2006-07-27 : 10 Observations from my Berlin trip
1. Berlin doesn’t believe in air conditioners. It was 90+°F every day, muggy, miserable - and it was impossible to sleep. The only relief was when you’re standing on the platform and a cool wind blows out of the tunnel ahead of the approaching train. Ten seconds of relief, a few times a day.
2. However and nonetheless, Berlin is my favorite city yet. It blew San Francisco (my previous favorite city) right out of the water.
3. I’m not going to try to tell you about how baffling+striking Berlin was, as an American of my generation looking at the relics of the cold war. The Berlin Wall came down when I was a senior in high school; I couldn’t possibly understand what it meant. I still don’t, but now I’m struck and baffled by how significant it must be and how little grasp of the world I have.
4. Spione is a very sophisticated design. The game’s arrangement of who-says-what-about-what-and-when is subtle, deft, and beautiful. I’m sure I’ll say more about that, once the game’s more widely available. Right now I can’t start a paragraph with “you know how in Spione you do blah blah” and expect to be understood.
5. Spione is, however, a game that’ll inherently seem both very difficult and totally unrewarding to, well, to most gamers. It requires that its players have already developed - or be in the process of developing - certain skills, incompatible with certain other skills that most gamers rely on. This should surprise no one; Ron calls me a hand-holder and that’s a real distinction between us as designers.
6. Were some of the German gamers there prepared to write off the whole endeavor, based only on the success or failure of this one session of this one (inherently difficult) game? I believe that some of them were.
7. On the other hand, most of the German gamers I interacted with were hardcore narrativists. They wouldn’t've used the term to describe themselves, but lord you should’ve heard them. They made me sound like a moderate.
8. I wish I could see and participate in how they approach the technical problems of narrativist play - but I can’t. I don’t speak or read the language they develop and publish in. It’s lousy. I have lots I could learn from them but no real access!
9. Eero is a hilarious guy and a fantastic storyteller. I’ve been doing (flattering) Eero impersonations ever since I got back. They include things he said about me, things he said about my blog, and things he said about Stockholm.
10. This last is a little personal and immodest, so don’t mind me. At least three people commented possitively on the fact that I carry a notebook around with me and am constantly writing in it. I hadn’t realized before that I’ve turned out to be the kind of writer who fills notebooks, but I guess I have. Cool!
1. On 2006-07-27, Ron Edwards said:
2. On 2006-07-27, Vincent said:
3. On 2006-07-27, Georgios said:
4. On 2006-07-28, Ben Lehman said:
5. On 2006-07-28, Settembrini said:
6. On 2006-07-28, Vincent said:
7. On 2006-07-28, Georgios said:
8. On 2006-07-28, Harald Wagener said:
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10. On 2006-07-28, Levi Kornelsen said:
11. On 2006-07-29, Harald Wagener said:
12. On 2006-07-29, Ron Edwards said:
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19. On 2006-07-31, Vincent said:
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27. On 2006-07-31, Vincent said:
28. On 2006-07-31, Ron Edwards said:
29. On 2006-07-31, Harald Wagener said:
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31. On 2006-07-31, Georgios said:
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33. On 2006-07-31, Vincent said:
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38. On 2006-08-01, Frank T said:
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56. On 2006-08-09, Frank T said: