My latest idea is inspired by French writer Raymond Queneau, founder of the experimental literature movement Oulipo. His experimental poetry book “A Hundred Billion Poems” seems to bear the conceptual foundations for the creation of an ‘inexhaustible game of games’ which can also be used as a ‘testbed’ for game designers and game researchers. Intrigued? Read on!
A Hundred Billion Games (AHBG)
AHBG can be described as a real-time game construction and experimentation set that can be used by players, game designers and game researchers alike.
AHBG provides an interface that enables players to alter in real-time the rules that govern an ongoing game. The interface consists of a playboard in the middle of the game window, the menus to play the game in progress, and a list of various drop-down menus to the left with which the rule set of the game can be changed on the fly. Each of the menus in this list represents a category of formal game building blocks. By clicking on the menus, we can utilize the building blocks that are displayed under that category. We simply select the rule we want to be applied, confirm the change and see what happens.
Given that we have a list of 14 drop-down menus (categories) with 14 different building blocks under each of the categories, we would have a potentially hundred billion games in one application. Hence the name A Hundred Billion Games.
Depending on the users, AHBG will be fun, serious, relaxing, challenging, casual, demanding, instrumental, gimmick-like, time-saving or time-killing! It will be a great source of learning for aspiring game designers and a good tool for experimentation for the more advanced professionals in the industry. And it will be a great way for the lazy person to affirm herself!