lu·do – Latin; “I play”
Games are complicated. There are a lot of components to a full game, and it’s made of a lot of art things. There are a lot of ways you can talk about them, and there’s a lot already said. People talk about the characters and stories of a game, how to market and sell a game, what it means to be a game, how to promote the fantasy of a game. There are a lot of words said that talk about the game’s surface, how a game presents itself, and how to get it into someone’s hands.
But there’s another side to games that’s harder to talk about: the mechanisms and systems that define what play is and how it works. They’re hard to talk about because actions are the natural language of games, not words. They’re even harder to make because it’s complicated to make a world that actually works the way you say it does. It’s hard to make something that goes beyond telling us things and actually shows us things.
That’s what I want to talk about. I want to talk about that language of actions and the systems they form. I want to talk about the things, good and bad, that games make us do without even realizing. I want to talk about how to get what we want out of games using organic systems instead of a disconnected, ham-fisted narration. I want to talk about rulesets that cause players to spontaneously give rise to riveting fictions they didn’t know they had in them. And I want to talk about why we play at all.
I want to talk about systems because that’s how we engage with games, and I want to show people why that’s so awesome.
I’m a ludite – I study play.