information; open data aggregation of, [>], [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>] anonymization of, [>], [>]–[>] brokering, [>] compared to energy, [>] decision-making driven by, [>]–[>] depreciating value of, [>]–[>] “dictatorship” of, [>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>] economic value of reusing, [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>], [>] extensibility of, [>]–[>] fallibility of, [>]–[>] fetishizing of, [>], [>], [>]–[>], [>] imprecision in processing, [>]–[>] mining, [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>] misuse of, [>], [>], [>]–[>] nature of, [>]–[>] option value of, [>], [>]–[>], [>], [>] recombining of, [>]–[>], [>] scale in, [>]–[>] storage costs of, [>], [>], [>]–[>] as truth, [>], [>] valuation of, [>]–[>] data analysis.
Department of Homeland Security, [>] uses predictive analytics, [>] U.S. National Security Agency (NSA): data-gathering by, [>]–[>] U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, [>] value, economic: big data and creation of, [>], [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>] of reusing data, [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>], [>] Varian, Hal, [>] video game design: correlation analysis in, [>]–[>] Vietnam War: data misused in, [>], [>]–[>] Visa, [>] von Ahn, Luis: invents Captcha & ReCaptcha, [>]–[>] Walmart, [>] analyzes sales data, [>], [>], [>], [>] merchandising innovations by, [>]–[>] War Managers, The (Kinnard), [>] Warden, Pete, [>] Watts, Duncan, [>] Weinberger, David, [>] Wikipedia, [>] Windows Azure Marketplace, [>] World Bank, [>] and open data, [>] Xoom, [>]–[>] Yahoo, [>], [>], [>] YouTube: data processing by, [>] Zeo, [>] ZestFinance, [>]–[>] Zillow, [>] Zuckerberg, Mark, [>], [>] Zynga, [>]–[>] About the Authors VIKTOR MAYER-SCHÖNBERGER is Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University.
The Job: The Future of Work in the Modern Era by Ellen Ruppel Shell
3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, big-box store, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, follow your passion, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, game design, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, urban renewal, white picket fence, working poor, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game
As you may have guessed, “Flatland” also has a dark side. With no managers to turn to for adjudication or support, there is enormous pressure on employees to “fit in” with the prevailing corporate culture. Those who fail to do so are sometimes marginalized or ejected in an “off the island”–style banishment. Several years ago, the company “voted out” more than two dozen top engineers, including inventor Jeri Ellsworth, a legend in game design circles. Ellsworth, who went on to cofound a new venture, described the Valve structure as “pseudoflat” with a hidden layer of authority that she compared to “popular kids in a high school clique.” Since a large portion of employee compensation at the company is based on individual performance as perceived by one’s peers, Ellsworth said most engineers gravitated toward high-profile projects that were both visible and almost certain to succeed.
Finland’s exemplary school system is famous for launching students to the top of international academic assessments. That’s old news. Most of us have heard of the so-called Finland Miracle. But I wondered what role, if any, this and other social investments had played in the country’s transformation into an innovation hub, a nation known for churning out extraordinary numbers of both visionary video game designers and world-class symphony conductors. And I wondered, too, whether this quirky Nordic nation could realistically serve as an incubator of ideas and practices that could be adopted in the United States. My first stop was a visit to Pekka Ylä-Anttila, then head economist at ETLA, the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy. Ylä-Antilla greeted me in what I came to regard as the customary Finnish fashion: with cakes, coffee, and a fully loaded PowerPoint presentation.
But private equity is not always available, and even when it is, it is not always the first choice of business owners. Passing the business on to employees in a cooperative arrangement is a way to serve their employees, retain their customers, and preserve their legacy. Meanwhile, the cooperative movement has widened and found common cause in some unlikely places, like union halls. At a national gathering of cooperative owners and advocates I met lawyers, video game designers, cabdrivers, a maker of photovoltaic cells, and Rob Witherell, a contract negotiator for United Steelworkers (USW), the nation’s largest industrial labor union. Burly and soft-spoken, Witherell is every inch the union man, but he sees cooperatives as the next big thing. “At the most basic level, labor unions and cooperatives have a lot in common,” he told me. “It’s all about workers helping each other to make a better life.
The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality by Blake J. Harris
4chan, airport security, Anne Wojcicki, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, call centre, computer vision, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, financial independence, game design, Grace Hopper, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, Peter Thiel, QR code, sensor fusion, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, software patent, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, unpaid internship, white picket fence
When I began to think about what sort of person might create this virtual utopia, I immediately thought of Richard Garriott, the eccentric video game designer who created all the Ultima games, including Ultima Online. He was known for cosplaying as his video game avatar, Lord British, at press events and conventions. He was also famous for holding elaborate haunted house events at his mansion in Austin, Texas, which was rumored to be filled with hidden rooms and secret passages. His larger-than-life personality also reminded me of the character Willy Wonka, and when I made that connection, an idea suddenly occurred to me: What if Willy Wonka had been a video game designer instead of a candymaker? And what if he held his golden ticket contest inside his greatest video game—a sprawling virtual reality that had replaced the internet?
I remembered that back when I was playing Adventure on my Atari 2600, I’d managed to discover a secret room inside the game, where its creator, Warren Robinett, had hidden his name. This was the very first video game Easter egg, and discovering it was one of the most thrilling childhood memories. I wondered, What if my Wonka-esque game designer hid his own Easter egg somewhere inside his virtual universe, and then after his death, he held a posthumous contest to find it? The first person to find the egg would win his fortune, along with ownership of his game company and control of his virtual kingdom. That got me thinking about what sort of tests and challenges my eccentric game designer, James Halliday, would leave behind to find a worthy successor, and another idea occurred to me: all the riddles, puzzles, and clues leading to the hidden Easter egg could be linked to the dead billionaire’s various pop-culture passions—his favorite books, movies, video games, cartoons, and TV shows from his youth.
And my little piece of it—making sure that it go out on time and on budget and had good marketing—was just one piece of everything needed to make that happen; but it was a piece that . . . I don’t exactly know how to describe it. But it feels like everything.” To some in the VR community, Oculus’ hiring of Malamed was a cause for concern. As summed up by one user on MTBS3D: “I hate to jump to conclusions because I don’t know the guy, but Activision is one of my least favorite companies, and their business strategy . . . [has] made for some really unethical business-over-game-design choices . . . Maybe a little compromise needs to be made to get to big markets with big hardware, but I’m still concerned about the ‘open-sourceness’ spirit going forward.” These sorts of gone-corporate concerns were enhanced when, in an introducing-our-new-VP interview with GIBiz, Malamed talked about competing with console-makers and suggested that the consumer version of Rift might cost more than originally thought.5 As someone who typically operated behind the scenes, Malamed wasn’t used to being in the crosshairs of internet drama.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
Airbnb, AltaVista, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, en.wikipedia.org, framing effect, game design, Google Glasses, IKEA effect, Inbox Zero, invention of the telephone, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, the new new thing, Toyota Production System, Y Combinator
• • • Together, the three tendencies just described influence our future actions: The more effort we put into something, the more likely we are to value it; we are more likely to be consistent with our past behaviors; and finally, we change our preferences to avoid cognitive dissonance. These tendencies of ours lead to a mental process known as rationalization, in which we change our attitudes and beliefs to adapt psychologically. Rationalization helps us give reasons for our behaviors, even when those reasons might have been designed by others. At a 2010 industry conference, Jesse Schell, a renowned game designer and professor at Carnegie Mellon University, articulated the peculiar train of thought some players exhibit online.6 Schell examined Mafia Wars, one of Zynga’s first breakout hits, which, like FarmVille, attracted millions of players. “There’s definitely a lot of psychology here, because if someone had said, ‘Hey, we’re going to make a text-based mafia game that’s going to make over $100 million,’ you’d say, ‘I don’t think you’ll do that.’
The unknown—in this case, which verse will be chosen for the reader and how it relates to their personal struggle—becomes an important driver of the reading habit. As for my own reward, after finishing my verse, I received affirmation from a satisfying “Day Complete!” screen. A check mark appeared near the scripture I had read and another one was placed on my reading plan calendar. Skipping a day would mean breaking the chain of checked days, employing the endowed progress effect (previously discussed in chapter 3)—a tactic also used by video game designers to encourage progression. As habit forming as the Bible App’s reading plans can be, they are not for everyone. In fact, Gruenewald reports most users downloaded the app but never register for an account with YouVersion. Millions choose to not follow any plan, opting instead to use the app as a substitute for their paper Bibles. But to Gruenewald, using the app in this way suits him fine.
The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion by John Hagel Iii, John Seely Brown
Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, game design, George Gilder, intangible asset, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Network effects, old-boy network, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart transportation, software as a service, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs
Beyond the guild, however, is a second, broader social network in which participants from all the guilds come together in a vast and diverse complex of discussion forums, wikis, databases, and instructional videos. Here they share experiences, tell stories, celebrate (and analyze) prodigious achievements within the game, and explore innovative approaches to addressing the challenges at hand. Although a few of these forums are officially sponsored by the game designer, most of them have emerged spontaneously, organized by participants seeking access to more advice and insight regarding the challenges they face in the game. This “knowledge economy” is impressively large: In the United States alone, the official forums hosted by Blizzard Entertainment contain tens of millions of postings in hundreds of forums. There are an equal number in China and Europe.16 By providing the most up-to-date in-game information, this knowledge economy gives players a hedge against the ways in which World of Warcraft is constantly changing, allowing them to keep pace with their unpredictable in-game surroundings.
As they do so, most advanced players make use of customized performance “dashboards” created either by themselves or other players. Most gamers monitor their dashboards continually as they embark on quests to raid dungeons, kill monsters, and collect “loot.” The dashboards give players rich, real-time feedback on their performance along a range of dimensions. Though some elements of these dashboards were introduced by the game designer, an entire cottage industry has emerged among participants who specialize in modifying them to suit the needs of different players. The detailed information they capture becomes invaluable during after-action reviews, when guild members gather to reflect on their individual and collective performance and brainstorm about ways to improve. As the creation space within and around World of Warcraft has taken shape, participants have found that they learn faster by collaborating with each other and taking advantage of the tools and resources available to be pulled as needed.
What time is it inside the game? How many “arena points” does a given player have available to spend? Players have written scripts for each of these functions using the WoW API. World of Warcraft introduced the dashboard concept and provided some basic functionality right from the start—illustrating the importance of careful planning and design at the inception of such a project. Very quickly, however, the game designers opened this feature up to third parties, allowing the players themselves to develop additional features for other players to adopt and incorporate into their personalized dashboards. This flexibility was a successful element of the game, showing that creation platforms may operate at different levels in the creation space—learning networks, teams, and individuals may all require creation platforms tailored to their specific needs.
Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do by Jeremy Bailenson
Apple II, augmented reality, computer vision, deliberate practice, experimental subject, game design, Google Glasses, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), iterative process, Jaron Lanier, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, nuclear winter, Oculus Rift, randomized controlled trial, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, telepresence, too big to fail
It may take two years, it may take ten, but mass adoption of affordable and powerful VR technology, combined with vigorous investment in content, is going to unleash a torrent of applications that will touch every aspect of our lives. The powerful effects that researchers, doctors, industrial designers, pilots, and many others have known about for decades are about to become tools for artists, game designers, filmmakers, journalists, and eventually regular users, empowered by software to design and create their own custom experiences. At the moment, however, VR is unregulated and poorly understood. Consequently, the most psychologically powerful medium in history is getting an alpha test on-the-fly, not in an academic lab but in living rooms across the globe. We each have a role in defining how this technology is shaped and developed.
Surprisingly, when compared to the plethora of violent, first-person shooter games that dominate much of the traditional video gaming marketplace, as I write this book there have not yet been a lot of these types of games released in VR. Time, of course, will tell. And it is revealing that the first-person shooter, Raw Data, one of the first hit VR games with over $1 million in sales in its first month, eschewed the gratuitous blood and guts of traditional videogames, choosing instead to pit the gamer against robot enemies. Many game designers, it turns out, quickly realized that there is a big difference in how we feel about performing violent actions on a screen versus performing them in VR. This is even truer when motion tracking technology is involved. Making an avatar commit violent acts by pressing buttons on a controller in a traditional videogame is an entirely different experience from when the same action involves pointing a gun with your hand at a three-dimensional representation of a person and pulling the trigger, or using your hands to strike or stab a virtual opponent in a violent game.
Not only was the VR environment extraordinarily distracting to the patient, but they had achieved these results with what amounted to an off-the-shelf experience. The “SpiderWorld” they had used—which depicted a kitchen filled with potentially unpleasant associations like an oven, a stovetop, and a toaster—was not exactly welcoming to burn patients. Hoffman wondered if he could create a more pleasant experience. He also wanted to turn the experience into a game—imagine how much more involving the treatment would be if it combined game design with the immersive properties of VR. The result of Hoffman’s tinkering was SnowWorld, a simple, sedate VR game set in a world of cool whites and blues. In it, the player/patient gently moves along an arctic canyon floor amidst falling snowflakes, snowmen, penguins, and woolly mammoths. Using a mouse, the patient can aim snowballs at the virtual objects, and defend herself from snowballs lobbed at her.
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
I know that Stoghan’s swaggering and “decisiveness” have his popularity at an all-time high, but please balance this against, I don’t know, every other consideration on the table. Rig some votes if you have to. All right, I can see you glowering at me, so I will say this. One thing the man is doing right, amazingly, is insisting that his soldiers treat the propaganda canisters as real threats. So far it’s all gridpaper games, and they don’t interface with anything, but still. Solid game design, but I expect that from a Shuos. No, the issue is that they’re miniature history lessons. I think Jedao has miscalculated, though. Take that one video segment with the Liozh prisoners’ ribs cracked open so their lungs could be extracted while they were still alive. This sort of thing is only stiffening resistance on our end. It’s an amateur’s mistake, and I have to wonder if Jedao is up to something else.
Still, Cheris knew she had already decided. The next two splinters took her through the eyes like bullets. CHERIS WAS SITTING at a table outside, shuffling and reshuffling her favorite jeng-zai deck. Normally she didn’t lack for opponents – this was Shuos Academy, after all, and there was always someone who didn’t believe a first-year could be as good as she claimed to be – but the yearly game design competition was going on, and everyone was distracted. Someone came up from behind and kissed the top of her head. “Hey, you,” said a familiar tenor: Vestenya Ruo, the first friend she’d made here, and her occasional lover. “Dare I hope that I’ve finally gotten the drop on you?” He came around and took a seat on the bench next to her. Like Cheris, he wore the red cadet uniform. The two of them had a theory that the first Shuos heptarch had picked her faction’s colors to make her own people extra-special easy to assassinate from a distance.
I’m just lucky the weapon they used to ‘kill’ me didn’t work the way they were told it would, and that I have a brief window of freedom.” An interesting story. Almost plausible, even. But Vahenz knew how good he was at being plausible. The lights flickered left, flickered right. She didn’t even notice them anymore. “One more angle,” Jedao said, and Vahenz thought he was going to dredge up some bit of history regarding Shuos cadets, or game design, or vengeful commanders, but instead what she got was: “What do you know about geese?” Vahenz blinked. “Unlike certain undead generals,” she said, “I don’t have a whole lot to do with fowl other than eating them.” She knew he had grown up on a farm of some sort, although what this had to do with – “Then you don’t know about goslings.” “They’re tasty?” “Well, that too. But the thing about goslings is that just after they hatch, they’ll imprint on the first thing they see moving near them as a parent.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
affirmative action, call centre, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, deliberate practice, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, functional fixedness, game design, George Akerlof, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, performance metric, profit maximization, profit motive, Results Only Work Environment, side project, the built environment, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, zero-sum game
Scientists motivated by this intrinsic desire filed significantly more patents than those whose main motivation was money, even controlling for the amount of effort each group expended. (That is, the extrinsically motivated group worked as long and as hard as their more Type I colleagues. They just accomplished less perhaps because they spent less of their work time in flow.) And then there's Jenova Chen, a young game designer who, in 2006, wrote his MFA thesis on Csikszentmihalyi's theory. Chen believed that video games held the promise to deliver quintessential flow experiences, but that too many games required an almost obsessive level of commitment. Why not, he thought, design a game to bring the flow sensation to more casual gamers? Using his thesis project as his laboratory, Chen created a game in which players use a computer mouse to guide an on-screen amoeba-like organism through a surreal ocean landscape as it gobblies other creatures and slowly evolves into a higher form.
The paid version, designed for the PlayStation game console, has generated more than 350,000 downloads and collected a shelf full of awards. Chen used the game to launch his own firm, thatgamecompany, built around both flow and flOw, that quickly won a three-game development deal from Sony, something almost unheard of for an unknown start-up run by a couple of twenty-six-year-old California game designers. Green Cargo, thatgamecompany, and the companies employing the patent-cranking scientists typically use two tactics that their less savvy competitors do not. First, they provide employees with what I call Goldilocks tasks challenges that are not too hot and not too cold, neither overly difficult nor overly simple. One source of frustration in the workplace is the frequent mismatch between what people must do and what people can do.
The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling
Apple II, back-to-the-land, game design, ghettoisation, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, Mitch Kapor, pirate software, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Silicon Valley, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Hackers Conference, the scientific method, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review
It did not feature hints on computer intrusion, or "anarchy files," or illicitly posted credit card numbers, or long-distance access codes. Some of Illuminati's users, however, were members of the Legion of Doom. And so was one of Steve Jackson's senior employees—the Mentor. The Mentor wrote for Phrack, and also ran an underground board, Phoenix Project—but the Mentor was not a computer professional. The Mentor was the managing editor of Steve Jackson Games and a professional game designer by trade. These LoD members did not use Illuminati to help their HACKING activities. They used it to help their GAME-PLAYING activities—and they were even more dedicated to simulation gaming than they were to hacking. "Illuminati" got its name from a card-game that Steve Jackson himself, the company's founder and sole owner, had invented. This multi-player card-game was one of Mr Jackson's best-known, most successful, most technically innovative products.
Commercially, however, the game did very well. The next cyberpunk game had been the even more successful Shadowrun by FASA Corporation. The mechanics of this game were fine, but the scenario was rendered moronic by sappy fantasy elements like elves, trolls, wizards, and dragons—all highly ideologically-incorrect, according to the hard-edged, high-tech standards of cyberpunk science fiction. Other game designers were champing at the bit. Prominent among them was the Mentor, a gentleman who, like most of his friends in the Legion of Doom, was quite the cyberpunk devotee. Mentor reasoned that the time had come for a REAL cyberpunk gaming-book—one that the princes of computer-mischief in the Legion of Doom could play without laughing themselves sick. This book, GURPS Cyberpunk, would reek of culturally on-line authenticity.
Mentor was particularly well-qualified for this task. Naturally, he knew far more about computer-intrusion and digital skullduggery than any previously published cyberpunk author. Not only that, but he was good at his work. A vivid imagination, combined with an instinctive feeling for the working of systems and, especially, the loopholes within them, are excellent qualities for a professional game designer. By March 1st, GURPS Cyberpunk was almost complete, ready to print and ship. Steve Jackson expected vigorous sales for this item, which, he hoped, would keep the company financially afloat for several months. GURPS Cyberpunk, like the other GURPS "modules," was not a "game" like a Monopoly set, but a BOOK: a bound paperback book the size of a glossy magazine, with a slick color cover, and pages full of text, illustrations, tables and footnotes.
Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Popular Culture Is Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson
Columbine, complexity theory, corporate governance, delayed gratification, edge city, Flynn Effect, game design, Marshall McLuhan, pattern recognition, profit motive, race to the bottom, sexual politics, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, the market place
The game scholar James Paul Gee has observed precisely this phenomenon called the " regime of competence" principle-at work i n t h e architectu re of successful video games. " Each level dances around the outer l i mits of the player's abilities," he writes, "seeking at every point to be hard enough to be j ust doable . . . which results i n a feeling of si multaneous plea sure and frustration-a sensation as familiar to garners as sore thumbs . " Game designers don't build learning ma chines out of charity, of course; they do it because there's an economic reward in creating games that stay close to that border. Make a game too hard, and no one will buy it. Make it too easy, and no one will buy it. Make a game where the 1 78 STEVEN JOHNSON chal lenges evolve alongside yo ur skills, and you ' l l have a shot at success. And you'll have built a powerful educational tool to boot.
Many fasci nating experi ments i n using games as educational 201 202 N O T E S ON F U R T H E R R E A D I N G tools have come out of the Education A rcade conso rtium (educationarcade.org) , whose cofounder Henry Jenkins has been the model of the pop culture public intellectual, mak ing a number of crucial defenses of games in the media and in the courtroom. Some of the ideas presented here about the logic of gaming a re explored fro m a game designer's point of view in Rules of Play, a textbook coauthored by the designer Eric Zimmerman . The field of video game theory is sometimes cal led " ludology " ; for further reading about this n a scent critical movement, I recommend the Web sites ludology.org and seriousgames.org. Readers interested in the way gaming culture is transforming busi ness will want to check out two relatively new books: Got Game, by John Beck and Mitchell Wade, and Pat Kane's delightful mani festo The Play Ethic.
