A coupleÂ of years back I wrote an essay on games that create a story as part of the gameplay, which was published as part ofÂ theÂ excellentÂ collection Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media (ed. Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin, MIT Press, 2007) which I have huckstered here before. The contents of the book are slowly migrating online (didnâ€™t like the weather in the real world is my guess) and my piece has just gone live. You can read it here.
Iâ€™ll warn you now that much of it was written in a small hotel on Skye that turned out to be run by a man who had taught me history some twenty years earlier, sitting in the lounge after a tour of the Tallisker whisky distillery earlier in the day, in a tearing hurry to (a) meet the deadline and (b) to find somewhere with internet access that would let me plug a USB stick into their machine. It turns out the Scots arenâ€™t big on giving foreigners access to their ports, not since they learned their lesson in 1072.
Nevertheless I think the piece holds up, and raises some interesting points about a neglected area of game design. I believe thereâ€™s a way to make comments on the MIT site though I couldnâ€™t find it; have a poke around and if you canâ€™t locate it then do come back here and weâ€™ll chat in the comments.
Mattel Expands Games Portfolio with Award-Winning Apples to Apples®, Snorta® and Blink® Games
EL SEGUNDO, Calif., August 28, 2007 – Mattel, Inc. (NYSE: MAT) today announced it has acquired the rights from Out of the Box Publishing, Inc., to manufacture, distribute and market several games properties, including the award-winning Apples to Apples®, Snorta® and Blink®.
This is fantastic news. Not just for Out of the Box—though all the games named above are terrific fun and work as well for serious gamers as they do for families with kids—but for publishers of boutique board- and card-games. It used to be that when a new independent scored a success with a game, Mattel, Hasbro and their various arms had an ignominious record of producing a knockoff in time for the next holiday season (yes, Taboo, I’m looking at you). This deal seems to indicate that the majors are prepared to do the proper thing and make an offer for the rights. Hurrah for all concerned.
When John Kovalic first told me about Snorta, I was astonished that anyone could have the chutzpah to publish a Snap variant as a boxed game. If you’d told me two years ago that someone could publish a Snap variant and sell it to Mattel I would have laughed very hard, and not with you. Congratulations to the OOTB crew for proving me utterly wrong. Snorta is, incidentally, probably the best new drinking game of this millennium and I recommend it utterly.