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empires & allies

I’ve been playing Zynga’s latest, Empires & Allies, since it was released, and I’m still trying to figure out what I think about it. My initial impression of it was a lot like CityVille: clearly well done, taking lessons from their prior games (and from others’ games, of course), and adding a couple of new […]

2010 in guided construction games

At the start of 2010, FarmVille was everywhere; at the end of 2010, Minecraft dominated the conversation. The discussion of those two games, at least on the sites I frequent, had a very different tone; I believe, however, that much of those games’ successes stem from the same source, namely their strengths as guided construction […]

alexandrian minecraft

When I first started playing Minecraft, I spent most of my time, well, mining. Or at least underground: I’d obsessively dig stairs going straight through the rock in one direction or another, I’d occasionally hollow out a blocky room whenever I needed a space for a chest or a crafting table, and every once in […]

gdc 2011: tuesday

City of Wonder: Postmortem Humanities Unlocked: The Value of Liberal Arts for Your Game Design Program We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges: How to Re-invent Reality Without Gamification Intuition vs Metrics: How Social Game Design Has Evolved Rapid-Fire Indies 10:00am–11:00am: “City of Wonder: Postmortem”, by Troy Whitlock and Scott Jon Siegel Actually, only Scott spoke, […]

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 […]

the joy of tech trees

(See conflict of interest disclaimer.) We launched Tiki Resort last month, and it took me a few days to come to grips with it. I was dutifully doing what the game told me to—placing buildings, gathering coins, clicking on messes to clean them up, feeding my tourists—and leveling up apace. But I was starting to […]