Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The old Manifesto

Aha! I found my three original points, which I wrote in November 2001

The game is the ultimate piece of art, capable of incorporating all artforms known to humanity, expressed with bleeding edge technology.

The making of a game is a process of great beaty, representatives from different artforms and technology working together (exposed) to make a piece which is finally completed by the player.

Making games and playing games is a tribute to life as it could have been.


We all read each other’s points and changed and cut and added. The ones I suggested evolved into this:
· The Game is the ultimate piece of art, capable of incorporating all forms of art and expression known to humanity, expressed using all forms of technology, from the ancient to the bleeding edge, without compromising its identity as a game. This in itself proves gaming to be the lost pre-Appolonian Ur-art .
// i remember Martin E adding the stuff about the Ur-art, which i absolutely loved.

· The making of a game is a process of great beauty, representatives from different artforms and technology working together (exposed) to make a piece that is finally completed by the Player.

·The Game is the Great Work.
// I think the third point was somehow transformed into this.


That was really a wonderfully nice period, when we sat together and wrote that manifesto. Today it feels a bit weird to read it again. We had so high hopes and we didn’t think about limitations - I think we quite consciously avoided thinking about limitations actually.
The full manifesto can be found here: http://zerogame.tii.se/manifesto.htm
Hmmm… strange, it’s only part II that is there.

Wonder why? I paste in the full version here:

The Zero Game Manifesto

Part I - Critique

· Games are not entertainment, since we reject the concept of entertainment. Entertainment is a concept created by the power structures of Kapital to denigrate activities that do not immediately function in the production of surplus value.

· Entertainment as a product is a reappropriation of paraeconomic activity by structures of Kapital, denigrated ideologically, and harnessed economically.


· The playing of games is an activity that poses a serious threat to all established power structures defended and supported by religions and ideologies.

· Kapitalist games are a reflection of the ideological basis of Kapitalist production. This is the trade in death in the name of genetic supremacy. Competition is the shadow of supremacism. Warfare is the natural process of fascism. A player of a Kapitalist Game plays at being the Primal Kapitalist, a creature driven by the reptilian brain.


Part II - The Nature of The Game

· Current concepts of the Game must be rejected and superseded by a vision of Games serving the higher potential of humanity, a form that is equitable, authentic, and validated as a core human process. Here we present such a vision.

· There are no virtual realities, but many different realities. Some of those realities exist within information spaces supported and articulated with the use of computational technology.


· The active nature of the Game holds a unique potential for exploring new modes of being. The active nature of the Game also supports subversive modes of thinking more directly serving creative and fulfilling purposes.

· The Game must be a subversive activity facilitated by ritual and aimed at releasing human awareness from established constraints. Those constraints are ideological, economic, cultural, historical, artistic, and physical.

· Game play is based upon understanding, implicitly or explicitly, some subset of a set of Game rules. The playing experience is then one of developing a gestalt, a pattern of cognitive and physical activity that supports movement through the game experience. The function of a gameplay gestalt is to facilitate entry into a state of consciousness typically different from states experienced outside the gameplay context. In this way, a gameplay gestalt is analogous to a mantra, chant, or ritual. It can deliver us into new ways of being, which can be like a dance, meditation, or possession.

· The Game is the ultimate piece of art, capable of incorporating all forms of art and expression known to humanity, expressed using all forms of technology, from the ancient to the bleeding edge, without compromising its identity as a game. This in itself proves gaming to be the lost pre-Appolonian Ur-art .

· The making of a game is a process of great beauty, representatives from different artforms and technology working together (exposed) to make a piece that is finally completed by the Player.

· By treating something as a Game we will be attuned to its magical dimension, and by playing it, we manipulate it by means of ritual magic.

· The Game is the Great Work.


Part III - Praxis

· Our games will not be dictated by the market.

· Our games will perform and extend various functions of art, representing an evolutionary step in generic artistic function, and a revolutionary step in the creation of unique forms and potential.

· We will cross boundaries and dissolve structures, in a continuous and ongoing process of destruction and reformation into new orders. Revolutionary practice is not teleological, leading to any kind of utopian goal. Instead, it is the essential core process of life. It is the defining character of life, a continuous process of patterning and repatterning at the phase boundary between static structure and chemical change.

· We will introduce gameplay as a virus into the concept of story.

· We will use and reuse the shadow ideologies of history as a catalyst for new visions.

· We will not be limited to articulations within a dogmatic language.

