Mr. Harmon Returns from One Place to Another

Game Assumptions

February 22, 2014

This week, Daniel Solis started an utterly fascinating discussion on Twitter on the implicit assumptions that people make about how games work.

Daniel and most of the participants are game designers. I’m not a game designer, but I love thinking about the unspoken boundaries of an artform or medium.

@DanielSolis You know which player you are. #GameAssumptions

— Rob Daviau, Gamer (@robdaviaugamer) February 19, 2014

#GameAssumptions The board stays in its current position on the table.

— Daniel Solis (@DanielSolis) February 19, 2014

#gameassumptions You must be one of the players in order to be eligible to win.

— Elliot Harmon (@elliotharmon) February 19, 2014

And I love how in each of these tweets, there’s a challenge. In defining an assumption of a medium, you implicitly point across the border to the possibility of an object that would subvert that assumption.

#GameAssumptions reading the rules will not change their contents. #quantumgaming

— The Author M (@TheAuthorM) February 19, 2014

#GameAssumptions Play is either continuous or discrete. It is not continuous for some and discrete for others.

— John LeBoeuf-Little (@worldnamer) February 19, 2014

#GameAssumptions The rules are not lying or withholding information from you.

— ~ JC ~ (@jcvsmc) February 19, 2014

#gameassumptions All players will be informed when the game is completed.

— Elliot Harmon (@elliotharmon) February 19, 2014

Players need to all be alive at the same time. #GameAssumptions

— Isaac Karth (@isaackarth) February 19, 2014

Players are aware of their participation. #GameAssumptions

— Randall Newnham (@coffeeswiller) February 19, 2014

I’ve always thought that avant garde is sort of a misnomer. Because the rest of the army doesn’t always follow. Avant garde artists continue to work in ways that foreground assumptions and questions about the media in which they’re working. And in at least some mainstream art, the boundaries remain more-or-less invisible.

One must believe that the game exists in order to play it. #GameAssumptions

— Elliot Harmon (@elliotharmon) February 19, 2014

#GameAssumptions Games are meant to be fun.

— Cardboard Punch-Out (@Cardboard_Punch) February 19, 2014

#gameassumptions the rulebook is simply a list of rules and how to play and not an NPC/player itself

— peter newland (@MtGSPete) February 19, 2014

#GameAssumptions The people who are playing know they are playing.

— Chris Floyd (@DrDeleto) February 20, 2014

Which is not to say that experimental and traditional work cannot coexist or contribute to each other or share an audience or share practitioners. I think one of the main things that define the current state of the poetry world is the swiftness with which the rules jump between the foreground and the background.

#GameAssumptions The game will not set you on fire.

— The Author M (@TheAuthorM) February 19, 2014