I shipped a game. I’m off to Burning Man

August 29, 2010 at 10:01 am

Been quite busy these last few months, but the fruit of my (and a whole lot of other people’s) labor has finally been revealed. I am quite proud to be Design Lead on City of Wonder, Playdom’s latest social game, which has been receiving quite humbling reviews. Today I’m leaving for a very different kind of city of wonder to attend Burning Man 2010. I’ll be delightfully Away From Keyboard from 8/29 through 9/6. If you find yourself on the Playa, come visit me at 6:30 & Baghdad. I’ve designed two games in keeping with this year’s theme — they’re […]


How to fix Cow Clicker

July 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Ian Bogost created Cow Clicker, according to this tweet, as “a Facebook game about Facebook games.” And I do get it. It’s funny. Ha ha. Okay now but seriously, it could be better. Ian, if you’re paying attention, here’s how to improve your Facebook game about Facebook games. 1) Reduce the Click Window: Currently I can only click my cow once every six hours. MouseHunt lets me sound the hunter’s horn every 15 MINUTES. And I can cook cheeseburgers in Café World in only five. Procrastination and distraction operate on fairly tight cycles. How often do we refresh our RSS […]


Sight Unseen

July 9, 2010 at 1:02 am

In a recent video, Zero Punctuation’s Yahtzee Croshaw described Nintendo’s 3DS — first introduced at E3 — as “a concept that is literally impossible to demonstrate in picture or in video, which rather shoots the advertising potential in the foot.” A snicker-worthy comment, but one that touches upon an interesting problem that’s been increasing in relevancy over the last decade. The earliest I remember it was on some of my favorite VHS tapes: ads “showing” the impressive sights and sounds available on those fancy new DVD things. More recently it’s television commercials “showing” us the superior color and clarity of […]


Foursquare: games, services, and game-like services

July 5, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the link-bait. I worked alongside Dennis Crowley at area/code over the summer of 2007, so it’s been fun for me to watch the meteoric rise of Foursquare. From its debut at SXSW in early 2009, to its $20 million Series B round announced just last week, I’m incredibly happy for Dens and his growing Foursquare family. (I also feel slightly vindicated for all those times my friends poked fun at me for “checking in” wherever we went last year. So there’s that.) Foursquare is an incredibly fun service, improving dramatically over […]


Pardon our dust.

May 3, 2010 at 7:48 am

Sorry folks. In the midst of a transition to a new blog template. Apologies for the rough edges.


The Window in Which to Impress

September 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm

I have too many friends who are unemployed, or otherwise occupied by occupations beneath them. The thing is, they’re all awesome. These are talented, brilliant people whose paper CVs fail to properly convey the whole of their skills. We recognize that there is a vastness to one’s expertise that easily exceeds the bounds of an 8.5×11 page, which is why I suppose interviews are conducted. But the market is so flooded that even qualified candidates are being phased out before the interview stage. The window in which to impress has gotten smaller, which is why the resume/cover letter combo have […]


Spam Poetry: Springtime for Twitter

August 17, 2009 at 11:06 am

From: Kathie Lugo «siphono@redvips.com» Subject: Springtime for Twitter Date: April 23, 2009 3:21:12 AM PDT and that made me think of all the insomniatic nights that she stayed up with me and mirrored my every move and snuggled me right out of my anxiety into dreamland long after grant and cate had drifted off what do you look for in a best friend the girl loves a project i mean LOVES it was like so fun to her to print them off plan how she wanted to present them go to the store for candy sign and put them together […]


What Twitter does for customer service

August 13, 2009 at 12:03 am

Within a day of posting both tirade and tweet against them, Simplenote’s devs contacted me directly via Twitter reply, blog comment, and personal email apologizing for the password change user-experience, and pledging to fix it for the next build. It’s already been fixed, and I’ve been using Simplenote non-stop ever since. Fact is, Simplenote’s devs did exactly the right thing. They addressed the problem directly, and humanized themselves. And they did it using Twitter, the humanizing service. I like referring to Twitter as a “flattening” kind of platform. It’s the type of site where Shaquille O’Neal can have the same […]


Simplenote User Experience FAIL

July 22, 2009 at 11:07 am

Hey, here’s a fun exercise. Pay $1.99 for Simplenote, an iPhone note-taking app that came heartily recommended by John Gruber as a be-all, end-all replacement for Apple’s native Notes app, largely because it features syncing. Write a few notes. Remark that the UI is sparse but easy to use. Now register a Simplenote account for syncing. And while you’re typing in your password, mistype a few keystrokes because — let’s be honest — typing on the iPhone isn’t always a perfect science. Since there’s no “confirm password” field (where you would normally type your password a second time for just […]


I’m working on “omg hire me”

August 19, 2008 at 9:57 am

As I mentioned in my last post, next month’s Escapist game is a board game called “omg hire me.” It’s about the mundanity of job searching, and specifically about the “loop” practiced during this process. Unlike some of my other titles, the game design is not straightforward. As is typical for me, I know what I want the game to feel like, but I don’t know how to get there. So far, the gameplay is divided into several stages, which comprise the loop: Update Resume Search for Jobs Compose Cover Letter/Application Rinse and Repeat Every time a player completes this […]