· We are architects of the third place.

· We will celebrate the universal dialectic of the binary code.

· We will be shamans of the posthuman age.

· We will walk the path of the trickster.


(//sniff... Re-reading this breaks my heart. We need to write a new one. Discussed a little bit about new names for our research group at the Uni, but didnt reach a conclusion yet.)

If you add you soul, I'll give you a shell of a person

Do you have any free will? Or are you controlled by the codes for behaviour you have learned in combination with you individual biology? To what extent are you driven by your lusts, your fears, your needs and you ideals? You might be able to find out – I give you a virtual body and a virtual brain. I give you traumas and learned habitual behaviour. Do you have a soul to add? In that case you might be able to create a parallel mind for you to live through in a parallel world.

The text above: im trying to find a way to express what im trying to do without just talking about semantic networks of nodes and stuff.

Sent off the Bartle review to Tidskrift för Litteraturvetenskap the day before yesterday.
Yesterday disappeared in personal strike. I felt like writing a new manifesto.
Today im trying to write an abstract for a reader. And to finish the lecture on characterization.
Sometimes I see the manifesto we wrote in the zero game studio quoted. Craig wrote the biggest part of it. I think I had two or three paragraphs that I absolutely wanted to be part of it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Teppy announced that the End of the first Tale is near!

Andy (Teppy, pharao) actually taped a video, where he in person tells the players of A Tale in the Desert about the ending of the first Tale in the desert! Players will cooperatively build monuments that will become part of the history for the next Tale, and build tests for the children!

Tomorrow i will wear my A Tale in the Desert T-shirt! First ill sleep in it! But first of all I will log on!

...Andy asked me about the "State of Play" conference in october, he has been asked to do a demo there. I have a vague memory (i hate this vagueness of my memory) of it being in New York and having a focus on laws in VW:s, it being interesting, and myself not being there. I couldnt find it in the event calendar at gamasutra, nor at digra, nor at terranova, hmmm

...I find that really interesting to address the players in
such a direct way, like a GM. And that the players will have
a big part of the process of building the world with tests and monuments
for the second tale. I will need to find out more, especially about to what extent the player, to use Bartle's words "own" the word.

Monday, June 21, 2004


This is "my" student Annika, whom im immensly proud of! (I supervised her bachelors thesis.) I realized today i still can call her "my" student since she signed up on this summer course; since she graduated i could of course not indulge myself in calling her that... for a week or two :) In this picture she is dressed up for a final performance when she graduated from the games education.
ComWorks 040521

Thursday, June 10, 2004

office conversations:

"But what about the distinction between physcal and virtual if we add the fictional and non fictional to the classification space?"
I wave my brown glove: "This is a coin! It signifies a monetary value!" We stare at the glove. It's not a coin at all.

Then we wonder if there is a church where one can marry one's dead cat.

I had an msn chat with my best friend from AC2 today. I haven't talked to him for months, and it turns out he has been really sick, and that he was very close do dying this spring. Scary thought that i wouldn't even have known about it if he had dissappeared. And in another conversation with JJ at ITU: a friendship in VR is a friendship in RL. Friendships can't be virtual.

I need to find that article Ren talked about in copenhagen, i wonder if it was J Dibbell who wrote it, the female medic student who was killed in a car crash, and her online friends built her a memorial. (was it in legend mud? or lambda moo? i which i could remember things better.) Then it turned out she had never existed. Everyone should read pages 201 and 202 in Bartles book. (on how to create a fictive player who can play a player character) Which remind me i have a deadline for reviewing it. Back to work!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Explaining things... they say one learn from doing it.

Last week and this week i have been busy preparing for a summer course that is starting this week. - Introduction to Game Analysis and Design. Amazing how things always takes much longer than one think it will. On the other hand: it does take a bit if thinking on how to introduce huge huge areas like "Narrative" and "Interactive Narrative" in a short and understandable format. Not sure if i succeeded, but i have a feeling i will soon be aware if i didn't :). Find myself swimming around in piles of books here in the office, and having this will to put more and more into the lectures. ("omg - if i tell them this, they must also be aware of this" - and one thing leads to another.)
A good thing is that even if it is a lot of work its pretty heavily related to stuff that im sitting with anyway, so the time (research-wise) is not wasted. The two other lectures ill prepare is about players and characterization, so that's really good. But it was a little bit of a shock today when i was told there were 57 students enrolled, the maximum amount was 40. wow.