Video Games

It's Not Too Late to RSVP! Celebrate 'Video Game Nation' at Reason in L.A. Tomorrow


How many alien orphans on distant planets do you think gamers are responsible for, anyway?

We weren't kidding when we said Reason would be looking at the many ways video games have transformed from a subculture recreational activity to a cultural juggernaut. Today, you can read and watch Reason's "Video Game Nation," chock full of interviews, analysis, polls, and essays. Check out our special game-related page here

Video games are now more of a social environment than ever (despite what critics would say about kids glued to monitors), so Reason is opening up its Los Angeles office for a gathering and a panel discussion with a couple of industry insiders about video game innovations, what video games may accomplish, and what the future holds. We'll have food trucks, drinks, video games and free valet parking. Here's the basics:

  • When: Thursday, May 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Reason's Los Angeles headquarters, 5737 Mesmer Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90230 (Map)
  • Who will be there: Besides you lovely people, Reason magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch will moderate a panel with our two industry guests. Craig Allen is the chief executive officer of Spark Unlimited, a Sherman Oaks-based game company that has produced several shooter games for consoles; he also previously worked with Jim Henson Interactive's digital media activities. Joining him will be Tracy Fullerton, a University of Southern California associate professor and game designer. She wrote Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Designing Innovative Games, and is currently working on an experimental game revolving around Henry David Thoreau's experiences at Walden Pond.

Register here at Eventbrite if you're planning to attend and feel to share our Facebook event listing. We're looking forward to seeing you and kicking your ass at Street Fighter.

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  1. working on an experimental game revolving around Henry David Thoreau’s experiences at Walden Pond.

    Cool, daddy-o… *snaps fingers repeatedly*

    1. How about a game where you play Gandhi? Through nonviolent protest, you have to run the British out of India. Each boss has to be defeated, also nonviolently.

      As you gain experience, you get additional abilities, like Hunger Strike.

  2. Is anyone else going to this? I don’t want to hang around by myself trying to make awkward conversation with Shackford for two hours.

    1. Sums up my fear.

    2. I’m sure Shackford just calls that ‘conversation’.

    3. Who will be there: Besides you lovely people, Reason magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch will moderate a panel with our two industry guests

      Will you be calling Scott on your phone? Because this says only Matt will be there. I’m sure you could have an awkward conversation with him too. Or with Serious. Aren’t all your conversations awkward?

      1. I will be there, playing video games to avoid having awkward conversations with people.

        1. Well this is awkward.

    4. Considering it. I’m trying to weasel out of a familial obligation, but failing so far. Playa will not be able to go. I hassled him about it earlier.

    5. Would have to be DC for me to go. LA is like 3000 miles.

  3. Now a moment of silence in honor of all the monsters we’ve killed for their experience points.

  4. And I for one am getting a bit tired of the L.A./DC bias. Can Reason to an event in a city that doesn’t go by an abbreviation?

    1. You could have gone to Hempfest, Paul. Nick and Matt were there. Of course, you would have had to be in the most annoying crowd imaginable (trust me, they all come through Belltown on their way to the Sculpture Park and go past my place). Didn’t you want to do that?

      1. Do I look like the kind of guy who goes to Hempfest?

        And Hempfest is hardly a Reason (able- Drink!) event. It’s been going on here for as long as I’ve lived here– which is now officially a long-assed time.

        I want a Reason event! You know, with Nick Gillespie in front of a brick wall?!!

        1. You know, with Nick Gillespie in front of a brick wall?!!

          Incidentally, the various federal agencies would also like Gillespie in front of a brick wall, but I don’t suppose you intended for there to be a firing squad at this hypothetical event.

          Curiously though, imagining that scene made me realize that Gillespie sure would look bad-ass with the jacket, a blindfold, and cigarette dangling from his mouth before the EinzahtzG-Men took him out.

          1. Raising his right fist in defiance? I too could get behind that image.

        2. You could have gone on the Reason cruise that left from here, Paul. See, that’s multiple opportunities that you failed to take.

