Friday, December 14, 2012

Ludum Dare and solo gaming

Solo gaming is often about tweaking and even creating games to fit one's needs and expectations. While most of the time this blog and others focus on tabletop games, there might be something to explore in the digital medium too. Anna Anthropy's "Rise of the Videogame Zinesters" is a manifesto for people to create more digital games that focus on their interests, views, culture: video games as self-expression and art. One of the main arguments for that is the appearance of tools that make digital game creation possible without the need of lots of technical knowledge.

Now consider Ludum Dare, a game creation event that had its tenth anniversary this year. The 25th edition of the event (there are currently 3 editions per year) starts today, and there are two ways to participate. In the "jam," teams create games in 72 hours. In the "competition," individuals must try to complete their creations in 48 hours. It is interesting to note that there are no prizes in the competition other than peer recognition and the experience itself of creating the game. JF has already written about solo gaming and creativity and I'd say the arguments also apply in the case of these digital game creation solo challenges.

It's interesting to see that there is still a divide between tabletop and digital games. Take, for instance, the different meanings and implications of the terms "solo gaming" in tabletop games and "single player" in digital games, although they both refer to the same activity of playing a game by oneself. However, with the increased availability and rise in the capabilities of tablets and smartphones, these views might converge and different possibilities for solo gaming (and gaming in general) might be explored.

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