Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab spacer spacer
spacer New Entries Archives Links subheader placeholder
Updates January2011 edging
left edge
About the Archives

This page contains all entries posted to GAMBIT in January 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2010 is the previous archive.

February 2011 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Symon Behind the Scenes

Here, kicking off the GAMBIT Game of the Week, is a Symon behind the scenes video. Meet Jason and Clara and hear about the ideas behind our game of this week, Symon.


Download for your iPod/iPhone.

See you tomorrow for some more Game of the Week features.

EXTINCTION - Global Game Jam 2011, Day 2

In my last post, I gave the pitch titles for the games and wondered if anyone could figure out the theme based on them. Our theme is: EXTINCTION. Which is oddly dark considering we got the theme after seeing Keita Takahashi's, um, inventive keynote. Which I am now allowed to show you:

Later tonight, I'll post the games. I've been able to play a few of them today, and I must say I am impressed by the level of quality and quantity that our jammers have maintained this year!

For now, here are some quick photos I took while I tried to stay out of the jammers way. We'll post more to our Facebook and Flickr pages after the Jam.

GGJ11 - The Aftermath of Prototyping Non-digital GamesThe Aftermath of Prototyping Non-digital Games

Not all non-digital board games use a board! Some use a napkin. And plates. And ice.Not all non-digital board games use a board! Some use a napkin. And plates. And ice

GGJ11 - Prototyping a Digital Game (and designing levels)Don't disturb the level designer!

Makin' Art! Programming. Art. Audio. (Design). With these things, games you can make.

Looking at computer screens, deeply.

Some of our games have their own Twitter feeds. Try these: @twitapocalypse and @savepunk

Our stream is still live, tune in now to watch the activity increase until the 3PM turn in time and from 3:30pm until 5:00pm when we'll be presenting all of our games.

Replays from last week's StarCraft 2 tournament


Wrapping up last week's StarCraft 2 map-making course and 2v2 tournament on the new maps, we've now collected all the replays for anyone who wants to take a closer look at the action earlier in the week. There was also a livecast of the tournament with commentary. Unfortunately, I kept forgetting to hit "record" and as a result, most of them are lost to the aether, but the portions that were recorded can be viewed on the Ustream page.

Thanks to Owen Macindoe who helped to pair off all the teams between rounds and make our first StarCraft 2 tournament run really smoothly. Kudos must also go to Jason Begy and Michael Lin, who made the new maps with Owen and I. Of course, special thanks to Sean Plott for Skyping in twice in the week and giving us lots of valuable feedback. Rik Eberhardt and Mike Rapa put in a huge amount of work getting two dozen machines set up with SC2 way ahead of time. Finally, a big thanks to the participants of the tournament, who made themselves willing subjects for our deranged cartography. We hope you had lots of fun, and let's do it again soon!

Download the replays here!

The Global Game Jam 2011 at GAMBIT - Day 1

We are live from now until midnight, and will be back online at 9am tomorrow morning!

The day started at 5pm with the following keynote, given in unimitable fashion by Keita Takashi (star creator of Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy). I'll post the keynote and the theme to the Jam tomorrow, once it's been made public for all of the other Jam sites.

We have 60 people participating, and after 4 hours of conversation and ideation, we settled into 13 teams making 14 games.

Here are their unofficial codenames. Can you guess the theme?

  • I <3 Humans

  • Unlearn

  • Human Chains

  • Game of Unlife

  • Ice Breakers

  • @TwitApocalypse

  • Keep Earth Habitable

  • Save the Music

  • Extinction of Light

  • The Last Honeybee

  • Strut

  • Reverse Space Invaders

  • Ice Age Cleanup Crew

  • Gorilla Scavenger Hunt

I'll be moving our roaming camera between the 7 rooms of activity as the weekend continues, as well as post photos and updates on the progress of these games.

