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Game on for Freeplay

Finns are an enterprising bunch. Take the Freeplay keynote speaker Petri Purho. From his flat in Helsinki, he created Kloonigames with the goal of creating a game a week. This led to his rapid protoyping method that built his creative game Crayon Physics Deluxe. He believes the next big development will be a "YouTube of games" where developers will be able to push their work to global audiences to play, comment and refine - though he admitted to being nervous about business people crowding out the creativity for the dollars.

Purho believes making a lot of games will eventual create a good game. Make a lot of what he calls "shit games" and you'll eventually hit on something that resonates with an audience. The only way to get over your fear of the inner-critic and your lack of technical skills is to churn it out.

It's an idea that applies across the arts. Purho referenced the Scarlet Letters: Notes on Making Art, written by two visual artists. Many of their ideas can be applied to writers - including knowing when to judge your work and when to create, and my favourite 'have lots of ideas'. On a first draft anything that frees up creativity is good for writers.

A writer's equivalent of rapid protoyping would have to be write a novel in a month, which encourages writers to bash out their first draft by writing every day and coming away with 50,000 words. Where writers aren't like game developers is that we don't have a "YouTube of stories" - writers would love to have the problem of creativity being crowded out by dollars.

But what about blogs? It's true that interconnections of blogs do create little creative communities and there are writing tools developing with blogs. But do writers feel comfortable drafting on the web and refining through comments? I've seen some interesting experiments, but can Purho's rapid prototyping work for writers? Are there writers who are courageous enough to "write shit stories" in public?


  1. I'm in an online writing group, with six other writers, and the only thing I know about them is that they are writers and good ones at that. They are in the US and I'm here in Australia.

    I'm more than willing to show them first drafts, because over a year they have become my 'trusted critics'.

    I would not be willing to take notice of every person who saw my work on the internet. It would be just too hard to sort out the comments and feedback. Even with only six people commenting, it takes ages to sort out which comments are useful and which ones I'll remember but possibly not act on, and which ones are not useful at all.

    Imagine if a large number of people commented - it would be impossible to get my head around the information offered.


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