Wednesday, March 05, 2008


A friend of mine was incredibly bored during a critique/review session a few days ago and started drawing transitional shapes. Starting with a circle, she would slowly sharpen four points into a square, drawing each iteration from left to right. A friend joined in and made it into a challenge by drawing the beginning and ending forms and having her fill in the middle.

She shared this with me later that day while I was doing some musical improvisation with two other people. A corresponding musical game was obvious: one of us produced the initial sound, another the final sound, and the third the inbetween sound.

Today, the same friend sent me a poem playing with words. There was a clear connection between adjacent words: teach, tech, mech, etc. Sometimes the connection was orthographic, sometimes phonetic. Later, she framed it as a challenge: "get from 'potter' to 'u'".

While the game itself ("The Inbetween Game") is wonderful, what's most interesting to me here is the idea of a generic game form: the same basic principle being applied to multiple domains (drawing, music, language). Can we abstract other games into generic forms that describe game-families? Meta-games?

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