On May 3 the NYU Game Center celebrated its fourth annual No Quarter Exhibition, a gallery showcase featuring exclusive commissions from established and emerging independent game developers. This year, we proudly featured:
- Bennett Foddy’s Speed Chess by Bennett Foddy: A sixteen player real-time chess game. Check out a brief video about the game on Kotaku here.
- Killer Queen by Nikita Mikros and Josh DeBonis: A 10 player game arcade game where two teams, each lead by a queen, attempt to fill their base with nectar, race their snail home, or kill off the other team’s queen first. Check out Killer Queen’s Kotaku video here. Also check out Killer Queen’s facebook to get a glimpse into the development of the massive Killer Queen 10 player cabinet.
- There Shall Be Lancing by Sophie Holden: A two player spherical lancing game. Check out There Shall Be Lancing’s Kotaku piece here. Sophie also did an interesting write up on her blog detailing the speedy development process of the game which you can read here.
- Split Tree by Matthew LoPresti: A terraforming game for two players and one controller. Check out Spilt Tree on Kotaku here.
In addition to the games, we featured some beautiful illustrations of past No Quarter games as a part of our new partnership with Attract Mode. Attract Mode did an excellent write up of the event, including some shots of the illustrations, here. More photos of the evening can also be found on our facebook.
And finally, the curators note from Charles Pratt can be found below.
Bennett Foddy’s Speed Chess is a take by the eponymous, legendary independent game designer of QWOP on what could be called the ur-game of western civilization. Foddy brings the elder game of Chess into the traditions of the New Arcade movement by expanding the number of players and greatly increasing the speed of the game. The result is a pell-mell; a beautiful chaos that shifts in and out of ordered play, bringing forward an aspect of the ancient art of war that even the world’s most famous war game doesn’t properly examine.
The long tradition of duelling is explored by Sophie Houlden’s There Shall Be Lancing. Putting players in the shoes of two rocket powered jousters locked in aerial combat, Houlden’s game is a duel of quick thinking and speedy counterplay. The short rounds aid in building understanding between the game’s combatants, with each trying to get into the head of the other and guess at their plans and sensibilities, bolstering a skill that is under-appreciated in most duels: empathy.
Matthew LoPresti is also exploring empathy with his game Split Tree, but with a strong emphasis on the interaction between players that comes through physical immediacy. While sharing a controller players work to solve a small puzzle game, whose unfolding patterns give life to a series of islands. The goal of this terraforming is to reflect not just the underlying system that LoPresti has designed, but the state of harmony or lack thereof between the players. For those that are looking there are hints of an argument being made by Tile Tree about the role of proximity and conversation in the worlds we create together.
Finally, Joshua DeBonis and Nikita Mikros have created not only an exciting and complex multiplayer game, Killer Queen, but also an actual monument to the traditions of games in social spaces. The enormous cabinet they have built to house their ten-player, multi-role, competitive action-platformer harkens back and honors the seemingly timeless form that has always defined the arcade, without slavishly duplicating it. That the game they have created is an impressive blend of classic game design elements with hints of the very contemporary genre of action-strategy speaks to the talent and literacy of these two veterans of the New York game scene.
The No Quarter Exhibition as a growing tradition is made possible by a group of exceptional people, such as Dylan McKenzie and Kevin Spain, the administrators who work the system of NYU to do amazing things it probably isn’t design to accomplish, and Rachel Morris, who has shaped the visual language of the NYU Game Center and the No Quarter Exhibition. Also worth commendation are the tireless Game Center faculty and Open Library librarians who make many of our events run smoothly. Finally, we are fortunate this year to be working with Matt Hawkins and Attract Mode to offer a selection of illustrations that celebrate the legacy of the No Quarter Exhibition.
The NYU Game Center is pleased to announce our first game writing Master Class, led by award-winning writer Susan O’Connor.
This two day, hands-on workshop is designed for students and creative professionals from both inside and outside the industry who recognize the potential of the medium and want to play a part in shaping its future.
Susan O’Connor is an accomplished writer who has contributed to over twenty titles, including BioShock, Far Cry 2 and Tomb Raider. Games in her portfolio have sold over ten million copies and generated over half a billion dollars in sales. She has contributed to first-person shooters, action-adventure titles, RTS, RPGs and open-world games in a variety of genres, including sci-fi, fantasy, horror, action, thriller, mystery and crime. In 2009, Gamasutra named her as one of the top writers working in the video game industry today.
This master class will provide a toolbox full of techniques game-writing professionals use to:
· Build a game story from beginning to end
· Create an emotional connection with the player
· Bend and break the classic rules of storytelling for the interactive medium
· Bring virtual characters to life
· Master the demands of genre
· Shepherd a story through the minefield of game development – and fix problems when things go wrong
· Collaborate successfully with a team, from the junior designers to the executive producer
· Raise the bar for storytelling in games
Whether you are a creative from another industry, a professional game developer, or a student just beginning your career – this class is for you.
Space is limited. Don’t miss your chance to learn from Susan in her first-ever appearance in the New York area. Buy your tickets now!
