MMORPGs for the rest of us


Category: Computer Gaming Theory (or “Hey Choppers, I’ve Been Thinking About Zombies Again”)

Objective: Invent a new category of MMORPG; fight the pesky reputation of MMORPGs as a haven for obsessed level 99 infinigamers by introducing a user-defined variable gaming experience that accommodates all sorts.


For as much as computer gaming is a steaming bucket of awesome, the frothy cream in that bucket – the infamous MMORPG – is a little hard for some gamers to stomach. After all, MMORPGs, perhaps more than any other game type, require a significant level of devotion before the benefits of the game are realized. Quests require days of effort. eConomies demand constant attention. And often the coolest weapons and most bountiful dungeons are only accessible to the highest level characters – who are moused about the rendered world by hunchbacks who have traded their waking lives for online deification. These twitchers at the highest character / skill levels dominate the finite amount of land and loot, and often derive great pleasure from slaughter of fresh-faced noobs (“draGoon777: How to I open doors?”), further discouraging ascension. So whether under the blade of impatience or the bitter Best Buy clerk, genre-independent gamers are thinned from the MMORPG herd.

For hard-core MMORPGers, the street cred of a level-up is the end-all-be-all. To them, the genre’s already been perfected. Their calendar is clear for the next six months, and their fridge is stocked (with condiments). But what about intermediate, genre-independent gamers, for whom 2 hours is an extended gaming stretch? You know, the ones with jobs? For them, a Counterstrike deathmatch hits the spot. In. Headshot. Out. There’s no big commitment for players, other than an understanding of gameplay. But with game architectures as they are (and for the aforementioned reasons), infrequently do the sessions of casual / FPS and MMORPG gamers intersect. This needn’t be so. This segregation can (and will, eventually) be overcome with a fusion of game characteristics. And moreover, the fusion will actually improve the experience of both player types.

Consider this theoretical experience with a zombie-themed MMORPG …

The world is immersed in a Class-3 (eventually Class-4) zombie outbreak, in a universe adherent to the Max Brooks zombie mythos and The Walking Dead. The objective of the game is simple: survive.

Taking a cue from Dawn of the Dead, new players awaken (or spawn) amidst the confusion, violence and chaos of an undead uprising (a first person perspective adds to both the realism and sense of immersion). These players start within one of n number of urban centers peppered throughout the game world, and receive one initial directive offered to them by emergency broadcast: if you want to survive, get out of the city.

These urban centers are sprawling orgies of death and destruction. As the most densely populated with the living, they are likewise the most densely populated with the recently deceased. As such, security is in the shortest supply. Help is virtually nonexistent. Hesitation is fatal. For all intents and purposes, the initial experience for new players -- escaping the city -- is that of a free-for-all zombie / human carnage fest -- a deathmatch of the highest order.

However challenging, escape is not impossible. In what may be the bloodiest two hours ever rendered in 3D, perhaps 5-10% of new players make it out of the city alive. Where once a terrified human or ravenous zombie lurked around every corner, soon the crowds dwindle and smell of death subsides. Where once skyscrapers offered tempting labyrinths of surprise and supplies, farm fields betray almost idyllic scenes. Outside of urban centers, the objective changes subtly: survive indefinitely.

Now, players must consider their long-term options. Should they band together (with complementary skill sets) or go it alone? Should they fortify a position or stay on the move? Should they trust those slow moving strangers on the horizon or unleash a volley of gunfire? Eventually, supplies will run out -- should they brave another visit to the chaotic cities or try their luck with fishing or agriculture? While their city escape featured run-for-your-life action, their slow exhale now facilitates incredible complexities in exploration, defense, teamwork, and social order -- prime ingredients for a cracking MMORPG.

At any time, a gamer with only an hour to burn can create a new character to experience the rush of the inner city "deathmatch". Survivalist badasses can trek into cities from the boonies to gather gear, locate doctors (or other skill specialists), or attempt to fortify a more urban locale (good luck, idiot). But the extended game -- outlander survival -- is accessible only to an elite or lucky minority.

Both twitchy FPS gamers and MMORPG warlords commingling within a single game universe? Impossible!

Or IS it???

