October 1, 2004
The discussions were lengthy and inspiring at code and creativity 3.0 (participants included John Klima, Anne-Marie Schleiner, Alex Galloway, Ruth Catlow, and yours truly Mary Flanagan), hosted by Jon Ippolito and Joline Blais at the University of Maine. Conversations hovered around the idea of computer gaming and how gaming interfaces with / against larger political and cultural issues.
Each artist assembled showed work that subverted governmental or conventional game systems: hacking FBI monitoring (Galloway/RSG’s Carnivore), the latest US war in the middle east (Klima’s The Great Game), invading America’s Army (O.U.T. by Schleiner), reworking abstract war gaming through chess (Catlow’s Rethinking Wargames ), and changing game goals and storytelling conventions (Flanagan’s domestic and the RAPUNSEL project). Themes emerged about the importance of rethinking how games are played, how winning states or outcomes are created, and . I spent much of the weekend brainstorming a game focused on a game which could equally focus on collaboration and cooperation with Ruth Catlow, one of the founders of UK’s arts organization furtherfield. Her 3 player chess game, Rethinking Wargames, explores conflict resolution in a hack on a classic chess game –it calls for ‘pawns to join forces to defend world peace’. My game, called “Six Circles,” is a ‘now drawn out on a slightly used paper plate, soon to be a programmed” game… A single player against a computer or two players against/with each other must create circles out of simple shapes while fending off illness/negative pieces whose only desire is to spread throughout all the pieces. Working together and bringing resistance through crossing player pieces helps make the pieces more resistant to harm.