The secret #scareality experience at #diydays

Thanks to Lance Weiler and the rest of the DIY Days crew for helping us run a “bite-sized” version of Reality Ends Here/SCA Reality at this year’s conference.

The game as we ran it was very lightweight. We kicked things off by announcing in the conference program that a secret experience was afoot. We then left little black cards bearing the game logo in various locations around the venue. Everyone who knew about the game — initially just me, my co-designer Simon Wiscombe, and a handful of others — wore small pins bearing the game logo. Gradually, attendees noticed the logos and asked us what was going on. Doing so earned them special packets of game cards — and pins of their own. During the rare intervals in what was an extremely busy and inspiring event, we spotted attendees experimenting with different card arrangements and brainstorming project ideas.

The winning entry from the experience will be used as a special challenge for players of the real game at USC. We will post their work as soon as it is available and share it on the #diydays hashtag.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all those who played!

"In mid-April 2011, the media reported that Chinese government has prohibited showing on TV and in…"

“In mid-April 2011, the media reported that Chinese government has prohibited showing on TV and in theatres films which deal with time travel and alternate history, with the argument that such stories introduce frivolity into serious historical matters—even the fictional escape into alternate reality is considered too dangerous. We in the liberal West do not need such an explicit prohibition: ideology exerts enough material power to prevent alternate history narratives being taken with a minimum of seriousness. It is easy for us to imagine the end of the world—see numerous apocalyptic films -, but not end of capitalism.”

Slavoj Žižek at Occupy Wall Street

"Engineers are far more important than managers at Apple — and designers are at the top of the…"

“Engineers are far more important than managers at Apple — and designers are at the top of the hierarchy. Even when you look at software, the best designers like Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld, Steve Capps, were called software designers, not software engineers because they were designing in software. It wasn’t just that their code worked. It had to be beautiful code. People would go in and admire it. It’s like a writer. People would look at someone’s style. They would look at their code writing style and they were considered just beautiful geniuses at the way they wrote code or the way they designed hardware.”

Cult of Mac: John Sculley on Steve Jobs

"Though numbers are, in many regards, decisive, they are not everything. Which is to suggest that…"

“Though numbers are, in many regards, decisive, they are not everything. Which is to suggest that there is another way we might interpret the Occupationists’ deferral of content and the emphasis on process. We might hope that this indicates a potential focus on what these occupations intend to do, and how they intend to do it, rather than what they say or what proclamations they release. This would bring them back to the ideas that emerged out of the original California and New York occupations, which insisted that an occupation was not a bargaining chip but an act of claiming the things we need to survive. Such occupations were not, therefore, about asking for concessions from the state, nor were they simply a launching pad for a new political discourse or a new hegemony. The sign “I am the 99 percent” retains its ambiguity; signs like “Capitalism Cannot Be Reformed” and “It’s Class Warfare and We’re Losing” less so. Such stances, still lurking beneath the slogans on Wall Street, might be one way to think about what is happening (or what could happen) in Zuccotti Park: People learning to provide for each other, now that it is quite clear that capitalism can’t provide for them.”

Henry Jenkins interviews me about Reality Ends Here

Special thanks to Henry Jenkins for conducting a wide-ranging two-part interview with Simon Wiscombe, Tracy Fullerton, and me about my dissertation project, Reality Ends Here (A.K.A. SCA Reality, “The Game”, etc):

All of this cloak and dagger stuff was part of an innovative game — an Alternate Reality Game of sorts — which is being conducted amongst the entering Cinema School undergraduates this year. If my own experiences are any indication, the game is proving to be enormously successful at getting students involved, excited about entering the Cinema School, more aware of its resources, more connected to its faculty, more engaged with its research, more connected across different divisions. It is also getting them involved in collaborative and production like activities than most entering students who have had to wait for a bit before they would be allowed to take production classes. I’ve seen lots of discussion over the past few years about the potentials of using ARGS for pedagogical purposes. But, this is the first time I’ve seen such a large scale experiment in integrating ARG activities across an entire school to orient entering students to a program and to serve a range of instructional goals. The passion the game is motivating in USC students is palpable. And I can tell you that many of the faculty, who have gotten pulled into the game through one play mechanic or another, are feeling a real pride in their school for its willingness to embrace this kind of experimentation and innovation. (

Read the full interview.

More info on the game here.


Special thanks to the IndieCade organizers for asking us to appear at this year’s festival, and to all the players from the “real” game who showed up and helped make Deals with the general public.