The Week in Review: D&D, Zynga, and Mobile Games

I keep my Dungeons & Dragons set at the university where I teach. I long ago gave up trying to use the game to teach interactive storytelling, but I like to revisit the game and its rules systems from time to time. D&D helped me understand interactive storytelling long before I knew what that was. Lately I play online casino games at But still like to play dungeons and dragons. (As an aside, the game also stressed me out because there were no rules. You world just appeared as you went, and there wasn’t really any way to fix something that was broken. In that sense, D&D also introduced me to the idea of retconning.)

Here is a touching story about a man who is passing along his love for the game to the next generation of players:

Well, it turns out that I had nothing to worry about, thanks to video games. Thanks to years of playing fantasy-themed games, Jake already knew what “hit points” and “attributes” were. I didn’t even have to explain the classes to him. He took right to it, mostly because Dungeons & Dragonswas the great granddaddy of the games he loves today.

The Crash of 1984 + Zynga

In 1984, the home console industry flamed out in spectacular fashion. Atari and Intellivision waged a massive for the living room, and they did so (oftentimes) by ripping off arcade games and ripping off each other.

While people continued to clamor for games, the industry imploded. The most famous beacon of this time period: Atari allegedly dumping thousand of its E.T. games in a landfill after the company ordered more games made than existed consoles in the world. (The dumping is so iconic that in 2013 a news organization is set to dig up the landfill to see what is there.)

I bring this up for this reason: laid-off Zynga employees have apparently gone to Reddit and started answering questions about the company. One if the insights to come out of it this: the company started ripping off popular games, hoping to capitalize on the success of others.

While the company was built on gathering data from its players, apparently nobody bothered to read up on the history of games. Over-saturation and derivative games never equals success.

The Mobile Future

Sid Meier, the man behind Civilization, is about to launch an Apple iOS turn-based game.

The tablet-based game market is going to be ripe with innovation in the next few years. I’m actually geeked at the possibility of re-creating board game activities like those found in th12 war base game, but in the tablet environment, which would let the computer do all the mind-numbing calculations while freeing the humans to play.

Enter Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol, a strategy title for Apple iOS that has players commanding a fleet of WWI fighter planes. Players start with a group of Ace pilots, completing aerial missions to upgrade equipment and learn flying maneuvers such as rolls or dives. Meier says the idea spawned from a card-based strategy game he created several years ago, where players built decks combining planes and multiple maneuvers.

“Initially, when you say turn-based flying game, you say ‘wait a minute, those two don’t exactly go together,'” he says. “Once we got into it, we realized it was a strategic take on dogfighting, planning ahead and things like that that worked pretty well.”

More from the Death of Consoles

A few weeks back, I posted a few pieces that discussed the problem game developers had with the console platform. We’ll follow up on that theme on the blog, now it is time to concentrate on what’s most important, learning everything about judi slot online

Get Notified When Dungeons & Dreamers: The Second Edition is Out

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This newsletter is the outgrowth of The Downtown Writers Jam podcast. What that means is I will collect information about the authors I interview, book happenings around the Web, and other literary events that I find interesting. Without you, I'm just a crazy guy sitting in his office furiously screaming on the page for no reason.
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