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Gaming for Good at Bath Digital Festival

October 17, 2014

I’m taking part in this event on 29th October:

Games are doing much more now than just fun – they are educating, becoming therapy and helping to tackle serious problems.

Non-gamers often only see games in over-hyped tabloid headlines casting them in a bad light. However with around one in three of our fellow citizens now playing games, this session takes a second look at an industry that has grown in scope, subject matter and relevance. Join us to find out how Auroch Digital have been turning news into games, how Knowle West Media Center used games to talk about domestic violence and accessibility expert Ian Hamilton on how technology can be built to open them up to wider audiences.

The Auditorium
City of Bath College
Avon Street
United Kingdom

Wednesday, 29 October 2014 from 12:30 to 13:30pm

Join us to find out more! (Also see

Climate Defense (gameplay)

Gaming & Democracy Talk at #Play14

September 18, 2014

I’m doing a keynote talk today at Play14 on gaming and democracy and here are the links from it:

Other links of interest:

Screenshot from Democracy 3

Screenshot from Democracy 3 (Positech Games)

(Positech Games)

democracy 3 charts

The 5 Most Popular Posts on My Blog

August 14, 2014

I’ve been looking at the most popular posts on my blog of all time:

  1. Cthulhu Thursday: Top 5 best of Myhthos, Cthulhu and Lovecraft Film, TV, Games, Stories and more… (A Work in Progress)
  2. Call of Duty Black Ops: Return on Investment is 400% (Updated)
  3. Cthulhu Thursday: Three Vital Things Cthulhu (and Lovecraft) Show Us About Biology (and Tentacles) #Lovecraft75
  4. Chainsaw Warrior in Steam Sale and More!
  5. How Much Money Can a Mobile Developer Make?

Why those? The 1st and 3rd article are ones that got a lot of upvotes on Reddit, hence the huge spikes in traffic. Plus PZ Myers tweeted them which also gave a huge boost to the traffic they got and still get. Number 2’s traffic comes from Google in the main, it seems to appear on searches related to the money the COD games have made and I guess, answers some people’s questions, hence it keeps appearing the magical Google algorithm. Number 4 was another Reddit upvoted article around the time of a Steam sale and no.5 is another Google one related to people googling for an answer on indie developer income. These posts were written at different times, so have had differing amounts of time to accumulate traffic and I expect the top 5 to change over time, of course.

And the least popular? This.

Cthulhu - quite popular on my blog...

Cthulhu – quite popular on my blog…

Three New Ways of Looking at War, Money and Information

August 12, 2014

Collecting a few article I think are interesting and what new ideas they are looking at in different ways…

First is a new way to look at journalism – a meshing of journalists and active citizens in a very interesting project that seeks to chart the future of news gathering. It’s also looking to new ways of funding it – asking the crowd for money as well as information.  Check it out here:

The funding deadline is almost up, I’ve backed it and think it well worth supporting.

Second is a new way to look at economicsby studding the economies of games like EVEonline

Different multiplayer game economies have different aims, but one key objective stands out: the economy helps create and hold together the social fabric of the game. Regular interaction generates interpersonal ties and trust. Having people consume the fruits of one’s digital labour generates a sense of meaning, a sense of a role to play in the community. Division of labour and the resulting mutual interdependence moreover creates solidarity and social cohesion. In short, the economy can act as a wonderful glue holding people together.

The social fabric is important to game developers, because the stronger the ties between players, the longer the players will keep playing (and paying fees). Some games developers expend considerable resources in their own style of economic research, experimenting with different exchange mechanisms and institutions to find the designs that really strengthen the social fabric. When we examine the resulting virtual economies we can see that their design choices are often very different from the choices that a conventional economist would make.

Third are new ways of looking at war in games. Traditionally games are a bit, we’ll, gung-ho about war but as games grow-up as a medium, so the range of approaches developed as Keith Stuart documents:

Most war games are about the unquestioning excitement of military action. Call of Duty, Battlefield, Sniper Elite … none of them really challenge the violence they depict or wonder what it must be like to live amid this madness – they are about soldiers fulfilling their destiny as heroes, whatever the cost. In these fantasies, civilians are only ever tests of the player’s target acquisition skills. Shoot a bystander in Call of Duty and you fail a mission. Humans are reduced to scuttling score mechanisms. But some game designers have started to think about conflict in a different way, and from different perspectives….

OK, so I’m quoted in it, but it’s a great article and well worth reading. (As are these two related Guardian articles on the war in Gaza and gaming depictions of it and how games are doing more than play).