Thanks for today's event goes to the following people who've given me support for organizing this event:

Generoso Fierro: for shooting video, meal planning, and general advice
Mike Rapa: for setting up the lab
Philip Tan: for finding our 2009 and 2010 games and showing them off
Mari Miyachi: for taking pictures
Clara Fernandez-Vara: for taking pictures and help wrangling the jammers
Courtney Stanton: for help wrangling the jammers and keeping them on target
Darren Torpey: for sending people (sponsors/press) my way
Alex Schwartz: for also sending people my way

and of course, thanks to the global organizers for the Global Game Jam:
Ian Schrieber
Foad Khosmood
Gorm Lai

Friday Games Cancelled for Global Game Jam

There will be no Friday Games today because of the Global Game Jam, which begins at 5pm and runs all weekend here at the lab. However, even if you are not participating in the GGJ (which requires pre-registration), you are welcome to come to the kick-off.

The Global Game Jam is a worldwide event where groups of people get together and make games in a single weekend. The games are usually very bizarre and experimental because of the short time frame. Also, not everyone who participates is a professional game maker. It's an event that welcomes all sorts of people.

Things begin at the normal Friday Games time, at 4pm, when we'll have last years GGJ games available to play in the lounge. So if you'd like to see what all the fuss is about, be sure to drop by!

Presenting our new Starcraft 2 maps!

Our team of Starcraft map-makers has spent the past two weeks crafting these maps for today's 2v2 Tournament. We posted the rules for the tournament in our last post. Live video of the tournament (in progress today from 1pm until 6pm) is posted after the break, but first, the maps:

Aiur Floodplains
Aiur Floodplains.jpg
An island map. Note that there are two ramps up into your main base, one facing the expansion and a second facing your ally. The island expansions are small, but large enough for drops.

Mind the multiple paths around this map: through the middle, around the middle platform, or around the edge platforms. LOS blockers around your first expansion help prevent ranged units from attacking your workers.

Broad Channels

Broad Channels.jpg
Xel'Naga watchtowers allow for vision of starting points and natural expansions. Players will have to push forward to grab the expansions in the middle of the map, with high-yield minerals overlooked by two center watchtowers.

Friendobot's Space Platform
Friendobot's Space Platform.jpg
Friendobot's Space Platform is a big map with long rush distances and well protected naturals. Further expansion moves toward the middle of the map with golds in highly a highly contested middle area with more expansions off the middle platform. It also has fireworks and a few too many critters.

Rocky spires surround main bases and natural expansions that will require teammates to work together for effective defense. Third expansions are close to the enemy with a small 10-mineral patch blocking narrow causeways. Rich mineral fields and Xel'naga towers surround a giant hole in the center.

New Holland Island
New Holland Island.jpg
Your first expansions are close together, but watch the destructible rocks. Hold the middle, if you can.

Players start high above the landscape and expand their way downwards to the battlefield. Destructible rocks block alternate lanes of attack, while high-yield expansions in the center can provide another clifftop foothold for an offensive push.

Trinity Test Site
Trinity Test Site.jpg
Three teams of two battle for control of the rich central mineral fields around a crater blasted by a weapon from a long forgotten war.

Xel'Naga Void
Xel'naga Void.jpg
Two teams battle over an abandoned rich mineral field among the ruins of two Xel'Naga temples. Distances are short by air but long by ground, although clearing the central path of destructible rocks can open a direct route of attack.

Game of the Week is BACK!

Hey folks,

GAMBIT is back with another edition of the "Game of the Week" highlighting each of our 2010 Summer games over the next six weeks. The schedule for the series is:

Jan. 31 - Feb. 4: Symon
Feb. 7 - Feb. 11: Poikilia
Feb. 14 - Feb. 18: Elude
Feb. 21 - Feb. 25: Afterland
Feb. 28 - Mar. 4: Yet One Word/Seer
Mar. 7 - Mar. 11: Improviso

On Monday of each week, a new video exploring the origins and processes of developing each project will be posted. Each following day, posts featuring concept art, design documents, and analysis of the highlighted game will be offered for your viewing pleasure!

To kick things off, and to get you excited, please enjoy our Phil Collins inspired teaser trailer for this years series! See you on Monday!

