Stuff I Didn’t Post Yet: Apple Does iOS Social Game Devs a Solid

After months of debating the moral implications of children having access to in-app purchases on iOS devices, Apple has finally “plugged the hole” by requiring a password for the very first in-app purchase in any application.

This was, of course, a concern after social games for iOS started becoming a more and more attractive activity for children to indulge in, as well as adults.

This new feature should be available as of the 4.3 update.

Stuff I Didn’t Post Yet: McGonigal’s PAX East Talk

I think what she’s failing to address here is social skills- the ability to “read” people when you’re talking to them face-to-face, and be forthright/considerate while in conversation.

Online interaction will NOT improve your real-world social skills, whether it’s in the context of a video game, or just a late night chat on IM. I understand what she’s really talking about is “teamwork”, but real-world teamwork requires a lot more skills than teamwork that takes place in a digital game space.

It’s nice to think that video gamers become skilled problem solvers, but I tend to think it’s the other way around: people pre-disposed towards skilled problem solving are more likely to practice those skills in a gaming environment.

Much like, I believe, people with fewer social skills are more likely to be drawn to a digital space to communicate, since they can thoughtfully type their words without fear, or verbal stumbling.

Gamasutra – Brian Moriarty’s Apology For Roger Ebert

Gamasutra – News – Opinion: Brian Moriarty’s Apology For Roger Ebert.

(Caution: I was a little bit sleep-deprived when I wrote this.)

A fascinating debate on video games as “Art” – if you’re interested in video game development at all, this is a must read, whether you agree with him or not.

As I mention in my comments on the article, I’m tempted to compare video games to one of Socrates plays- where he guides the viewer/reader through an imaginary dialog to a particular point of view, via a series of questions. The questions, if I remember correctly (it’s been a while) often have only one reasonable answer, but give the illusion that the reader is otherwise free to disagree.

Video games, comparatively, give the illusion of choice, or use a series of choices to guide the player through a particular experience, to a particular conclusion. Sometimes there are multiple paths, offering multiple conclusions. While the commenter under me disagrees that video games cannot constitute a dialog, I think maybe, while not true in all cases, the game designer sets up their dialog with the user in much the same way Socrates sets up his dialog with the reader, in his plays.

GDC 2011: Ron Gilbert’s ‘Odd Collection’ Of Maniac Mansion Memories

Gamasutra – News – GDC 2011: Ron Gilbert’s ‘Odd Collection’ Of Maniac Mansion Memories.


Sadly, I didn’t make it to this year’s GDC, but one of my heroes was there to do a talk on a game that is very dear to my heart: Maniac Mansion.

As a child (and even now) I had terrible hand-eye coordination, so I wasn’t very good at most video games. But Maniac Mansion let me realize that there were games out there that I could actually play and enjoy and take my time with.

And here I am now, working in video games. 🙂