Reviewing: Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling

Ok, so as promised, I am going to tell you about my experience with Chris Crawford and his book, Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling [CCIS]. I have spent way too much time reading this book and I need to move on to the next one. Also, I really really need to start writing those two papers I need to write this semester! Let me start by saying this: When I bought the book, I didn’t even know who Chris Crawford really was.  I knew he was a name in the games industry, but otherwise I knew nothing.  I can’t even remember what led me to the book. Maybe someone recommended Crawford, and I looked at his dearth of books on Amazon.  Out of them, I would have naturally chosen CCIS, just based upon the title alone.  I’ll say right now, it was probably a good and necessary choice, but that doesn’t mean I like every bit of it.

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The Doors Are Frozen Shut: An Introduction

So, as promised, I would like to introduce you all to my replacement project for my game design class this semester.  The project is titled “The Doors Are Frozen Shut” and it is about being trapped in a building during a snow storm with neighbors you barely know.  Here is a title screen mockup that I made in class while the instructor was droning on about something:

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Reading: Imaginary Games and Patterns in Game Design

I am probably about to do two books probably a great deal of injustice. I do not mean to, but I feel like I have been a bit lax in some of my reading lately.  I have had two books on my radar for a while, bought them about a month ago, and I hadn’t really gotten around to reading them yet. One was Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling by Chris Crawford (no surprise). I’m still working on that one because it is really interesting to me and I want to give more than usual.  The other book is Imaginary Games by Chris Bateman. You may have noticed that I also indicated Patterns in Game Design as part of the post title.  A few days ago, I was skulking about on Twitter, following conversations back for context, when I came across a book recommendation from Brenda Brathwaite. She mentioned Patterns in Game Design (by Staffanto Bjork) to someone as a must-read book.  I casually checked my university library and found we had an electronic copy. I didn’t read it right away, but instead tried to find someplace to buy the book (with no luck as the book appears to be a bit rare).  Eventually I got around to reading it in my own way.  The injustice I am giving these books is, for the most part, that I did not read every word. In fact, I read only parts that I thought were relevant to my topics. Even still I am going to talk about them anyway.

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Takeaway: Chris Crawford at Mesa Community College

A ridiculous series of events happened today.  After work, I went to campus and had decided to spend the 20 minutes before my class listening to a public discussion on games between Alice Daer and Elizabeth Hayes (two of my professors). I wanted to eat beforehand, though, so I went into a place I hadn’t been before: Baja Fresh. When I got there, I happened to run into a friend of mine who had also decided to eat there for the first time.  We got to talking and he asked if I were going to the Chris Crawford talk tonight. I did a double take, because I hadn’t even known that there was a Chris Crawford talk tonight. What was doubly strange was that just yesterday I ordered on Amazon Chris Crawford’s book on interactive storytelling. Before I left for the public discussion mentioned earlier, I took up upon myself to find a way to get out of my class early enough to make it to the talk.  Fortunately, the latter half of the class was centered on the very basics of JavaScript programming (of which I am already familiar) so I left with plenty of time to make it to Mesa Community College, where Chis Crawford was giving his talk. I decided that, since none of my colleagues went (or likely even knew about it), I should probably write a little about my takeaway from Mr. Crawford.

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What I’m Doing Right Now

To start things off, I figured that I would let people know what I’m working on right now.  My last post before my lacuna had a lot of information about all the projects I was trying to get done at that time.  I have finished two of them, but I haven’t worked on a number of them for a while.  There are reasons for this, but I will not go into them (it will become apparent soon, as the posts roll out).  I thought it would be nice to talk about what I’m doing this summer, even if it really doesn’t affect anyone but myself.

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