Contents of the Duderoom

Now that Drinkspiller's basement has been born anew, it reminds me of a story my father once told me in the hush of a moonless night. You see, he told me of a place, a fabled grotto, where dudes still roam free. It is called the Duderoom, and despite its gay porn name, it's as not gay porny as can be. Let the following list of contents be a testament to the Duderoom's not gay porniness, and please, fair dudes, consider testifying ... after all, this is YOUR Duderoom too ...
  • rug / dorm carpet (stain-friendly)
  • couch or two (stadium seating?)
  • lazy boy
  • tv (huge old-school RGB projector?)
  • lights (xmas)
  • neon sign ("Duderoom")
  • dorm fridge
  • art (street signs)
  • pisser (bucket?)
  • computer
  • stereo
  • dvd player
  • whiteboard w/mosaic border (not gay porny mosaic)
  • trash can
  • microwave
  • dartboard
  • shuffleboard table
  • instruments (slide whistle, turntables)
  • bar table
  • predator (Sharper Image)
  • lava lamp
  • pinball machine
  • whoopie cusion
  • secret handshake
  • firepole
  • TLC application for "While You Were Out"
  • ALF mask
  • floor piano from Big
  • proton packs (charged!)
  • Korean flag
  • nerf hoop
  • wo-mannequin
  • torpedo
  • periscope (see above)
  • sushi chef
  • coffee table w/infinite Subway drawer
  • slow toasting toaster (slowest possible)



Category: The Confusing Future

Phone / video implants have become ubiquitous. Complex multimedia delivery systems are now integrated seamlessly into the human body.

Two thirtysomethings stand on a city street corner. They appear to be looking at and talking to one another, but we soon realize that their conversations do not align. One breaks his distant gaze and taps the other on the shoulder. "Turn on the game!" he suggests.

With no particular change in demeanor, the two are now watching the game. As in-game action builds to a crescendo, they both chant "go ... go ... GO!" and cheer their approval. They both start doing a silly celebratory dance. One stops this dance abruptly, adopts a distant gaze, and says "Yeah. I know. I just saw it. Yeah. Awesome."



my brief windowlicker video

I'd love to see your remixes.

Nativity Activity


Category: Mindfuck

Illuminated outdoor nativity scene outfitted with hidden sound system. During normal operation, scene emits unintelligible conversation at average speaking volume. When passersby break a predetermined perimiter -- just as they're beginning to discern the source and content of the mysterious conversation -- sensors trip and the audio stops abruptly, perhaps with a puncuated "SHHH!"

Put this In Your Bunsen Burner


A possible outlet for an experiment:

I Have a Penis -or- Sorry 'Bout the Male Genitals, Fellas


Category: Men's Health Awareness Campaign

(Music: "One is the Lonliest Number", Three Dog Night)

/Camera draws closer to subject in an very slow swoop. Subject is a morphing sequence of narrators (and their settings settings). The animation is such as to communicate that we are talking to and about EVERY MAN, just ONE at a time. Men of all descriptions intermorph peacefully and fluidly. At a steady pace, they express the following earnest concern:/

"In recent years, women’s health has been a national priority. Pink ribbons warn of breast cancer. Pins shaped like red dresses raise awareness about heart disease. Offices of women’s health have sprung up at every level of government to offer information and free screenings, and one of the largest government studies on hormones and diet in aging focused entirely on older women.

Yet statistics show that men are more likely than women to suffer an early death."


"An early death for having a penis?"


/Morphing characters halt on an individual; a fit, confident-looking early 40s hombre:/

"Well, I have a penis."

/Character morph resumes, more slowly this time, making a point to capture the honorable but intense look in the sequential sets of eyes. Each person, in turn, remarks:/

"I have a penis."


"I have a penis."


"I have a penis.

In fact, right now, there are 140 million penises around you. That's 140 million penises that could be giving you orgasms and babies. So support men's health."


"Listen, ladies -- do you want orgasms and babies or not?"

(Music: Crescendo Chorus)

/Black + "I Have a Penis" Campaign Logo/ CG:

/Black/ (Music: Out)



view all on flickr

Collaborative Writeboard


And sometimes they'll go horribly wrong.


"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)