2010 Retrospective Part 2 - Nostalgia, Sin, Editing

I originally passed on Retro Game Challenge but picked it up after I heard it wasn't just a compilation of retro-style games but actually used 80s game culture as a framing device, even to the point where you have to consult "game magazines" to make progress. This seemed rather charming.

I got through most of the game, and found it to be a consistently clever, if slight, experience. I say "slight" because the 80s cultural aspects are indeed more of a framing device than something explored thoroughly. (I could never figure out why you or your friend didn't seem to age between 1982 and 1987.) Also, perhaps more importantly, I felt there was a big missed opportunity in the localization. American, European, and Japanese 80s game culture were all distinctly different, and the way the game coyly wants you to pretend otherwise is disappointing.

The best thing about Retro Game Challenge is how well it demonstrates how creative goal design can give a lot of depth to supposedly "simple" mechanics. The meta-game involves becoming an adept "gamer", not just finishing games, which means you have to play the same games over and over in order to perform esoteric tasks that make creative use of each game's mechanics. This aspect of the game is very well realized, and actually does a good job of re-creating the mindset of what it meant to be a young gamer in the heyday of the NES. Of course, one could easily imagine this sort of game also being a cutting commentary on the self-serving propaganda machine of Nintendo and the Stalinist grip it maintained on the culture... but I don't suppose we'll ever see that on a Nintendo platform.

Sin and Punishment: Star Successor I played because it is a shooter by Treasure, and two of their previous efforts in this vein, Gunstar Heroes and Ikaruga, are among the sublime game experiences of my life. Not that I was expecting this from Star Successor, which was a sequel to one of their more obscure, experimental shooters, an early 3D effort on the N64 that I'd only played briefly.

I didn't finish Star Successor, but my deep respect for Treasure inspired me to play it a fair amount, in spite of the fact that I'm not a big fan of its mechanics. It's basically a rail shooter where you control two avatars: your target reticule and your character, who floats around freely via a jet pack. Games where the main concept is "move a cursor around the screen and shoot things" always feel tedious to me (which is one of the reasons I can appreciate, but never really enjoy, Rez). Star Successor mitigates this tedium somewhat with melee attacks and a charge shot that, if used cleverly, do not require the player to hold down the 'fire' button the whole game. But still... like Geometry WarsSpace Giraffe, and other shooters in which liberal swarms of seemingly chaotic elements flood the screen endlessly, you inevitably feel that you're fighting a losing battle against entropy.

To some people this may not seem much different that the harsh bullet-hell challenges of Ikaruga, but, to me, there is something so logical about what Ikaruga throws at you that falling repeatedly in that world feels like a failure to master order, not a failure to master chaos... which, to a personality like mine, constitutes a very big difference.

Aside from Red Dead RedemptionHeavy Rain was probably the triple A game last year that left me the most thoroughly unimpressed... at least in terms of artistic ambition. Yes, it's much better than self-proclaimed game auteur David Cage's previous effort, Fahrenheit, but that's hardly saying anything, considering what a train wreak of interface design and pretentious bullshit it was.

Heavy Rain is an incredibly misguided game, with an utterly bone-headed philosophy of how to create narrative engagement, but with production quality so slick and expensive (though, I would argue, still not very "good") it managed to hoodwink a lot of people into thinking it was somehow what interactive narrative should be. Predictably, the best moments of the game are the ones that are the least cinematic, like when you find yourself with a whole evening to kill, and you have to responsibly manage dinner, your son's homework, your work, and relaxation, all while time ticks away.

Heavy Rain isn't a bad game; just a stupid one. Its interface design is interesting, doing a decent job of marrying symbolically gestural controller actions to on-screen character actions. This is the game's only real contribution (and the big improvement over Fahrenheit), since everything else it does has been done before, mostly in the mid-90s "interactive movie" craze that almost killed videogame storytelling. It's as if Cage got bonked on the head in 1995 and woke up in the era of the PS3. His approach to narrative design is basically "cinematics" that you can control the speed of because they are rendered in real time, and require pressure-sensitive controller actions to make the "film" run through the projector. The game is basically the experience of being David Cage's editor, more than it is anything else.

