All posts by markdangerchen

Mark Chen is an independent researcher of gaming culture and spare-time game designer. He is the author of Leet Noobs: The Life and Death of an Expert Player Group in World of Warcraft. Currently, he is looking into experimental and artistic games to promote exploration of moral dilemmas and human nature, researching DIY subcultures of Board Game Geek users, and generally investigating esoteric gaming practices. Mark also holds appointments at Pepperdine University, University of Washington, and University of Ontario Institute of Technology, teaching a variety of online and offline courses on game studies, game design, and games for learning. He earned a PhD in Learning Sciences/Educational Technology from the University of Washington and a BA in Studio Art from Reed College.

#GameAWeek Failure! “On the Difficulty of Being an ANT”

Check out unfinished failure: On the Difficulty of Being an ANT: The Interactive Version!

Last week and this week, I’ve been sort of stuck in a moment of nonproductivity with regard to the #gameaweek challenge that I’m doing with Ana, Dennis, Melissa, and Greg. Ana is super inspiring and still going strong and even wrote about her experiences in the ProfHacker column for The Chronicle of Higher Ed!

My moment of stuckage can be primarily blamed on two things. First, I’m making a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game with Inklewriter based on Latour’s dialog found in his book Reassembling the Social. It’s an interlude between chapters in the book and features a professor having a conversation with a student, and it’s called “On the Difficulty of Being an ANT.”

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Co-op Space Card Game prototype ready for download! #gameaweek

I did it! I finished a set of print-n-play files for the Co-op Space Card Game I’m making!

Co-op Space Card Game.prototype rules (PDF)

Co-op Space Card Game.print n play prototype (PDF) FIXED! (There was a printer set up error… print Actual Size on 8.5×11 in. paper)

The art is NOT final. Nor are the rules, really…

Co-op Space Card Game prototype cards

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#gameaweek moar card gamez

This week continued to see some great #gameaweek games from Ana, Dennis, Melissa, and, new to the mix, Greg Koeser. It’s astonishing how much we’re providing commentary for academia. So far we’ve seen my Flappy Bird clone that shows the futility of trying to succeed as an academic, Ana’s work/life balance game that also seems pretty futile last week and now this week her IF game about grief but also about getting tenure, Dennis’s IRB approval game that is yet another sisyphean experience. Melissa created an old-school first-person RPG, similar to the old Wizardrys, except that it’s sort of mashed up with Desktop Dungeon in that you need to explore and kill things in a certain order like a puzzle game. Greg’s entry is a card game! It uses standard decks of cards and features bidding and winning cards using other cards.

I continued to work on the Space 4X Co-op Card Game ^TM.

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Space 4X Co-op Card Game version 3 overview

#GameAWeek Challenge Game Two: Space 4X Co-op Card Game

This is really long; I apologize. What started as a write-up for the second game in the #GameAWeek challenge that I’m doing with awesome Ana Salter, Melissa Peterson, and Dennis Ramirez (and soon Nick Lalone!) has turned into a monster of a post as I try to cobble together my memory for this card game I’ve been developing off and on for about 9 months now (yes, I know I cheated!).

Anyway, go read their reflections about their second games! Ana’s chilling My Town, Melissa’s clever merging of the crafting genre with the one room genre Solution, and Dennis’s retro-adventure game Time Enough to Travel. They’re also much better at writing reflections on each others’ work, sorry.

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Unflappable Academic start screen

A #gameaweek challenge! Game One: The Unflappable Academic (and his hoverboard)

A little over a week ago, I saw and tweeted Adriel Wallick’s ( @MsMinotaur ) debrief post on IndieGames about how she did a game a week, she in turn inspired by Rami Ismail’s Gamasutra post. I just thought it was really cool and inspiring.

Ana Salter retweeted and mentioned that she’d love to give it a go. I replied “I’m in!” and she quickly invited others. So, right now we’ve got:

The others have already written reflections about their games, so go read about Ana’s Nowhere, Dennis’s Blackjack framework, and Melissa’s Weather Worker!

The game I made is The Unflappable Academic (and his hoverboard).

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depression quest

Depression Quest is the most important game I’ve ever played

[This article originally appeared on Critical Gaming Project as part of the “Critical Exemplars” features series.]

Whenever I’m defining what games are with new students, usually, someone mentions that games must be fun. I love it when this happens because it’s the perfect entryway into getting students to start thinking critically and reflectively about games and gaming. The discussion requires clarification on what “fun” means and whether games really have to be it. I usually argue that if we treat games as an expressive medium like film, we can apply the same standards of criticism on them. Not all films must be fun (think Schindler’s List), so why should all games be fun? In the last year or so, my go-to example to challenge this existing definition of games is Depression Quest (DQ) (before that it was usually Hush).

Depression Quest is an amazing game.

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