Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Define genius

Trying to Design a Truly Entertaining Game Can Defeat Even a Certified Genius
Ted Castronova, a social scientist and professor at Indiana University, made a name for himself studying the economies of online games, going so far as to calculate the exchange rate between US dollars and EverQuest platinum. But he wanted to do more than study virtual worlds - he wanted to create one. So in 2006, armed with a $250,000 MacArthur Foundation grant, Castronova and a team of grad students got to work designing Arden: The World of William Shakespeare. The aim was to have players explore an Elizabethan environment, interact with characters from the Bard's plays, or just go to a tavern and wager a few farthings on card games like One-and-Thirty.

The game was released last fall - to little fanfare. It seems something was rotten in the state of Arden.

"It's no fun," Castronova says ruefully. "We failed to design a gripping experience."
Really? It took a purported genius and $250,000 to figure out that a game called "The World of William Shakespeare" might not be a smash hit?

Shouldn't these grants come with a stipulation that if you use the money to prove that you are in fact not a genius, you have to give it back?

KingHenryMMV: Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more
LilRomeo69: Shakespeare is teh suck. U R all gei

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