[Oo! Let’s Make a Game!] Episode 2: What’s It All About?

A meeting of transhumans on Oo! Let's Make a Game!

01:00:59 long & 55.9 MB big

In this episode, Robert Bohl (designer of Misspent Youth) and Joshua A. C. Newman (designer of shock: social science fiction), discuss what the transhumanist science fiction game they’re designing—before your very ears!—should be about. What is transhumanism about? Where does the design want to focus?

– We start with listener feedback: Simon C, Paul B, and Sven Holmström
Sufficiently Advanced
Eclipse Phase
The Cyborg Handbook
– The Wikipedia article on transhumanism
– Squids do have brains
– 12:00: Aboutness in game design
– I misquote Jared Sorensen’s big three game design questions, reading instead from Nathan Paoletta’s blog
– The Radio Lab episode we’re talking about is either Choice or Who Am I? (or maybe both (I think))
– Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs novels
– The game is (possibly) about “identity, change, and human nature.”
– 25:00: What we know is in the game so far: a transhumanist game that supports narrativist play that involves character generation during play, wherein you see how your characters survive the technological singularity
– Charles Stross’s Accelerando
– Possibly stealing Ganakagok‘s tarot-like situation generation
– Vincent Baker’s game Rock of Tahamaat, Space Tyrant
– Cards vs. dice and various systems that work differently for different things
– Connections between the characters
– Ben Lehman’s Polaris
– Currents in transhumanist thought from the Wikipedia article
– The Jeepform The Upgrade by Olle Jonsson, Thorbiörn Fritzon, and Tobias Wrigstad
– Homework: Aboutness, and a pass at character creation
– Talk about the show, do reviews
– The Trapcast forum thread I was talking about
– Listener homework: Give us your “aboutness” answer

You can subscribe to the show by plugging the RSS feed URL into your preferred podcatcher.

The intro music is “Gotta Whizz” by Boris the Sprinkler, from the album Mega Anal. The outgoing music is “Screamin’ Demon Martians Ridin’ Go-Karts in My Head” from the album Saucer to Saturn.

9 thoughts on “[Oo! Let’s Make a Game!] Episode 2: What’s It All About?”

  1. A trans humanist game should be about what stays the same when you can change everything and anything about yourself. Because what stays the same is what you care about and what you care about is interesting.

  2. That’s a great comment kingstonc. I would add that sometimes you also change to get the thing you want, and the thing you want is also interesting. Peoples desires say an awful lot about them. The really interesting thing is whether you lose the thing you wanted to keep in order to take a shot at getting the thing you wanted. (And you can end up with both or neither.)

  3. Of course I can’t hold myself back from correcting you regarding the Swedish royal house. The current regent is the king, his wife is the queen, but isn’t a regent. If the king dies his daughter will become queen *and* regent. Her husband, in turn, will be *prince*, not king (and not regent).

    (It is known that the king would prefer his son to become regent instead of his older daughter, but parliament screwed him royally (!) on that one right after the prince’s birth.)’

    Now, let’s move on… (And yeah, the existence of a KING in my native country is really hilarious to me too, that’s why I’m spewing forth all these words.)

  4. Yeah, I did some research after the episode. The king in question was, in fact, King Christina, who’s been dead for some 300 years.

    Doc, that’s precisely what Shock: is about.

    Kingston, I can very easily see what you care about being put into question as who and what you are changes nature.

  5. So when I gain weight,Does my visceral sence of the world change? As far as big Breasts ,small waists…please make your femal characters with realistic costumes!And does personality stay the same if the body/reality changes? Anyway good luck!Cheers!

    1. It’s not our business to make characters at all. And I’m not sure precisely what “female” means in this context anyway.

      Does the personality stay the same if the body changes? Listen to that RadioLab episode to get some informed opinions!

  6. Maybe it’s what you choose to change or not change-what you care about, look like, can do, ect., says what you choose to be. And what you choose to be is interesting.

    If transhumanism is about identity, about the question “what am I?”- “I am what I choose to be and I choose to be (a homosexual, a Christian, a person with the body of a squid, a person with an un-upgraded human body with all it’s inconveniences)” is a pretty interesting answer.

    One thing that I don’t think would be a good choice for an answer to “what am I” is “I am the sum total of my biological processes and mimetic inputs” because such a deterministic view of human nature is deprogagonising and undramatic EVEN IF IT IS TRUE. Drama is inherently biased in favor of free will over determinism.

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