I would feel a lot kinder toward Heavy Rain if all its stumbles, indulgences, and genuinely clever moments weren't hamstrung by Cage's dull imagination, whose idea of "good writing" is on par with a mediocre X-Files episode. His notion of "gritty reality" seems to come entirely from American television, the sort where everyone's hair and teeth are perfect and everyone wears designer clothes but we as viewers are instructed to believe they represent "average" people. Only if you buy into this kind of Hollywood ruse daily will you buy into Heavy Rain, the first videogame to really nail the depravity of bourgeois cinema.

I wrote a rather long post about Shattered Memories months ago, so I won't bother to recount my thoughts in detail here. My feelings about the game are primarily positive. It doesn't deliver what it (absurdly) promises: a psychological horror experience tailored to the individual user. But it does deliver a well-realized, agreeably fresh take on survival horror, and one that surprisingly manages to demonstrate an nuanced understanding of the original classic upon which it is based.

One of Shattered Memories' best features is its excellent interface design, which uses the wiimote modesty and intelligently, not overreaching the hardware's capabilities. Also, it's one of the few games I've played that seems to achieve the right level of graphical fidelity in the environment to forgo the use of superimposed text. This really makes one examine the environment, not just look for hotspots and items, which subtlety encourages a measured, more detective-like approach to basic navigation. This was one of the few games in recent memory that I actually played twice in a row, and enjoyed doing so.

I actually enjoyed Obsidian's much maligned "spy RPG". The game did have polish issues, but a lot of the design conceits it received heavy criticism for (like the way your pistol stat dictates the speed of your aiming reticule) were identical to other, well-respected Action/RPG hybrids. One wonders what these reviewers would have said about Deus Ex ten years ago.

I didn't finish Alpha Protocol, mostly because its world and plot got so complicated it was hard for me to re-orient myself when I failed to play it for more than a week. Also, my interest waned after I realized how the game was less of a simulated world and more of a heavily-scripted tree that just happened to have a ridiculous amount of branches. Obsidian isn't unique in defining "choice" this way (it's basically the way Bioware, Bethesda, and virtually every other Western RPG developer has for the last decade) but in the case of Alpha Protocol it began to bother me since, being used to espionage-themed games that take a more simulation-based approach (Metal Gear, Hitman, Deux Ex, etc.), I increasingly found myself unable to do fairly basic things, like backtrack or explore to gather my own intel. The missions are surprisingly linear, with your "choice" exclusively relegated to how you dispatch people based on how you've built your character. I suppose this is true to the ads that said "Your weapon is choice.", but I guess I was expecting it to be more than just a weapon.

Still, Obsidian deserves credit for doing what bigger companies seem consistently unwilling to do: create a murky, morally complex world. Not that Alpha Protocol reaches the level of daring political statement (alas, Fallout 2), but it does manage to make you feel like the U.S. isn't particularly better than every other corrupt government... which is always nice.

Next Up!
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Metroid: Other M
The Silent Debuggers
Fallout: New Vegas
Shinobido: Way of the Ninja
Friday Games @ GAMBIT 01/21/11 - MOVE!

Today's Friday Games will be more of a low-key affair. We will be showing off the Playstation Move for those who have yet to experience it. The games, which range from original titles to ones that have received Move "updates", will include:

- Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos
- Eye Pet
- The Sly Cooper Collection
- Little Big Planet 2
- Heavy Rain

If you want to check any of these out, or watch others flail amusingly, joins us in the lounge at 4pm. As always, there will be sweets.