          Do I look like the kind of guy who goes to Hempfest?

          You look like The Dude, right? So…yes?

          1. You look like The Dude, right? So…yes?

            Sort of like The Dude, but without the looks, ambition or talent.

            Funny, a good friend of mine refers to me as “The Dude”.

            But… there was a Reason cruise that left from the docs in Seattle? How’d I miss that? Where’d it go?

            1. Into international waters where libertopia can be found?

              1. I heard it went to the heart of the Pacific gyre where all the evil Libertarians dumped plastic trash into the once pristine marine environment while the Koch brothers laughed maniacally.

                1. I believe it also had a few southeast Asian ports of call where orphans can be had for cheap

                  1. As a libertarian purveyor of high quality, domestic orphans, I must recommend against picking up second rate Chinese orphans. They pose any number of health risks, including SARS and mercury exposure. That said, I would never even dream of using the government to interfere with you legally purchasing bulk Asian orphans.

                    Caveat emptor!

                    1. I must recommend against picking up second rate Chinese orphans

                      But I hear their dainty little fingers are extra nimble for monocle polishing, and they’re smart as a whip!

                    2. False advertising on the part of my competitor. Asian parents force their children to be good at math. What happens when they don’t have parents? Indolence! Besides, their delicacy is their undoing. Studies have shown that American orphans can be dropped up to 10 feet further than their Chinese counterparts before breaking.

                      Our domestic orphans are 100% nun-raised. Just leave a ruler within 50 feet of your factory and their output will treble.

                    3. Ah, but you miss the inherent advantages to southeast Asian orphans. For starters, the cultural mores of the Orient provide these orphans with a greater level of obedience and willingness to submit to authority, especially that of their elders. These orphans also tend to score higher on rudimentary measures of conceptual aptitude and can be repurposed to provide mental labor when one of your senior managerial orphans succumbs to scurvy. Additionally, the slender and slight frames of the southeastern Asian orphans can be highly useful for retrieving unexploded TNT from narrow crevasses in the mines or generally navigating other tight quarters. Also, given the cultural origin of the rickshaw, Asian orphans tend to make the fastest times in rickshaw travel, and time IS money. Finally, southeast Asian orphans, in particular those originating from Cambodia, have a unique ability among orphans to sustain their appetites by eating insects in lieu of being fed and therefore save considerable expense on food overhead without risks of cannibalism eating into your other orphan investments. We may have hated the Khmer Rouge for closing off a market to us for decades, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t pave the way for the insect-easting super orphan!

                    4. You do make some important points here although the labs have been making great strides with the orphans of level 5 vegans that I think you’ll find comparable to your Cambodian super orphans.

                    5. I’m glad the two of you had this discussion. Now I make my new genetically modified orphans with all the features of both your orphan lines combined!

                    6. One additional plus to having a workforce made of SE Asian orphans – American orphanages are pretty plush places compared to the conditions they’ll be working in while the opposite is true for the SEA orphanages.

                      This gives an added incentive to those orphans to work hard so they don’t get sent back.

                2. I heard it went to the heart of the Pacific gyre where all the evil Libertarians dumped plastic trash into the once pristine marine environment while the Koch brothers laughed maniacally.

                  Apropos of that, here, scientists attempt to save the wildlife by strapping stuff to the bodies of sea tortoises:


                  1. I thought that was going to be a picture of a sea turtle with a garbage bag strapped to its back – you know, so it can scoop up the horrible, horrible concentrated trash that’s barely visible with a microscope.

                    1. I thought that was going to be a picture of a sea turtle with a garbage bag strapped to its back –

                      At first I thought it had something horrible trapped around its body that it picked up in the ocean. Then I realized that Environmentalists had just gotten ahold of it.

              2. That’s funny, because me and the one other libertarian in MD, the two of us, having been saving up plastic soda bottles for 5 years now, so that we can build a floating libertarian city. We’ll float down the Chesapeake to freedom when it’s completed.