Designing Social Interfaces by Christian Crumlish, Erin Malone
A Pattern Language, Amazon Mechanical Turk, anti-pattern, barriers to entry, c2.com, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative editing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, ghettoisation, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, if you build it, they will come, Merlin Mann, Nate Silver, Network effects, Potemkin village, recommendation engine, RFC: Request For Comment, semantic web, SETI@home, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, source of truth, stealth mode startup, Stewart Brand, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application
Part V: Further Considerations In the final part, we approach the leading edge of social design and discuss some of the considerations you may encounter there. In Chapter 17, we look at many models of openness and the benefits and consequences of embracing them in your social architecture. In Chapter 18, we look to the frontiers of “social in the enterprise,” mobile application development, generational change (at both ends of the age spectrum), and what we can learn from game design. Sidebar Essays Just as we have approached the collection of patterns as both authors and as curators of information from many sources, we have curated a collection of different voices from around the Internet to share alternative opinions, more in-depth exploration, and thoughts about social user behavior that provide seasoning around the patterns in each chapter. Look for continued conversations on these topics on our wiki and on the individual essayists’ personal blogs.
It can mean radical transparency, the use of open source software, exposing platform hooks, crowdsourcing, and more. In Chapter 17, we’ll discuss several approaches to openness that we believe are essential to the effective design and development of social environments online, but for now just keep in mind the question “how could this interface be improved if we made it more open?” while designing your experiences. Learn from Games We’ll talk a little bit later about the fascinating intersection between game design and social design that’s opening up new possibilities for social experiences in game environments and introducing playful elements to social interfaces. An application doesn’t have to literally be a game or be presented as a game to employ many of the same design techniques that make games fun to play. It’s no coincidence that Ludicorp’s first product was something called Game Neverending (its second was Flickr, which owes at least some of its success to the almost addictive game-like quality of its user interfaces).
The breadth of software being developed for consumers today is only half the story. Opportunities lie with mashups and open software. Areas that traditionally have been ghettoized in traditional web software design are mobile and enterprise. Often forgotten or addressed as an afterthought, these areas provide rich and interesting challenges to creating social experiences. If you want to see the future of interactive interfaces, look to gaming. Game designers have the liberty to experiment and Darwinian competitive pressures. The ideas they come up with and prove out in the market are setting expectations for a large number of people who may eventually become, or may already be, your users. With more and more consoles appearing in homes, families playing together, and games becoming a standard offering on mobile devices, designers need to consider how social intersects with gaming and how that changes the nature of play.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler
Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, digital twin, disruptive innovation, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, experimental economics, food miles, game design, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hive mind, housing crisis, Hyperloop, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, loss aversion, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mary Lou Jepsen, mass immigration, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mobile money, multiplanetary species, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, QR code, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize
Now you have blockchain-backed proof that no part of your garment was constructed using child labor. Take this one step further. Because of the AI layer, these objects don’t live in one fixed spot. In fact, they’re less like objects and more like another form of life, moving, by their own volition, around the digital world. Say you’re at Microsoft and want to hire a new game designer for a fantasy game. So you design a smart flaming sword that’s built to scrape social media and find individuals who have a passion for fantasy, cryptography, game design, and whatever other skills you need. You find John Smith, a perfect candidate, who happens to be on vacation in the Bahamas. He’s walking down the beach, wearing his smart glasses—which are providing a history of the beach as he strolls along. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a giant flaming sword falls out of the sky and embeds itself in the sand before John’s feet.
He tries to pull it out, but it doesn’t budge. Yet the handle glimmers—sixteen numbers wink into existence, then wink out again. But John, because he’s into cryptography, realizes the numbers are actually a puzzle. John solves the puzzle, says the answer aloud, and can now pull the sword from the beach. As he does, the sword turns into a small pink dragon that tells him he’s been selected as a potential game designer for Microsoft and asks if he’s interested in applying for the job. And we can go on like this for a while. Smart objects don’t just bridge the gap between worlds, they gamify the world. If blockchain is a science-fiction technology that’s become science fact, then smart objects seem to invert this process, turning regular reality back into science fiction. Material Science and Nanotechnology In 1870, Thomas Edison had a “materials science” problem.
Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman
23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, global pandemic, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day
In today’s exponentially advancing world, in the battle between good and evil, victory will belong to whichever group proves itself most capable of mobilizing the larger crowd. It’s time to start gaming this system in our favor to ensure our technological tools inure to the greatest overall benefit of humanity. Gaming the System Every game designer should make one explicitly world-changing game. Lawyers do pro bono work, why can’t we? JANE MCGONIGAL According to the American game designer and researcher Jane McGonigal, today there are more than half a billion people worldwide playing computer and video games at least an hour a day, with more than 183 million in the United States alone. That works out to three billion hours a week as a planet playing video games. What if these efforts could be directed for particular public goods?
ALBERT EINSTEIN Increasingly, as we live our lives through avatars—in video games, online worlds, and social networking sites—our online personas are standing in for us in social situations, commercial transactions, and even sexual encounters. They are there representing us online 24/7, compressing time and space, to interact on our behalf with the rest of the world even as we sleep. The renowned game designer Jane McGonigal has noted that “the average young person racks-up 10,000 hours of gaming by the age of 21,” the vast majority of which is in the persona of an avatar or game character. As they do, we witness the rise of Homo virtualis, perhaps the next evolution of Homo sapiens, a species that is pulled away from the constraints of our natural physical world in favor of the immediacy and perceived unlimited potential of the virtual.
Parviz, “Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens,” IEEE Spectrum, Sept. 1, 2009. 81 It is expected: Juniper Research, “Press Release: Over 2.5 Billion Mobile Augmented Reality Apps to Be Installed Per Annum by 2017,” Aug. 29, 2012. 82 Ikea even incorporated AR: Luisa Rollenhagen, “Augmented Reality Catalog Places IKEA Furniture in Your Home,” Mashable, Aug. 6, 2013. 285 A future malicious app: Franziska Roesner, Tadayoshi Kohno, and David Molnar, “Security and Privacy for Augmented Reality Systems,” Communications of the ACM 57, no. 4 (2014): 88–96, doi:10.1145/2580723.2580730. 83 The renowned game designer: Jane McGonigal, TED Conversation, http://www.ted.com/conversations/44/we_spend_3_billion_hours_a_wee.html; Jane McGonigal, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (New York: Penguin Books, 2011). 84 “Strategically we want to start building”: Sarah Frier, “Facebook Makes $2 Billion Virtual-Reality Bet with Oculus,” Bloomberg, March 26, 2014. 85 Many genuinely view: “Worlds Without End,” Economist, Dec. 14, 2005. 86 But there is a downside: “A Korean Couple Let a Baby Die While They Played a Video Game,” Newsweek, July 27, 2014; “Korean Couple Let Baby Starve to Death While Caring for Virtual Child,” Telegraph, March 5, 2010. 87 Virtual worlds have their own currencies: “The Economy of Online Gaming Fraud Revealed: 3.4 Million Malware Attacks Every Day,” Kaspersky Lab, Sept. 28, 2010. 88 As strange as it may sound: Carolyn Davis, “Virtual Justice: Online Game World Meets Real-World Cops and Courts,” Philly.com, Dec. 8, 2010. 89 Even “sexual assaults”: Benjamin Duranske, “ ‘Virtual Rape’ Claim Brings Belgian Police to Second Life,” Virtually Blind, April 24, 2007. 287 These incidents might be: Anna Jane Grossman, “Single, White with Dildo,” Salon, Aug. 30, 2005. 90 A 2008 report: Sara Malm, “U.S.
Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen
Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Myron Scholes, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra
Game-based interaction tends to be hands-on and step-by-step, moving up a ladder of complexity with rewards along the way to keep the game player interested. Of course these games don’t interest everyone, but wouldn’t it be funny if we already had figured out the education problem and simply didn’t know it? If there is anyone today who understands the dynamic potential of games it is Jane McGonigal (game designer and author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World). Her dream, entirely reasonable in my view, is to see a games designer nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. For all the successes of games, however, they also point out some limitations of education by computer, at least how we currently practice it. Education into the world of games works remarkably well, but it works mainly for people who wish to learn the games. Chess-playing computers don’t boost the play of diffident students who refuse to spend much time with the machine.
The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed by Carl Honore
Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Broken windows theory, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, clean water, clockwatching, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, drone strike, Enrique Peñalosa, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Exxon Valdez, fundamental attribution error, game design, income inequality, index card, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, lateral thinking, lone genius, medical malpractice, microcredit, Netflix Prize, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty
The stereotype of the gamer as a spotty teenaged boy blowing away zombies in a lonely bedroom no longer holds true. Many games now have a strong social component: think of The Sims or all those invitations you receive to water your friends’ gardens in Farmville. The average age in the gaming community is now 30, and more than a quarter are over 50. Nearly half of gamers are female. With four decades of fine-tuning behind them, game designers know all the psychological and neurological buttons to push to keep us fully engaged. In Chore Wars rewards for completing adventures are immediate, and you can always monitor how powerful and skilful your avatar becomes. That might sound trivial, but constant, measurable and incremental progress is precisely what the brain craves. To persuade players to do things they normally don’t want to do, Chore Wars favours the carrot over the stick.
Not earth-shaking, to be sure, but enough to earn a place in the toolbox of every Slow Fixer, which is why feedback plays a role in so many of the solutions we have already encountered. Remember pedestrians in Bogotá passing instant judgement on motorists by brandishing thumbs-up or thumbs-down cards and how the RAF telephones crew members who report a mistake or a near miss within 24 hours and then keeps them apprised of progress in the case. A leading proponent of the push to harness gaming is Jane McGonigal, a thirty-something game designer based in San Francisco. Her book, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, is a call to arms, a manifesto for how online games can help solve problems in the real world. Organizations ranging from the World Bank to the US Department of Defense to McDonald’s beat a path to her door. We meet in London. With her startlingly blue eyes and thick, curly blonde hair, and her black jeans, black T-shirt and cashmere arm warmers, she looks like a Silicon Valley take on the Pre-Raphaelite muse.
Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists by Julia Ebner
23andMe, 4chan, Airbnb, anti-communist, anti-globalists, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, feminist movement, game design, glass ceiling, Google Earth, job satisfaction, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, off grid, pattern recognition, pre–internet, QAnon, RAND corporation, ransomware, rising living standards, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Transnistria, WikiLeaks, zero day
The environment is competitive, but still there is a sense of mutual solidarity thanks to common enemies and shared goals. All members’ successes in conquering the online world will be reflected in their real lives one day, Nikolai Alexander promised them. But first, they need to change the existing power structures. Like many extremist movements, Reconquista Germanica has found a way of gamifying its propaganda, recruitment and mission. Psychological studies show that specific gaming designs such as badges, leaderboards and performance graphs can be powerful tools to maximise customer participation and brand loyalty.15 Over the past decade most corporate brands and media outlets have adopted interactive gaming elements to boost human motivation and performance. Political movements, including extremist and terrorist organisations, have done the same: they increasingly use competitive scoring and reward systems as well as gaming language and imagery.
Available at https://www.isdglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/The-Fringe-Insurgency-221017.pdf. 14Sheila Johnston, ‘The Wave: the experiment that turned a school into a police state’, Telegraph, 5 September 2018. Available at https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/3559727/The-Wave-the-experiment-that-turned-a-school-into-a-police-state.html. 15Michael Sailer et al., ‘How gamification motivates: An experimental study of the effects of specific game design elements on psychological need satisfaction’, Computers in Human Behavior, 69, April 2017, pp. 371–80. Available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S074756321630855X. 16Jarret Brachman and Alix Levine, ‘The World of Holy Warcraft: How Al Qaida is using online game theory to recruit the masses’, Foreign Policy, 13 April 2011. Available at https://foreignpolicy.com/2011/04/13/the-world-of-holy-warcraft/. 17Linda Schlegel, ‘Playing jihad: The gamification of radicalization’, Defense Post, 5 July 2018.
Being Geek: The Software Developer's Career Handbook by Michael Lopp
The thrill, the adrenaline, comes from the discovery, hunt, and eventual mastery of the unknown, which, confusingly, means if you want to keep a geek engaged in a game, you can't let them win, even though that's exactly what they think they want. Think of it like this: does it bug you that there's an absolute high score to Pac-Man? It bugs me. To get around this entertainment-killing paradox in subscription-based games like World of Warcraft, game designers freely change rule sets as part of regular updates. The spin is, "We're improving playability," which translates into, "The geeks are close to figuring it out, and we can't have that, because they'll stop paying." This paradox does not apply to all games. It's hard to argue that there is much more to learn about Tetris, but folks continue to play it incessantly, which leads to the warning.
I am...a machine. Machines don't have a care in the world, and that's a fine place to be. This is the act of mentally removing ourselves from a troubled planet full of messy people, combined with our ability to find pleasure in the act of completing a small, well-defined task. This is our ability to lose ourselves in repetition, and it is task at which we are highly effective. In the defense of game designers, there are no quests that read, "Go waste 16 hours of your life doing nothing." They are more elegant with their descriptions; they splice all sorts of different tasks together to distract you from the dull inanity of large, laborious tasks. But they know that part of what makes us tick is the micro-pleasure we get from obsessively scratching the task itch in pursuit of the achievement. As I've never designed and shipped a game, I can confidently and ignorantly say the compelling magic in games comes from the design in optimization and repetition.
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee
"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, digital map, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, G4S, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, intangible asset, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, mass immigration, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, post-work, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K
Kinect could also recognize players’ faces, voices, and gestures and do so across a wide range of lighting and noise conditions. It accomplished this with digital sensors including a microphone array (which pinpointed the source of sound better than a single microphone could), a standard video camera, and a depth perception system that both projected and detected infrared light. Several onboard processors and a great deal of proprietary software converted the output of these sensors into information that game designers could use.17 At launch, all of this capability was packed into a four-inch-tall device less than a foot wide that retailed for $149.99. The Kinect sold more than eight million units in the sixty days after its release (more than either the iPhone or iPad) and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest-selling consumer electronics device of all time.18 The initial family of Kinect-specific games let players play darts, exercise, brawl in the streets, and cast spells à la Harry Potter.19 These, however, did not come close to exhausting the system’s possibilities.
In August of 2011 at the SIGGRAPH (short for the Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques) conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, a team of Microsoft employees and academics used Kinect to “SLAM” the door shut on a long-standing challenge in robotics. SIGGRAPH is the largest and most prestigious gathering devoted to research and practice on digital graphics, attended by researchers, game designers, journalists, entrepreneurs, and most others interested in the field. This made it an appropriate place for Microsoft to unveil what the Creators Project website called “The Self-Hack That Could Change Everything.”*20 This was the KinectFusion, a project that used the Kinect to tackle the SLAM problem. In a video shown at SIGGRAPH 2011, a person picks up a Kinect and points it around a typical office containing chairs, a potted plant, and a desktop computer and monitor.21 As he does, the video splits into multiple screens that show what the Kinect is able to sense.
What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing by Ed Finn
Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Claude Shannon: information theory, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, factory automation, fiat currency, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, game design, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, High speed trading, hiring and firing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, late fees, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, Lyft, Mother of all demos, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, software studies, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, wage slave
Indeed, when the spectacle stutters for a moment and some uncomfortable fact lurches into view, the normal instinct is to ignore it, to shore up the facade of the cathedral in order to maintain one’s faith. A cathedral is a space for collective belief, a structure that embodies a framework of understandings about the world, some visible and some not. This is a useful metaphor for understanding the relationship we have with algorithms today. Writing in The Atlantic in early 2015, digital culture critic and game designer Ian Bogost called out our increasingly mythological relationship with software in an article titled “The Cathedral of Computation.” Bogost argues that we have fallen into a “computational theocracy” that replaces God with the algorithm: Our supposedly algorithmic culture is not a material phenomenon so much as a devotional one, a supplication made to the computers people have allowed to replace gods in their minds, even as they simultaneously claim that science has made us impervious to religion.8 We have, he argues, adopted a faith-based relationship with the algorithmic culture machines that navigate us through city streets, recommend movies to us, and provide us with answers to search queries.
Players either didn’t realize that this was a satire, or played in spite of that knowledge, like the stay-at-home father who told Tanz, “instead of stupid games that have no point, we might as well play a stupid game that has a point.”13 At its apogee, over 50,000 people were clicking on digital cows and Bogost found himself enmeshed in his own Skinner box of feedback, getting rewarded by the player community when he added new features to the game. Bogost has described this process as a kind of “method design” like method acting, putting himself into the creative space of a social game designer and ultimately suffering the same kind of systemic, dehumanizing entanglement with the software that he sees it inflicting on players: “It’s hard for me to express the compulsion and self-loathing that have accompanied the apparently trivial creation of this little theory-cum-parody game.”14 Figure 4.1 Cow Clicker screenshot. For Bogost, the heart of this critique of the social gaming phenomenon and the social networks it relies on is another foundation-stone in the philosophy of technology, Martin Heidegger’s notion of enframing.
Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing by Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman
3D printing, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, additive manufacturing, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, game design, global supply chain, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, lifelogging, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microcredit, Minecraft, new economy, off grid, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, stem cell, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, the market place
A 3D printer, however, can fabricate unusual and irregular shapes that traditional manufacturing machines could not. Therefore, a lot of design potential remains left on the table. Solid modeling software isn’t capable of meeting the demands of this new and largely untapped design space. As 3D printing technologies continue to improve, traditional solid modeling will become out of date, a powerful but somewhat crude design tool. The surface modeling software used by animators and video game designers shares a similar limitation, namely the absence of design data to describe an object’s insides. If you were to design and attempt to 3D print a colorful and elaborately shaped teapot covered with amusing illustrations, the printed teapot might look great on the outside, but would not be functional. Because your design file didn’t specify the shape of the inner cavity of the teapot, nor that its spout needed to be hollow and its lid to fit tightly yet come off, your 3D printed teapot would lack any sort of inner structure and would not be usable.
Research scientists at SCI explore (amongst other things) how to capture and simulate the human body in digital form, software development that will someday play a critical role in the development of 3D printing living tissue. Other researchers are developing computer algorithms that can skillfully stitch together scanned cross sections of a faulty organ into a single 3D computer model. A major challenge continues to be how to best manage the enormous reams of data generated by the medical imaging process. In the larger computing industry, commercial video game designers are making strides capturing surface details and better understanding how to graphically depict the way our bodies move. The medical establishment is making progress in capturing more precise digital details about the insides of our bodies. Academic scientists are building ever-more powerful algorithms to model, predict, and analyze data collected from biological systems. Real bioprinting—designing and editing living tissue and body parts—won’t become a reality until there’s truly usable CAD for the body.
JPod by Douglas Coupland
Asperger Syndrome, Drosophila, finite state, G4S, game design, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, neurotypical, pez dispenser, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, special economic zone, wage slave, Y2K
In her mind, Bree has even made a guest appearance in the greatest stripper movie of all time, Varietease. Bree was born on April 22, 1980, in Nanaimo, BC, where she was known as Dark Queen of Bondage. Okay, not really, but she knew what she liked at an early age. In 2002 she was discovered by her parents to have not enough concern for her future, so she was shipped to one of 400 videogame design schools in Vancouver, where it turned out she not only had a flair for game design, but was also but a mere gentle puff of a rotating nipple tassel away from four local strip clubs. Bree is awaiting your interest. She has just changed her outfit and is now wearing a fabulous "Bow" bustier by Bali, style #8211, c. 1940s, with a black satin torso. The cups are stunning and have black sheer-illusion lace with the famous "circle stitch" for that sizzling sweater-girl bullet-bra look.
It is an affordable, comfortable, non-sexual means of calming a person, and is designed to allow your typical geek to get more productivity from his or her days. . . . After almost half a year of stalling, Kaitlin finally finished her hug machine. We were bustling about jPod, installing the final few bolts in preparation for its campus christening party. The last-minute pressure made Kaitlin needy. "What if nobody comes?" "Kaitlin, relax. The party will be mobbed." "What if people come but don't like the machine?" "Kaitlin, this is a game design company." "Or what if they want to come, but they don't think they can handle the social pressure of being seen using a hug machine?" Kaitlin has become convinced that everybody in the tech industry is autistic to some degree. It's her new cause. "Relax." As an added bonus, after being held by Agriculture Canada for inspection for umpteen months, Cowboy's shipment of dried cola nut powder arrived from the US.
Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age by Virginia Eubanks
affirmative action, Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, desegregation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of work, game design, global village, index card, informal economy, invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, microcredit, new economy, post-industrial society, race to the bottom, rent control, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, telemarketer, Thomas L Friedman, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban planning, web application, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor
These projects took place at different times and under vastly different circumstances, but I believe they show a progression from Box 6.2 WYMSM Member Proﬁle, Jennifer Rose “Don’t be scared to stand up for what you believe, even though it may have costs.” I’ve always really loved computers, since high school. I didn’t own one until I was in my early twenties, because I couldn’t afford one, but I’ve always been interested. I thought they were the way to go in the world. When the dot-com bubble burst, a lot of that stuff was going away. But then game design was getting big. So I thought to myself, “Maybe I can make something more than these stupid shoot-‘em-up games. Something that might actually make people think.” That’s why I got involved in WYMSM. I had come to the YWCA to escape a domestic violence situation, and when the project was mentioned as being a possible computer game, that sparked the geek side of me. Before WYMSM, I was very apolitical.
Because the tapes proved extremely difﬁcult to transcribe—each tape included several speakers, and the conversation was usually intense and lively, with voices overlapping—I transcribed only eight of them, chosen at random to represent each of four periods of ﬁve or six months. In addition to these transcripts, I gathered and coded approximately 700 pages of agendas, minutes, notes, ﬂipcharts, game design plans, handouts, promotional materials, and other WYMSM working documents. Appendix A 173 Interviews To supplement data gathered through collective and participatory practices, I undertook twenty-nine semistructured interviews with YWCA residents, staff, and other community members. These interviews provided the opportunity for women in the YWCA community to speak as individuals, with the protection of anonymity (if they chose it), and created a conversational space for in-depth probing of thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success by Sean Ellis, Morgan Brown
Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DevOps, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, game design, Google Glasses, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, minimum viable product, Network effects, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, working poor, Y Combinator, young professional
In a number of studies he references, it was discovered that once people take an action, no matter how small, as long as the experience wasn’t onerous, they are more inclined to take any action in the future. The explanation for this, he says, is that they have made a form of psychological commitment by taking the action, and people have a bias for honoring commitments with subsequent, follow-on actions, often regardless of the change in size of request. Game designers shrewdly realized that rather than providing instructions about how to play a game, they had to get people committed; they had to get them to start playing through small, easy steps to get them oriented and rolling. Game developers draw on many other powerful insights from psychology as well. One is the well-established principle of conditioning people to engage in behaviors by offering them rewards.
People who are “in flow” are so engaged that they lose track of time; three hours of working on a painting or on writing an essay or coding an app can feel like much less, and people will look up from their work shocked by the time that’s passed. Anyone who’s ever been told by someone playing a videogame “Just give me ten more minutes!”—then another ten minutes then another ten minutes—knows how easily game players tend to get into flow. Game designers combined this wisdom to craft new user experiences that lead people gently into playing their games, starting with simple challenges that can be mastered quickly, and providing them with rewards for each hurdle cleared, while orienting them to the rules of the game and the environment in the process. They then ratchet up the level of challenge, as well as the degree of reward, in exquisitely refined increments (both of which they experiment a great deal with), so that users are hooked and get into flow.
Freedom by Daniel Suarez
augmented reality, big-box store, British Empire, Burning Man, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, corporate personhood, digital map, game design, global supply chain, illegal immigration, Naomi Klein, new economy, Pearl River Delta, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, RFID, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the scientific method, young professional
I hope you have some answers for me." "What sort of answers?" "Like how I can complete my quest? How do I justify the freedom of humanity to the Daemon?" She frowned. "That's not visible to me." He rubbed his eyes in frustration. "Why do I have to wander all over hell's half acre to complete this damned quest?" "It's the hero's journey." He narrowed his eyes at her. "Don't forget: Sobol was an online game designer. In the archetype, a hero must wander lost in the wilderness to find the knowledge necessary for his or her quest. Perhaps that's what's happening to you." "And I'm supposed to be the hero." "It's your life. You should be the hero of it. If it's any consolation, I'm the hero of mine, too." "Riley, why did the Thread lead me to you?" "Why me exactly? I don't know. I suspect it has to do with my skill set and my proximity to you when some system threshold was reached."
As he looked ahead of him, he could see projected onto reality a view into the Monte Cassino game map through a spiked and studded virtual portcullis. There, standing behind the bars, was an old opponent--Herr Oberstleutnant, Heinrich Boerner, the infamous virtual SS officer in a long trench coat, with an Iron Cross hanging at his throat from the stiff collar of his tunic. He was just a game bot. An electronic figment of the game designer Matthew Sobol's imagination, but even so, the villainous Boerner was deviously clever. While playing Sobol's game, Loki had been virtually killed by this bot more times than he'd care to remember. And now here Boerner stood. As always, Boerner wore a monocle over his right eye and he clenched a long black cigarette filter between his teeth, exhaling volumetric smoke as he nodded in greetings--his voice coming over Loki's earpiece.
Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr
Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Airbus A320, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joan Didion, job automation, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator
He devotes one of his longest chapters to a report on the proceedings of an industry convention in Las Vegas in 2009, where “matters of narrative, writing, and story were discussed as though by a robot with a PhD in art semiotics from Brown.” Though they often have the feel of homework assignments written by a clever, slightly bored student, the journalistic sections of Bissell’s book are illuminating and at times fascinating. They allow him to explore the challenges that game designers face as they struggle to expand the boundaries of their craft. Video games have become much more sophisticated in recent years—the spectacles they present are often tinged with moral ambiguity—but they continue to be plagued by what Bissell, in describing the Resident Evil series, calls “phenomenal stupidity.” Their very form frustrates the ambitions of their creators. The compromise in agency that lies at the heart of all games—control over the experience shifts clumsily between maker and player—makes it difficult, perhaps impossible, for games to achieve the subtle and surprising emotional resonance that characterizes the finest works of art.
The compromise in agency that lies at the heart of all games—control over the experience shifts clumsily between maker and player—makes it difficult, perhaps impossible, for games to achieve the subtle and surprising emotional resonance that characterizes the finest works of art. Because games by definition have to be played, they can never be experienced with the combination of immersion and detachment, the repose, that characterizes the reader of a novel, the viewer of a painting, or the listener to a song or symphony. Whatever their artistic talents and pretensions, game designers may in the end be fated to be toolmakers, creators of marvelous contraptions of intense but only passing interest. As Bissell’s account makes clear, even the very best modern games—those with exquisite animation, smart writing, intriguing characters, and fresh story lines—have not been able to transcend their gameyness. In his concluding chapter, Bissell turns his attention to one of the most loved and loathed of modern video game franchises: the sprawling, nihilistic underworld adventure Grand Theft Auto.
The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, bank run, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, connected car, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, game design, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lifelogging, linked data, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, placebo effect, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review, zero-sum game
One hundred years ago not a single citizen of China would have told you that they would rather buy a tiny glassy slab that allowed them to talk to faraway friends before they would buy indoor plumbing. But every day peasant farmers in China without plumbing purchase smartphones. Crafty AIs embedded in first-person shooter games have given millions of teenage boys the urge, the need, to become professional game designers—a dream that no boy in Victorian times ever had. In a very real way our inventions assign us our jobs. Each successful bit of automation generates new occupations—occupations we would not have fantasized about without the prompting of the automation. To reiterate, the bulk of new tasks created by automation are tasks only other automation can handle. Now that we have search engines like Google, we set the servant upon a thousand new errands.
There’s a tilt in the overall world, so no matter how many explorations you make, you tend to drift over time toward an inevitable incident. When the balance between an ordained narrative and freewill interaction is tweaked just right, it creates the perception of great “game play”—a sweet feeling of being part of something large that is moving forward (the game’s narrative) while you still get to steer (the game’s play). The games’ designers tweak the balance, but the invisible force that nudges players in certain directions is an artificial intelligence. Most of the action in open-ended games like Red Dead Redemption, especially the interactions of supporting characters, is already animated by AI. When you halt at a random homestead and chat with the cowhand, his responses are plausible because in his heart beats an AI. AI is seeping into VR and AR in other ways as well.
Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason
Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, microservices, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wages for housework, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce
This will place the workers of China and Brazil on the same overall trajectory as the rich-world workforce, which is to become service-dominated, split into a skilled core and a precariat, with both layers seeing work partially de-linked from wages. In addition, as the Oxford Martin School suggests, it is the low-skilled service jobs that stand the highest risk of total automation over the next two decades. The global working class is not destined to remain for ever divided into factory drones in China and games designers in the USA. However, the struggle in the workplace is no longer the only, or most important, drama. In many industrial and commercial cities around the world, the networked individual is no longer a sociological curiosity, s/he is the archetype. All the qualities the sociologists of the 1990s observed in the tech workforce – mercuriality, spontaneous networking, multiple selves, weak ties, detachment, apparent subservience concealing violent resentment – have become the defining qualities of being a young, economically active human being.
Yet large parts of the workforce are trapped in a world of fines, discipline, violence and power hierarchies – simply because the existence of a cheap labour culture allows it to survive. A crucial goal for the transition process would be to trigger a third managerial revolution: to enthuse managers, trade unions and industrial system designers about the possibilities inherent in a move to networked, modular, non-linear team work. ‘Work cannot become play,’ Marx wrote.11 But the atmosphere in the modern video game design workshop shows that play and work can alternate quite freely and produce results. Among guitars, sofas, pool tables covered in piles of discarded pizza boxes, there is of course still exploitation. But modular, target-driven work, with employees enjoying a high degree of autonomy, can be less alienating, more social, more enjoyable – and deliver better results. There is nothing other than our addiction to cheap labour and inefficiency that says a meat-packing operation cannot enjoy the same kind of unmanaged, modular work – where work is literally interspersed with play, and access to networked information is a right.
The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth's Past) by Cixin Liu
back-to-the-land, cosmic microwave background, Deng Xiaoping, game design, Henri Poincaré, horn antenna, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Norbert Wiener, Panamax, RAND corporation, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Von Neumann architecture
The answer was that the photograph’s information content—its entropy—exceeded the painting’s by one or two orders of magnitude. Three Body was the same. Its enormous information content was hidden deep. Wang could feel it, but he could not articulate it. He suddenly understood that the makers of Three Body took the exact opposite of the approach taken by designers of other games. Normally, game designers tried to display as much information as possible to increase the sense of realism. But Three Body’s designers worked to compress the information content to disguise a more complex reality, just like that seemingly empty photograph of the sky. Wang let his mind wander back to the world of Three Body. Flying stars! The key must be in the flying stars. One flying star, two flying stars, three flying stars … what did they mean?
The core was like the eye’s pupil, and though it was small, it was bright and dense. The layers surrounding it, by contrast, appeared insubstantial, wispy, gaseous. The fact that he could see through the outside layers to the core indicated that those layers were transparent or translucent, and the light from those layers was likely just scattered light from the core. The details in the image of the sun stunned Wang. He was once again assured that the game designers had hidden a vast amount of data within the superficially simple images, just waiting to be revealed by players. As Wang pondered the meaning of the sun’s structure, he became excited. Because time in the game was now passing quickly, the sun was already in the west. Wang stood, adjusted the telescope to aim at the sun again, and tracked it until it dipped below the horizon. Night fell, and the bonfires across the plains mirrored the sky full of stars.
Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters With Reality and Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier
4chan, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative editing, commoditize, cosmological constant, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Firefox, game design, general-purpose programming language, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, impulse control, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kuiper Belt, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Murray Gell-Mann, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons
Usenet groups, was an explosion of cruel nonsense, because nothing could be earned other than attention, and no one had a stake in being civil. Today, one of the biggest problems for virtual reality is that the immediately obvious customer base willing to spend money is gamers, and gaming culture has been going through misogynist convulsions. This phenomenon is known as Gamergate. Complaints about how women are portrayed in games are drowned out by blithering barrages of hate speech. When a feminist game design is promoted, the response is bomb threats and personal harassment. Women who dare to participate in gaming culture take real risks, unless they can adopt a persona that puts men first. Gamergate has left a trail of ruined lives. And yet, needless to say, the perpetrators feel they are the victims. The designs and culture emanating from the tech world don’t explain everything, but they do have an immense influence.
ethical filtering eugenics Evergreen College everything dreams of previous, drugs as evolution Exorcist, The (film) experiences, as allegories experimental music experimental programming language eye contact Eyematic EyePhone EyePhone HRX eyes face blindness (prosopagnosia) Facebook facial expression facial recognition facial tracking Fairness Doctrine Fakespace Fantastic magazine FBI “Feelies” Feiner, Steve feminist game designs Fermi Paradox Feynman, Richard field of view figure eight sensorimotor loop financial incentives Finite and Infinite Games (Carse) Fisher, Scott fitness bands flight simulators floating holograms flute flying saucers force feedback Ford Motors forgeries form factor Forster, E.M. FORTH Fortran Foster, Scott 4chan 4-D VR playthings FOV2GO France free information free software free speech free will French intelligence French investors Fresnel optics Freud, Sigmund Freud avatars frontier, end of Fuchs, Henry Fuller, Buckminster Furness, Tom, xviiin futurism Gabriel, Peter Gaga, Lady Gal, Ran gall bladder procedure game hackers gamelan Game of Life Gamergate game theory gaming culture Garcia, Annabelle Garcia, Jerry gatekeeping Gell-Mann, Murray general purpose simulators general relativity Generation X genetics genomics geodesic domes geometry Germany Gernsback, Hugo Ghana Gibson, William Gilliam, Terry Gilmore, John global virtual space glove-based manipulation goats Gödel, Escher, Bach (Hofstader) Goelz, Dave Goffman, Ken (R.
How to Build a Billion Dollar App: Discover the Secrets of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs of Our Time by George Berkowski
Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business intelligence, call centre, crowdsourcing, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, Paul Graham, QR code, Ruby on Rails, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Travis Kalanick, ubercab, Y Combinator
‘We think that the biggest advantage we have in this company is culture,’ offers the industry veteran. ‘We want to build a very different type of company. At the centre of it is this idea of small – if you think around the console industry, or even if you look at newer platforms like Facebook, what happens is that somebody comes in, and they have this small and very passionate team, and they make a great game, and consumers pick it up.’6 Paananen explains, ‘We don’t have dedicated game designers as such – it’s the team that is going to build the game, and they are all responsible for the end-user experience.’ Supercell’s outrageous success is evidence that this approach can drive huge success. ‘People really step up and take more responsibilities,’ adds Paananen. ‘It’s a lot more motivating to do that, and a lot more passion gets thrown into the product.’ That is what building culture is all about.
Weiner admits that most startups have only a vision or a mission statement, but he points out the benefits of having both the ‘what’ (vision) and the ‘how’ (mission) working together. The CEO needs to ensure these are in place, to ensure there is a real purpose for the company, which is a mechanism to both inspire and organise employees. Leading gaming company Rovio has a mobile-centric mission statement: ‘We provide unique and novel stories with innovative game-play to satisfy the growing demand of games designed for mobile.’6 Vision and mission statements evolve over the lifetime of a company, so don’t worry if you don’t settle on one immediately. They should come organically; they need to feel right. Google didn’t flesh out its mission statement until the company was about three years old. But when that mission was crystallised it really injected a meaning and purpose into the company, and allowed it to expand into so many new and fantastic areas, all which really do seem to make sense.
Commodore: A Company on the Edge by Brian Bagnall
Apple II, belly landing, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Firefox, game design, index card, inventory management, Isaac Newton, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson
“MOS Technology had made video game chips for a couple of companies, like Coleco,” says Yannes, referring to the Telstar game console. At the time, most of the electronics resided in the game cartridge. “They looked like game cartridges that you plugged into the game [module], but in fact the game module itself was just a power supply and an R/F modulator. The game cartridges weren’t software; they were whole custom chips to play that particular game.” Charpentier found the game design inefficient. “Al basically thought that was a pretty crazy way to do that,” recalls Yannes. “Why not have a microprocessor and a video chip in the box, and the cartridge could just be software, which is where Atari ended up.” After the MOS Technology acquisition, Charpentier worked for Tramiel. “I liked him,” says Charpentier. “He had a tough way about him and he was gruff. He had some pretty big flaws, but if you could look past those flaws, he had a lot of things he could teach you.”
However, in the year Commodore released the PET, Apple released the Apple II and Tandy released the TRS-80. Byte magazine later dubbed the competitors the “1977 Trinity.” Engineer Bob Yannes witnessed the dawn of the personal computer while working in a computer store. “The big breakthrough, which came with the PET and the TRS-80 (and to some extent the Apple II, although I won’t give them as much credit as they want), was the fully assembled computer.” Chris Crawford, an early game designer and PET owner, summarizes the 1977 Trinity. “A lot of people don’t realize that the Apple got off to a slow start. In the early days, the horse race was between the PET and the TRS-80,” he says. “The Apple was nowhere to be seen. It was too expensive to sell.” By the end of 1977, Apple had sales of $775,000 for the fiscal year, which included sales of the Apple I. This clearly put Apple in third place, after Radio Shack and Commodore.
Andy Finkel and Bill Hindorff really did the lion’s share on those ports.” Finkel wanted to create the most accurate duplication of the arcade game as possible. “We tried a couple of times to get the source code but they said it was written in a proprietary programming language and that it wouldn’t help us anyway,” he recalls. Eventually the programmers got in contact with the Bally-Midway game designers. “It turns out the proprietary programming language was pretty much Forth. It was a Forth variant with assembler extensions.” Without access to the source code, it was difficult for the programmers to determine exactly how the game was supposed to play. “We did those games based on playing them for hours and hours and hours. And that was rough I tell you,” he says sarcastically. Arcade games require a high skill level, which made it hard for the programmers to study the game completely.
Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug
(It’s not their fault that when corporate redesigned the place recently they decided that good lighting wasn’t something people really needed.) My son, Harry, now finishing his degree at RPI, whose company I treasure more than he knows. I exhaust his patience regularly by asking him to explain to me just one more time the difference between a meme and a trope. If anyone has a job opening for a Cognitive Science major with a minor in Game Design, I’ll be happy to pass it on. And finally, Melanie, who has only one known failing: an inherited lack of superstition that leads her to say things like “Well, I haven’t had a cold all Winter.” Apart from that, I am, as I say so often, among the most fortunate of husbands. If you’d like your life to be good, marry well. Index $25,000 Pyramid, 36 A accessibility, 173–81 affordances, 151–53 Agile development, 4, 118 Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?
Inventors at Work: The Minds and Motivation Behind Modern Inventions by Brett Stern
Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, Build a better mousetrap, business process, cloud computing, computer vision, cyber-physical system, distributed generation, game design, Grace Hopper, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart transportation, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the market place, Yogi Berra
And yes, if I would say if I had a mentor, it would be Mel. Stern: During the process of doing all this work, were there other inventions or inventors in the toy biz that you admired? Guyer: Well, I admired the success that a group out of Chicago—oh I forget his name. He was a very unusual man, but I admired his team’s products. You know, there are so many really creative toy-and-game designers. I really haven’t spent a lot of time getting to know a lot of the other toy-and-game designers. Mainly because I don’t consider myself only a toy-and-game inventor. I do other things. Stern: What other fields are you working in now? Guyer: We have an education company by the name of Winsor Learning that is one of the leading companies for remediating children who are behind in their reading skills. Reading and math. This company has gone on to help schools deal with children with behavioral problems.
Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos
Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edward Thorp, family office, forensic accounting, game design, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, lateral thinking, Myron Scholes, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, random walk, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, SETI@home, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, traveling salesman
One early machine paid out fruit-flavoured chewing gum as a way to get round gaming laws. This introduced the classic melon and cherry symbols and is why slots are known in the UK as fruit machines. The Liberty Bell had a payback average of 75 percent, but these days slots are more generous than they used to be. ‘The rule of thumb is, if it’s a dollar denomination [machine], most people would put [the payback percentage] at 95 percent,’ said Anthony Baerlocher, the director of game design at International Game Technology (IGT), a slot-machine company that accounts for 60 percent of the world’s million or so active machines, referring to slots where the bets are made in dollars. ‘If it’s a nickel it’s more like 90 percent, 92 percent for a quarter, and if they do pennies it might go down to 88 percent.’ Computer technology allows machines to accept bets of multiple denominations, so the same machine can have different payback percentages according to the size of the bet.
By contrast, in Game B only a third of the payout money goes on $4 payouts, leaving much more money to be won in the larger jackpots. Game A is what is called a low-volatility game, while Game B is high-volatility – you hit a winning combination less often, but the chances of a big win are greater. The higher the volatility, the more short-term risk there is for the slot operator. Some gamblers prefer low-volatility slots, while others prefer high. The game designer’s chief role is to make sure the machine pays out just enough for the gambler to want to continue playing – because the more someone plays, on average, the more he or she will lose. High volatility generates more excitement – especially in a casino, where machines hitting jackpots draw attention by erupting in spine-tingling son et lumière. Designing a good game, however, is not just about sophisticated graphics, colourful sounds and entertaining video narratives – it’s also about getting the underlying probabilities just right.
Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz
Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, barriers to entry, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Ben Horowitz, bounce rate, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, constrained optimization, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, frictionless market, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, inventory management, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, Lean Startup, lifelogging, longitudinal study, Marshall McLuhan, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, performance metric, place-making, platform as a service, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, sentiment analysis, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social software, software as a service, Steve Jobs, subscription business, telemarketer, transaction costs, two-sided market, Uber for X, web application, Y Combinator
The game has an in-game economy (gold coins) that can be used to buy weapons or health more quickly than by simply playing the game. There’s also a way to watch ads that pays gold coins. The company spends considerable time striking a balance between making it enjoyable for casual players (who don’t want to pay) while still making a purchase attractive (so players pay a small amount). This is where the science of economics meets the psychology of game design. The company cares about the following key metrics: Downloads How many people have downloaded the application, as well as related metrics such as app store placement, and ratings. Customer acquisition cost (CAC) How much it costs to get a user and to get a paying customer. Launch rate The percentage of people who download the app, actually launch it, and create an account. Percent of active users/players The percentage of users who’ve launched the application and use it on a daily and monthly basis: these are your daily active users (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU).
How to calculate all the essential metrics for a mobile app The business model for the company hinges on these numbers. The company needs to increase download volumes, increase the engagement rate, maximize ARPU, minimize churn, and improve virality so customer acquisition costs go down. There’s a natural tension between these goals—for example, making the game more enjoyable so people don’t churn versus extracting money so ARPU is high—and this is where the art and finesse of game design comes in. Percentage of Users Who Pay There are some players who simply won’t spend money in a game. And there are others (often referred to as “whales”) who will spend literally thousands of dollars to gain the upper hand in a game they love. Knowing the difference between the two—and finding ways to make more users purchase things within the application—is the key to a successfully monetized free mobile application.
Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid
1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Charles Lindbergh, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, connected car, domain-specific language, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, dumpster diving, Extropian, full employment, game design, global village, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kubernetes, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, The Hackers Conference, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, Zimmermann PGP
“The IO devices were very low bit rate,” Vinge said later, explaining how he had constructed True Names. “They depended on the viewer’s imagination to fill the gaps, which is exactly what happens when you read a book.”94 The Habitat engineers had the same approach: the game depended on the player’s imagination to fill the gaps. Habitat was meant to represent the real world—at least to a degree. The game designers liberally added childhood memories of games of make-believe, “a dash of silliness, a touch of cyberpunk,” and of course, their remarkable technical skills in what was then called “object-oriented programming.” The objects were the furniture of the Habitat world: houses, trees, gardens, mailboxes, books, doors, compasses, but also more controversial objects like clubs, knives, and guns. The game’s little cartoon characters, controlled by the gamer, could buy and sell these items with in-game money that they had in their in-game bank accounts.
The game’s little cartoon characters, controlled by the gamer, could buy and sell these items with in-game money that they had in their in-game bank accounts. Tokens were the currency in the land of Habitat, commonly abbreviated simply as T. For each new player joining Habitat, an avatar was created, or “hatched,” and a starting amount of 2,000T was placed in the player’s personal account. Each day the player logged in to the game, the money grew by 100T. The game was inspired by science fiction, “notably Vernor Vinge’s novel, True Names,” the game designers explained.95 ATMs, which in Habitat stood for “automatic token machines,” gave avatars access to their money. One token was a twenty-three-sided plastic coin, slightly larger than a US quarter. Remarkably, the game coins had a portrait of Vinge on their face, adorned with the motto “Fiat Lucre” and the line “Good for one fare” on the back. But this was the 1980s. Such details could only be explained in the handbook and were lost on the bulky, curved, low-resolution screens of C-64s that started up with a painfully high-pitched beeping sound and never really stopped flickering.
Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune by Kristin Ross
The way people live now—working part-time, studying and working at the same time, straddling those two worlds or the gap between the work they were trained to do and the work they find themselves doing in order to get by, or negotiating the huge distances they must commute or migrate across in order to find work—all this suggests to me, and to others as well, that the world of the Communards is in fact much closer to us than is the world of our parents. It seems utterly reasonable to me that younger people today, put off by a career trajectory in video-game design, hedge-fund management, or smart-phone bureaucracy, trying to carve out spaces and ways to live on the edges of various informal economies, testing the possibilities and limitations of living differently now within a thriving—if crisis-ridden—global capitalist economy, might well find interesting the debates that took place among Communard refugees and fellow travelers in the Juras in the 1870s that led to the theorizing of something called “anarchist communism”—debates, that is, about decentralized communities, how they might come into being and flourish, and the way they might become “federated” with each other in relations of solidarity.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
air freight, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, big-box store, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, fixed income, game design, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Jony Ive, lateral thinking, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Paul Terrell, profit maximization, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog
ISBN 978-1-4516-4853-9 ISBN 978-1-4516-4855-3 (ebook) The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. —Apple’s “Think Different” commercial, 1997 CONTENTS Characters Introduction: How This Book Came to Be CHAPTER ONE Childhood: Abandoned and Chosen CHAPTER TWO Odd Couple: The Two Steves CHAPTER THREE The Dropout: Turn On, Tune In . . . CHAPTER FOUR Atari and India: Zen and the Art of Game Design CHAPTER FIVE The Apple I: Turn On, Boot Up, Jack In . . . CHAPTER SIX The Apple II: Dawn of a New Age CHAPTER SEVEN Chrisann and Lisa: He Who Is Abandoned . . . CHAPTER EIGHT Xerox and Lisa: Graphical User Interfaces CHAPTER NINE Going Public: A Man of Wealth and Fame CHAPTER TEN The Mac Is Born: You Say You Want a Revolution CHAPTER ELEVEN The Reality Distortion Field: Playing by His Own Set of Rules CHAPTER TWELVE The Design: Real Artists Simplify CHAPTER THIRTEEN Building the Mac: The Journey Is the Reward CHAPTER FOURTEEN Enter Sculley: The Pepsi Challenge CHAPTER FIFTEEN The Launch: A Dent in the Universe CHAPTER SIXTEEN Gates and Jobs: When Orbits Intersect CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Icarus: What Goes Up . . .
“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.” CHAPTER FOUR ATARI AND INDIA Zen and the Art of Game Design Atari In February 1974, after eighteen months of hanging around Reed, Jobs decided to move back to his parents’ home in Los Altos and look for a job. It was not a difficult search. At peak times during the 1970s, the classified section of the San Jose Mercury carried up to sixty pages of technology help-wanted ads. One of those caught Jobs’s eye. “Have fun, make money,” it said. That day Jobs walked into the lobby of the video game manufacturer Atari and told the personnel director, who was startled by his unkempt hair and attire, that he wouldn’t leave until they gave him a job.
CHAPTER FIVE THE APPLE I Turn On, Boot Up, Jack In . . . Daniel Kottke and Jobs with the Apple I at the Atlantic City computer fair, 1976 Machines of Loving Grace In San Francisco and the Santa Clara Valley during the late 1960s, various cultural currents flowed together. There was the technology revolution that began with the growth of military contractors and soon included electronics firms, microchip makers, video game designers, and computer companies. There was a hacker subculture—filled with wireheads, phreakers, cyberpunks, hobbyists, and just plain geeks—that included engineers who didn’t conform to the HP mold and their kids who weren’t attuned to the wavelengths of the subdivisions. There were quasi-academic groups doing studies on the effects of LSD; participants included Doug Engelbart of the Augmentation Research Center in Palo Alto, who later helped develop the computer mouse and graphical user interfaces, and Ken Kesey, who celebrated the drug with music-and-light shows featuring a house band that became the Grateful Dead.
Lonely Planet Pocket San Francisco by Lonely Planet, Alison Bing
Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, edge city, G4S, game design, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, Mason jar, Silicon Valley, stealth mode startup, Stewart Brand, transcontinental railway, Zipcar
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Click here ) Mario Botta’s brick-boxed lightwell is getting a radical extension by Snøhetta architects. Transamerica Pyramid & Sentinel Building RUDY SULGAN/CORBIS © Best For Kids San Francisco has the least kids per capita of any US city, and according to SFSPCA data, about 19,000 more dogs than children live here. Yet many locals make a living entertaining kids – from Pixar animators to video-game designers – and this town is packed with attractions for youngsters. Junior Foodies When spirits and feet begin to drag, there’s plenty of ice cream and kid-friendly meals to pick them back up – look for the symbol throughout this book. Major Thrills Exploratorium (Click here ) Mind-bending technology and hands-on weird science exhibits that won a MacArthur genius grant. Cable cars (Click here ) Look mom, no seat belt!
Barefoot Into Cyberspace: Adventures in Search of Techno-Utopia by Becky Hogge, Damien Morris, Christopher Scally
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, information asymmetry, Jacob Appelbaum, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, MITM: man-in-the-middle, moral panic, Mother of all demos, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Hackers Conference, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks
But although Cory identifies a potential split “between what my father saw as kind of my bourgeois punk anarchism and his more rigorous Marxist approach”, his most memorable breakaway from the older generation came at the annual peace and social justice summer camp his parents sent him to, Grindstone. Cory describes Grindstone as “his Rosebud”. Bequeathed to the Quakers by the daughter of its original owner, the first Admiral of the Royal Canadian Navy, Grindstone Island became an experimental centre of non-violent civilian defence against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. In 1965, it had been the setting for the disastrous “Grindstone experiment”, a role-playing game designed to test theories of non-violent resistance that in the end only served to highlight their inefficacy: the entire exercise was curtailed two days early after half the non-violent party were “killed” by a staged invading force. It was the mid-eighties by the time a young Cory arrived at Grindstone Island, and it was there that Cory’s techno-Utopianism was to crystallise. “There was a guy who was involved in gender politics and youth sex education, who was involved with our youth caucus.
Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff
1960s counterculture, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cloud computing, collective bargaining, corporate personhood, disintermediation, Donald Trump, drone strike, European colonialism, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of work, game design, gig economy, Google bus, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, invisible hand, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, new economy, patient HM, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, theory of mind, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Vannevar Bush, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game
But what of the choices that it doesn’t offer? Do they really not exist? A simple search for “a pizzeria near me” may list all the restaurants that have paid to be found, but not those that haven’t. Persuasive designs offer users options at every juncture, in order to simulate the experience of choice without the risk of the user exercising true autonomy and wandering off the reservation. It’s the same way game designers lead all players through the same game story, even though we feel like we’re making independent choices from beginning to end. None of these choices are real, because every one leads inevitably to the outcome that the designers have predetermined for us. Because the interfaces look neutral, we accept the options they offer at face value. The choices are not choices at all, but a new way of getting us to accept limitations.
How to Be Right: In a World Gone Wrong by James O'Brien
Boris Johnson, clockwatching, collective bargaining, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, game design, housing crisis, mass immigration, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, QAnon, ride hailing / ride sharing, sexual politics, young professional
In short, the revenues raised by a brace of fixed-odds betting terminals in each shop is invariably enough to pay staff and rent while leaving a tidy profit for the bookmaker’s shareholders. They work so ‘well’ because they use some of the starkest teachings of behaviourist psychology. The ‘fixed odds’ element of the equation sees the punter make regular small wins as he plays, in pretty much the perfect proportion to ensure that he keeps playing. Next, the games’ designers ensure that the gap between wins never becomes big enough to sate his hunger for the next payout. And finally, with the psychological trap so perfectly set, you allow him to stake as much as £100 every twenty seconds. This combination of frequent wins, massive stakes and incredibly quick gameplay mean that these machines are designed to maximise the amount of time that people play for. And the more they play, the more they lose.
Intertwingled: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson (History of Computing) by Douglas R. Dechow
3D printing, Apple II, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog
It is of course very well known that many computer games are about shooting. One of the reasons for this I think, as some game critics have said, is that it’s partly because when you’re looking at ways to interact with a virtual world, destruction is one of the first and most obvious ways to have an effect on the world. It’s kind of a 2 year old’s way of dealing with the world: poke at things and see if they break! A big check-box for game designers was “can we add more destructibility to the environment.” Thankfully, we’re now starting to move beyond that and explore other things that games can do. Finally, one of my great passions is the intertwingularity of popular culture. I’m very interested in what is usually referred to as “fan fiction.” Fan fiction isn’t really a separate thing from other fiction and never has been. Published authors sometimes play in other authors’ worlds.
Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age by Cory Doctorow, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman
Airbnb, barriers to entry, Brewster Kahle, cloud computing, Dean Kamen, Edward Snowden, game design, Internet Archive, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, MITM: man-in-the-middle, optical character recognition, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, profit maximization, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, transfer pricing, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy
If you want to make stuff and try to earn a living from it, rather than shaking your fist and telling the Internet to get off your lawn, then this is the book for you. Creators, investors, intermediaries, and audiences When we’re talking about copyright, we’re fundamentally talking about four different activities: making creative works, investing in creative works, distributing and selling creative works, and enjoying creative works. As a shorthand, I’ll be using “creator” to describe people who make creative works—painters, photographers, game designers, novelists, poets, musicians, songwriters, choreographers, dancers, and many other sorts of people. I’ll use “investor” to describe someone who puts capital—cash—into the production and refinement of that work: think of a publisher, a record label, a studio. I’ll use “intermediary” to describe those entities that handle the work between creation, investment, and delivery: a distributor, a website like YouTube, a retailer, an e-commerce site like Amazon, a cinema owner, a cable operator, a TV station or network.
The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, c2.com, call centre, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, commoditize, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, illegal immigration, index card, informal economy, Internet Archive, jimmy wales, John Markoff, license plate recognition, loose coupling, mail merge, national security letter, old-boy network, packet switching, peer-to-peer, post-materialism, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Robert X Cringely, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game
Those proprietary information services that remain, such as Lexis/Nexis and Westlaw, sustain themselves because they are the only way to access useful proprietary content, such as archived news and some scholarly journal articles.53 Of course, there need not be a zero-sum game in models of software creation, and generative growth can blend well with traditional market models. Consumers can become enraptured by an expensive, sophisticated shooting game designed by a large firm in one moment and by a simple animation featuring a dancing hamster in the next.54 Big firms can produce software when market structure and demand call for such enterprise; smaller firms can fill niches; and amateurs, working alone and in groups, can design both inspirational “applets” and more labor-intensive software that increase the volume and diversity of the technological ecosystem.55 Once an eccentric and unlikely invention from outsiders has gained notoriety, traditional means of raising and spending capital to improve a technology can shore it up and ensure its exposure to as wide an audience as possible.
Our fortuitous starting point is a generative device in tens of millions of hands on a neutral Net. To maintain it, the users of those devices must experience the Net as something with which they identify and belong. We must use the generativity of the Net to engage a constituency that will protect and nurture it. That constituency may be drawn from the ranks of a new generation able to see that technology is not simply a video game designed by someone else, and that content is not simply what is provided through a TiVo or iPhone. Acknowledgments Many people helped bring about this book. I am fortunate to have brainstormed, taught, and argued with Terry Fisher, Lawrence Lessig, Charlie Nesson, and John Palfrey. They helped me discover, shape, and refine the underlying ideas and themes. They are natural, effortless teachers—and the most helpful and generous colleagues anyone could hope for.
Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World by Bruce Schneier
Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, business process, butterfly effect, cashless society, Columbine, defense in depth, double entry bookkeeping, fault tolerance, game design, IFF: identification friend or foe, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, MITM: man-in-the-middle, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, pez dispenser, pirate software, profit motive, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, slashdot, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, the payments system, Y2K, Yogi Berra
Hackers have written computer bots that assist play for some of these games, particularly Quake and NetTrek. The idea is that the bots can react much quicker than a human, so that the player becomes much more effective when using these bots. An arms race has ensued, as game designers try to disable these bots and force fairer play, and the hackers make the bots cleverer and harder to disable. These games are trying to rely on trusted client software, and the hacker community has managed to break every trick the game designers have thrown at them. I am continuously amazed by the efforts hackers will go through to break the security. The lessons are twofold: not only is there no reasonable way to trust a client-side program in real usage, but there’s no possible way to ever achieve that level of protection.
Daemon by Daniel Suarez
Berlin Wall, Burning Man, call centre, digital map, disruptive innovation, double helix, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, high net worth, invisible hand, McMansion, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, peer-to-peer, plutocrats, Plutocrats, RFID, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, web application
Ross covered his ears against the noise and looked up the road to see approaching emergency vehicles. It had begun. He knew there was no hope of containing the Daemon now. And guns were useless against it. Chapter 13:// Demo BBC.co.uk Dead Computer Genius Slays Police, Federal Agents— Thousand Oaks, CA—Authorities have surrounded a walled estate owned by the late Matthew Sobol, a leading computer game designer who died earlier this week of brain cancer. Six law officers were killed and nineteen others injured serving a search warrant at the property. They were reportedly attacked by a computer-controlled SUV that still roams the grounds. Anderson’s North Beach condo had twelve-foot pressed-tin ceilings, original wood floors, full-height windows with a fabulous view of the windows across the street, and enough Victorian charm to draw grudging praise from the snottiest folks she knew.
It was a popular news portal, and there off to the right were the news stories of the moment. The top headline screamed at him: Dead Computer Genius Kills Eight Gragg clicked the link, and the extensive news coverage of the siege at Sobol’s estate unfolded before him. Gragg voraciously read every word and followed every link. An hour later and he was wide-awake again with one ‘factoid’ echoing in his mind: “…Matthew Sobol, game designer and AI architect for Over the Rhine.” This Sobol guy had been a genius. Beyond a genius. Gragg was rarely impressed by other people’s hacks—but this Sobol was the king. Engineering a daemon that took vengeance on the world once you were safely dead and beyond all punishment. Gragg’s mind ran through the possibilities. They were endless. How much money had Sobol spent on this? The planning!
Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole by Benjamin R. Barber
addicted to oil, AltaVista, American ideology, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business cycle, Celebration, Florida, collective bargaining, creative destruction, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, G4S, game design, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, Marc Andreessen, McJob, microcredit, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, presumed consent, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, spice trade, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, X Prize
On the one hand, the Sim games are radically consumerist: buying things is the key activity, and the game’s human beings are conceived as largely raceless and classless shoppers. On the other hand, the simulation is not programmed in accord with neoliberalism’s anti–big government discourse and so is not averse to inviting state intervention on the way to improving a simulated society. The social significance of games is attested to by the spread of video-game design to academia, in no small part through the influence of leading game design companies such as Electronic Arts. The University of Southern California, the University of Central Florida, Georgia Tech, and Parsons School of Design at New School University (among others) have now launched technical design offerings (and in some cases humanities programs) that pay attention to video games. The World Wide Web on which MMORPGs are played itself has been increasingly touted as a site of contestation and transgression with respect to both governmental and market hegemony.
The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha
Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Black Swan, business intelligence, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, David Brooks, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, follow your passion, future of work, game design, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, late fees, lateral thinking, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, out of africa, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, rolodex, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs
If someone offers to introduce you to a person you really want to meet or offers to share assorted wisdom on an important topic, accept the help and express due gratitude. Everyone will feel good—and you’ll actually get closer to the person. Be a Bridge A good way to help people is to introduce them to people and experiences they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. In other words, straddle different communities/social circles and then be the bridge that your friends can walk over. My passion for entrepreneurship combined with my interest in board game design led me to introduce many of my entrepreneur friends to Settlers of Catan, the German board game. A community in Silicon Valley has sprung up around the game. I’ve also combined my experience scaling consumer Internet products with my interest in cause-based philanthropy to help organizations like Kiva and Mozilla—bridging my network and expertise from the for-profit world to the not-for-profit world.
The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity From Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs by Alexa Clay, Kyra Maya Phillips
Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Burning Man, collaborative consumption, conceptual framework, creative destruction, different worldview, disruptive innovation, double helix, fear of failure, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, megacity, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer rental, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, union organizing, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar
As part of the investigation, drivers of Shell’s trucks in India and workers at a refinery in Louisiana are participating in the pilot program. If the results of this experiment are positive, they would enable greater workplace safety in many industries where focus and attention on task is key to success—for example, mining and construction or medical surgery. Other types of “culture hacks” can be simpler acts of insurgency. Heidi McDonald, a video game designer, decorates her desk at work with a pirate ship and is planning to get a skull and crossbones tattoo. David Berdish, who was looking to reinvent mobility at Ford, was very open at work about his Catholic faith. Sometimes the simplest change we can make to a culture is to bring our passions and values to work. For McDonald, pirates “stand for independence and adventure. You have the freedom to make your own rules, and your life depends on your own resourcefulness,” she told us.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff
Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, book scanning, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, corporate personhood, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, dogs of the Dow, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, Ford paid five dollars a day, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, impulse control, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, linked data, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, multi-sided market, Naomi Klein, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, off grid, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, precision agriculture, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Mercer, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, smart cities, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, structural adjustment programs, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, union organizing, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Wolfgang Streeck
Fogg in his 2003 book Persuasive Technology recognized that computer game designers seek to change people’s behaviors with Skinnerian-style conditioning, concluding that “good game play and effective operant conditioning go hand in hand.” 33. Kevin Werbach, “(Re)Defining Gamification: A Process Approach,” in Persuasive Technology, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, International Conference on Persuasive Technology (Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2014), 266–72, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-07127-5_23; Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter, For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business (Philadelphia: Wharton Digital Press, 2012). 34. Michael Sailer et al., “How Gamification Motivates: An Experimental Study of the Effects of Specific Game Design Elements on Psychological Need Satisfaction,” Computers in Human Behavior 69 (April 2017): 371–80, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.12.033; J.
