User-Generated Games

There’s a lot of talk these days in the computer game industry about user-generated content. It’s done a tremendous amount for online communities, like Second Life, which is sometimes billed as a game but is more of a toy. Case in point is Metaplace, the new venture from Raph Koster, author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design.

It’s easy to see how games and online communities are converging on each other in new and exciting ways, and the opportunity to make your virtual items portable and usable in many settings could be the killer app for such sites. Think of it as the d20 System for MMOs. (There’s a lot more to it than that, of course, but as a slack metaphor, it works.)

A friend of mine, Erin Quick-Laughlin, is working on something similar to this over at His group’s vision is to bring online development to the masses—or at least those so inclined to use such tools. It reminds me of how the Mac revolutionized publishing by making desktop publishing a reality. It’s going to make for an interesting ride.