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Redesigning A Game That People Play When They're Bored

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As the fall gaming season sucks up all the hours in the day, so does the plentiful bounty of gaming writing that goes along with it. Worth Reading is here to guide you through the fog, a guide to the best games writing from the past week or so.

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With certain games—like, say chess—it feels the design has been agreed upon, with no more room for improvement. Solitaire seemed like one of ‘em, and that’s what attracted Ridiculous Fishing and Spelltower designer Zach Gage to try and come up with a new way of presenting Solitaire in a modern, mobile-friendly format. He even came up with the basic design for Sage Solitaire while in the shower. 30 minutes later, the game was basically built. +1 for cleanliness!

“Solitaire is the perfect target for re-invention because its genre is enormous,” says Gage, ‘it’s one of the most popular games of all time, and it literally may be the original mobile game - when it was first invented, women in Europe carried around lapboards to play on the go.”

While Gage comes across as a Solitaire evangelist today, when he started his project he “never really honestly understood what people find enjoyable about the game.” It seemed to require too much luck.


I wrote about Robert Yang’s Rinse and Repeat getting banned from Twitch, but since that article went live, the designer wrote a blog post condemning the service for hypocrisy. Rinse and Repeat is about being in the shower with someone, not sex. And yet, argues Yang, Twitch treats Rinse and Repeat as though it’s in the same category as a game like RapeLay. Twitch’s policy is that “nudity can’t be a core focus or feature of the game in question and modded nudity is disallowed in its entirety.” Yang believes a the blanket—and kinda vague—ban restricts the creative freedom of games. Given how much influence Twitch (and streaming) has on gaming culture these days, that’s a good point.

But what really pisses me off is that my games actually earn their nudity, and cannot function as artistic works without it. Then here comes Twitch, which argues that some blue alien chick boobs in Mass Effect are OK to broadcast because they’re obviously there for some bullshit titillation? The totally unnecessary exploitative bullshit of Dead or Alive babes, or Metal Gear Solid’s Quiet, is somehow more appropriate than a game about consensually scrubbing a guy’s back?


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Oh, And This Other Stuff

  • Javy Gwaltney explored how games screw up the truth of life’s complicated sexual experiences, and how some text-based games offer required nuance.
  • Ryan Clark offered advice on how indie devs can choose the “right” design.
  • Jonathan London mulled his relationship with Mario as a 36-year-old man.
  • Tauriq Moosa examined Mad Max’s relationship with the disabled.
  • Russell Brandom spoke with 4chan’s founder about GamerGate.
  • Samantha Nelson revealed how WoW lets players put a price on their time.
  • Keith Stuart interviewed Bungie to learn about Destiny’s evolution.