                1. That’s funny, because me and the one other libertarian in MD, the two of us,

                  There are two of you now?

                  1. Yes, just that the other guy hasn’t come out of the closet yet.

          2. You could have gone on the Reason cruise that left from here, Paul.

            Nope. Postrel disinvited us.

    2. The only cities I can think of without an abbreviation are Fresno and Bakersfield. So no.

      Also, as a gamer I should go. But my go to game is and always will be Madden. And tomorrow is the first round of the NFL draft. As much as I would love to attend this event, NFL draft dude.

      1. It’s a fucking mystery what the Bucs are going to do. I’m hoping they can and will trade down–need the picks for depth. Rumors are crazier than I’ve seen in years–trading up to take Manziel (please, God, no), to take Clowney, etc.

        I’m not high on Manziel at all, but I’m okay if they decide he’s worth the risk at 7. But giving up picks for that gamble? Ye gods.

        1. Chiefs are expected to get a WR, given the depth in this class, and if all the Reid WCO compatible WRs are gone by our pick, probably get a lineman to replace the three we lost in free agency.

          But over the past couple of days, rumors have began swirling about drafting a QB, especially Derek Carr should he fall. While every Chiefs fan I know would love nothing more than to win our first game in 30 years with a QB we’ve drafted (seriously, Chiefs QBs drafted since 1984 have won two games, both for teams other than the Chiefs), I’m quite happy with how Alex Smith finished this season and think under Andy Reid he may actually be an elite QB next year.

          1. The Squaws suck! So, are you guys, like going to go undefeated this year so that you can lose in the first playoff game, or be eliminated in the game before the first playoff game?

            1. The last Chiefs QB to win a playoff game: Joe Montana. ah, sadface.

              And yes, we will in almost all likelihood lose the first playoff game we play, should we even make the playoffs this season (AFC West schedule is brutal).

              I’ve resigned myself to this fate. However, should you ever mention the name Lin Elliot, be advised I will hunt you down with a vengeance.

              1. I wonder if the Seahawks will be awesome again this year. Let me think…yes. Yes they will. Terrible, isn’t it.

              2. Yeah, you are right about the AFC West schedule, it is a rough one. Just be glad that the Sea Chickens aren’t still in the AFC West.

                1. Well, we do get to play them this season. In Arrowhead too, a stadium that wasn’t specifically constructed to be a steel echo chamber and still gets as loud as (insert dumb corporate sponsorship here) Field.

                  1. Well, we do get to play them this season

                    Yeah, but not twice.

  5. I am still calling for reason to fund development of the first libertarian action RPG, with H&R commentariat as the script writers.

    1. A true libertarian game would be a city-building game like Sim-City, but where you couldn’t make any changes. You’d just watch people and commerce happen. Any time you tried to make changes, your score would go down.

      1. I was thinking more of the movie plot that someone, I can’t remember who now, came up with last night when we were talking about movies.

        Something like this. In a post apocalyptic world, ruled by libertarians, one man goes on a quest to build a road.

        Only it’s just a front. The one man is backed up by a secret guild of would be bureaucrats who want to bring back the old ways, by conducting raids on our monocle factories and trying to build roads and bridges.

        So, it’s up to the libertarians to stop the evil hordes, hold our monocle factories, and not allow the building of any roads or bridges. Or something like that.

      2. Nah, early ’90s side-scroller like this. You’re a law abiding citizen carrying a weapon when you’re constantly assaulted needlessly by bureaucrats leading up to an epic boss battle with Mayor Bloomberg. Along the way you can get powerups by purchasing sodas larger than 16 ounces, purchasing hookers and blow from vending machines, doing the blow off of the hookers’ asses, and burning down deep dish pizza parlors, which have clearly violated the NAP by serving something so odious.

        1. What is it with you guys and the old school stuff? 3D all the way! Besides that, your idea has some potential.

        2. Open world sandbox game where you build stuff in cooperation and competition with others. You trade surpluses to enable more efficient creation and no externally imposed win/loss conditions.

