Gonzalo Frasca's PhD Dissertation now available: Play the Message

Hey again,

I haven't posted anything in years –I've been too busy working on my game studio, Powerful Robot Games. And I'm enjoying it a lot.

So, I've been pretty much outside from the ludology/game studies field since I completed my PhD dissertation in 2007. I didn't share the file online since I wanted to publish it in book form. I still want to but, let's face it, it's been almost 4 years... So I decided to share the pdf with you guys out there. It's about games but mainly about Play. And communication. Play Rhetoric. And toys, too. Hope you enjoy it!

Here it is:


Feel free to share it, read it, quote it, translate it, compose music for it :)

Play the Message: Play, Game and Videogame Rhetoric. Ph.D. Disseration. IT University of Copenhagen. Denmark, 2007. Supervisor: Espen Aarseth. 



Ludology.org officially closed

Well, it's not exactly news. I haven't updated this blog in years but, somehow, I never wrote a last post. So, here it is. It was fun while it lasted. And no, I'm not blogging about games in Spanish neither. That sounded like a good idea at the time but it didn't take off.

The archive is here so feel free to browse through it. Hasta la vista, muchachada!

Ludología: now blogging en español


When I created Ludology.org back in 2001, there weren't almost no online resources for people interested in undertanding videogames from a critical point of view, bridging the game industry and the academia. Things have changed since then (boy, if the have changed!) Basically, I originally built Ludology.org because I needed something that simply was not available.

A few years later, I co-founded WaterCoolergames with Ian for the same reason: I wanted a good resource on serious games.

My life has changed quite a bit in the last decade. For the last few years, I have focused more and more on my studio, Powerful Robot Games. Not that I have abandoned academia (I wrote my PhD dissertation which I should write in book form one of these days) but making games certainly took a toll on my blogging. As you have noticed, I haven't posted much in the last couple of years. I don't plan to shut down Ludology.org but don't expect monthly updates either.

Today, I'm launching a new blog, in Spanish. As you know, it's my mother tongue and, after spending most of the last decade in the US and Europe, I'm finally back in Uruguay. I think there's a need for a good online resource on game research and design in Spanish. Certainly, there's plenty of good stuff now in English and certainly that's the current lingua franca.

Still, it makes a huge change to think and read in your own language. And we all know that Spanish language and culture kicks ass and run circles around the ones in the Northern hemisphere (yup, it's taunting time :P Seriously, I have high hopes for the videogame industry in Latin America and Spain, even if it hasn't taken off yet.

So here I am, anouncing www.Ludologia.org, mi new blog about videogame theory and design, en español.

Speaking soon in Spain, Brasil and Argentina

I'm on the road again.

UPDATE: On Wednesday March 18th, I'll be giving a talk at MediaLab Prado in Madrid (18.30).

On Monday, March 23rd, I'll be giving a talk in Seville, Spain, as part of the Zemos98 festival.

On Saturday, March 28th, it'll be turn for Porto Alegre, Brazil, where I'll be giving a talk as part of the Gamepad 2009 event organized by Feevale.

Last, but not least, on Saturday April 4th (16:30), I'll be giving at talk in Buenos Aires, at the Objeto A art gallery. They're launching an exhibit on videogames on March 18th that you should definitively check out if you're in Baires. Here's more info (in Spanish).

My studio's new Star Wars game


I'm very happy to announce the launch of "Path of the Jedi", a new online game based on the Clone Wars TV series now available on Cartoon Network. It's a platform game where you play the role of Ahsoka, a young Jedi Padawan. It's been many months of hard work but we are proud we contributed a tiny little bit to the official Star Wars universe. Thanks both to Lucasfilm and Cartoon Network for all their work and support, as well as everybody who worked on it at Powerful Robot. You can play the game here. Many of you may remember that I was never a Star Wars fan (my parents never took me to watch the movies, probably because my dad –an avid movie fan– is not a science fiction fan). However, I did heavily research Star Wars for this project and, even though I haven't yet learned how to speak like Yoda, I now find Wookies much cuter than before :)

Simply Signs


Yesterday, the signs simply read “I am a man”.

When somebody has something to say, he writes it on a sign. And he carries it very high, so everybody can read it. It must be a clear message, so everybody can understand it.

In 1968, there was a huge strike and civil rights demonstration in Memphis, Tennessee. Everybody carried a sign that simply read “I am a man”.

I think about it and I can’t find a most basic demand than this. None. When somebody has to write down a sign to remind the world that he is a person it simply means that all remains to be said.

So many new hands have repainted these same signs for the last forty years. So many new hands wrote and rewrote messages against war, torture and “anything goes” capitalism. Coat over coat of paint, shout over shout, painted and repainted over the very same signs carried by people who wanted to tell the world that they simply were men and women.

When somebody has something to say, he writes it on a sign. And he carries it very high, so everybody can read it. It must be a clear message, so everybody can understand it.

Today the signs simply read “President Obama”.

Vote 4 Doll

Cabbage patch presidentials

Dolls shaped after political figures at not new (I've written about this before). These versions of the current Presidential candidates in Cabbage Patch form are certainly cute (note: the original dolls, now 25 years old, were first manufactured by Coleco, creators of the Colecovision console and ADAM computer). Anyways, what caught my attention today were not exactly the dolls... but how much people were bidding on them. As of now, the lowest bid goes to Biden (no pun intended) with 610 dollars. That is not surprising. What is surprising is that Palin's doll gathered so far more money ($3650) than McCain ($1025) and Obama ($1225). Is this due to Palin's popularity (or maybe I should say "flamboyant unpresidential personality)? Or just because it's the online female doll? I'm not sure. It's telling that Obama is a bit ahead than McCain in terms of bids, even though not by much and this can be reversed any time. I would have thought that he would attract more bids, considering that it's almost a fact that he'll be the winner of the election (well, that is in the case that Americans finally get their Math right and learn how to count votes).

Cute dolls.

Obama's videogame: Debate Night


I'm happy to launch Powerful Robot's new political game. It's called Debate Night and allows you to go face to face with McCain on the debate arena. It combines two familiar gameplays (Zuma meets Bejeweled) so you can refute McCain's arguments by swapping and matching them before the reach Obama.
I'd like to thank the Powerful Robot team for all their work, as well as Espectral for the sounds and music. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!