• "Zugzwang is one of my favourite words, and an extremely useful one. Essentially, it's a condition where it would be better not to move, in a game where you have to move, such as chess. Strictly speaking, it describes a situation where that move will end the game, with the mover as the loser, but the definition in chess is looser, and only demands the loss of a piece or the worsening of the player's position. The player has to take the least worst option. It's a kind of judo – using the ineluctable forward momentum of the rules of the game to force the opposing player to do your work for you." The momentum of rules! I like that a lot.

Everyday Gaming

15 August 2011

My latest Game Design of Everyday Things column is now live at Kill Screen. It’s about games and the “everyday”:

This column is nominally about looking at the relationship between design and games. But, in its title that riffs on Don Norman’s most famous book, I’d argue that the “Everyday” is as important as the D-word. After all, design is not really something most people engage with actively, either as connoisseurs or as critics. Most often, it is something people engage with without knowing it’s there. “Design,” it turns out, is usually the answer to the question we so rarely ask of the products we use everyday: “What made this good?”

Read the whole article at Kill Screen.

  • "Martin Woodhouse, who has died aged 78, was a psychologist and medic, but worked variously as a novelist, scriptwriter, engineer, programmer, government planner, artificial intelligence researcher and perfumer." Early AI and writing for the Avengers. Blimey. When I grow up, I would like life to be like this.

Police Business

12 August 2011

“‘Police business’, he said almost gently, ‘is a hell of a problem. It’s a good deal like politics. It asks for the highest type of men, and there’s nothing in it to attract the highest type of men. So we have to work with what we get – and we get things like this.'”

Raymond Chandler, The Lady In The Lake