Video: "What's the Story?: The Problem of Videogame Culture" A Lecture By Jamin Brophy-Warren (Kill Screen Magazine)

On January 6, 2011 Kill Screen Magazine editor Jamin Brophy-Warren made a special appearance at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab to give a talk entitled "What's the Story?: The Problem of Videogame Culture". Brophy-Warren is one of the few games journalists who straddles the cultural divide into the mainstream, and is often sought as an expert on the impact of games in a broad cultural context. He has written for the Wall Street Journal and has appeared on NPR on several occasions. Video Produced by Generoso Fierro, Edited by Garrett Beazley

2010 Retrospective Part 1 - Sex, War, Religion

It's 2011 and many have already posted their "Top Ten of 2010" lists. Every year I find it hard to take part in such list-making, mainly because I spend my year playing whatever the hell I feel like, regardless of whether it is old or new. So here's my rather unconventional list for 2010. These are the games I played last year, why I played them, and what I thought of them.

2009 was the year of Demon' Souls, one of the best games of the decade, so naturally I decided to explore its roots. By the new year I had got as far as the original King's Field, though not the one you might remember. The "King's Field" we got in the West was actually King's Field II. King's Field I never came out here, but was fan-translated some time ago.

Though I never finished it, I played King's Field a good while, enough to see that it was even more like Ultima Underworld than its sequels. Demon's Souls reminded more of Underworld than any game had since Looking Glass Studios went out of business, and it was surprising to me how much its spiritual predecessor felt like a "Japanese Underworld", right down to the color palette, making it an interesting alternative to the actual Japanese port of Ultima Underworld, a game that was strangely (if fascinatingly) crippled by its cultural transition.

King's Field held my interest for a few reasons. It's a rare example of early 3D gaming (circa 1994, two full years before the Playstation hit non-Japanese regions) and, even more rarely, a Japanese first-person game, something that is uncommon even now. I'm not sure if there even is an earlier example of a first-person game by a Japanese developer, which gives the game historical value. It also, like many pre-millennium games, isn't interested in holding the player's hand. It just drops you into a (mostly) non-linear world and let your exploration alone be the shaping force behind the experience. If not for the fantasy setting, it would be a survival horror game in the most classic sense (much like Demon's Souls) which made it absorbing despite its crude simplicity.

Bayonetta I think was the first triple A game I played last year, and I don't have much to say about it other than I thought it was not terribly deserving of the controversy it generated. A videogame crassly objectifying women isn't news, and I personally didn't find Bayonetta's deliberately outrageous attitude towards its own indulgences as unique as many bloggers and critics seemed to.

As a game I found Bayonetta more interesting that your average brawler, with a rich move-set and more expressive strategic possibility than, say, God of War. I also found its world extremely beautiful, and its vision of Purgatory--in which normal humans are oblivious to the demonic battles going on around them--a rare example of interesting metaphysics woven into incidental level design. The writing however, in spite of being somewhat self-aware, was mostly clumsy, and the gameplay was samey enough after a while that I finally lost interest.

If anything, Bayonetta made me think a lot about what a much smarter, more daring game could do with similar ideas. I actually love the idea of using sex as a weapon, and positioning that against Christianity as an opposing force seeking to snuff it out has extremely rich--and exquisitely controversial--potential. Of course, being a Japanese game, Bayonetta is either unaware of or uninterested in making any statements about the connection between Western religion and sexual repression, but I can't look at the game without imagining how one might transform it so. I'd love to play a game where you were a witch beating the shit out of male Puritans, who were so stunned by your naked body they literally would stand agape as you pummeled their self-righteous faces into mush. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I was reading His Dark Materials while playing Bayonetta as well, and wondering why a game about a war between Heaven and Hell couldn't have... well... more balls, so to speak.

Another game I played mainly because of its tenuous connection with Demon's Souls. (It was also by From Software, but in collaboration with an outside developer.) It was nice, but I remember losing interest when I realized Zelda was its only real reference point. The art style, somewhat misleadingly, presents the game as a love-letter a much broader range of 8-bit games, including Dragon Quest, and I think it would haven been more interesting if the gameplay had been a similarly eclectic mish-mash of styles. As is, Dot Heroes is essentially Zelda 1 re-skinned, with a lot of jokey dialog about 8-bit game conventions, but with no challenging of those conventions within the actual game design.

