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Now in full color, the 10th anniversary edition of this classic book takes you deep into the influences that underlie modern video games, and examines the elements they share with traditional games such as checkers. At the heart of his exploration, veteran game designer Raph Koster takes a close look at the concept of fun and why it’s the most vital element in any game.
Why do some games become boring quickly, while others remain fun for years? How do games serve as fundamental and powerful learning tools? Whether you’re a game developer, dedicated gamer, or curious observer, this illustrated, fully updated edition helps you understand what drives this major cultural force, and inspires you to take it further.
You’ll discover that:
- Games play into our innate ability to seek patterns and solve puzzles
- Most successful games are built upon the same elements
- Slightly more females than males now play games
- Many games still teach primitive survival skills
- Fictional dressing for modern games is more developed than the conceptual elements
- Truly creative designers seldom use other games for inspiration
- Games are beginning to evolve beyond their prehistoric origins
This first volume of a three-book set of selected essays collects previously written postmortems and many brand new pieces. They are accompanied by historical material such as posts written for players, chat logs, speeches, design sketches, and more. The result is an inspiring historical look back at the development of virtual worlds.
These are the stories behind Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, the story of the early art game Andean Bird and the story of the ambitious project Metaplace that aimed to build the Metaverse, including:
"A Story About a Tree," the classic piece from MUD days about whether our online bonds are real.
"The Ultima Online Resource System," a detailed design breakdown of the pioneering world simulation.
"A Jedi Saga," the popular tale of how an impossible design dilemma broke a world.
"Influences," a challenge to the game development community to pursue art.
Starting in 2005, game designer Raph Koster decided to post a poem to his popular blog every Sunday. Ten years later, this is a selection of eighty of those poems, accompanied by gorgeous pen-and-ink illustrations and illuminating endnotes.
These are verses written to an audience that didn’t necessarily care about poetry; verses about whatever was happening that week. They comment on the news, on his children’s homework, on books he was reading or music he heard. In them we voyage across the world, or deep inside apples; we see a toddler become a pterodactyl, and clouds become mundane water vapor. We see sonnets written in computer code.
These are poems for everyday people about ordinary things made extraordinary.
- In these engaging poems, which tease the conventions of formal verse, Raph Koster shines a curiosity laser on topics ranging from the building of the Globe Theatre to the BASIC programming language. Koster memorializes far-flung journeys through such locales as mountainous Afghanistan, exurban China, Las Vegas casinos, and a very real-seeming Seoni jungle visited not IRL but through Kipling and gaming.
—Tarin Towers, author of Sorry, We’re Close
- On a stormy night in Tuscaloosa, reading Raph Koster’s collection of poems: I congratulate you on the sustained and sustaining enthusiasm, joy, play, and wit at work in these poems. In your poems – as in the gaming world – you’ve created a richly varied world saturated with myth and stories.
—Hank Lazer, poet, author of The New Spirit and N18 (complete)