I recently bought a full set of Neopets cards on eBay for $85. It’s a collectable card game, like Magic: The Gathering, only the monsters in Neopets are cute and colorful fantasy animals.
A full set of Neopets cards consists of 234 cards, of which 30 are ultra rare holo foil cards, 66 rares, 60 uncommons, and 78 commons. The difference between the rarities comes from the fact that you get a different number of each type in a package of cards, so that you get around 1 rare card for every 2 uncommon cards, and 2 uncommon cards for every 4-5 common cards. Cards come in booster packs, each of which contains 8 cards, and the boosters have a suggested retail price of $3.49.
Rules of structure
Proposed structure rule: Nonlinear plots are better.
In the old Scott Adams Adventure game, there was a dragon sleeping in the woods. If you wanted to get rid of the dragon, one possible solution was to take the wine bladder and fill it with swamp gas, then use the bladder as a bomb to blow up the dragon.
It turns out that you don’t want to do this, because the resulting explosion will also destroy the dragon eggs, a treasure you want to collect. But the game lets you do it anyway, with the result that you can’t win the game.
I’d like to take a look at some specific rules and see where I end up.
Rules of surface
A proposed surface rule: Games should always have screenshots on the box.
At first glance, this appears to be a reasonable rule. In order to know if I want to play a game, I should be able to see what it looks like. Of course it would always be better if I could watch the game in motion, or perhaps play a demo of the game, but the screenshot is an adequate substitute. The screenshot can also serve to verify that the game is in fact the game you are looking for, “Yes, I saw a demo of this game and here it is.” The screenshot of a sequel game can help you decide that the game looks better (or worse) than the previous game.
In addition to my work with digital media, I am also a printmaker. Here is an online gallery where you can view some of my work.
There are many reasons to go to a symposium: to hear new ideas, to share your ideas with others, to learn about a topic of interest, to see the faces of people you have only corresponded with. I go to symposiums to argue.
It usually takes half a day or more for me to work up a good head of steam, however, and so I didn’t reach that point this past Friday while attending the Story Engines symposium at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. In retrospect, if I had boiled over, it would have been to accuse the gathering of a certain amount of complicity. This wasn’t a symposium to draw out the conflicts which surround games as cultural objects, it was pulse check conference to make sure everyone was talking about the same thing, and using the correct terms.
Notes on Bang the Machine: Computer Gaming Art and Artifacts at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, California.
“[This exhibition] has been put together neither in a spirit of adoration nor vilification, the two most common forms for taking games seriously.”
(Revised: February 7, 2004 8:30 PM)
Wednesday afternoon I’ll be driving up to the Bay Area to see what there is to see, in particular the Fictional Worlds, Virtual Experiences: Storytelling and Computer Games exhibit at Stanford, the Game Scenes exhibit in SF, and the Story Engines symposium on Friday, all of which are part of the How They Got Game project [experimental website].
If you find yourself at one of these exhibitions/events and would like to pick me out of the crowd, I’m about 17′ feet tall, colorless green skin, and I occasionally wear a white lab coat.