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by Jorge Albor

11 Feb 2016


That Dragon, Cancer (Numinous Games, 2016)

I think that people are mostly good. I think the world is—generally—becoming a better place, and that we have the capacity to fix most of the problems that ail our society. I think that one day mankind will take to the stars and that our stories will long outlive our little star. I’m a hopeful person.

At the same time, it’s hard not to succumb to despair, be it the petty kind that you might feel each time Donald Trump appears on national television, or the existential kind that you feel when you’re in a crowded space (Times Square might as well be a black hole on the face of the earth). If there’s a word for the simultaneous feeling of hope and despair, it’s in a language that I don’t speak—or one that I have long forgotten.

by Jorge Albor

28 Jan 2016


Netrunner is a beautiful game. Its theme resonates wonderfully throughout every set of cards, and the asymmetrical gameplay makes for a rare and deeply compelling power struggle between corporations and hackers. I love it, I really do, but I find myself unsatisfied with its lack of a distinct casual format, especially as a means of recruiting new players.

I have tried about a dozen times to get my friends into Netrunner. For a game that features punk rock hackers and corporations that create murderous sleeper clones, it’s a surprisingly difficult game to proselytize. The game is popular, absolutely, and those that get into it tend to border on the obsessive once they go all in, but making the game truly accessible to new players is difficult.

by Scott Juster

21 Jan 2016


As is the case with the disease itself, it’s hard to know how to talk about That Dragon, Cancer. Everyone deals with such challenges in a different way, and words that are meant to be brave or comforting often end up sounding like generic platitudes. Ryan and Amy Green made a game about their son Joel’s struggle with cancer. There’s some happy parts and some sad parts in it, but all of them feel honest and even practical at points. It’s something that I admire about the game.  It feels authentic because they’re tackling multiple aspects of the disease, which makes it easier for other people to relate to and to even share their own personal experiences with cancer.

by Jorge Albor

14 Jan 2016

I had a short twitter conversation with a former colleague of mine today about the potential benefits of virtual reality for creating and amplifying empathy. The ability to transport a player in a first-person perspective into a wholly alien experience is certainly an excellent opportunity to engage them in empathy building. Last year, Josh Constantine of Tech Crunch went so far as to call virtual reality an “Empathy Machine”, and designers in the social impact and journalism space are already playing around with a variety of game concepts. The Space quoted Amnesty International Innovation’s Manager Reuven Steains describing virtual reality as “a portal from the streets of London to the streets of Aleppo.” There is a unique opportunity for fostering compassion in VR.

On the other hand, I find myself cautious when it comes to the design of embodiment in virtual space. When you slip on an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, who do you become? What affordances do these experiences signal to you as to how to behave as this virtual being? What does it mean to be brown or a woman in virtual reality? What does it mean to be brown?

by Scott Juster

7 Jan 2016


If you’ve spent any time in the modern software world, you’ve probably chased that elusive concept of “delight.” Whether you’re making an enterprise analytics suite or a twitter client, it’s not enough that your tool simply performs its function or even that it’s conventionally beautiful. You want people to be happy when they use it. 

It’s the reason that you hear the little pops when tapping around from icon to icon in the Facebook mobile app or why refreshing your feed is done by tugging downward until new items pop up. The motions made to accomplish these things are fairly intuitive, but they’re also feature little aesthetic touches that please some very basic corner of your brain.

//Mixed media
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It's Okay to Ask for Help in 'The Witness'

// Moving Pixels

"Looking up a solution isn't a sin. The only sin is not understanding that solution when you do.

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