Visiting Professors Eric Zimmerman and Charles Pratt Join as full-time faculty; Clara Fernández-Vara and Bennett Foddy Round Out Department’s Game Studies and Design Capability.
The Game Center at NYU Tisch School of the Arts today announced the addition of four new members to its permanent faculty, serving to further enhance the size and scope of the department’s academic strength in the emerging field of game design education.
Eric Zimmerman, currently a visiting professor and one of the most widely recognized and respected names in game design and game scholarship, will accept a permanent position as an Arts Professor. Charles Pratt, also currently at the Game Center in an adjunct capacity and who has spearheaded several key Game Center initiatives – including the No Quarter annual game exhibit and the Spring Fighter tournament series – will become an Assistant Arts Professor.
Newcomers to the faculty include Clara Fernández-Vara, formerly visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Bennet Foddy, of Oxford University. Fernández-Vara, whose focus has been in using theory and research in the service of design, with a special interest in procedural and interactive narrative, will become an Associate Arts Professor. Foddy, in addition to being an influential game designer (creator of the cult classic QWOP), has also taught and conducted research in the fields of philosophy and neuroscience. He will serve as Assistant Arts Professor.
“With these new hires, I really believe we’ve assembled a “dream team” of faculty here at the Game Center. Each one of them enjoys tremendous respect in the gaming world and also brings his or her unique strength and specialty, which meld extremely well with the capabilities of our current faculty,” said Frank Lantz, Chair of the Game Center. “Moreover, in addition to their impressive accomplishments in game design and academic research, each one is an experienced and committed teacher, which will allow us to add greater depth to the stable of courses we offer at the Game Center.”
Established in 2008, the NYU Game Center is housed at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and offers both 2-year Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) and an undergraduate minor that explore the design and development of games as a creative practice. The department offers courses and public programs on the design, production, and study of games as an aesthetic and cultural form. Working in conjunction with other departments within NYU, as well as the gaming community, part of the center’s mission is to establish New York City as a center of innovation in the growing field of game design.
Indiecade consistently attracts some of the most interesting and experimental games from the independent game scene. Last year, NYC had an impressive showing out in LA, so the Game Center plans to do its part to support our city again this year.
If you’re submitting a game to Indiecade, bring it to the Game Center on Monday 6/10 from 7 – 9PM for an open playtest!
If you’re not submitting, but you’d like to play a collection of independent games in one place, (including some of our student’s games!) join us on the 10th!
We like to say that thoughtful criticism is the highest form of praise for a designer, so bring your constructive critique and help NYC take over Indiecade again this year.
The event will begin with a short talk about playtesting best practices by Game Center Professor and frequent festival judge, Eric Zimmerman.
Following that, the games will be open for play until 9PM.
If you are interested in playtesting your game, please email email@example.com before 6/6 with a brief description of your game, and any special space or hardware requests.
This event is free and open to the public. See you on the 10th!
Like games? How about games that aim to make a difference in the world? NYU Game Center is proud to partner with the annual Games for Change Festival as it celebrates its ten year anniversary. Games for Change brings together developers and those interested in assessing the positive impact of games on society with the general public for two days of workshops, lectures and demonstrations. The conference will host educators, game designers, government representatives and those from the commercial sector as they discuss how to bring games that implement change to all corners of the industry.
Join the discussion on June 17th-19th at New World Stages at 340 West 50th Street in New York City to hear from leaders in the industry like Brenda Romero, Jesse Schell, games journalist Leigh Alexander, Tracy Fullerton, the team from Babycastles and more. Full schedule is available here.
Game Center community members are eligible for a 10% discount, just use the ‘nyugc’ code at checkout.
Game Center students are eligible for an ever larger discount- $100 for the whole festival! More information here.
Registration is available now - so sign up today and join us in exploring the critical change games can create.
Are you a Battlestar Galactica fan? Ever wondered what it would be like to live a day in the Colonial Fleet? The Monitor Celestra Project received international acclaim for giving live-action role-players in Sweden the chance to experience the drama of the BSG universe first hand in one of three epic weekends aboard a Cold War battleship. Now, Celestra designers Martin Ericsson and Cecilia Dolk will be at the Game Center discussing the game design challenges they faced bringing the Battlestar Galactica universe to life.
Come join us Thursday night May 30th at 7PM to meet the designers, hear about the Celestra Project and talk about the Celestra’s place in the live-action gaming world. See video and photos of the event, get in on the Q&A and hear about the efforts to bring the Monitor Celestra experience to the United States.
The talk will be given at the Game Center at 721 Broadway on the 9th floor and is open to the public. RSVP here and we hope to see you there!
This summer, Phoenix Perry is running a weekly coding workshop for women (and transfolk) with a focus on game creation. The workshop will mark the very first session of the Code Liberation Foundation, an educational initiative founded by Perry which offers free game development and programming skills to creative women and teens.
Classes will run June 19th – August 14th, on Wednesdays from 6.30 – 8.30 at the NYU Game Center. Spots are almost filled so sign up today. Register here.
