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Archives for April, 2010

electronic book formats

I was quite late to the music download party, but my experiences on that front have been good; that, combined with my desire to not run out of wall space in my house, suggests that I should start buying books electronically as well. My initial hardware device for this will be an iPad, but I’m […]

vintage game club reboot, continued

As I mentioned previously, we’ve relaunched the Vintage Game Club under new game selection rules. And I’m very pleased with how it’s gone so far: after about a week of feeling out what games people might be interested in playing, two games emerged with champions, and in both cases we’ve had enough support that the […]

random links: april 25, 2010

Daniel Floyd and James Portnow on Video Games and Moral Choices. Ryan from 37 Signals on applying Christopher Alexander to everyday work. Seth Godin’s April Linchpin session. A cat and an iPad. Which I find totally fascinating in a non-cat-youtube-video way. (Via @Laralyn.) I am a biotic god! (Via @truffle.) Amazing clouds. (Via @marick; also, […]

christopher alexander’s fort mason bench

One of the surprises I encountered when reading The Nature of Order was that Christopher Alexander designed a bench at Fort Mason. (He talks about the process of its construction in the third volume of Nature of Order.) So when Agile Open California returned to Fort Mason last year, I made a point to duck […]


(Short Game disclaimer: There is a trial version of Galcon available in the app store, you’ll have a very good idea of what the game is like after playing it for less than five minutes.) I got curious about Galcon when Randy Smith used it as an example in his GDC talk on “Designing to […]

plants vs. zombies

Plants vs. Zombies is a thoroughly delightful game about which, for better or for worse, I have very little to say. Despite not being a tower defense fan, I enjoyed the main gameplay mode: while I had my favorite tactics, it threw enough changes at me to keep me interested but not overwhelmed. The minigames […]

vintage game club, iteration two

The Vintage Game Club has been going on for more than a year and a half now, and I’ve had a great time with it. But, as with any endeavour, its first appearance in the world leads to areas where the initial plan was, perhaps, not the best; so we’re experimenting with a new way […]

caching, take two

It turns out that yesterday’s attempt at setting up caching for the blog didn’t work: my feed was broken. (Or rather, one out of the three feed formats.) Sheer luck that I discovered it so quickly—I’d e-mailed the Akismet folks about a reader whose comments were regularly getting flagged as spam, and as part of […]

turned on caching for the blog

I’ve turned on caching for the blog: it gets little enough traffic that 99.9% of the time I don’t need it, but I had one incident a month or so ago where traffic overnight overwhelmed the machine a couple of days in a row, requiring a reboot both times. So, since I want the blog […]

habitable software

There’s been lots of discussion recently about the fact that certain computing platforms are less open than some people would prefer, with many people being up in arms about this fact. Once, I would have been one of those people; these days, I’m not (though seeing the reduction in openness does make me sad), and […]

ghibli music for piano

If any of you love the music in Studio Ghibli movies and would like to play said music on the piano, allow me to recommend スタジオジブリ作品集 to you. It’s got music from all of their movies, including ones that haven’t been released in the United States (incidentally, I recommend おもひでぽろぽろ, and the English subtitles on […]

random links: april 11, 2010

What core gamers should know about social games. Ian Bogost’s GDC 2010 microtalk. Roger Travis’s latest teaching experiment. This is not a spiral. A cool platformer twist. (Via @SimonParkin.) Jane McGonigal’s 2010 TED talk. A useful counterpoint to the discussion that Jesse Schell’s talk led to. The FarmVille diaries. (Via @SimonParkin.) Functional programming, OO programming, […]

madeline l’engle

At some point this winter, an urge to reread Madeline L’Engle‘s A Wrinkle in Time came over me. I had read it many times when I was younger, along with the next two volumes in that series, so it’s not surprising that I had that urge; I like to revisit old friends periodically. In general […]

social sandbox games

(See conflict of interest disclaimer.) Many Facebook games (e.g. most or all entrants in the farm genre) could be considered sandbox games; and one of my most eye-opening experiences in spending time on Facebook is just how different those sandbox games can be from console sandbox games. Console sandbox games constantly give you very direct […]

jesse schell, games, and extrinsic motivation

Jesse Schell gave a great talk at DICE earlier this year on “design outside the box”. There are pretty good writeups by Kris Graft and Kim Pallister, and his slides are available, but if you’re at all interested, I recommend just watching it: his presentation style is very entertaining and engaging. The talk was all […]