Back from the Semiotics Congress in Burgos

Between October 16-18 I have been in Burgos/Spain to join a wonderful group of Semioticians from all around the World. I gave a talk on theories of game temporality in game studies, which can be found here.

I had been invited by Rayco Gonzalez from the University of Burgos in behalf of the Spanish Association of Semiotics. I was over the moon to meet semioticians like Bertrand Remy from Paris and Paolo Fabbri from Rome. Lucky enough to walk into a Jean Miro exhibition in the cathedral of Burgos, I also visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, something I was dreaming of ever since I saw the images of this building that was designed by Frank Gehry.

Beyond that, I liked Spain a lot, and I’d love to go back there again.


There is a website that features a list of exiting games. I would label them as games that are meant to create “public enemies” such as anarchists, communists and feminists. Well, that’s exactly the exiting part of it all, isn’t it? :)

Please check out and support:

Motivating Players in an Engaging Way

My new article up at GDAM discusses the problem of mechanics that artificially lengthen gameplay.

It happens all too often that we lose our motivation exactly because of the mechanics that were supposed to achieve such motivation. I believe that one of the reasons for this is that game designers have too much faith in reward systems and do not tie them strong enough to narrative structures that foster a strong sense of game progression. In this article first I address the concept of climbing tension in order to explain the forces behind a strong sense of progression. Later on I give examples from cases in which the climbing tension principle is ignored and what impact this has on player experience.

I hope you enjoy the read!

GDAM February Poll is up!

The poll for the February topic at GDAM is up. The choices for February are:

  • Multiplayer Economies
  • Emotive Games
  • Losing the Fun Factor

You can vote here.

Favorite Blog Post of the Week at Gamasutra

Woot! My article on combining reward Structures with narrative bits has been elected as the best member blog of the week by Gamasutra. It happens just a week after I made it into top 5 with another article that dealt with categories of interaction.

And I have been awarded a lifetime subscription to Game Developer Magazine! ;)

Top 5 Blog of the Week!

Cool news! My article on categories in interaction has been chosen as one of the top five member blog posts at Gamasutra for week 1 of the new year! I’m very happy. It’s the second time this has happened. Before that my article on Tense and Tension got selected into the Top 5. But that was back in July/August.

It’s very motivationg and I hope I can repeat this a couple of times! :)

GDAM’s January topic is “Mechanics That Artificially Lenghten Gameplay”

January 2010’s topic is Mechanics That Artificially Lenghten Gameplay.

A significant number of players complain about game designs that seem to be deliberately wasting their time. Due to the amount of grinding and long walks that can be seen in this genre, it is often MMORPG’s that are subject to such criticism . It appears, however, that from time to time all types of games and genres suffer from sequences that mindlessly waste the time of players.

During it’s January rally, GDAM asks you to provide insight and answers to the problem of game mechanics that artificially lengthen gameplay. In the broader sense, we ask you what methods or mechanics the game designer has at her disposal to lenghten gameplay without annoying the gamers. In particular, we ask the following questions in the hope to inspire you for articles:

  • What is the relation between business models and mechanics that artificially lengthen gameplay? Which business models or design principles built around mechanics that artificially lengthen gameplay could serve to increase a game’s value for both players and developers?
  • How can dead time in runs and overall travel time be reduced without destroying the rationale behind the business model and the overall pace and rythm of the game in question?
  • What design methods do exist that could be helpful in creating mechanics that preserve player motivation while gameplay is artificially lenghtened? How, in that regard, can we utilize psychological processes like for example matching creatively?
  • What kind of ancillary reward systems do exist or could be developed and how could these help to foster a feel of environmental progression in the game that makes long walks feel like they are part of the game rather than being pointless and repetitive tasks?
  • What are design methods and principles that can be helpful in manipulating felt time and making it easier on the player when gameplay is lenghtened artificially? How can we stretch game sequences by building additional moves into game mechanicsm without making them feel artificial?