EP 210 Frank Lantz on the Beauty of Games

Jim talks with Frank Lantz about the ideas in his new book, The Beauty of Games. They discuss Frank’s analysis of Benjamin Soule’s arcade game Serpentes, reflecting on the enjoyment of games, panicking & choking, levels of understanding, Jim and his wife’s experience playing Othello, Hanabi, partnership games, games as an aesthetic form, art vs aesthetics, playing for its own sake, thinking & doing, fulfilling the desire to be a coherent agent in the world, the performance of desire, games as systems, heuristics, strategy in military games, a game as a series of interesting decisions, overindexing on the flow state, going up the ladder of heuristics, maximizing for rate of learning, systems literacy, games as an art form for nerds, and much more.

Frank Lantz is a game designer with a focus on exploring emerging technology to create new kinds of gameplay. He is the Founding Chair of the NYU Game Center, the co-founder of Area/Code Games (acquired by Zynga in 2011), the co-founder of Everybody House Games and the creator of the game Universal Paperclips. He has taught game design for over 20 years at New York University, Parsons School of Design, and the School of Visual Arts and has created numerous influential talks and writings on the subject of games.