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RANDOM MUSINGS on the fin-de-millénaire games scene . . .

19 October 2000 . . . Labels for the type of games we enjoy have been a hot topic of discussion on the Internet lately, spurred on by a question in an interview from prominent inventor Alan Moon. It has been a very difficult discussion so far, both on the incoming and on the outgoing sides. It seems rather muddy on the one end just which games one wants to include and on the other just what one wants to achieve in a name, and for what audience. The fact that the original request is coming from Alan Moon doesn't help us much with the former as he has been active in both the American and the German creative streams. And the question remains on the latter whether a term is being invented to be used only among the "game-aware" to help them understand what they are talking about, which was the case in Mr. Moon's interview as probably the general public will not be exposed to it, or something that will help in gaining mindshare about games with the general public.

One thought that I haven't seen mentioned so far: the fundamental principles, the rules of the game as it were, have been been really well articulated in an article by Wolfgang Kramer, which is the first comprehensive attempt I have seen. Whereas the creators of the games themselves have been many-handed and there have been many cross influences, it might be an idea to focus on this sole articulation. And since it first appeared, as far as I know, in the year 2000 (maybe it has an earlier date in German?), I might borrow from the movie business' "Dogma '95" and suggest the rubric "Kramer 2000".

Laments about omitting inventor's names from games are common in the community. Some even feel that the names should even appear on the box. I am less certain of that as, after all, the game box is part of the marketing of the game so whether the name appears there really ought to be subservient to that goal. But I recently noticed that one game box has even gone so far as to list not only its inventor and developers, but even its playtesters. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this game? Write me if you know what game I'm talking about and I will publish the name of the first correct answerer here. . . .


Please forward any comments and corrections to Rick Heli