If you want to know what I think of Rockstar's current best-seller and critical darling you can read my previous posts on the subject. Suffice to say, I was not as taken with Redemption (or John Marston) as most people were, though I do admit that, for a blockbuster game, I enjoyed it a fair amount. This will no doubt be remembered as the game of 2010, but for me it was the game that proved that the audience Rockstar insists on pandering to will forever prevent them from generating work of moral or political sophistication.

Over-reliance on RPG conventions aside, Peace Walker was a refreshing return-to-form for Hideo Kojima. MGS4 was a bit of a travesty, an unfocused mess that's conceptual sloppiness and dearth of imagination was obscured by its stellar production value. Peace Walker, however, is a clear, confidant, and clever game that knows exactly what it's going for and achieves it with elegance... primarily in terms of gameplay but also, with a few caveats, in terms of story as well.

The first half, in which Kojima and his co-writers weave together myth and politics in Cold War-era South America, is pretty great, but then again I suppose I'm partial to a game where the Nicaraguan Sandinistas are portrayed as good guys. (Suck it, Reagan!) The second half, which suffers (though not greatly so) from the same navel-gazing Metal Gear mythology fan-wanking that destroyed MGS4, isn't as sharp or interesting, but still manages to crash-land into a semi-intriguing meditation on the symbiotic relationship between peace and war.

Gameplay-wise Peace Walker is note-worthy for how it brilliantly condenses 20 years of game design into a single, streamlined gameplay system, hacking off time-honored conventions left and right (no crawling?) but somehow retaining the essence of the franchise. It's the game that people who think Kojima isn't a game designer (or, at least, doesn't employ them) should play... though they obviously won't.

Friday Games Canceled for Mysterious Reasons...

Today's normal Friday Games @ GAMBIT event is canceled due to the MIT Mystery Hunt, which will be taking place in the lab.

The Mystery Hunt is a traditionally MIT event that takes place every January, where various teams around campus race to complete a series of puzzles that involve all forms of knowledge. Clues and solutions are hidden in various places around campus. The team that completes all the puzzles first wins, which is more difficult than it sounds, given that the puzzles are designed to be challenging even for the most hardened MIT student.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Mystery Hunt, or seeing GAMBIT's team, Team Unseen, in action, feel free to drop by the lab any time today.

Play StarCraft 2 this IAP!

This IAP, we're making some new maps for Blizzard StarCraft 2. Map and level design, like game design in general, requires a lot of playtesting and feedback. So if you'd like to end your IAP wreaking some terrible, terrible damage, just drop by the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab above Legal Sea Foods in Kendall and play a couple of matches against other folks who show up. This event is open to the MIT Community.

Free Play will run from 3pm to 5pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, January 24-26, 2011. On Thursday, January 27, shit will get real: from noon to 6pm, we'll have a tournament with all the new maps, so if you want to compete, you'll probably want to show up for Free Play to get in some practice. Everyone's also welcome to join us at 4pm on Tuesday and Wednesday (Jan 25 & 26) for pro-gamer analysis of the new maps with a livestream discussion with Sean Plott a.k.a. Day[9], the 2007 WCG Starcraft Pan American Champion and host of the Day[9] Daily online show.

There is no need to sign up in advance for Free Play. However, we do have a limited number of computers and licenses, so if you're a laptop StarCraft 2 player, you might want to bring it along in case we run out of seats.

This will be a 2v2 tournament. We're hoping this will be attractive to a wide range of players at different skill levels, but it does mean that you need to enter the tournament as a 2-player team. Similarly, we're organizing it as a Swiss system tournament so that everyone participating will have plenty of matches to play, instead of getting eliminated in the middle of the day. If you can't find a teammate, showing up for Free Play earlier in the week will undoubtedly help you meet that special someone.

Joining the tournament will require advance sign-up as a two-player team. To join, just email with your character name/character code for both you and your teammate before Wednesday, January 26. Both you and your teammate will receive and need to accept friend requests from the tournament referees (Philip and Illykai), which will allow us to set up matches and webcast some of the matches on the day of the tournament. If you do not have a StarCraft 2 license but still wish to participate, just show up for Monday's or Tuesday's Free Play, let me (Philip) know, and we'll figure something out. For any other questions, email

The format for the tournament are below. We reserve the right to update the rules and format of the tournament, particularly if we have more people entering than our rules and equipment can accommodate. Tournament entrants may wish to bookmark this page for future reference.