For more information about the Code Liberation Foundation:
What do you get when you export an NYU Game Center MFA student to Norway for a weekend of live action game design conversation? The answer is an education in the rich tradition of Nordic LARP.
Last year, representatives of the Nordic LARP scene visited the NYU Game Center for a talk on the first US run of the Nordic game Mad About the Boy hosted by author Lizzie Stark. Tor Kjetil Edland, Trine Lise Lindahl, and Margrete Raaum lectured regarding not only the game but their involvement with the larger community in Europe. In response, this year NYU Game Center MFA student and US LARP designer Shoshana Kessock visited the Nordic LARP game conference in Norway known as Knutepunkt.
Held outside of Oslo at scenic Haraldvagen, Knutepunkt is a gathering of members of international LARP organizers and academics interested in sharing the latest ideas and advancement in the community. Since 1997 it has become arguably the most important conference in Europe regarding LARP. The theme of the weekend was Crossing Borders, appropriate for a convention which drew attendees from a dozen countries including Russia, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Israel, Palestine and the United States. New games were presented, including Huntsville, a LARP that explored capitol punishment in a Texas Prison, Robin’s Friends which explored friendship in the shadow of leukemia and Prison which let players explore the confinement and psychological pressures of incarceration. These kinds of intense games are typical of Nordic live action games, which focus on game experiences that provoke emotional response and thoughtful consideration of the content. The conference also hosted the LARP Exchange Academy, a three-day game jam for new developers the week before the conference to produce brand new games for presentation.
Along with the games presented, an extensive program of panels and discussions explored different parts of Nordic LARP. One such short discussion by author Jaakko Stenros (Nordic LARP, Pervasive Games) highlights the difficulties of defining Nordic LARP as a game genre in the context of more traditional live action games. Other lectures for the weekend included advanced LARP theory by author Markos Montola (Nordic LARP, Pervasive Games), discussions on political LARPs by Stockholm University professor and researcher Annika Waern (Pervasive Games), discussions on the handling of sexual content in live action games and practical workshops on LARP development techniques.
The conference also provided a home for international collaboration. Designers from around the world shared tips on game design and discussed the relative cultures of their communities and brainstormed future collaborations, such as the joint Norwegian-Palestinian conference in Ramallah this summer. Discussions took place about bringing over more Nordic games to the US, with organizers from the Battlestar Galactica-inspired Monitor Celestra game announcing their intent to aim for a US run. Shoshana Kessock spoke with several designers regarding future collaborations for a New York-based academic LARP conference and showcase, planned for 2014, and the importance of importing Nordic games for US runs. Overall, Knutepunkt is a brilliant educational opportunity for anyone interested in pervasive and live action games and essential for anyone curious about the Nordic tradition itself. Next year’s dates have already been announced for April 2014, to be held in Sweden.
Shoshana Kessock is an Game Center MFA student, creator of Phoenix Outlaw Productions, a writer, and much more. You can learn more about Shoshana here.
The NYU Game Center’s annual PRACTICE conference asks the question, “What is the practice of game design?” We invite you to explore this question with us once again when PRACTICE 2013 returns on November 15th- 17th.
Out of all the disciplines needed to make a game, game design is the most critical but least understood. PRACTICE is a yearly conference for professional game designers that explores the ideas and methods of game design. PRACTICE brings veteran designers across computer and videogames, paper games and sports, over three days to take a close look at the nuts and bolts of game design. Through lectures and panels, workshops and discussion, we explore the practice of game design, with a focus on the concrete, day-to-day techniques of designing games, with plenty of time for playing and socializing as well!
Exclusive speakers you won’t see anywhere else, an intimate gathering of working designers for high level discussion, and lots of time for social events in NYC makes this conference is a true must-attend for anyone interested in game design.
Last year, conference goers created a collaborative record of the many threads and conversations brought up over the course of the conference. We encourage you to browse through this amazing and entertaining record of PRACTICE 2012 and learn why PRACTICE is not to miss!
We also have video recordings of each of the lectures on our Vimeo page! Each lecture is full of unique insight, we welcome you to enjoy and share them!
Join us on Thursday May 16th at 7PM for the NYU Game Center Student Show! The first class of NYU’s MFA program is completing its first year, and to celebrate, the students invite you to come play games developed in their first year of education. The semester-long projects from Game Studio II will all be on display, as well as a collection of work from Game Design I & II, Minimalist Game Design, and Game Studio I. A few select undergraduate projects will also be represented! The games from Game Studio II will be:
- Float through space in Kaleidoscope, an existential space crisis homage to Ray Bradbury.
- Team up with others in the networked spaceship battle game Asterisk.
- Try and escape a sunken Roman wreckage in the undersea puzzle game Octavia.
- Rediscover your childhood love of tabletop dungeon battles with the digital tribute Brutal Arena.
- Float through the trees and make the forest bloom with the Kinect game Jungle.
- Experience a trippy narrative experience on the tennis court with Text Tennis.
Refreshments will be served. RSVP here and come join us!