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Chris
Outsider philosopher, game designer and author
Recent Activity
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Last year, I published my first paper with José Zagal, entitled Game Design Lineages: Minecraft’s Inventory. This is the finest academic games work I’ve been involved in, or (as I remarked to José) “the game studies paper I want to... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at ihobo
If you just saw a post about game design lineages... that shouldn't have gone up until tomorrow. Temporal powers asserted! Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Only a Game
Over on ihobo today, a brief summary of what I mean by ‘game design lineages’, and how I got to here from my earlier research. Here’s an extract: The game design lineages method is the most viable historical research tool... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Only a Game
Hi Dan, This is an old piece, dating from 2008 (nine years ago now!) but it sits in an interesting spot between my earlier player satisfaction models and Implicit Game Aesthetics, which moves the discussion about definitions of 'game' along substantially. The point this piece makes actually foreshadows Implicit Game Aesthetics: that when people take "a game is a series of interesting decisions" as a guide they are being moved by a specific aesthetic value for play. Clearly, your aesthetic values for play line up with Sid Meier... and you value agency, hence "feeling impactful in your ability to alter the experience." You claim this applies to any genre - but as this piece challenges, how does this apply to rhythm action games, in which no decisions are presented at all? How does it apply to Snakes and Ladders (Chutes and Ladders if you're in the US)? How does it apply to Progress Quest? This was written for Corvus' Blogs of the Round Table as a firestarter (a post to start a discussion), hence the 'Rant' icon in the top left. But the argument being made here is sound, and gets substantially expanded in Implicit Game Aesthetics. If you fancy exploring the argument further, I'd suggest you take a look at the serial. Thanks for stopping by! Chris.
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Dear The Canadian Fantasy Writer, You should be able to get a copy of Discworld Noir for PC with some digging, although running it can be a challenge. Here's the best guide we've been able to put together for the PC version: http://blog.ihobo.com/2015/02/how-to-run-discworld-noir.html Also, is there really only one fantasy writer in Canada? Or are you, perhaps, a periodical of some kind? :) All the best, Chris.
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2018 on Discworld Noir Interview at Only a Game
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Welcome back to Only a Game, the musings and nonsense of game designer, philosopher, and author Chris Bateman! I am busily weaving my magic behind the scenes, preparing for a host of new blog pieces exploring historical game lineages, cybervirtue,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2018 at Only a Game
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The Winter Solstice, the oldest of the religious festivals at this time of the year, and the origin of a great many of the traditions of Christmas, and thus too the traditions of its more widely-celebrated successor Swik. The shortest... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2017 at Only a Game
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Over at Adventure Gamers is a new interview with me talking about my first game as lead writer and designer, Discworld Noir. Here’s an extract: Pretty sure every character in Noir that wasn't borrowed from the books (like Vimes, Gaspode,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2017 at Only a Game
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Over at Adventure Gamers is a new interview with me talking about my first game as lead writer and designer, Discworld Noir. Here’s an extract: Pretty sure every character in Noir that wasn't borrowed from the books (like Vimes, Gaspode,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2017 at ihobo
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An open letter to Jesper Juul as part of the Republic of Bloggers. Dear Jesper, It was my great pleasure to read the draft of your paper from this year's DiGRA UK, “The Aesthetics of the Aesthetics of the Aesthetics... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2017 at Only a Game
Hi Blazers Choice, You're right about the distinction between hemp and marijuana... this piece might not make that distinction as clear as it could be, but the plants are very close relatives. Hemp does contain THC, but in quantities too low to have any significant pharmaceutical impact. Thanks for stopping by! Chris.
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2017 on Hemp: The Illegal Sacrament at Only a Game
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An open letter to Raph Koster as part of the Republic of Bloggers. Dear Raph, What is the true definition of ‘game’? No, don't answer that. We both know why that question cannot possibly be resolved as long as it... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2017 at ihobo
Over on ihobo today, an open letter to Raph Koster following up an earlier comment he kindly left me. Here's an extract: What is the true definition of 'game'? No, don't answer that. We both know why that question cannot... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2017 at Only a Game
Always standing by with an interesting link, eh dmf? ;) Thanks for this, looks good - I've a lot of time for Caputo, with whom I align on a lot of points. Cheers!
