May 23, 2011

Indie Game Panel Speaking at UCSC

January 14, 2011

Global Game Jam at Santa Cruz

It’s the beginning of another year, which means it’s time for another Global Game Jam. Santa Cruz is proud to host a site for the third year in a row, and we continue to grow. In fact, we’re currently tied for the 2nd largest site in the US and the 10th largest site in the world! But even if you’re not ready to dedicate a full 48 hours to the festivities, you should still come check out our keynote speakers this year, who will be talking from 4:30 on Friday, January 28th. We continue our tradition of world class talks to kick off our game jam, and this year we have three veterans of the industry that offer unique and fascinating perspectives on game design.

December 7, 2010

As I Lay Dying!

I’m pleased to announce the release of my latest game, As I Lay Dying! or, Teale’s Big Hike! It is a challenging puzzle platformer I began writing in the spring of 2010 for Noah Wardrip-Fruin’s Playable Media course. You can play it free online here. I would love to hear what you think of it!

Before you continue reading some of my thoughts about the game, I encourage you to play it for a few minutes to get a feel for what the game is all about. If you can get past one or two levels, you should be in good shape.

January 25, 2010

Global Game Jam Featuring Awesome Speakers

The second annual global game jam at UCSC is coming up, kicking off on Friday, January 29th. But even if you aren’t participating in the jam, you should still come by the Simularium at 4:00 pm on Friday to check out the great speakers we have lined up. This year, you’ll get to hear from:

A renown indie game designerEdmund McMillen (, renown indie game designer

Technical artist and avid game jammerKate Compton, EA/Maxis technical artist and avid indie game jammer

Founder of Gaijin GamesAlex Neuse, founder of local Santa Cruz game studio Gaijin Games (

All of the talks should be great, so I hope you can make it!

September 18, 2009

The Magic of Magic


Recognize this? Of course you do.

I started playing Magic: The Gathering when I was in 5th grade.  Like all things from that age, it was a fad, and quickly faded behind the next hot toy.  However, I have been amazed with the frequent resurgence of the game in my life.  Multiple times, I have witnessed people with little in common admit that they were fans of the game, usually reluctantly or in jest, only to see enthusiasm snowball until a community has formed around the game, happily dishing out large sums of money for the latest cards.

August 13, 2009

The Great Flu: Pandemic Education for the Masses

TheGreatFluIn my last post, I discussed how games are being used to communicate, not just to entertain.  Today, I want to discuss The Great Flu, a game recently released by Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.  The game attempts to educate the public about the dangers of and difficulty in containing flu pandemics.

August 6, 2009

Learning from Games

I don’t need to tell this audience about the momentum building behind educational games.  Even when I was an elementary student, going to the computer lab to play Math Blaster, Odell Down Under, or Oregon Trail was a special treat.  These days, kids grow up on video games: game consoles are nearly as common as TVs in households; cell phones are standard issue for kids of all walks of life; the internet is available to everyone, with its countless easily accessible, free games.

July 23, 2009

Learning in Games

Kodu Game LabThis summer, I’m working with Matt MacLaurin at Microsoft Research on Kodu Game Lab.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, Kodu is an environment for people with no programming experience to quickly create games.  Its visual programming language is designed to be intuitively understandable and its library of characters and objects facilitate rapid game development.  If you’re interested in checking it out yourself, it’s currently available for the very reasonable price of $5 through X-Box Live Arcade.

 One of my goals for the summer is to introduce some interesting AI features to the characters of Kodu.  Among those features is learning.  We want Kodu characters to be able to adapt their behavior based on their experiences.

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