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:16 and its theme

March 20, 2008

So I have been quite as of late about :16. Sorry about that. Been busy writing and working on some other Rogue Games issues. Nothing major, just things for the future.

Just because I have not talked about :16, does not mean I have not worked on :16. I have. I have done a lot of work on the mechanic, card types, play, and rules. I have also been clarifying the theme and the purpose behind :16.

:16, in one form or another, is something that has occupying my mind since 2002. It was a kernel of an idea springing forth Athena-like while I was sitting in a new apartment in Fox Point, Wisconsin waiting for Ariana to get home from law school. The apartment, like much of our three years in Wisconsin, was awful. Newly married, wife in law school, in a job that was not what I thought it would be, and back in a state that really held a lot of pain for me, was hard. If it was not for Ariana and our relationship, I do not know what I would have done.

It was during this time that I really began watching reality television. It was watching this societal detritus, that I begun noticing a growing trend. That trend is fame. Everyone on these shows, views their participation as being the key to their fame. I thought there was something to this, and when I added the dross of celebrity gossip news, I begun seeing the seeds of a game.

I went through different variations, but nothing really clicked. Then I was fired from a job I hated in 2005, and I shelved that and everything I was working on. I did so to make a fresh break, and to also put everything from my past behind me. The next 18-months I struggled finding a job, having a wife graduate from law school, finding a place in Chicago, moving back, having my father-in-law nearly die from a heart condition, have my grandfather diagnosed with Esophagus cancer on my anniversary, and have my grandfather die three weeks later. I was a wreck and really got lost within myself.

I made it through all of that, found myself, healed my wounds and learned from the experience. It was this that led me to the second and third best decision I have ever made (the first being asking Ariana out on a date), leave the library profession and going into business with James to form Rogue Games. Doing this opened the flood gates of creativity and began designing again.

It was reading biographies on Orson Wells, Jackson Pollack and Andy Warhol. Three influences on me. It was reading about Pop Culture, Pop Art and Warhol, that I read the rather famous:

In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.

– Andy Warhol’s Exposures (1979)

I was struck by lighting. I raced to a box where I had packed game design notes from 2002-2005. I had found the hook.

I choose this quote on purpose because it is the impetus of what :16 is all about.

It is about “celebrities” who upon finding their fifteen minutes of fame up, now are seeking a way of prolonging it.

The present condition of fame is merely fashion.

– Gilbert Keith Chesterton

More importantly :16 is a card game dealing with fame, the acquiring of it, and protecting of it. The game allows you to fight for every scrape of fame you can get, and work to muscle your opponent out of the picture. :16 has each player take on a role of a “D List” Celebrity, and work at building a career allowing them to stay famous.

:16 is a card game allowing rumors, press ops, paparazzi and scandal. It is a game of fame acquisition, and not only is fame something you need in order to win, but it is something you use to push your opponent out of the way.

:16 is a product of watching too much reality television and reading too much celebrity gossip. The research, and its’ mind numbing affects, was necessary to capture the mass media pop life clogging the media and grabbing the headlines. This pop life, is disposable, and knows no bounds as to what it pulls into its’ black hole.

:16 is fun. A little snarky, but with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

So there you go, that is the theme of :16.

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