I finally finished Rules of Play, an academic work about game design. It casts a broad net in several ways. Thus, much of the opinion I heard about it wasn’t good. Board game people were turned off by all the talk of digital games. Digital game people may have been turned off by the included paper games by ‘board game people’ like Riener Kinitza(sp?), Richard Garfield, and James Earnest. The coverage of subjects is also extremely broad. the books schemas are broken down into ‘Rules’, the down and dirty mechanics, ‘Play’, the experiences of the game, and ‘Culture’, the interaction of games with the wider world.
It is also very theoretical, which may have disappointed people looking for more practical advice. What the authors present are a system of schemes, or ways of thinking about games. Things like probably systems, psychology and motivation, narrative, and so on. This type of material appears to be geared more towards generating deep insight than helping out with routine problems. Sadly, I haven’t take time to really think about the material yet.
Now I’m working through Edward Tufte‘s books, which I got at the seminar some month’s ago. Having heard the core ideas in said seminar there is nothing revolutionary so far, but the wealth of examples will probably repay review when I have some actual information to present.