GDC 2013: Jason Rohrer designs game not meant to be played for 2,000 years

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Photo source: Polygon.com

As part of this year's GDC Game Design Challenge, Jason Rohrer, the creator of The Castle Doctrine and Sleep is Death, revealed that he'd made and hidden a game in the hope that it wouldn't be played for thousands of years. The game, called A Game for Someone, was buried by Rohrer somewhere in the Nevada desert. Of course, by the time it's unearthed we could all be enslaved by aliens, robots, mutants, even mice-spiders. Who knows if we'll get breaks for gaming?

The challenge - a sort of Gamejam for your head - asks participants to imagine a game around a particular theme. This year, the theme was was "Humanity's Last Game". Will Wright, Steve Meretzky and Harvey Smith all took part, but it was Rohrer's idea that won. Presumably because it was both real and mad.

"I wanted to make a game that is not for right now, that I will never play and nobody now living would ever play," Rohrer said.

The board game was created by programming the rules into a computer, and letting an AI find balance issues, then iterate upon them. This ensured that Rohrer himself would also never play the final version. He then created 18 by 18 inch board, and pieces, from titanium, copied the rules to archival, acid free paper, sealed the pages inside a Pyrex tube, then put the tube inside a titanium baton. He then buried it all somewhere in the desert.

In the hope it will found someday in the future, Rohrer gave each session attendee an envelope containing multiple GPS coordinates - over one million in total. Rohrer estimates that if one person checked one location every day, it could take over 2,700 years before the game is discovered.

The coordinates were collected up by GDC volunteers for collation, in the hopes of discovering it a little earlier. If they get posted online, we'll probably have it within the week. ARG players are nothing if not dedicated.

Thanks, Polygon.