Good luck and have fun!

Tournament Format

The tournament format will be 2v2 played entirely on maps made during GAMBIT's map-making course in IAP 2011. Teams will progress through the tournament using the Swiss system. All teams will play for all rounds of the tournament; there is no elimination.

The seeding for the first Swiss round will be decided in one of two ways depending on the number of entrants.
a) If 4 or fewer teams enter, there will be an initial 2v2v2v2 match to decide the seeding, with the winning team playing against the third-place team and the first team eliminated playing against the second place team. Results of this first round will only determine seeding and will not affect a team's tournament score.
b) If there are more than 4 teams, the seeding will be based on the highest world wide ranking between the team's members according to The teams will be ordered by this ranking, split in half, and seeded so that the highest ranking team of the top half plays the highest ranking team of the bottom half, and so on.

Each Swiss round will consist of a Best of 3 match. The game mode will be 2v2 Melee and the game speed will be Faster. Teams begin the tournament with a score of 0. Each team that scores 2 wins in a Best of 3 match will have their tournament score incremented by 1. For subsequent rounds, teams will be paired against other teams that have the same score, whenever possible. Teams cannot play against teams that they have played against in previous rounds.

If there are an odd number of teams, a random team each round will receive a bye, i.e. a free point without playing a round. That team will not receive a bye in any other round.

The map pool will consist exclusively of 2v2 maps designed at MIT during IAP 2011, which will be made available the afternoon before the tournament. Both teams may pick one map to remove from the map pool, with the highest-ranking team picking first. The first map of the match will then be chosen randomly from the remaining pool and each subsequent map will be chosen by the loser of the previous game.

There are no other restrictions on game settings or gaming devices. Players are free to bring their own equipment, but the tournament organisers cannot offer support for equipment from outside of GAMBIT. Players may chat freely during games, but must show courteous and sportsmanlike behaviour in chat.

Players may not look at their opponents' screens, give or receive coaching for a game that they are not playing in, or intentionally disconnect from a game. If there is an unintentional disconnect, the referees will decide the winner or arrange a rematch if the winner is unclear. No in-game observers are allowed other than the tournament referees. Players who have completed the matches are free to quietly watch other matches still in progress.

Players who wish to noisily watch matches may do so from the observer screen in the GAMBIT TV lounge. In every round, the match with the highest cumulative score of both competing teams may be webcast, barring technical difficulties.

Our IAP Activities

The Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab has several offerings scheduled for IAP, MIT's January Independent Activities Period. Generoso Fierro kicked us off in the first week and just wrapped up his Three Films By Nobuhiro Yamashita film series, and we've already blogged about the Global Game Jam at the end of the month. However, we have lots more coming up! More details (times, dates, RSVP information) can be found on the MIT IAP web site.

Want to: MAKE GAMES?

Tue-Thu, Jan 18-20, 25-27, 11am-04:00pm, NE25-375, Lecture: 11am-1pm/Lab: 2pm-4pm

Have you ever wanted to make a video game but didn't know where to start? This class will provide the tools and instruction required to create what we're calling a 'one-button audio game'. Students in the class will work in pairs to create one game using an engine created at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab codenamed 'Click to Speak'. As part of the challenge, the games are audio only and only using sounds produced with a simple microphone.


Talk: Mon Jan 24, 11am-12pm
Lab: Mon Jan 24, Tue Jan 25, Wed Jan 26, 12-3pm
Day[9] Guest Discussion: Tue Jan 25, Wed Jan 26, 4pm-5pm

Enjoy StarCraft 2 but getting bored with the basic Blizzard maps? Have a great idea for a complex single-player mission, or do you just want to whip up a weird arena for your friends? GAMBIT US Executive Director Philip Tan presents a basic introduction to the StarCraft 2 Galaxy Map Editor by Blizzard entertainment. After the talk, students are invited to create their own maps on their own laptops or in the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab.