Three Interesting Developments in Democracy

August 11, 2014

Here’s three article/development I’ve been meaning to highlight…

The first is the Mayday Political Action Committee, and organisation founded by Lawrence Lessig of Creative Commons and Remix Culture fame. It’s a bold idea with a strong hint of Aikido about it – use the force of our opponent against them. In this case the opponent is money in democratic politics and the aim is to raise money to counter it. The first 2 stages of the Mayday PAC plan (2 rounds of money raising) have been completed and now it’s onto the stage of making change.

The astounding achievement of raising almost $8 million from people in a Kickstarter style campaign is the first major coup of this project. Watch this space!

The second is the idea of opening up every single vote to the voters. This idea goes to the heart of democratic politics; how direct do you want it?

The latest startup attempting to ride technoutopian naiveté all the way to the nation’s capital has a plan to restore democracy to America by “replacing your Congressman with software.” Those aren’t my words; that’s the tagline of PlaceAVote, a California company that wants to replace the nation’s elected representatives with a software system that votes on every bill according to the public majority online.

The company is running two candidates for Congress as the human face of the digitized democracy tool in California districts 16 and 22—a couple of random computer engineers named Job Melton and John Catano. If the candidates get voted in, any registered US citizen can vote on any piece of legislation through the PlaceAVote website, and the representative will vote according to that tally.

The third is the idea of using games to help understand democracy:

In an attempt to promote either democracy, creativity, personal expression, or some slightly convoluted combination of all three, Sweden has been operating a program called Democreativity that’s meant to curate ideas for “the most unlikely game ever.”

How this is not a new idea. A small sample research project showed that gamers already think about things like democracy while playing games. There are also plenty of games on the subject, however I like the idea of linking it to creativity and also crowdsourcing ideas for the game.

Screenshot from Democracy 3.

Chainsaw Warrior Competition and Sale on! #ChainsawWarrior

July 30, 2014

We’ve got a sale and competition on over at Auroch Digital for Chainsaw Warrior…

The developers of Games Workshop’s classic board game ‘Chainsaw Warrior‘ for Steam, iOS and Android announced that they have a copy of the rare original game plus the expansion cards from White Dwarf issue 88 up for grabs. The game was originally released in its physical form back in 1987 and is a classic piece of gaming history – a rare solo board game which pitted the player against the clock.

Chainsaw Warrior Original Board Game

The digital version was released last year creating excitement and nostalgia with fans who fondly remembered playing it as well as converting new fans to the title. In ‘Chainsaw Warrior’ the player takes on the role of a cybernetic soldier as he attempts to save New York from dire peril – and in only 60 minutes. The original was noted for its challenging solo gameplay – an aspect that has been preserved in the digital version.

To win a copy of the game, players need to record a play session and submit a video link to the developers via gtn at aurochdigital dot com – the best submitted run-through of the game (on any platform) will win the prize. The developers will be marking on score, style and aggression as Auroch Digital’s Tomas Rawlings explains, “Chainsaw Warrior is a battle against the odds; not only is time against you but also hordes of zombies, mutants and others creatures – plus there are traps, radiation and poison to content with. We’d love to see your choice play-throughs showing how you defeat Darkness and if it’s the best of the best, we’ll be sending you a copy of the original game, a real collectors’ item!” Entries need to be submitted by 17th August to be considered.

To celebrate the competition, Chainsaw Warrior is on sale for a short period (Steam, Apple App Store, Google Play). To keep in the loop with the project you can like Auroch Digital on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. The game’s information page can be found at and there is a new Reddit forum for the game at:

Time go get moving as you only have 60 minutes to save New York! #ChainsawWarrior

Guillermo del Toro on At The Mountains of Madness, “It would be fantastic to do it!”

July 12, 2014

So we’re back to the on then off again story of del Toro doing At the Mountains of Madness…. arrrg just make it!  Anyway he’s just done an AMA on Reddit, I was too late to the party but others did get there to ask him about the project and here is his reply:


If you can’t see the image, then this is what he said:

It would be fantastic to do it! I promise that if we don’t get to do it for some reason, I will do my best to have Universal allow us to publish the book with all the making of, the behind the scenes art that we generated, because it is staggeringly beautiful. But any Lovecraft movie I could do, I would love – I love many of his tales, so if it’s not Mountains, I hopefully can do one day one of his smaller short stories.

So hope is yet alive…

Some related links:


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