Saturday, March 29, 2008

I'm going to Bangkok! Will you play with me?

Kiyash and I are going to Bangkok for a week, April 26 - May 4. If you're in Bangkok, maybe we could meet up? Or if you know folks in Bangkok, could you help connect us?

On our list of things to do:

- Meet up with fellow game designers or game researchers, or students learning game design. We don't know any game people in Bangkok, but we would love to!

- Go cookie rolling! Do you have any suggestions for Thai cookies? Or, do you want to go cookie rolling with us? (I have a feeling I'll need some help learning how to write in Thai script!)

- Play! Are there any Lost Ring players in Bangkok? If so, we want to meet up and practice The Lost Sport!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Great Internet Color Wars of 2008

What? You haven't heard of the Great Internet Color Wars of 2008 yet?

When you need a quick break from training for the Lost Olympic Sport, join the war and pick a team. It's kind of like middle school field day, but for the Internet people. ^_^

The line for the color wars was drawn in the sand with two simple Twitters, geniously unleashed by Ze Frank with no context whatsoever:

Good Morning! As you can see, i am now a member of the blue team!

what team are you on? don't make up some imaginary team either...for God's
sake the color wars are coming!

Seriously, this was a 100% context-free challenge! Love it. The context is being built largely by the people who pick teams and declare allegiances and willingness to participate in whatever this thing becomes. So after a few days, there is a little bit of context, and a little bit of infrastrucure . But mostly this is quick and nimble and make-it-up-as-you-go-along, which is awesome and super ARG-like at heart. P.S. I'm on the Goldteam.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Lost Ring - the alternate reality game for the 2008 Olympics

The Lost Ring
Originally uploaded by Avant Game.

I'm thrilled to officially announce my newest game: The Lost Ring, an alternate reality adventure created for for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

As of this week, the game is live and you can play!

Here's my recommendation for quick and easy immersion into The Lost Ring:

1) First, watch The Lost Ring trailer at
2) Next, learn the legends of the ancient games, including The Lost Olypmic Sport, by watching the video podcasts at
3) Then, meet the global cast of characters -- they're blogging in eight different languages! -- at
4) Finally, if you're hooked, visit the players' wiki to catch up on the story and puzzles so far -- it's at

Before you all disappear down the rabbit hole and I step back behind the curtain, I just wanted to say that this has truly been a dream project for me, a chance to try alternate reality gaming at a truly global scale, and to create an alternate reality mythology for one of the world's oldest and greatest traditions. Plus, the idea of bringing together gamers and the Games and seeing what happens -- seriously, that is too much fun. I honestly never imagined as a game designer that I would have an opportunity as exciting as this.

(If you're curious how the opportunity came to me, and if you want to "peek behind the curtain" to learn more about my collaborators on the project -- AKQA, McDonalds, and the International Olympic Committee -- you can read Daniel Terdiman's Q & A with me here.)

But more importantly than what an adventure it has been for me, I really hope and believe that The Lost Ring will be the adventure of a lifetime for its players. Every aspect of the project has been designed so that at the end of the day, players will have gone on a journey together that they will never forget. It's something we want them to remember and talk about for the rest of their lives. That was our explicit mission statement!

In fact, what the heck, here's a sneak peak at some of the mission statement notes we drafted last summer when we first started developing the game:

" a game that changes people’s lives and brings the world together"
"an epic story that the whole world discovers and brings to life... a months-long adventure players will remember for the rest of their lives"
"the chance to be a part of something huge... a truly epic scale... to get to know people in 100 countries and make lifelong friends with them...."
"be a global force for fun, turnplayers into real-world superheroes... "
"fill the real world with magic... the whole world, every corner of it..."

So, yes, this has been an extremely ambitious project! But we've spent a year building an adventure we believe in, and I'm so proud of what we've created.

And now, happily, excitedly, we have six months now to watch it unfold...

And I won't say any more, because I want you to experience it for yourself.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

SXSW was awesome -- and here are my keynote slides

I had the time of my life presenting at SXSW today. I was pretty nervous about the talk -- it was a keynote, so I really wanted to say something new and interesting and engaging for the awesome (and intimidating!) SXSW crowds. Plus, I was following on the heels of the High Drama of keynote #1 (including an audience revolt) and keynote #2 (including an on-stage marriage proposal), so the bar was set pretty high.

Somehow, it all went wonderfully well. I had such a fun time speaking as honestly and as openly as I ever had about why I make alternate realities. And I was able to include all of my super-favorite research behind my "game designer's perspective on the future of happiness", not to mention my admittedly strange analogy "games in 2008 are like soap in 1931" analogy.

Of course, what you really need to know about my talk is that oddly enough I wound up doing the soulja boy dance on stage at the end of my Q &A, which is a long story, and I'm still surprised I actually did that. Anyway, it's on youtube and flickr and a bunch of blogs and apparently was a highly twittered moment, all of which is pretty awesomely silly. I have to thank my twin sister Kelly for helping me learn it. She looks a lot better doing it than I do. ^_^

Here are my Slideshare slides for the talk: "SXSW 2008 Interactive Keynote: Alternate Realities - A Game Designer's Perspective on the Future of Happiness"

P.S. If you saw the talk, and if you're curious about the SF0 game mission that led to my learning the Soulja Boy dance, here's a link to our documentation the original Something Very Good mission!

Monday, March 10, 2008

World Without Oil Wins Big at SXSW

Originally uploaded by Avant Game.
World Without Oil, the first alternate reality game to tackle a real-world problem, won big at SXSW last night.

Here, Ken Eklund, Dee Cook, Cathy Fischer and I accept the award on stage.

Yay World Without Oil!