Want to: PLAY GAMES?


This IAP, students will be creating maps for Blizzard Entertainment's real-time strategy game, StarCraft 2. (See "StarCraft 2 Map Editing" IAP course for details.) Play their creations and give them vital feedback while crushing your enemies! Come to the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab above Legal Sea Foods in Kendall and play a couple of matches against other students. This IAP series will culminate on January 27th with a friendly tournament based entirely on the new maps. Good luck and have fun!

Join us at 4pm on Tuesday and Wednesday for pro-gamer analysis of the new maps with Sean Plott a.k.a. Day[9], the 2007 WCG Starcraft Pan American Champion and host of the Day[9] Daily online show!

Want to: WATCH FILM?


As the annual "Life and Death" film symposium enters its second year we set our site on famed director John Carpenter. Through this symposium we will follow John Carpenter as he tackles most cinematic genres, meshes some of them together and even helped to kick-start a new one. From comedy, to horror, to drama, and to camp join us as we follow the directorial life and death of John Carpenter. This series is all about the films. There will be a brief introduction explaining how a particular film fits into the series, but we are mostly here to watch great movies. Candy provided, feel free to bring your dinner with you.

Friday Games at GAMBIT: We'll Go Places Together

ilo-n-milo.jpgIt's 2011! We're kicking off our weekly Friday Games at GAMBIT series with a bunch of downloadable co-op games. More than inflicting twice the amount of damage, these games have some neat ideas about moving through space.

We'll fire up the following games at 4pm this Friday. Come join us in the lab!

  • Ilomilo
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
  • Trine
  • 'Splosion Man
Play games at RISD Game Show gallery opening this Thursday, January 6th at 6PM

GAMBIT Art Director Jason Beene writes:

I just wrapped up the "Making Play" class at RISD's illustration department and I have to say the students produced some amazing work! We focused on non digital games, but would never call these games "traditional"...the students tackled everything from whimsical games for younger audiences (Peter Pan, Cupcake Baking), to games centered around unique IP's like "Dante's Inferno", Pink Floyd's "The Wall", Lovecraft's "Call of Cthulhu", and "Hamlet". Some young designers even stretched the notion of gameplay to incorporate game mechanics that touch on such topics as Bipolar Disorder, and the spreading of Cholera. We had a blast and wanted to have the chance to share these unique gameplay experiences with folks outside of the classroom... we invite you to join us for our unique gallery show where you can get your game on! "The Game Show" will open on Thursday Jan 6th and 6pm. You'll find us playing in RISD's illustration building on the canal in Providence...hope to see you there!

If you miss Thursday, the work will be up until the 16th.

GAMBIT Research Video Podcast Episode 11: "Local Engagement Games"

In Episode 11 LOCAL ENGAGEMENT GAMES.. Eric Gordon, Associate Professor in Visual and Media Arts and Steven Schirra, from the Engagement Game Lab at Emerson College, talk about their latest project, Community PlanIt, which is in development. CommunityPlanIt is a location-based mobile game platform, designed to engage neighborhoods in official planning processes, while forging geographically-based communities and advocacy groups around local issues.Video Produced by Generoso Fierro, Edited by Garrett Beazley, Music by Abe Stein.

Jamin Brophy-Warren Speaks at GAMBIT - Jan. 6th

Kill Screen Magazine editor Jamin Brophy-Warren will be making a special appearance at GAMBIT this Thursday, the 6th of January, at 6pm, to give a talk entitled "What's the Story?: The Problem of Videogame Culture".

Brophy-Warren is one of the few games journalists who straddles the cultural divide into the mainstream, and is often sought as an expert on the impact of games in a broad cultural context. He has written for the Wall Street Journal and has appeared on NPR on several occasions.

This talk is open to the public, so if you are at all interested in intelligent insights on gaming please join us in the lab at 6pm. See you then!

right edge