Captured Pokémon are rewarded with game currencies, candies, and stardust, and are employed to battle other users. The ultimate goal is to capture a comprehensive array of the 151 Pokémon, but along the way players earn “experience points,” rising to successive levels of expertise. At level five, players can join one of three teams to battle Pokémon at designated sites referred to as “gyms.” The ramp-up had begun years earlier with Ingress, Niantic’s first mobile game designed for real-world play. Released in 2012, Ingress was a precursor and test bed for the capabilities and methods that would define Pokémon Go. The game drove its users through their cities and towns to find and control designated “portals” and capture “territory” as the game masters relied on GPS to track users’ movements and map the territories through which they roamed. Hanke reflected on what he and his team had learned from Ingress.
Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing by Adam Greenfield
augmented reality, business process, defense in depth, demand response, demographic transition, facts on the ground, game design, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, James Dyson, knowledge worker, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, profit motive, QR code, recommendation engine, RFID, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method
While unidimensional bar-codes have seen ubiquitous public use since 1974 as the familiar Universal Product Code, they're sharply limited in terms of information density; newer 2D formats such as Semacode and QR, while perhaps lacking the aesthetic crispness of the classic varieties, allow a literally geometric expansion of the amount of data that can be encoded in a given space. At present, one of the most interesting uses of 2D codes is when they're used as hyperlinks for the real world. Semacode stickers have been cleverly employed in this role in the Big Games designed by the New York City creative partnership area/code, where they function as markers of buried treasure, in a real-time playfield that encompasses an entire urban area—but what 2D coding looks like in daily practice can perhaps best be seen in Japan, where the QR code has been adopted as a de facto national standard. QR codes can be found anywhere and everywhere in contemporary Japan: in a product catalogue, in the corner of a magazine ad, on the back of a business card.
The Data Journalism Handbook by Jonathan Gray, Lucy Chambers, Liliana Bounegru
Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, business intelligence, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, David Heinemeier Hansson, eurozone crisis, Firefox, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, game design, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, Julian Assange, linked data, moral hazard, MVC pattern, New Journalism, openstreetmap, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Silicon Valley, social graph, SPARQL, text mining, web application, WikiLeaks
You could have the best code working in the background handling an exciting dataset. But if the front end sucks, nobody will care about it. There is still a lot to learn about and to experiment with. But luckily there is the games industry, which has been innovating with respect to digital narratives, ecosystems, and interfaces for several decades now. So when developing data journalism applications, we should closely watch how game design works and how stories are told in games. Why are casual games like Tetris such fun? And what makes the open worlds of sandbox games like Grand Theft Auto or Skyrim rock? We think that data journalism is here to stay. In a few years, data journalism workflows will be quite naturally embedded in newsrooms, because news websites will have to change. The amount of data that is publicly available will keep on increasing.
The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value by John Sviokla, Mitch Cohen
business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Colonization of Mars, corporate raider, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, global supply chain, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, old-boy network, paper trading, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, young professional
Jaharis and Frost sold Key in 1986 to Schering-Plough, and Jaharis went on to found Kos Pharmaceuticals, which marketed the first niacin product that is well tolerated and effective at increasing good cholesterol. Jaharis sold Kos to Abbot Laboratories. He has since founded Vatera Healthcare Partners, a health venture capital firm, and Arisaph Pharmaceuticals, a biotech discovery firm. Steve Jobs 1955–2011, United States Apple Computer, Pixar Jobs was a game designer at Atari when he, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne launched Apple Computer in 1976 to market a personal computer Wozniak had invented. The first Apple PCs proved a huge success, but later products floundered. Infighting led to Jobs’s 1985 ouster. He founded NeXT Computer and bought the Pixar animation studio from George Lucas. Pixar’s 1995 IPO made Jobs a billionaire. Two years later, Apple bought NeXT and reinstated Jobs as CEO, ushering in an era of tremendous innovation and growth driven by the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction by Chris Bailey
"side hustle", Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Cal Newport, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, correlation does not imply causation, deliberate practice, functional fixedness, game design, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Parkinson's law, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Skype, twin studies, Zipcar
For one, it will be tied to how often you use (and need to recharge) your ability to hyperfocus. Hyperfocus consumes mental energy, while scatterfocus is energy restorative. Scattering your attention will be particularly beneficial when your work demands that you connect more complex, disparate ideas. For example, you should scatter your attention more often if you’re a researcher responsible for designing experiments or a video game designer who constructs story lines. The more creativity your job requires, the more often you should scatter your attention. In most cases, the knowledge work of today benefits from as much creativity as we can bring to it. Finally, the frequency with which you scatter your attention should reflect how important it is that you find the right approach to your work. Another of my favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln, who said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work by Sarah Kessler
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, call centre, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, financial independence, future of work, game design, gig economy, income inequality, information asymmetry, Jeff Bezos, job automation, law of one price, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, minimum wage unemployment, new economy, payday loans, post-work, profit maximization, QR code, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, Y Combinator
He had stood nervously in front of a whiteboard as various managers filtered into the room, asked him esoteric questions unrelated to the work he would actually do on the job, and watched him draw and explain his answers. He performed so poorly in his daylong interview that shortly after he had begun, he already knew he’d failed. It felt terrible. Gigster’s interview, he was relieved to find out, would follow a completely different process. It would be conducted via a typed chat. Rather than esoteric mind games designed to test theoretical knowledge, like the ones he’d completed while interviewing at other tech companies, all of Gigster’s questions related directly to whether or not Curtis would be able to do the job. The company had no obvious reason to care if Curtis was a “culture fit,” had growth potential, or worked well on a team. If he worked for Gigster, he would complete tasks alone. Only his current skills would matter.
Bitcoin: The Future of Money? by Dominic Frisby
3D printing, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer age, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, fixed income, friendly fire, game design, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, land value tax, litecoin, M-Pesa, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing complete, War on Poverty, web application, WikiLeaks
Some of the people he left it to are very, very competent and skilled.’ There are hundreds of different programming languages, but Satoshi chose to code in C++. In C++, programmers have to do things for themselves that are automated in later languages – they are working with ‘nuts and bolts’, close to the hardware of the computer. This means there are many who don’t go near C++, finding it too complicated, though it remains popular with games designers – and cryptographers. Other coders, such as Wei Dai, think it is ‘a pretty standard choice for anyone wanting to build such a piece of software’.132 C++ is a computing subculture in itself. Dan Kaminsky – the hacker who tried to crack Bitcoin – was initially dismissive about the choice to use C++. He thought it was a weakness. His attempts to hack Bitcoin changed his mind: ‘in the context of actual security paranoia, C++ is actually a great choice.
Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Meadows. Donella, Diana Wright
affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, clean water, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, game design, Gunnar Myrdal, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, peak oil, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Stanford prison experiment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Whole Earth Review
The success-to the-successful loop can be kept under control by putting into place feedback loops that keep any competitor from taking over entirely. That’s what antitrust laws do in theory and sometimes in practice. (One of the resources very big companies can win by winning, however, is the power to weaken the administration of antitrust laws.) The most obvious way out of the success-to the-successful archetype is by periodically “leveling the playing field.” Traditional societies and game designers instinctively design into their systems some way of equalizing advantages, so the game stays fair and interesting. Monopoly games start over again with everyone equal, so those who lost last time have a chance to win. Many sports provide handicaps for weaker players. Many traditional societies have some version of the Native American “potlatch,” a ritual in those who have the most give away many of their possessions to those who have the least.
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
Burning Man, Cal Newport, Donald Trump, financial independence, game design, index fund, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lifelogging, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Pepto Bismol, pre–internet, price discrimination, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs
Why would you push plastic trinkets on a piece of cardboard when you could fight photorealistic ogres in a multiplayer video game like World of Warcraft? But they haven’t. People are more eager than ever before to play Scrabble with neighbors, or trash-talk co-workers over poker, or line up in the Toronto cold for a table at Snakes & Lattes. The classic games that were popular in the pre-digital 1980s—Monopoly, Scrabble—remain popular sellers today, while the internet is fueling innovations in new game design (one of the most popular categories on Kickstarter is board games), leading to a renaissance in smarter, European-style strategy games—a movement best exemplified by the megahit Settlers of Catan, which has sold more than 22 million copies worldwide since it was first published in Germany in the mid-1990s. David Sax argues that this popularity is due in large part to the social experience of playing these games.
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans
David Brooks, fear of failure, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, market design, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social intelligence, Steve Jobs
Curiosity makes everything new. It invites exploration. It makes everything play. Most of all, curiosity is going to help you “get good at being lucky.” It’s the reason some people see opportunities everywhere. Try Stuff. When you have a bias to action, you are committed to building your way forward. There is no sitting on the bench just thinking about what you are going to do. There is only getting in the game. Designers try things. They test things out. They create prototype after prototype, failing often, until they find what works and what solves the problem. Sometimes they find the problem is entirely different from what they first thought it was. Designers embrace change. They are not attached to a particular outcome, because they are always focused on what will happen next—not what the final result will be.
HTML5 Canvas by Steve Fulton, Jeff Fulton
Ball interactions in physics For this example, we are going to create an elastic collision, which means that the total kinetic energy of the objects is the same before and after the collision. This is known as the law of conservation of momentum (Newton’s third law). To do this, we will take the x and y velocities of two colliding balls, and draw a “line of action” between their centers. This is illustrated in Figure 5-9, which has been adapted from Jobe Makar and Ben Winiarczyk’s Macromedia’s Flash MX 2004 Game Design Demystified (Macromedia Press). Then we will create new x and y velocities for each ball based on this angle and the law of conservation of momentum. To properly calculate conservation of momentum when balls collide on the canvas, we need to add a new property: mass. Mass is the measurement of how much a ball (or any object) resists any change in its velocity. Because collisions tend to change the velocity of objects, this is an important addition to the ball objects we will use on the canvas.
The Google Resume: How to Prepare for a Career and Land a Job at Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Any Top Tech Company by Gayle Laakmann Mcdowell
The role can be broken down into a variety of subdisciplines, including world design, game writing, and level design. Once the core game components have been decided, some designers may double as engineers. Designers are not necessarily expected to have an artistic background, but they are expected to be highly creative. Recruiters typically want people with some sort of development background, even if they won’t be a full-time coder. Many schools offer courses or programs in game design, from which companies recruit designers. Other Roles Though development, production, art, and design may handle game creation, a number of other key support roles exist. The following are some of the most popular: Quality assurance. QA can be broken down into three types: functional testing, certification testing, and automation testing. While automation testers usually need a computer science degree from a four-year university, the other two testing positions may require only a two-year degree.
Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff by Dinah Sanders
A. Roger Ekirch, Atul Gawande, big-box store, Boris Johnson, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwatching, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, credit crunch, endowment effect, Firefox, game design, Inbox Zero, income per capita, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Kevin Kelly, late fees, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Merlin Mann, post-work, side project, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand
That’s the principle behind EpicWin, an iPhone app that you can use to cajole yourself into doing mundane household chores: “I really want to call it quits for the night, but washing the dishes will only take five minutes and I will get experience points for it. I am really close to leveling up!” HealthMonth, the online game, helps build habits that will make you feel better all the time. It’s not just a silly trick. Games designer, researcher, and author Jane McGonigal cites years of scientific studies to back up her assertion that “… when we game we are tapping into our best qualities: our ability to be motivated, to be optimistic, to collaborate with others, to be resilient in the face of failure.” Stepping into that place of strength in the safe environment of games makes it easier for us to do so outside of them.
Thinking Machines: The Inside Story of Artificial Intelligence and Our Race to Build the Future by Luke Dormehl
Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, borderless world, call centre, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, drone strike, Elon Musk, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, global village, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet of things, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!
PewDiePie’s success is exceptional, but it’s part of a bigger story. More than 1,500 new types of occupation have all appeared as official job categories since 1990. These include roles such as software engineers, search engine optimisation experts and database administrators. The use of AI within video games has meanwhile inspired millions of fans to seek out work as professional game developers. Like ‘vloggers’, the job of video game designer was not the dream of a single person 200 years ago, although today the video game industry is among the world’s most valuable entertainment industries. The launch of Grand Theft Auto V in September 2013 achieved worldwide sales of more than £500 million – becoming the biggest launch of any entertainment product in history. By 2017, it is estimated that the video game industry will be valued at $82 billion globally.
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, clean water, commoditize, desegregation, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, Ferguson, Missouri, game design, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, Kickstarter, means of production, Nelson Mandela, Skype, women in the workforce
Many young men, taught by our culture to emote only anger and sarcasm, are ill-equipped when it comes to processing strong emotion. When you are promised the world and the world says it doesn’t want you, you’re left flailing and lashing out, and that’s what these guys did. In the churn of comments sections across the internet, someone decided the real problem here was that the young woman was a video game designer, and the man she was accused of sleeping with by her ex-boyfriend was a video game reviewer, and that this was some kind of breach of … ethics in gaming journalism. I’m unsure how this epiphany grew out of a spurned ex-boyfriend’s explicit rant about his ex-girlfriend’s supposed sexual exploits, but this is the internet. I suspect that it ties into the Fake Geek Girl fear. Surely the only reason this young woman slept with this young man was to get a positive review of her game, right?
A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer, Charles Fishman
4chan, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Asperger Syndrome, Bonfire of the Vanities, en.wikipedia.org, game design, Google Chrome, Howard Zinn, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Norman Mailer, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, out of africa, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple
Wilson: biologist, author, professor emeritus at Harvard University, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize Oprah Winfrey: founder and chairwoman of the Oprah Winfrey Network, actress, author George C. Wolfe: playwright, theater director, two-time winner of the Tony Award Steve Wozniak: cofounder of Apple Inc., designer of Apple I and Apple II computers, inventor John D. Wren: president and CEO of marketing and communications company Omnicom Will Wright: game designer, creator of Sim City and The Sims Steve Wynn: businessman, Las Vegas casino magnate Gideon Yago: writer, former correspondent for MTV News Eitan Yardeni: teacher and spiritual counselor at the Kabbalah Centre Daniel Yergin: economist, author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, winner of the Pulitzer Prize Dan York: chief content officer at DirecTV, former president of content and advertising sales, AT&T Michael W.
Memory Machines: The Evolution of Hypertext by Belinda Barnet
augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Duvall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, game design, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, John Markoff, linked data, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, publish or perish, Robert Metcalfe, semantic web, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons
There would be much to say here, if space allowed, about cake and companion cubes, government labs, test subjects, videogames and their players, people and xiv Memory Machines nonpeople (see another US philosopher, W. R. Romney, on the ontological status of corporations). For the moment it is enough to note that Coulton’s title applies both to the arch-villain of the game (GLaDOS, or Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System), as well as everyone who beats the final level, becoming perhaps the most important ‘people who are still alive’, if you are a game designer. Such at least was the song’s first rhetorical situation, before it went viral on YouTube: if you are hearing this message, congratulations, your long history of failure has paid off. You have traversed or configured the game logic to reach this not entirely meaningless outcome. Okay, you win; the game, of course, goes on. Welcome to the cultural logic of software or cybertext, that larger domain to which hypertext, the subject of this book, inevitably articulates, either as first revelation or arcane orthodoxy.
Shorter by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
8-hour work day, airport security, Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, centre right, cloud computing, colonial rule, disruptive innovation, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of work, game design, gig economy, Henri Poincaré, IKEA effect, iterative process, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, means of production, neurotypical, performance metric, race to the bottom, remote working, Second Machine Age, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, women in the workforce, young professional, zero-sum game
Shortening working hours encourages workers to concentrate on their most important problems and spend less time on either diversions or less essential tasks. “On Monday through Thursday, I feel like we have a more focused and engaged workforce, because they say, ‘I just need to make sure that I’m getting the things that I need done, done,’” Cockroach Labs CEO Spencer Kimball tells me. “Having shorter time doesn’t mean that you’re losing creativity,” game designer Linus Feldt says, since being “more focused made the staff more creative and better at finding solutions.” The four-day workweek at web design firm Reusser Design gives developers “more concentration time, and that, paired with a conscious effort to minimize interruptions, means more productive days” than a five-day week, writes UX designer Andy Welfle. “You wouldn’t believe how much we get done” in a compressed week, CEO Nate Reusser told CNN in 2015.
10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little Less by Garett Jones
"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, business cycle, central bank independence, clean water, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Edward Glaeser, financial independence, game design, German hyperinflation, hive mind, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Kenneth Rogoff, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, price stability, rent control, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization
At the same time, they favor the middle class by opening some side channels [for dialogue with the government].”⁹ What are these side channels, these mechanisms to make sure that the middle classes feel that they’re actually being listened to? Case describes them: “Numerous forums for dialogue including the Feedback Unit, created in 1985, the Government Parliamentary Committees, introduced in 1987, and the Institute of Policy Studies, formed in 1988, have grown up alongside new middle class constituencies and dissuaded them from seeking more autonomous modes of participation.”¹⁰ It’s PAP’s political ground game, designed to make the middle classes feel that they’re being heard. And indeed, it gives the PAP more information about what the middle classes actually want. It’s not democracy—it’s not listening carefully to everyone. Instead it’s semidemocracy: listening carefully to PAP’s core constituency, but holding honest elections so that everyone can let off some steam. The Wisdom of Singapore Traveling to a country for a few days is no way to learn what it’s really like.
Frommer's Irreverent Guide to San Francisco by Matthew Richard Poole
Bay Area Rapid Transit, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, game design, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, Loma Prieta earthquake, Maui Hawaii, old-boy network, pez dispenser, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, Torches of Freedom, upwardly mobile
The Palace of Fine Arts is a must-see, not just because it houses the Exploratorium, but because it looks just like an ancient Roman temple and it’s the only building that remains from the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition (held to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal). A trip to the Exploratorium is also mandatory, particularly if you’re toting along kids. Seasoned locals will assure you it’s the most fun you can have without hallucinogenic drugs, especially if you crawl through the dark, sensual Tactile Dome or try any of the other hands-on games designed to totally twist your mind. You never know what the mad scientists will have in store for you at this wonderfully fun, interactive science museum—and the gift shop is the best place in the city to load up on brainy birthday and Christmas gifts. San Francisco’s cable-car system is still run out of a three-story red-brick barn, and you can watch it in action from several special spectator galleries at the highly entertaining (and always free) Cable Car Museum.
Inside the Robot Kingdom: Japan, Mechatronics and the Coming Robotopia by Frederik L. Schodt
carbon-based life, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, factory automation, game design, guest worker program, industrial robot, Jacques de Vaucanson, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce
Until its 1986 bankruptcy, their ranks included Dainichi Kiko, one of Japan's largest industrial robot manufacturers. Dainichi Kiko made amusement robots to complement its regular line for industry. The game companies, like the toy companies, make them to raise their own technological level and to create a high-tech image. One of the biggest amusement robot manufacturers is Namco, best known today for Pac-Man, the video arcade game designed by Toru Iwatani that took the world by storm in 1980. Established in 1955, Namco has a long relationship with robots. It originally built amusement attractions and rides of the sort commonly found on the tops of Japanese urban department stores—often in the shape of popular cartoon character robots like Arare-chan and Doraemon. Thus far, it has produced nearly four hundred amusement robots, ranging from Atomic Robot Atom, which greets visitors to the Science Museum in Tokyo with flashing lights, waving arms, and voice recognition and synthesis, to Robot Theaters and Robot Circuses, where microcomputer-controlled mechanical robot characters perform in front of audiences.
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
affirmative action, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, Bernie Sanders, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Cass Sunstein, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Filter Bubble, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Nate Silver, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, quantitative hedge fund, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, working poor
Pretty soon, Facebook becomes a site optimized to maximize how much time people spend on Facebook. In other words, find enough winners of A/B tests and you have an addictive site. It is the type of feedback that cigarette companies never had. A/B testing is increasingly a tool of the gaming industry. As Alter discusses, World of Warcraft A/B-tests various versions of its game. One mission might ask you to kill someone. Another might ask you to save something. Game designers can give different samples of players’ different missions and then see which ones keep more people playing. They might find, for example, that the mission that asked you to save a person got people to return 30 percent more often. If they test many, many missions, they start finding more and more winners. These 30 percent wins add up, until they have a game that keeps many adult men holed up in their parents’ basement.
Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors by Matt Parker
8-hour work day, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bitcoin, British Empire, Brownian motion, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Flash crash, forensic accounting, game design, High speed trading, Julian Assange, millennium bug, Minecraft, obamacare, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, publication bias, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, selection bias, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Therac-25, value at risk, WikiLeaks, Y2K
This is because of the Civilization computer games, which have sold over 33 million copies. They pit you against several world leaders from history in a race to build the greatest civilization, one of whom is the normally peace-loving Gandhi. But ever since early versions of the game, players noticed that Gandhi was a bit of a jerk. Once he developed atomic technology, he would start dropping nuclear bombs on other nations. This was because of a mistake in the computer code. The game designers had deliberately given Gandhi the lowest non-zero aggression rating possible: a score of 1. Classic Gandhi. But later in the game, when all the civilizations were becoming more, well, civilized, every leader had their aggression rating dropped by two. For Gandhi, starting from 1, this calculation played out as 1 − 2 = 255, suddenly setting him to maximum aggression. Even though this error has since been fixed, later versions of the game have kept Gandhi as the most nuke-happy leader as a tradition.
Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest
23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, lifelogging, loose coupling, loss aversion, low earth orbit, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
EyeWire illustrates how an ExO can apply game elements and mechanics in non-game products and services to create fun and engaging experiences, converting users into loyal players—and in the process accomplish extraordinary things. Other games that use this technique include MalariaSpot (hunt malaria parasites in real images), GalaxyZoo (classify galaxies according to their shapes) and Foldit (help biochemists combat AIDS and other diseases by predicting and producing protein models). As game designer and author Jane McGonigal sees it, “Human beings are wired to compete.” Engaging gamers, however, requires more than just throwing a game up on a website and letting gamers have at it. “Gamification should empower people, not exploit them. It should feel good at the end of the day because you made progress towards something that mattered to you.” To be successful, every gamification initiative should leverage the following game techniques: Dynamics: motivate behavior through scenarios, rules and progression Mechanics: help achieve goals through teams, competitions, rewards and feedback Components: track progress through quests, points, levels, badges and collections Gamification is not only used to tackle challenges and problems with the help of a community, it can also be used as a hiring tool.
4th Rock From the Sun: The Story of Mars by Nicky Jenner
3D printing, Alfred Russel Wallace, Astronomia nova, cuban missile crisis, Elon Musk, game design, hive mind, invention of the telescope, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, placebo effect, Pluto: dwarf planet, retrograde motion, selection bias, silicon-based life, Skype, Stephen Hawking, technoutopianism
Other games, including Destiny and Wipeout, have unlockable Martian maps and stages – if you can find them, that is. The more light-hearted Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions uses the aforementioned ant-like humanoid Marvin the Martian as the antagonist, who must be destroyed in order to complete the final stage of the game. New concepts are being developed using virtual reality (VR) technology. NASA is collaborating with game developers on a project named Mars 2030, an interactive game designed for VR headsets that will place the player directly on to the surface of Mars. Mars 2030 is as scientifically accurate as possible, from topography through to gravity, making it a kind of hybrid between a video game and a planetary simulator. Many musicians have taken inspiration from Mars, notably Holst with his famous The Planets suite (written in approximately 1914). Holst took more of an astrological stance on the planets, describing each by what he deemed to be its leading characteristic.
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, big-box store, Burning Man, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, full employment, game design, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Mars Rover, new economy, off grid, payday loans, Pepto Bismol, precariat, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, six sigma, supply-chain management, union organizing, urban sprawl, white picket fence, Y2K
An equally wretched institution appeared in a 1920 report to Colorado’s state board of charities: “Building an old church condemned five years ago as unfit for habitation; walls unsafe and falling in; little protection from the cold; old floors cracked and dirty; miserable beds and bunks; a bedridden inmate with tubercular hips who has been in this bed since September and has not had a bath . . . in another dilapidated room sits a woman in rags, past ninety, over an old stove trying to keep warm.” So iconic—and dreaded—was the poorhouse that it was awarded a square in the earliest version of Monopoly. Situated on a corner of the board, this civic institution was the space of last resort for any player who “has not enough money to pay his expenses, and cannot borrow any or cannot sell or mortgage any of his property,” according to the 1904 rules. In later versions, game designers paved over the poorhouse and put up a “free parking” space. It took the Great Depression to make retirement into a reality in the United States. There were too many workers, too few jobs, and a consequent sense that the elderly needed to be nudged out of the labor pool. At the same time, older Americans weren’t faring so well. By 1934, more than half lacked the means to support themselves.
Exodus: How Migration Is Changing Our World by Paul Collier
Ayatollah Khomeini, Boris Johnson, charter city, Edward Glaeser, experimental economics, first-past-the-post, full employment, game design, George Akerlof, global village, guest worker program, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, mass immigration, moral hazard, open borders, risk/return, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, University of East Anglia, white flight, zero-sum game
In an important new study, a team of researchers investigated variations in the willingness of Hispanic immigrants to America to cooperate for public goods. The variations were designed to pick up differences in how immigrants perceived both their identity and their degree of exclusion from the society around them. An innovation of their research was that in addition to the conventional laboratory games designed to tease out attitudes to others, it included real neighborhood public goods, such as local health and education facilities. They found powerful evidence that how migrants see themselves influences their willingness to cooperate and contribute to public goods. The more migrants self-identified as Latino as opposed to American, the less they contributed. One practical insight of the research was that fluency in English mattered: the more that English was the language used at home, the stronger was a sense of American identity.14 This study is new and I am not aware of an equivalent one for Europe.
Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption by Ben Mezrich
"side hustle", airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, buttonwood tree, cryptocurrency, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, game design, Isaac Newton, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, offshore financial centre, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, QR code, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, transaction costs, zero-sum game
Yet despite all of this, he had left almost no personal clues. If he was a Japanese man, he wrote in idiomatic, flawless English that alternated between American spellings and British spellings. The time stamps of his writings revealed no particular time zone. Investigative journalists had named at least fifteen people as possible alter egos to the mysterious inventor, including Elon Musk, the Tesla billionaire, and Hal Finney, a game designer and cryptographer who had received the first Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi in 2009; but none of these leads had led anywhere. “To me,” Voorhees said, “the mystery surrounding Satoshi is a feature of Bitcoin, not a bug. The beauty of Bitcoin is that it is not built around Satoshi, it’s not built around anyone. To understand Bitcoin, you only need to understand Bitcoin.” Charlie coughed from behind an epic ring of pot smoke, then grinned.
The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification by Paul Roberts
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, business cycle, business process, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Brooks, delayed gratification, disruptive innovation, double helix, factory automation, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, game design, greed is good, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, impulse control, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, mass immigration, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, performance metric, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy
Emotional development can be delayed or derailed, leaving the player with a sense of self that is incomplete, fragile, and socially disengaged—more id than superego. Or as Hilarie Cash, reSTART cofounder and an expert in online addiction, told me, “We end up being controlled by our impulses.” Which, for gaming addicts, means being even more susceptible to the complex charms of the online world. Gaming companies want to keep players playing as long as possible—the more you play, the more likely you’ll upgrade to the next version. To this end, game designers have created sophisticated data feedback systems that tie players to an upgrade treadmill. As players move through these virtual worlds, the data they generate is captured and used to make subsequent game iterations even more “immersive.” (World of Warcraft, for instance, releases periodic upgrades, or “patches,” with new weapons and skills that players must have to retain their godlike status.)
Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry by David Robertson, Bill Breen
barriers to entry, business process, Clayton Christensen, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, disruptive innovation, financial independence, game design, global supply chain, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Wisdom of Crowds, Wall-E
Once the development team could demonstrate, through its nearly endless rounds of play testing, that LEGO Games stood a good chance of landing near the top of kids’ wish lists for toys, management gave the go-ahead to launch. So it was that LEGO, in its initial August 2009 release, decided to come out with not one but ten different board games. It was all part of a bid to swiftly stake out an entirely new market, and it had the desired effect. Soon thereafter, LEGO Games was rapidly ascending the year’s list of the hottest Christmas toys. Largely through the efforts of one driven games designer and a handful of wingmen, the company had an “obviously LEGO, but never seen before” hit on its hands. On the surface, LEGO Games and that other ambitious creation—LEGO Universe—shared several similarities. Both were rooted in the LEGO DNA of the brick and the System of Play. Both sought to deliver new types of LEGO play experiences. Both aimed to drive the company’s organic growth and further burnish the LEGO brand.
Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Edward Thorp, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, lone genius, mass immigration, megacity, Minecraft, moral panic, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern
In the case of Minecraft, of course, the world of the game itself—and the rules that govern it—are being created by that multinational community of players, in the form of mods and servers programmed and hosted by Minecraft fans. McLuhan coined the term “global village” as a metaphor for the electronic age, but if you watch a grade-schooler constructing a virtual town in Minecraft with the help of players from around the world, the phrase starts to sound more literal. The migratory history of chess, like that of most games, did not begin with some immaculate conception in the mind of some original genius game designer. As chess traveled across borders, new players in new cultures experimented with the rules. “Like the Bible and the Internet,” Shenk writes, “[chess was] the result of years of tinkering by a large, decentralized group, a slow achievement of collective intelligence.” Evolving out of an earlier Indian game called chaturanga, the first game that modern eyes would recognize as chess was played in Persia during the fifth century CE, a game called chatrang.
How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy by Stephen Witt
4chan, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, cloud computing, collaborative economy, crowdsourcing, game design, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, inventory management, iterative process, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, job automation, late fees, mental accounting, moral panic, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pirate software, Ronald Reagan, security theater, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, software patent, Steve Jobs, zero day
In April 1999 the company relocated Henri Linde to California during the height of the dot-com boom, and opened a dedicated office for him with a staff of six. Business was merely brisk at first, but turned electric after the favorable result in RIAA vs. Diamond. Big Gadget finally moved, with Japanese money displacing Korean. Any device that could play an mp3 had to pay. Linde signed deals with dot-coms, software vendors, chip manufacturers, game designers, car stereo vendors, and hundreds of start-up ventures. In the first four years he’d worked as licensing manager he’d signed less than twenty deals. In the next four he signed more than 600. The only holdout was Sony. Inside the company a civil war had broken out between its consumer electronics arm and the music labels it owned. Somehow, still, Brandenburg managed to keep a low profile.
Ten Billion Tomorrows: How Science Fiction Technology Became Reality and Shapes the Future by Brian Clegg
Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Brownian motion, call centre, Carrington event, combinatorial explosion, don't be evil, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, game design, gravity well, hive mind, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, silicon-based life, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Turing test
We will return to the holodeck in chapter 4, as the technology behind it comes from a whole different technological arena, but the concept stuck with Carmack. What the teenager wanted to do was create a world on the computer screen that would fully immerse the player, making them feel as if they were part of the action. At the time, computer graphics, particularly on the then relatively new IBM PC, were dire. Yet the first major game produced by id Software, the company formed by Carmack and game designer John Romero, Wolfenstein 3D, managed to do remarkable things on a PC. Admittedly the game was visually blocky and limited in its use of color, but by making use of every software trick in the book, and many that weren’t until he wrote them, Carmack managed to make the journey through the castle taken by the player, who saw a first-person view, smoother and more convincing than anything that had ever come before.
You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves by Hiawatha Bray
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, British Empire, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, digital map, don't be evil, Edmond Halley, Edward Snowden, Firefox, game design, Google Earth, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, license plate recognition, lone genius, openstreetmap, polynesian navigation, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFID, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Thales of Miletus, trade route, turn-by-turn navigation, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Zipcar
However, the companies that create the software driving our smartphones, companies like Apple and Google and Microsoft, also build an ever-expanding history of our locations and movements and trade on this information for profit. We are even tracked by the third-party software apps we install on our phones. A research report from February 2013 found that half of the fifty most popular apps for iPhones and Android smartphones automatically transmit information about the user’s location.4 Fire up the popular game Angry Birds, and game designer Rovio will use the phone’s GPS and Wi-Fi to determine where you are. It is useful information for pinging you with targeted advertisements. Yet in 2012 researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that when a user stops playing Angry Birds, it keeps right on running in the background, steadily broadcasting the player’s whereabouts.5 Add to this the detailed personal information available from information brokers like Acxiom, which has files on about 190 million Americans and a total of a half-billion people worldwide.
The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Doto Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal
banking crisis, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, delayed gratification, game design, impulse control, lifelogging, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, Richard Thaler, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Walter Mischel
The definitive Internet act of our times is a perfect metaphor for the promise of reward: We search. And we search. And we search some more, clicking that mouse like—well, like a rat in a cage seeking another “hit,” looking for the elusive reward that will finally feel like enough. Cell phones, the Internet, and other social media may have accidentally exploited our reward system, but computer and video game designers intentionally manipulate the reward system to keep players hooked. The promise that the next level or big win could happen at any time is what makes a game compelling. It’s also what makes a game hard to quit. One study found that playing a video game led to dopamine increases equivalent to amphetamine use—and it’s this dopamine rush that makes both so addictive. The unpredictability of scoring or advancing keeps your dopamine neurons firing, and you glued to your seat.
Autism Adulthood: Strategies and Insights for a Fulfilling Life by Susan Senator
At home, he took a computer class and then a drawing class at the community college, and he’s currently taking piano lessons. He also has a dog. “I don’t know what the future is for my son,” Susan said, but as she told her daughter and her husband, “So what? He makes weird noises, but at least he’s not drinking, or on the internet with pornography. He cooks, does his own laundry, and takes care of his dog.” Paul does have job responsibilities. He works assembling games for the family’s company, Cactus Game Design, which uses popular secular games like Apples to Apples, Scrabble, and Cranium, and creates Bible editions. “We have a game called Redemption; the appeal is not only sophisticated game play, but collecting. Paul assembles these card packs. Watching him is like witnessing a well-oiled machine,” Susan said. Now Paul lives in Susan’s basement, while her daughters occupy the third floor. “We can’t be more than thirty minutes away from him at any point.
A Fine Mess by T. R. Reid
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, centre right, clean water, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, game design, Gini coefficient, High speed trading, Home mortgage interest deduction, Honoré de Balzac, income inequality, industrial robot, land value tax, loss aversion, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, Tesla Model S, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, Tobin tax, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks
Literary titans including Leo Tolstoy, Arnold Toynbee, and George Bernard Shaw called George a crucial influence (“one of the greatest men of the 19th century,” Tolstoy said). Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the rebellion that threw out China’s last ruling dynasty, embraced Georgian tax policy for his (short-lived) new government. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. cited Georgian principles in major speeches. To further their cause, George’s followers in the early twentieth century created a board game designed to denounce the landlord class; this offshoot of Georgism lives on today as one of the world’s most popular parlor pastimes. It’s called Monopoly. George’s book became a surprise bestseller for essentially the same reasons that Thomas Piketty’s did. Just as Piketty’s book followed the Great Recession of 2008–9, Progress and Poverty came out in the wake of the national depression of 1873–77, a time when millions of working-class Americans felt they had been handed a raw deal by the economic and political establishment.
Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley's Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime by Julian Guthrie
Airbnb, Apple II, barriers to entry, blockchain, Bob Noyce, call centre, cloud computing, credit crunch, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, fear of failure, game design, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, new economy, PageRank, peer-to-peer, pets.com, phenotype, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, urban decay, web application, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce
The protagonist, Carrie Bradshaw, the chronicler of adventures in the Big Apple, was his you-go-girl hero, the fashionista who mixed vintage finds with Manolo Blahniks. “You absolutely must see the movie,” Bruce the Almighty said. “I am absolutely going to see the movie,” Sonja told him, as soon as Jon returned from sailing overseas. Sonja had actually met Candace Bushnell, the author of the book Sex and the City, in New York in the summer of 2001. Sonja had been with her fiancé at the time, and Candace was with her boyfriend, a game designer for the Lara Croft Tomb Raider series. The foursome went to a small Italian restaurant where waiters greeted them by name. Sonja remembered Candace’s outfit: a suede triangle halter top paired with preppy East Coast pants. Candace had taken to Sonja, as much as Sonja did to her, telling her she knew too few women who made their own money. Serving room-temperature champagne at two A.M., she announced that Sonja was a Norwegian superhero and gave Sonja a superhero name: White Sonja.
Barometer of Fear: An Insider's Account of Rogue Trading and the Greatest Banking Scandal in History by Alexis Stenfors
Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, capital controls, collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, game design, Gordon Gekko, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, London Interbank Offered Rate, loss aversion, mental accounting, millennium bug, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, oil shock, price stability, profit maximization, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Rubik’s Cube, Snapchat, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, Y2K
CHAPTER 6 CONVENTIONS AND CONSPIRACIES In 1995, I was sent to the HSBC Group Management Training College in Hertfordshire to learn the basics of foreign exchange trading. It was nice to leave dark and icy Stockholm behind for two weeks to join 15 or 20, mainly London-based, soon-to-be traders and sales people in the leafy English countryside. HSBC was very good at FX, probably in the top three in the world at the time, so my expectations of the course were high. We got to play a computer-based trading simulation game, designed to replicate a realistic situation in a dealing room. It was fun, and the teacher was both knowledgeable and engaging. I remember how we were repeatedly told to ‘galvanise our HPs’, as if our calculators (manufactured by Hewlett-Packard) were like musical instruments needing to be restrung before a concert. We had to practise, practise, practise – to master the most difficult mathematical problems that could arise in FX and money market trading.
Microserfs by Douglas Coupland
car-free, computer age, El Camino Real, game design, hive mind, Kevin Kelly, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, postindustrial economy, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence
There must be all of these people everywhere on earth right now, waiting for a miracle, waiting to be pulled out of themselves, eager for just the smallest sign that there is something finer or larger or miraculous about our existence than we had supposed. 26) "The replayability problem" (Engineering a desire for repetition). 27) I think "van art" and Yes album covers were the biggest influence in game design. 28) I wonder if I've missed the boat on CD-ROM interactive - if I'm too old. The big companies are zeroing in on the 10 year olds. I think you only ever truly feel comfortable with the level of digitization that was normal for you from the age of five to fifteen. I mean sure, I can make new games workable, but it won't be a kick the way Tetris was. Or will it? 29) In the end, multimedia interactive won't resemble literature so much as sports.
The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella H. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows
agricultural Revolution, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, financial independence, game design, income per capita, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), longitudinal study, means of production, new economy, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review
It is a web of connections among equals, held together not by force, obligation, material incentive, or social contract, but by shared values and the understanding that some tasks can be accomplished together that could never be accomplished separately. We know of networks of farmers who share organic pest control methods. There are networks of environmental journalists, "green" architects, computer modelers, game designers, land trusts, consumer cooperatives. There are thousands and thousands of networks that developed as people with common purposes found each other. Some networks become so busy and essential that they evolve into formal organizations with offices and budgets, but most come and go as needed. The advent of the World Wide Web certainly has facilitated and accelerated the formation and maintenance of networks.
Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker
8-hour work day, active transport: walking or cycling, barriers to entry, buy and hold, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, delayed gratification, discounted cash flows, diversification, dogs of the Dow, don't be evil, dumpster diving, financial independence, game design, index fund, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, lateral thinking, loose coupling, market bubble, McMansion, passive income, peak oil, place-making, Ponzi scheme, psychological pricing, the scientific method, time value of money, transaction costs, wage slave, working poor
Harding, Operations Management  David Holmgren, Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability  Richard Brewer, Principles of ecology  Jacques Ellul, Propaganda  William Catton, Overshoot  Matthew B. Crawford, Shop class as soulcraft  Herman Hesse, Siddhartha  David Wann, Simple Prosperity  Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety  Jesse Schell, The Art of Game Design  Amy Dacyczyn, The Complete Tightwad Gazette  Ann Thorpe, The Designer's Atlas of Sustainability  Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline  Tom Hodgkinson, The Freedom Manifesto  Michael Maccoby, The Gamesman  Dick Stoken, The Great Cycle  Peter Lawrence, The Happy Minimalist  Lin Yu Tan, The importance of living  Thomas Homer-Dixon, The Ingenuity Gap  Elizabeth Gilbert, The Last American Man  Scott Nearing, The Making of a Radical  Margarat Lobenstine, The Renaissance Soul  James Dale Davidson & Lord William Rees-Mogg, The sovereign individual  G.
Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings
Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, clean water, David Brooks, digital map, don't be evil, dumpster diving, Eratosthenes, game design, Google Earth, helicopter parent, hive mind, index card, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, Mercator projection, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Journalism, openstreetmap, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Stewart Brand, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, traveling salesman, urban planning
.* “The achievement of a plausible state is not so easy as it might appear,” wrote Gelett Burgess in 1902. Burgess was a humorist best remembered today for coining the word “blurb” and writing the poem “The Purple Cow,” but he was also an inveterate map geek. “There is nothing so difficult as to create, out of hand, an interesting coast line. Try and invent an irregular shore that shall be convincing, and you will see how much more cleverly Nature works than you.” A video-game designer who moonlights as a fantasy mapmaker, Isaac probably has as much experience testing Burgess’s dictum as anyone in the world. A century later, coastlines are still hard. “You wind up doing this seizure thing with your hand, and it doesn’t work sometimes,” he tells me. Burgess’s solution was to spill water on his paper, pound it with his fist, and trace the resulting blotch. Isaac has developed his own tricks of the trade.
Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby
AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, commoditize, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, fixed income, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, global pandemic, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, lifelogging, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar
Artificial intelligence won’t help much with the essentially human strength a person brings to his or her work, but neither will computers claim it for their own. British game developer Ed Key recently mused along these lines about how artificial intelligence might be useful to him. Bemoaning the fact that he quit a corporate job in order to work full-time on his game Proteus, only to find that “80 percent of my time was spent doing business stuff” that had nothing to do with game design, he said: “Things like creating trailers and contacting the press, tweeting the screenshots—maybe an AI agent could be helpful for that. Self-promotion is something you might delegate to a robot who is your biggest fan.”23 But in some cases, augmentation actually will amplify some high-value, noncognitive strength—and we might say, help the human bring more humanity to the work. Using machines will deepen the empathy, or heighten the creativity, or refine the taste that people bring to the table.
New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World--And How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans, Henry Timms
"side hustle", 3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, battle of ideas, Benjamin Mako Hill, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, Chris Wanstrath, Columbine, Corn Laws, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, future of work, game design, gig economy, hiring and firing, IKEA effect, income inequality, informal economy, job satisfaction, Jony Ive, Kibera, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, profit motive, race to the bottom, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Snapchat, social web, TaskRabbit, the scientific method, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, web application, WikiLeaks
Christakis, “A New, More Rigorous Study Confirms: The More You Use Facebook, the Worse You Feel,” Harvard Business Review, April 10, 2017. Chapter 7: The Participation Premium “traditional terrestrial options”: Chris Roberts, “Letter from the Chairman,” Roberts Space Industries, November 27, 2014. www.robertsspaceindustries.com. The creator of the classic: Wolff Bachner, “Chris Roberts Returns to Game Design: Unveils ‘Star Citizen’ at GDC,” Inquisitr, October 11, 2012. “a living, breathing science fiction”: “About the Game,” July 2017. www.robertsspaceindustries.com. In an hour-long presentation: Cloud Imperium, “Legendary Designer Chris Roberts Making Re-entry into PC Gaming Stratosphere with Star Citizen from Cloud Imperium,” Business Wire, October 10, 2012. “As someone who has played every Wing Commander”: TwitchingCheese, “Roberts Space Industries GDC Panel Live—Chris Roberts of Wing Commander Fame Reveals His New Game,” Reddit, 2013. www.reddit.com.
Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford
affirmative action, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, assortative mating, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Basel III, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Erdős number, experimental subject, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Frank Gehry, game design, global supply chain, Googley, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, Inbox Zero, income inequality, industrial cluster, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, microbiome, out of africa, Paul Erdős, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Turing test, urban decay, William Langewiesche
Most tasks require a combination of bonding and bridging: flashes of inspiration to identify the right approach, and long effort characterized by selfless teamwork to put it into practice. That means a compromise between bonding and bridging—a willingness to allow a degree of messiness into a tidy team. This chapter is all about why getting the best of both approaches can prove very challenging indeed. • • • If we’re looking for a petri dish to examine the nature of teamwork in the twenty-first century, a computer game isn’t a bad candidate. Game design requires a marriage of skills—visual, audio, and narrative artists work with skilled software engineers alongside commercial functions such as finance and marketing. The technical possibilities are always changing, and for many games it is important to take full advantage of the very latest technology. Like a Hollywood movie, a game is an extended yet temporary project with plenty of freelancers and ad hoc teams.
The English by Jeremy Paxman
back-to-the-land, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, Etonian, game design, George Santayana, global village, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Khartoum Gordon, mass immigration, Neil Kinnock, Own Your Own Home, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Right to Buy, sensible shoes, urban sprawl, women in the workforce
OSCAR WILDE It is not merely that the roles of the English sexes have changed. So too has the land they live in. It is, like the rest of the world, dominated by brand names. The English wear baseball caps and jeans, eat versions of American, Asian or Italian food, drive cars made anywhere on the globe (even the grandest British car-maker, Rolls-Royce, is now owned by Germans), dance to international beats and play computer games designed in Seattle or Tokyo. In this new world neither geography nor history, religion nor politics exerts the influence it once did. And as external fashions have changed in the last half-century, so too have the internal certainties. The Second World War, the time of Brief Encounter and In Which We Serve, was the last extended period when we could say with any confidence that the impression of England matched the reality.
Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino
4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alexander Shulgin, big-box store, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, financial independence, game design, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, late capitalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Norman Mailer, obamacare, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, QR code, rent control, Saturday Night Live, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, wage slave, white picket fence
(It went viral, as intended, but not in the way TPUSA wanted—the protest was uniformly roasted, with one Twitter user slapping the logo of the porn site Brazzers on a photo of the diaper boy, and the Kent State TPUSA campus coordinator resigned.) It has also been infinitely more consequential, beginning in 2014, with a campaign that became a template for right-wing internet-political action, when a large group of young misogynists came together in the event now known as Gamergate. The issue at hand was, ostensibly, a female game designer perceived to be sleeping with a journalist for favorable coverage. She, along with a set of feminist game critics and writers, received an onslaught of rape threats, death threats, and other forms of harassment, all concealed under the banner of free speech and “ethics in games journalism.” The Gamergaters—estimated by Deadspin to number around ten thousand people—would mostly deny this harassment, either parroting in bad faith or fooling themselves into believing the argument that Gamergate was actually about noble ideals.
Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff
algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, lateral thinking, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game
No matter how well they write their programs, and no matter how powerful the computers they use, the most important factor in bringing algorithms up to speed is a better physical location on the network. The physical distance of a brokerage house’s computers to the computers executing the trades makes a difference in how fast the algorithm can read and respond to market activity. As former game designer Kevin Slavin has pointed out in his talks and articles,29 while we may think of the Internet as a distributed and nonlocal phenomenon, you can be closer or farther from it depending on how much cable there is between you and its biggest nodes. In New York, this mother node is fittingly located at the old Western Union Building on 60 Hudson Street. All the main Internet trunks come up through this building, known as a colocation center, or carrier hotel.
Infomocracy: A Novel by Malka Older
“So, yeah, I guess trying to govern, or whatever, in one of the smaller governments would be like doing something different.” He remembers the centenal in Jakarta where he watched the first debate, Free2B. He never did look up all their outposts. “Or maybe I’ll become a … a bartender.” Mishima laughs, a real laugh this time. Bartenders don’t exist anymore outside of films and extremely pretentious bars. Ken laughs too. “Or a game designer, or a crow mechanic.” “You really think you could live like that?” Mishima is trying to imagine what it would take to slow her pulse down, how it would feel. She imagines the problematic mountain range of her psyche smoothing into a gentle, dull plain, the colors overlapping into blah. Even if she survived like that, even if she liked it, she can’t imagine it would last. There would be an emergency somewhere.
The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation by Jono Bacon
barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), collaborative editing, crowdsourcing, Debian, DevOps, do-ocracy, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Guido van Rossum, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Jono Bacon, Kickstarter, Larry Wall, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, openstreetmap, Richard Stallman, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, software as a service, telemarketer, union organizing, VA Linux, web application
These pads went through many variations, but they all shared one common characteristic: the buttons controlled the action. Of course, there were attempts at alternatives: light guns, dance mats, plastic guitars and drums. Most still had the assumed knowledge that the player controlled the action by pressing buttons. These alternative approaches were never a core part of the systems. They were novelty add-ons that often had limited appeal. The Wii changed all of that. Shigeru Miyamoto, a renowned video game designer and cocreator of many games, including Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda, sat down with other designers and questioned whether they should be limited to the existing norms of the game interface. The result was one of the most significant developments in video game history: the Wii Remote, which allowed gamers to control the action by moving the unit itself. This enabled all manner of physical interactions, from 10-pin bowling to boxing to ski-jumping.
Once someone has spent 40 hours making something, they are going to be proud of it, and they will want to share it with people, and show off. They will want to share it with people who might not be able to see it if it just exists inside a game world. Getting these creations out of the game and onto the Web allows people to share far more easily, in places where they like to hang out with their non-LittleBigPlanet friends. For us, LBP.me was our solution, and we very much consider it an extended part of the game design itself. We’re always watching and learning, and iterating on our designs as the community evolves, so we can build a better and more enjoyable experience, and everything we have learned will be applied to our future projects. Personally, I’ve learned that a simple game about playing, creating, and sharing can have some wonderful effects on people’s lives, and that I’m very lucky to have worked with a community of lovely, creative people who seem to be able to blow my mind on an almost daily basis!
Halting State by Charles Stross
augmented reality, Boris Johnson, call centre, forensic accounting, game design, Google Earth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, lifelogging, Necker cube, Potemkin village, RFID, Schrödinger's Cat, Vernor Vinge, zero day
You back-track, trying to work out what confused her. “Procedural content?” She nods. “Content is, well, the map of the dungeon, location of treasure, where the monsters live, what the wallpaper looks like. Any game is full of the stuff, and it’s expensive to do by hand—you need tile illustrators, narrators, musicians, programmers, a whole bunch of skills. So over the past couple of decades the industry’s put a lot of effort into procedural game design—AI tools that can design a virtual-reality environment on the fly for players to explore. It’s not just multiplayer games like Avalon Four; there’s been work on ARG—artificial reality games—that can take a set of starting hints and design a conspiracy to drop on top of the players. You know, generate scripts for phone calls, order up custom gadgets to be planted at certain locations, hire actors…?”
Natural Language Annotation for Machine Learning by James Pustejovsky, Amber Stubbs
Amazon Mechanical Turk, bioinformatics, cloud computing, computer vision, crowdsourcing, easy for humans, difficult for computers, finite state, game design, information retrieval, iterative process, natural language processing, pattern recognition, performance metric, sentiment analysis, social web, speech recognition, statistical model, text mining
In terms of the MAMA cycle, the key to using MTurk is to test your HITs to make sure the annotation goal of each HIT is small enough to be performed quickly and accurately, and that the annotation guidelines are only a few sentences long. As with any project, it will take a few tries to get a HIT design that gets you the annotation you need in the degree of detail you want. Games with a Purpose (GWAP) Fortunately, other ways of crowdsourcing data also exist. One widely talked about method is that of using “games with a purpose”—essentially, computer games designed to make an annotation task fun so that people will do it voluntarily. A few successful annotation games are: Phrase Detective Purpose: Collect information about coreference relations in text. This game asks players to examine a short piece of text, with a section of the text (a word or phrase) highlighted in orange. The players are then asked if the phrase is referred to earlier in the text.
Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry by Helaine Olen
American ideology, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, buy and hold, Cass Sunstein, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, financial innovation, Flash crash, game design, greed is good, high net worth, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, London Whale, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, mortgage debt, oil shock, payday loans, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, post-work, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Stanford marshmallow experiment, stocks for the long run, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, wage slave, women in the workforce, working poor, éminence grise
Struthers did not mention that Bank of America executives might also have benefitted from a class on financial literacy before they decided to buy Countrywide Financial Corp. in 2008 without realizing the mortgage origination firm was in such desperate financial trouble that it could have caused BofA’s collapse. Needless to say, even the most unironic efforts rarely involve any “education” that might threaten the financial model of the corporate sponsor. Take Visa’s Financial Football, a computer game designed to teach high schoolers and adults the intricacies of personal finance. According to Visa spokesman Jason Alderman, the curriculum “emphasize(s) that credit is a terrific tool…you need to stop and think, ‘How am I paying for this item today? Does it make sense? What is the best payment choice to make?’” As a result, there are dozens of questions in Financial Football on how to manage credit and how to protect your credit record, including “Which is typically not a feature of credit card e-mail or cell phone alerts?”
Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan
Cass Sunstein, computer age, data acquisition, drone strike, dumpster diving, Edward Snowden, game design, hiring and firing, index card, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, John von Neumann, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, national security letter, packet switching, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, Y2K, zero day
His frustration had two layers: he wanted the military—all three of the main services, as well as the Pentagon’s civilian leadership—to know how good his guys were at hacking the adversaries’ networks; and he wanted them to know how wide open their own networks were to hacking by the same adversaries. As the new director of the NSA, he was determined to use the job to demonstrate just how good and how bad these things were. * * * Each year, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff held an exercise called Eligible Receiver—a simulation or war game designed to highlight some threat or opportunity on the horizon. One recent exercise had focused on the danger of biological weapons. Minihan wanted the next one to test the vulnerability of the U.S. military’s networks to a cyber attack. The most dramatic way to do this, he proposed, was to launch a real attack on those networks by a team of SIGINT specialists at the NSA. Minihan got the idea from a military exercise, already in progress, involving the five English-speaking allies—the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—known in NSA circles as the “five eyes,” for their formal agreement to share ultrasecret intelligence.
Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang
23andMe, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, affirmative action, Airbnb, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Burning Man, California gold rush, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Ferguson, Missouri, game design, gender pay gap, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, high net worth, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microservices, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, post-work, pull request, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, subscription business, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, women in the workforce
They often compete with each other to see who can be the most cruel. And as Quinn and Sarkeesian found out, they don’t limit their attacks and threats to a single individual. They will threaten family members, including children. They will also instantly direct their bile toward anyone who comes to the target’s defense. That is where Brianna Wu enters the story. About two months after Gjoni’s post, Wu, an established game designer, spoke out against the #Gamergate campaign, sarcastically tweeting a meme suggesting that the trolls were saving everyone from an “apocalyptic future” where women might have slightly more influence in the industry. That’s when all hell broke loose. Shortly after responding to the trolls on Twitter, Wu was inundated with violent, disturbing threats on her life. One series of tweets in particular stands out.
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Atul Gawande, Checklist Manifesto, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, Exxon Valdez, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, functional fixedness, game design, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Netflix Prize, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, precision agriculture, prediction markets, premature optimization, pre–internet, random walk, randomized controlled trial, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, young professional
Sculptor Rachel Whiteread achieved a feat akin to Geim’s Ig Nobel/Nobel double: she was the first woman ever to win the Turner Prize—a British award for the best artistic production of the year—and also the “Anti-Turner Prizer” for the worst British artist. And she won them in the same year. When I was researching the history of video games to write about Nintendo, I learned that a now-psychotherapist named Howard Scott Warshaw was once an Atari video game designer who used extremely constrained technology in a resourceful way to make the sci-fi game Yar’s Revenge. It was the bestselling original title for Atari’s 2600 console during the early-1980s when Atari became the fastest-growing company in U.S. history. The very same year, Warshaw designed the Atari adaptation of the film E.T. Again, he experimented with limited technology. This time, the game flopped so badly that it was pronounced the biggest commercial failure in video game history and blamed for the near-overnight demise of all of Atari Inc.* That’s how it goes on the disorderly path of experimentation.
Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee
4chan, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Boycotts of Israel, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, computer age, cross-subsidies, data is the new oil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, game design, income inequality, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, laissez-faire capitalism, Lean Startup, light touch regulation, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-work, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War
She seemed to be avoiding the spotlight when it mattered most. A few industry people and journalists I encountered appeared to be enjoying a moment of schadenfreude. Even after the first salvo of press appearances by Zuck and Sheryl, the pressure on Facebook continued to grow. On March 21, a Facebook user filed a proposed class action lawsuit in San Jose, California. That same day, this showed up on Twitter: On March 22, a game designer by the name of Ian Bogost published a piece in The Atlantic titled, “My Cow Game Extracted Your Facebook Data.” For a spell during 2010 and 2011, I was a virtual rancher of clickable cattle on Facebook. . . . Facebook’s IPO hadn’t yet taken place, and its service was still fun to use—although it was littered with requests and demands from social games, like FarmVille and Pet Society.
The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory by John Seabrook
Jive, concerned that Americans might get the wrong idea, changed the title to “. . . Baby One More Time.” 8 | “I Want It That Way” EVEN BEFORE HIS health began to decline, Denniz PoP had been getting bored. By 1997, Cheironite Per Magnusson says, “I think Denniz was tired of the pop music. So he started working on his own computer games. If he had lived, I think he would have become a game designer or something like that.” He adds, “He’d sit there, and smoke, and turn a knob—it seemed like nothing was going on.” Denniz did put some work into an epic he called The Cheiron Saga, a sort of Wagnerian disco opera, which he never finished. Denniz hadn’t been feeling well for some time. Kristian Lundin recalls, “In 1997, I noticed he was having trouble swallowing. The food was getting stuck, even the pasta he liked to eat, which wasn’t hard to swallow, really.
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, fixed income, follow your passion, game design, global village, Iridium satellite, knowledge worker, late fees, lateral thinking, Maui Hawaii, oil shock, paper trading, Parkinson's law, passive income, peer-to-peer, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, William of Occam
He bid me farewell and made a decision as the taxi pulled from the curb—enough of the complicated stuff. It was time to return to basics. Prosoundeffects.com, launched in January of 2005 after one week of sales testing on eBay, was designed to do one thing: give Doug lots of cash with minimal time investment. This brings us back to his business inbox in 2006. There are 10 orders for sound libraries, CDs that film producers, musicians, video game designers, and other audio professionals use to add hard-to-find sounds—whether the purr of a lemur or an exotic instrument—to their own creations. These are Doug’s products, but he doesn’t own them, as that would require physical inventory and upfront cash. His business model is more elegant than that. Here is just one revenue stream: 1. A prospective customer sees his Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on Google or other search engines and clicks through to his site, www.prosoundeffects.com. 2.
Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (And How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone
availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equal pay for equal work, experimental economics, experimental subject, feminist movement, game design, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index card, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, new economy, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, Potemkin village, price anchoring, price discrimination, psychological pricing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, social intelligence, starchitect, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, working poor
At one point, he toyed with recanting “just to make myself look rational,” but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. To be “rational” would be to deny what he felt inside. Like a perverse Galileo, he knew his valuations still moved. Eleven The Best Odds in Vegas “Roulette Bet May Decide Man’s Fate,” ran a curious headline in the March 2, 1969, Las Vegas Review-Journal. A photo showed the avuncular Ward Edwards playing a game “designed by scientists to probe what makes man tick.” A 25-cent bet on a Las Vegas roulette table could be a factor in the greatest decision ever to confront mankind. That would be the unimaginably catastrophic decision to plunge the world into nuclear war. Some place, at some time, as long as a human being is able to poise his finger over a nuclear button, that is a possibility. The journalist doubtless got that cold-war spin from Edwards, a RAND Corporation consultant and advisor to governmental agencies.
The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead by David Callahan
1960s counterculture, affirmative action, business cycle, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, David Brooks, deindustrialization, East Village, fixed income, forensic accounting, full employment, game design, greed is good, high batting average, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, job satisfaction, mandatory minimum, market fundamentalism, McMansion, microcredit, moral hazard, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, old-boy network, plutocrats, Plutocrats, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Oldenburg, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Chicago School, Thorstein Veblen, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, young professional, zero-sum game
If Alex Keaton came back to the future of the late 1990s, he would have staged an IPO from his bedroom. For young people, though, the biggest social-health story of the 1990s was the onslaught of a virulent new strain of consumerism. The disease begins earlier and earlier with children these days, and it just gets worse. Parents complain endlessly about pressures from their kids to keep up with the Johnnies at the locker next door—with expensive video games, designer-label clothing, digital music players (to play pirated music), home computers, and cell phones. "Over the past 10 years, more people have come to think of themselves as having their identities shaped by their consumer goods," commented Alissa Quart, author of Branded, a book about consumerism among teenagers. "But teens and tweens are more vulnerable and more open to a warped relationship that the brands are selling to them.
Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of US by Rana Foroohar
"side hustle", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, AltaVista, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, death of newspapers, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Etonian, Filter Bubble, future of work, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, light touch regulation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, PageRank, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, price discrimination, profit maximization, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, search engine result page, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game
I felt bad, but I was unwilling to let him entirely off the hook. So I split the cost with him, and arranged for him to pay off his half with allowance money, extra chores, and whatever he could make on his lemonade stand. Suffice it to say, FIFA Mobile has since been removed from his phone. “Persuasive” Technology As a mother, I was horrified by this whole incident. As a business journalist, I was fascinated. How, I wondered, was this game designed to be so utterly irresistible as to turn my normally well-behaved and well-adjusted son into a veritable FIFA Mobile junkie? Was it the unique talent of one brilliant game maker? Dumb luck? Or was it something else entirely? It was indeed something else—a very big and lucrative something. A little digging revealed that the developers who worked on FIFA Mobile did not dream up the key elements that hooked Alex.
Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman
Asperger Syndrome, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Edward Glaeser, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, game design, industrial cluster, Jean Tirole, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, school choice, selection bias, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Jobs, zero-sum game
Updegraff, “Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-Befriend, Not Fight-or-Flight,” Psychological Review, vol. 107(3), pp. 411–429 (2000) Testosterone Responds When You Care about the Outcome / Testosterone in Home Field Advantage: Bateman, Chris, & Lennart E. Nacke, “The Neurobiology of Play,” Paper Presentation at Futureplay ’10 Proceedings of the International Academic Conference on the Future of Game Design and Technology, New York (2010) Carré, Justin, Correspondence with Authors (2012) Carré, Justin, Interviews with Authors (2012) Carré, Justin M., “No Place Like Home: Testosterone Responses to Victory Depend on Game Location,” American Journal of Human Biology, vol. 21(3), pp. 392–394 (2009) Carré, Justin, Cameron Muir, Joey Belanger, & Susan K. Putnam, “Pre-Competition Hormonal and Psychological Levels of Elite Hockey Players: Relationship to the ‘Home Advantage,’ ” Physiology & Behavior, vol. 89(3), pp. 392–398 (2006) Fuxjager, Matthew J., Robin M.
Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson
Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, always be closing, augmented reality, Clayton Christensen, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, game design, Gordon Gekko, hindsight bias, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, information trail, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, Kodak vs Instagram, linear programming, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, subscription business, telemarketer, the medium is the message, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vilfredo Pareto, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, women in the workforce
This theory is widely accepted in media and marketing: Here is the most popular thing, so you’ll like it. It means that “number one bestseller” is a universally alluring descriptor. It conflates “most read article” with most interesting article. It means you’re drawn to videos with more YouTube plays or Facebook likes. The truism even encourages some publishers and authors to artificially inflate book sales to get them on the bestseller lists or pushes game designers to fictitiously inflate download counts to appear in demand. Manipulating popularity can work. But consumers are not infinitely clueless. There is a limit to how much you can trick people into liking something. First, as song-testing sites from the first chapter show, you can put lipstick on a dead pig, but that’s not the same as creating a market for it. Lady Gaga’s third album tested abysmally on the British music-testing site SoundOut.
Wanderers: A Novel by Chuck Wendig
Black Swan, centre right, citizen journalism, clean water, Columbine, coronavirus, currency manipulation / currency intervention, game design, global pandemic, hiring and firing, hive mind, Internet of things, job automation, Kickstarter, Lyft, Maui Hawaii, oil shale / tar sands, private military company, RFID, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, supervolcano, uber lyft, white picket fence
It’s possible and it’s happening right now and we’re along for the ride whether we like it or not. Suddenly, the conversation attracted others—shepherds were like that, sometimes. They were islands, until they weren’t. Any moment of connection, any hope to communicate with one another and commiserate on the craziness of everything was a moment nobody wanted to waste. Three other shepherds popped around them—Lucy Chao, plus Kenny Barnes (whose game-designer brother Keith was a walker) and Hayley Levine (who was here watching over a cousin, Jamie-Beth). Next came talking about the storm, about the CDC, about how they wanted the president to say more, and then it dissolved into the standard talk of what this even was or where it came from (terrorists, the government, monkeys, invasive plants, God, the Devil, what about that comet). And now here came Mia, and all the while Shana thought, Could you people just leave me alone for five minutes with my damn sister?
It wasn’t something she did to be funny, it was just one of Nessie’s expressions—same as how she always stuck her tongue out when she was handwriting something, or the way when she was frustrated her forehead got those little vees above the nose like hastily sketched seagulls in a cartoonist’s drawing. “Come on,” Nessie said. “There’re things you need to know.” * * * — THEY SAT ON a park bench. Others passed on the far side of the street, looking over, giving Shana sad, awkward smiles. Nessie waved to them like she knew them. Shana knew them, too—or knew their faces. There walked Keith Barnes, brother to Kenny, some kind of game designer, if she remembered right. And Jamie-Beth Levine, hair in braids just as it was on the road, except now her eyes were alive and she was eating ice cream out of a dripping cone. Some faces she knew but had no names for except nicknames: Birthmark Girl, Surfer Dude, Mister Manypockets because his pants had, well, shitloads of pockets. They all had been walkers. And suddenly, Shana realized they still were.
With a Little Help by Cory Efram Doctorow, Jonathan Coulton, Russell Galen
autonomous vehicles, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, death of newspapers, don't be evil, game design, Google Earth, high net worth, lifelogging, margin call, Mark Shuttleworth, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Ponzi scheme, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, sensible shoes, skunkworks, Skype, traffic fines, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban planning, Y2K
. -- 1438 Afterword: 1439 I wrote this for Bruce Sterling's Turkey City workshop in Austin, TX. I was nervous and thrilled to be invited. Bruce is one of my idols -- and he's now a friend and colleague, and my daughter's godfather, besides. We'd corresponded, sat on panels together, but this, this was levelling up. It was a hell of a workshop, and it was also where I met Raph Koster, now also a good friend (as well as an astute and inspiring game designer and theorist). 1440 I'd admired a play by Dewayne Hendricks to use Indian land in the USA to test out cognitive radio applications, on the basis that these sovereign territories were not under FCC jurisdiction. He'd found various tribal leaders who were excited by the idea. Cognitive radio may just be the most radical, game-changing technology on our immediate horizon -- if it works. 1441 In the meantime, I couldn't shake my memories of the brutal standoff at Oka, in Quebec.
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, buy and hold, call centre, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, game design, housing crisis, invention of movable type, inventory management, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, late fees, loose coupling, low skilled workers, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Rodney Brooks, search inside the book, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Skype, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, why are manhole covers round?, zero-sum game
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins (2001). Collins briefed Amazon executives on his seminal management book before its publication. Companies must confront the brutal facts of their business, find out what they are uniquely good at, and master their flywheel, in which each part of the business reinforces and accelerates the other parts. Creation: Life and How to Make It, by Steve Grand (2001). A video-game designer argues that intelligent systems can be created from the bottom up if one devises a set of primitive building blocks. The book was influential in the creation of Amazon Web Services, or AWS, the service that popularized the notion of the cloud. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business, by Clayton M. Christensen (1997). An enormously influential business book whose principles Amazon acted on and that facilitated the creation of the Kindle and AWS.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, game design, hive mind, index card, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, traveling salesman, twin studies, Walter Mischel, web application, white flight
Even multitasking, that prized feat of modern-day office warriors, turns out to be a myth. Scientists now know that the brain is incapable of paying attention to two things at the same time. What looks like multitasking is really switching back and forth between multiple tasks, which reduces productivity and increases mistakes by up to 50 percent. Many introverts seem to know these things instinctively, and resist being herded together. Backbone Entertainment, a video game design company in Oakland, California, initially used an open office plan but found that their game developers, many of whom were introverts, were unhappy. “It was one big warehouse space, with just tables, no walls, and everyone could see each other,” recalls Mike Mika, the former creative director. “We switched over to cubicles and were worried about it—you’d think in a creative environment that people would hate that.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Atul Gawande, Checklist Manifesto, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, delayed gratification, desegregation, game design, haute couture, impulse control, index card, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, patient HM, pattern recognition, randomized controlled trial, rolodex, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, telemarketer, Tenerife airport disaster, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, Walter Mischel
Soon, everyone from Shirley Temple to Clark Gable was bragging about their “Pepsodent smile.”2.4 By 1930, Pepsodent was sold in China, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, and almost anywhere else Hopkins could buy ads.2.5 A decade after the first Pepsodent campaign, pollsters found that toothbrushing had become a ritual for more than half the American population.2.6 Hopkins had helped establish toothbrushing as a daily activity. The secret to his success, Hopkins would later boast, was that he had found a certain kind of cue and reward that fueled a particular habit. It’s an alchemy so powerful that even today the basic principles are still used video game designers, food companies, hospitals, and millions of salesmen around the world. Eugene Pauly taught us about the habit loop, but it was Claude Hopkins that showed how new habits can be cultivated and grown. So what, exactly, did Hopkins do? He created a craving. And that craving, it turns out, is what makes cues and rewards work. That craving is what powers the habit loop. Throughout his career, one of Claude Hopkins’s signature tactics was to find simple triggers to convince consumers to use his products every day.
The Fugitive Game: Online With Kevin Mitnick by Jonathan Littman
Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, centre right, computer age, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, profit motive, Silicon Valley, Steven Levy, telemarketer
By invoking Sun-tzu, Shimomura appeared to be encouraging security professionals to draw hackers into battle. But Sun-tzu might offer a different maxim. The ancient general was principally known for advocating deception ("war is based upon deception") and avoiding hostilities: "It is best to win without fighting." ■ ■ ■ The fortunes of two hackers could not have taken more opposite turns. As Tsutomu Shimomura launched his new careers as pitchman, author, movie subject, and video game designer, Kevin Mitnick sat in a Southern county jail. Mitnick wrote to me nearly every week on yellow legal paper in longhand, bemoaning the lack of a word processor as he recounted the hardships of jail. He told me he had been attacked and robbed by two inmates and barely avoided fights with several others. When he complained that the vegetarian diet he requested was limited to peanut butter sandwiches, and that his stress and stomach medication prescriptions weren't filled, he was moved to a tougher county jail.
Doing Data Science: Straight Talk From the Frontline by Cathy O'Neil, Rachel Schutt
Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, distributed generation, Edward Snowden, Emanuel Derman, fault tolerance, Filter Bubble, finite state, Firefox, game design, Google Glasses, index card, information retrieval, iterative process, John Harrison: Longitude, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Mars Rover, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, p-value, pattern recognition, performance metric, personalized medicine, pull request, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, selection bias, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, stochastic process, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize
Notice that some users might have thousands of such actions, and other users might have only a few. These would all be stored in timestamped event logs. You’d then need to process these logs down to a dataset with rows and columns, where each row was a user and each column was a feature. At this point, you shouldn’t be selective; you’re in the feature generation phase. So your data science team (game designers, software engineers, statisticians, and marketing folks) might sit down and brainstorm features. Here are some examples: Number of days the user visited in the first month Amount of time until second visit Number of points on day for (this would be 30 separate features) Total number of points in first month (sum of the other features) Did user fill out Chasing Dragons profile (binary 1 or 0) Age and gender of user Screen size of device Use your imagination and come up with as many features as possible.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
airport security, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, citizen journalism, Firefox, game design, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, mail merge, Mitch Kapor, MITM: man-in-the-middle, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Thomas Bayes, web of trust, zero day
." &&& Chapter 19 [[This chapter is dedicated to the MIT Press Bookshop, a store I've visited on every single trip to Boston over the past ten years. MIT, of course, is one of the legendary origin nodes for global nerd culture, and the campus bookstore lives up to the incredible expectations I had when I first set foot in it. In addition to the wonderful titles published by the MIT press, the bookshop is a tour through the most exciting high-tech publications in the world, from hacker zines like 2600 to fat academic anthologies on video-game design. This is one of those stores where I have to ask them to ship my purchases home because they don't fit in my suitcase.]] [[MIT Press Bookstore http://web.mit.edu/bookstore/www/ Building E38, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA USA 02139-4307 +1 617 253 5249]] Here's the email that went out at 7AM the next day, while Ange and I were spray-painting VAMP-MOB CIVIC CENTER -> -> at strategic locations around town
Statistics hacks by Bruce Frey
Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, G4S, game design, Hacker Ethic, index card, Milgram experiment, p-value, place-making, reshoring, RFID, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Thomas Bayes
Joe has years of experience analyzing data, building statistical models, and formulating business strategies as an employee and consultant for companies including DoubleClick, American Express, and Dun & Bradstreet. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an Sc.B. and an M.Eng. in computer science and computer engineering. Joe is an unapologetic Yankees fan, but he appreciates any good baseball game. Joe lives in Silicon Valley with his wife, two cats, and a DirecTV satellite dish. Ron Hale-Evans is a writer, thinker, and game designer who earns his daily sandwich with frequent gigs as a technical writer. He has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Yale, with a minor in Philosophy. Thinking a lot about thinking led him to create the Mentat Wiki (http://www.ludism.org/mentat), which led to his recent book, Mind Performance Hacks (O'Reilly). You can find his multinefarious [sic] other projects at his home page, http://ron.ludism.org, including his award-winning board games, a list of his Short-Duration Personal Saviors, and his blog.
The Village Effect: How Face-To-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter by Susan Pinker
assortative mating, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, facts on the ground, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, Occupy movement, old-boy network, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ray Oldenburg, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steven Pinker, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tony Hsieh, urban planning, Yogi Berra
Compared to healthy teens their own age and sex, the Internet addicts’ brain images revealed less density in areas related to self-awareness, error detection, and self-control.68 The corresponding impairments to thinking and attention suggest why dreadful tragedies have occurred. One British twenty-year-old died of a blood clot that developed during the twelve hours he spent immobilized while playing Xbox games, shortly before he was about to enter university to study game design. Then there was the appalling case of a three-year-old girl who starved to death when her twenty-something-year-old mother became so entranced by the hugely popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft that she forgot to feed her. Sometimes, though, the impact of computer game addiction isn’t dangerous, it’s just bizarre. One young man spent six years at the same screen in an Internet café in northern China, eating, sleeping, and playing at the same seat twenty-four hours a day, leaving only to go to the bathroom or to take a shower.
Multicultural Cities: Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles by Mohammed Abdul Qadeer
affirmative action, business cycle, call centre, David Brooks, deindustrialization, desegregation, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, game design, ghettoisation, global village, immigration reform, industrial cluster, Jane Jacobs, knowledge economy, market bubble, McMansion, new economy, New Urbanism, place-making, Richard Florida, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, telemarketer, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, urban planning, urban renewal, working-age population, young professional
These forces are polarizing cities’ job markets into circuits of high-paying professional and 122 Multicultural Cities managerial occupations, on the one hand, and low-paid service and manufacturing jobs, on the other.80 This split job market is what confronts immigrants and their ethnic children. They are further finding that a lot of opportunities are turning into contractual self-employment, many of which turn into ethnic niches, for example, Latino limo drivers in New York and Taiwanese computer-game designers in Los Angeles. The economic base of cities is increasingly determined by their infrastructure, educational and research institutions, community services, and cultural life. The talent and creativity of a city’s workforce is its resource base. Richard Florida may be overplaying the role of the creative class in economic growth, but the education, skill, and diversity of a city’s population are undoubtedly strong determinants of economic prosperity.81 Cultural pluralism and its associated ethnic diversity are marks of cosmopolitanism that attract global capital and talent.
Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte
8-hour work day, affirmative action, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, Burning Man, business cycle, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, deliberate practice, desegregation, DevOps, East Village, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, fear of failure, feminist movement, financial independence, game design, gender pay gap, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, hiring and firing, income inequality, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, profit maximization, Results Only Work Environment, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, sensible shoes, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Thorstein Veblen, women in the workforce, working poor, Zipcar, éminence grise
Journal of Health and Social Behavior 52, no. 4, 2011: 404, www.flexiblework.umn.edu/publications_docs/Moen-Kelly-Tranby-Huang-2011-JHSB.pdf. 12. Judi Hand, phone interview with author, December 13, 2011. 13. Marcee Harris-Schwartz, flex strategy adviser for BDO, phone interview with author, March 20, 2012. 14. Schor, Overworked American, 51. 15. Robinson, “Bring Back the 40-Hour Work Week.” Robinson based some of her conclusions on a white paper written by her computer game designer husband, Evan Robinson: “Why Crunch Modes Doesn’t Work: Six Lessons,” International Game Developers Association, www.igda.org/why-crunch-modes-doesnt-work-six-lessons. 16. Christopher P. Landrigan et al., “Effect of Reducing Interns’ Work Hours on Serious Medical Errors in Intensive Care Units,” New England Journal of Medicine 351 (2004): 1838–48, doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa041406. 17. Klint Finley, “What Research Says About Working Long Hours,” Devops Angle, April 18, 2012, http://devopsangle.com/2012/04/18/what-research-says-about-working-long-hours/. 18. www.businessinsider.com/best-buy-ending-work-from-home-2013-3. 19.
Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly, Margaret Lazarus Dean
Astronauts have been bringing instruments to space for decades—at least as far back as 1965, when astronauts played “Jingle Bells” on the harmonica. As far as I know, Kjell is the first bagpiper in space. “Sorry, did I wake you?” says Kjell. “No, it’s great,” I said. “Play anytime you like.” Today, Gennady, Misha, and I are moving a Soyuz, the one Gennady will go home in, to the aft of ISS in a complex shell game designed to most efficiently utilize the docking ports. Gennady could move the Soyuz by himself, but Misha and I must come along for the ride because this Soyuz is our lifeboat, and once it undocks it’s never guaranteed we will be able to get back aboard the station. On Earth, moving the Soyuz would be as simple as reparking a car. Up here, as we get into our Sokol suits, we jokingly refer to this brief journey as our summer vacation away from the ISS.
Destined for War: America, China, and Thucydides's Trap by Graham Allison
9 dash line, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, game design, George Santayana, Haber-Bosch Process, industrial robot, Internet of things, Kenneth Rogoff, liberal world order, long peace, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, one-China policy, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spice trade, the rule of 72, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade route, UNCLOS, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game
The United States temporarily controlled the islands after World War II, but in the early 1970s returned them to Japan, which had claimed them since the nineteenth century. But in the 1970s, China also claimed sovereignty over the islands. Chinese ships regularly pass through these waters, raising tensions between Beijing and Tokyo and risking a collision that could set off a chain reaction. Consider a scenario that provided the story line for a recent war game designed by the RAND Corporation.30 A group of Japanese ultranationalists sets sail for the Senkakus in small civilian watercraft. On social media, they explain they are headed for Kuba Jima, one of the smaller islands, which they intend to claim and occupy on behalf of Japan. They land and begin building unidentified structures. Taking a page out of the Chinese playbook, they live-stream their activities for the world to see.
Operation Chaos: The Vietnam Deserters Who Fought the CIA, the Brainwashers, and Themselves by Matthew Sweet
Berlin Wall, British Empire, centre right, computer age, Donald Trump, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Skype, South China Sea, Stanford prison experiment, Thomas Malthus, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra, éminence grise
As he went to the lectern, Marcus hushed the applause. “Don’t get freaked out by anything,” he said, “but I don’t want to create conditions which are not healthy for one or two individuals in the group here. I’m going to give you the worst part of the thing as well as the best so that there’s no question in your mind that I’ve given the whole scoop. We are now in the second phase of a psy-war game designed by the CIA, that is, a psychological warfare game conducted on a scale of four continents.” Everybody, quite naturally, freaked out. The Central Intelligence Agency—the state body tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world—had, he explained, turned some of their most trusted colleagues into killers. It had drugged them, imprisoned them, reconditioned their minds, erased their memories of the experience, and returned them to their friends as unknowing vehicles of a murderous conspiracy.
Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith
British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Lindbergh, cuban missile crisis, full employment, game design, Haight Ashbury, Jeff Bezos, low earth orbit, Mark Shuttleworth, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, pensions crisis, Ronald Reagan
The thing about this is that Gene Myers is not alone. There are all sorts of organizations planning all kinds of more or less extravagant projects. Some are run by billionaires such as the hotelier Bob Bigelow, who’s spending five hundred million of his own dollars on manufacturing an inflatable space hotel in the desert outside Las Vegas, while others, like Armadillo Aerospace, run by the über-computer-game-designer John Carmack, coauthor of the mega-selling Quake and Doom series, are part of an expensive race to develop the first low-cost spaceships. The one problem they share in 2002 is NASA, and behind NASA the federal government and its tight regulations. And so it was that after meeting Myers, I turned left off Sunset, went up the hill past Mulholland Drive and down to Studio City, where just off Ventura Boulevard I found the offices of the Space Frontier Foundation and Rick Tumlinson.
Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend
1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar
As Jacob explained to me later, in August 2012 he had taken on a new role advising his peers in several other American cities on how to replicate the success of the Office of New Urban Mechanics. Philadelphia, the first to come knocking “actually called and asked ‘Can we just franchise what you guys do?’ ” Jacob proudly said.53 He was also working to help spread to other cities some of the projects kick-started in Boston. One such tool, Community PlanIt, was an online game designed by Eric Gordon, a visual and media arts professor at Emerson College, to enhance the value of community meetings. When we spoke, Community PlanIt had been successfully rolled out in two of Boston’s suburbs as well as Detroit. Although it was poised to go viral, can New Urban Mechanics survive a change of leadership at home in Boston? Menino will finally leave office after the 2013 mayoral election, having served a record five terms.
The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School by Alexandra Robbins
airport security, Albert Einstein, Columbine, game design, hive mind, out of africa, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Skype, Slavoj Žižek, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics
Emos might be in touch with their feelings and others’, and unafraid to show and empathize with those emotions. Scenes and indies often influence the cutting edge of cultural movements. Gamers, adept at problem solving, engage in ventures of successful “collective intelligence,” researchers say, because of their collaborative efforts, on forums, blogs, and wikis, to understand the games. As game designer and award-winning innovator Jane McGonigal has argued, these “collective knowledge–building” efforts could be applied to real-world issues. Freaks are often creative and perhaps the boldest of the cafeteria fringe because they display their distinctions openly with pride. Skaters and punks are frequently underestimated; their sense of artistry suggests the inventiveness they could bring to other endeavors.