Toggle Commented Dec 4, 2017 on All Good Things… at Only a Game
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Have thoroughly enjoyed my Autumnal Social Media Break – so much so, in fact, that I don’t particularly want to come out of hiding (nothing personal, entirety of the online world!). However, it has to happen, and I’ll be back... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2017 at Only a Game
Hey Ryne, My first question to you is: why do you need to find a name for your metaphysical position? I don't mean this facetiously, but it may matter if you need a name for it because you want to present yourself to the spiritual and religious community around you in one way or another, or whether naming your position serves to clarify something in yourself. There are many other reasons why you might feel the need to bring in a name here, but I do think it matters which kind of activity you are engaged in. Notice the case of Einstein. The pantheists like to 'claim' Einstein, because he did express views that could be judged pantheistic. But Einstein didn't have any particular need to identify in this way, a subject that may well have been complicated by his relationship to the Jewish traditions. He identified as part of the Jewish people, but not of the Jewish faith, at least as I understand the matter. He had his position and he didn't feel the need to hang a flag on it. I have a lot of respect for those who are comfortable coming at these matters in this way. There is, as you suggest, an inherent contradiction in rejecting a personal god or God and yet accepting an implicate order that allows all events to have meaning, but I wouldn't let contradictions slow you down. One of the Discordian teachings that has always spoken loudly to me is the suggestion to 'swallow the dilemma', and sometimes that's just what you have to do! (Kierkegaard, working inside the Christian traditions, has his own version of this, taking things 'on the strength of the absurd - I have a lot of time for Kierkegaard's Christianity, and wish he had more influence on Christians today). I suspect what you are rejecting in the concept of a personal god or God is the idea of an entity engaged with human affairs in a way that allows it to make moral judgements about them being-to-being or person-to-person. I have a lot of sympathy with this position, in that I take it as a basic theological tenet that anything worthy of the claim to god or God cannot be simple enough to be readily explicable in human terms! This is a negative claim, it doesn't even entail a claim to the existence of a god or Gods, but it ties in with my Discordian project of NUTMOG - No-one Understands the Mind of God, which is a particular kind of agnosticism i.e. a refusal to claim knowledge about the unknowable. You have the option in terms of the contemporary theological landscape to use quantum mechanics to construct a metaphysical haven for your to rest your hat in. A very good friend of mine has his entire metaphysics based around the 'many worlds' interpretation of quantum mechanics, for instance. Some people use David Bohm's quantum interpretation and the idea of the 'implicate order' (mentioned above) to form a kind of contemporary Gnostic position. So non-theistic Gnostic might work as a label for you, although its clunky. Indeed, non-theist might be a reasonable umbrella for you, and it's one that many interesting people shelter under. Certainly, if your purpose is having a theological badge to wear, 'non-theist' might not be a bad place to start. Thanks for coming back to continue our discussions, Chris.
Toggle Commented Nov 30, 2017 on A Virtuous Interlude at Only a Game
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It is time once again for my autumnal social media break, a chance for me to exercise my cyber-restraint, pay less attention to my pocket robot’s distractions, and peer more deeply into the world around me. When I come back... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2017 at Only a Game
The future is coming at us fast, and Chris Bateman is a masterful guide to the most urgent questions we face there. How will we do good in a future where nearly every action we take is in partnership with a machine, a robot, or an artificial intelligence that shapes,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2017 at The Virtuous Cyborg
Over on ihobo today, an extended comment replying to some very interesting challenges raised by Bart Stewart in connection with Are Videogames Made of Rules? Here’s an extract: For a tabletop game, the rulebook this set of practices eventually becomes... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2017 at Only a Game
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This is an extended reply to a comment raised in connection with Are Videogames Made of Rules? If you haven’t read this earlier piece, you might want to start there. Dear Bart, What is it that we take a rule... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2017 at ihobo
Hey Matthew, Thanks for stopping by, and glad that you have enjoyed this discussion! I have to say, when you ask about applying bold to CB and BB, I'm a touch confused as it is already formatted in bold... It's coded as [strong]BB:[/strong], you seem to want it coded as [b]BB[/b] - so I'm guessing whatever browser you are using is not interpreting the strong tags as bold text (which is standard). I'm curious as to what device it is that you're using... Amazing that you worked with Avalon Hill and SPI - of all the companies you list here, those are the two that are burned into my memory thanks to iconic boxes and truly inventive designs. It's not an exaggeration to say that all the strategy videogames owe a debt to this era of tabletop design. And then again, Ral Partha and Citadel, who made the greatest lead miniatures of the 1970s and 80s (and that I still possess a box of my favourites, squirreled away until my sons are old enough for tabletop RPGs). Not to mention TSR, ground zero for tabletop role-playing... a truly impressive CV! This was the industry I had hoped to work in myself, but by the time I was ready for employment the money had all gone into trading card games and I ended up settling for a career in videogames instead. I confess my envy at your own career path! As for bone-picking - I am always open to discussion, correction, or argumentation, so if you find the relevant bone I will be standing by to unpick it with you. Be aware that my autumnal social media break is coming up at the end of the week, however, and I will be 'offline' from then until December. Once again, thanks for commenting! Much appreciated. Chris.
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Hey dmf, Thanks for these further links! I don't know Tufekci, but Katherine Isbister is a long standing industry pal of mine, and indeed wrote a chapter for my Beyond Game Design collection. Many thanks for your support of this serialised dialogue! All the best, Chris.
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Prime Time was a five part dialogue between veteran Nietzsche scholar Babette Babich and ‘outsider philosopher’ Chris Bateman, looking at the relationship between music and priming, Nietzsche’s books, and life within social media. The dialogue originally ran from October 3rd... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2017 at Only a Game
Hey Ryne, Sorry, I totally took a shortcut there by invoking Taylor, and I see now that you hadn't mentioned him at all so that didn't actually work out! But there's a nice summary on the imminent frame right here at this blog: http://onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_game/2008/10/a-secular-age-7-the-immanent-frame.html Many thanks for getting involved! Chris.
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Last week, a discussion of media control span into the Emmy Awards. This week, philosophers Babette Babich and Chris Bateman pick up the discussion where they left off. Contains one word some readers may find offensive. Babette Babich: Last week’s... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2017 at Only a Game