This is Chris's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Chris's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Chris
Outsider philosopher, game designer and author
Recent Activity
Image
What would the arcade be without the concept of the high score? Striving to beat a target had long been a part of the funfair sideshow, and pre-1940s pinball tables (which did not have flippers, and were more like Victorian... Continue reading
Posted 52 minutes ago at Only a Game
Image
Big news over on our Kickstarter page as we announce Huey Games as the publisher for the Switch version of Silk! We're so grateful to all our backers for helping us bring Silk to Windows, Mac, and Linux. As we mentioned in the Kickstarter, getting the game onto consoles is... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Silk: Wilderness Adventures
Joel: Ha - I will add 'Pause' to my cyborg list! What a great idea. But it clearly couldn't be an 'arcade cyborg' as you could not pause arcade games... ;) dmf: As ever, many thanks for the link! Thanks to you both! Chris.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Press Pause at Only a Game
1 reply
Hey Chris, This is a fantastic anecdote that really captures the unique ethical ambiguities of the arcade coin slot. I myself had many situations where I had to ask if it was appropriate to pay for strangers to keep playing a game with me, and it was always an odd thing to face. As for 'extra strong pockets' - there were few more distressing discoveries than that your coins were escaping down your trouser leg! All the best, Chris.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Coin Slot at Only a Game
1 reply
Hey Chris, I don't think I ever felt any good at pinball, but it was clear that I was at least able to learn the table, and that covered up for my evident lack of skill. :) The greater precision that was possible on the videogames fit me much better, but I always enjoyed the pinball for its inherent chaos. Thanks for your comment! Chris.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Pinball at Only a Game
1 reply
Image
Away at Develop this week presenting The Narrative Design Survival Guide, so I'm pausing Arcade Cyborgs for a week. I hope to get some blogging in at ihobo.com while I'm in Brighton, but we'll have to see how it goes. Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2019 at Only a Game
Image
International Hobo is proud to announce that its founder and chief consultant, Chris Bateman, has become the first game writer to have an article in the Writers & Artists' Yearbook, the essential guide to the craft and business of writing.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2019 at ihobo
Image
The thing about buttons is the immense variation in what they can cause to happen. Push a button to start a game, push another to jump, or to throw shuriken, or to select a power up, or to teleport wildly... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2019 at Only a Game
Image
We have shipped our last Alpha version and are officially on the road to Beta now! The full world map is in the game and being tested - you can see to the right the approach to a Parthian Citadel on the edge of the Zagros mountains. I also have... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2019 at Silk: Wilderness Adventures
Image
The wonderful Jed Pressgrove has written an open letter in response to the six part Zelda Facets serial that ran on ihobo last year. Entitled The Dreariness of Zelda, it engages with and counters some of the arguments put forward... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2019 at ihobo
Hey dmf, Limits, as you say here, were an important part of the arcade experience and in some ways created the opportunity for mastery precisely by constraining the experience. It is striking to me, as someone who never took an interest in the repetitive grind to mastery that sports entail, that the arcade was one of the few places that I was open to that kind of experience. Videogames today do not engage me in this mode at all (possibly simply because I am older, possibly because the designs are so different). In fact, the governing design frameworks are entirely different: the goals thrown up to players these days come in the form of achievements i.e. ephemeral goals to be ticked off and discarded. These rarely build any kind of mastery, or at least, so it seems to me. I remain faintly horrified when my co-workers in game development have their game discussion around the achievement scoring dimension of their play. As I suggested in The Virtuous Cyborg and elsewhere, achievements risk a stultifying effect on the play of any game, robbing it of its creative character. It is a point I expect to return to in #100Cyborgs if and when I look at contemporary videogame design elements. All the best, Chris.
Toggle Commented Jul 3, 2019 on Joystick at Only a Game
1 reply
Hey dmf, I never thought I would find myself defending the virtue of coins, but as you say here, the 'smoother' the transaction, the more easy it becomes to simply leech money. Universities are the last places you'd expect to see this... but alas, the thing that goes by this name is nothing like the thing Kant imagined, and are yet another kind of profit centre, farming either students or research grants. I find it extremely troublesome. Many thanks for the history of AI commentary link. AI was my Masters degree... the thing I learned on that course was that what science fiction called AI had no bearing on the field. In the time since, it has only got worse. Utility, here and elsewhere, overrides all other values - the blight of our times. Thanks again for your engagement, Chris.
Toggle Commented Jul 3, 2019 on Change Machine at Only a Game
1 reply
Image
There are few more specialised robots than the change machine, a staple of arcades my entire life. It has exactly one purpose: to change a note or coin into smaller denominations. In the UK, typically into 10p coins or tuppences,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2019 at Only a Game
Hey Robert, It was a total accident. Obviously the game required us to create a world out of the ancient SIlk Road... it was only after we'd completed building it that we calculated the size - and realised how much bigger than Daggerfall it is! :) All the best, Chris.
1 reply
Image
Today is Only a Game's fourteenth birthday! I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported my blogging, both here and over at ihobo.com, as well as my book and game projects, over the many years that... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2019 at Only a Game
Thanks for clarifying, dmf! I'd love to hear from other people on this to get a broader perspective... Although it's tough to get people to comment on blogs these days.
Toggle Commented Jul 1, 2019 on Joystick at Only a Game
1 reply
Hey Robert, Thanks for sharing your view! To be clear: it's easy to keep the Welsh names if I don't do anything clever to ensure they are only used for Britannia. They're in the name tables already. It's just getting them 'honest' that's the problem. Knowing that anyone cares about getting Welsh names into the game makes me want to keep them, even if there's a risk of them cropping up in strange places. :) Thanks! Chris.
Toggle Commented Jul 1, 2019 on Welsh Celts? at Silk: Wilderness Adventures
1 reply
Hey dmf, Fair challenge! Are you talking about players in the arcade, or in the privacy of their home? I rather suspect the public performance aspect of arcade play helped encourage this emotional control, because we were playing together in a public place. It is certainly not the case that playing videogames with a joystick necessarily leads to this virtue, but the opportunity is there and, at least in my experience of the arcade, the swiftness of the arcade game created a very different rhythm in respect of its frustration that may be more amenable to teaching emotional control than contemporary videogames. Although this serial isn't going to go as far as contemporary videogames (I hope to tackle this later in #100Cyborgs), I feel - perhaps merely as an intuition - that the conditions of the arcade were better suited to inducing good behaviour in its players, precisely because they were shared public spaces and belonged to no one player. In the privacy of your own home, different conditions apply. Thanks for engaging! Chris.
Toggle Commented Jun 28, 2019 on Joystick at Only a Game
1 reply
Image
I have always loved those 'one armed bandits' made prior to 1980 over the swirling seductive flashing lights of their newer push-button brethren. It helps that my encounters with the older machines happened early in my life and late in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2019 at Only a Game
Image
Is there any greater symbol of the arcade than the coin slot? It is the reason that arcades ever came into existence, for it was not art but commerce that brought entertainment machines together into one space. Today, arcades are... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2019 at Only a Game
Image
Starting on Only a Game this week, a ten part mini-serial called Arcade Cyborgs, that looks at the moral aspects of classic arcade games. The mini-serial coincides with the imminent release of the ebook edition of The Virtuous Cyborg, which... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2019 at ihobo