          Oh, and you get to ride dinosaurs.

          Lady and gentlemen, I present to you . . .

          ‘The Stomping Land’

    2. Make it a Skyrim total conversion.

      1. Only instead of the different factions, trolls, and other monsters, your enemies are bureaucrats and proggies.

  6. The one time they do something in Tampa, it’s a thousand bucks or more to attend. Disappointed!

    1. $1000? That’s like what the average libertarian spends on buying new orphans every day.

      1. What sort of libertarian only spends a grand a day on orphans? Bah! I spend more than that much on new jewels to embed in my fav monocles!

      2. Really, tell me that you don’t pay to be invited to social functions. How gauche.

  7. Video games may be making America more fun, but freer? I don’t think so.

    1. This is why we need to start sneaking subliminal libertarian propaganda into the games.

      1. What about a gritty period game where you play as an anarchist disillusioned with the Bolshevik revolution. You start with the crackdown right after Kropotkin’s funeral and are thrown in prison where you have to cooperate with other political prisoners, escape, and assassinate Lenin. Call it ???????????? (Tyrannicide).

        1. As long as it’s first/third person…

        2. Or a game where you play as a committed CP member loyal to the current regime and no matter how good you do you get a bullet in the back of the head when the current dictator dies because someone else is using a purge as an excuse to consolidate their power and your just a worthless pawn in their game.

        3. This is the greatest game idea ever. It combines my love of libertarianism with my eerie fascination with Russian language and culture.

          And you slipped cyrillic into the reason
          s xenophobic anti-furrin language comment section. A work of art (good enough to have an empty frame at the MOCA, i.e. I saw that article you posted last week but didnt reply cuz I was far too late to the PM links that day).

          1. This is an English language blog!

            /why there are no Mexicans here.

            Anyway, about the Russian themed game. We’re going to have to consume mass quantities of vodka during the production of the game, to keep in the right mode. I’ll wear a furry hat with flaps on it while I’m coding and drinking Russian vodka.

            Right after release, we’ll have to use the first weeks revenue to go into rehab.

          2. Actually a series of alt-history anarchist games could be pretty great. The late 19th/early 20th century had anarchist movements everywhere, so you could have really interesting period pieces with radically different fashions. Sprinkle libertarian and various philosophical anarchist writing into it the way the original Deus Ex did with de Tocqueville, and maybe have a mobile tie-in where your character’s avatar can “network” with nearby anarchists who are also using the app and call on different skills from different movements in game.

            Also Tyrannicide will come with a pince nez, because I want to make them cool again. Germany, France, China, the US, Mexico and/or Latin America…

            Also I’ve decided that the end of the game will be Incident at Owl Creek Bridge-esque. Your character is blindfolded waiting to be executed and hears a crack. Imagines the world as it would be based on the choices he’s made, everything fades out in red and then he’s lying there with a blood splat on the wall behind him and either a grin or a snarl on his face. Although then the character wouldn’t be portable to other games…*puts on thinking cap*

            1. I get dibs on the Sacco and Vinzetti story

              1. On second thought, I’ll take American turn of the century anarchists entirely. Once I get Czolgosz to assassinate McKinley, I can tie the pince nez in using T.R.

                1. Any of those stories would make a compelling backdrop for a video game. The nice thing is too that you can let characters choose male or female characters without it being overly awkward since women were so prominent in turn of the century anarchist movements.

                  I’m also imagining gameplay along Assassin’s Creed/Dishonored model and an art style that’s realism tinged with the dominant artistic style of the setting.

                  1. I’m also imagining gameplay along Assassin’s Creed/Dishonored model and an art style that’s realism tinged with the dominant artistic style of the setting.

                    I’d like something more like Skyrim or Fallout, more open world, not too linear.

            2. I’ll take the one that begins in 2020.

  8. All right. I’ve registered.

    1. Well in that case, I’ve unregistered.

      1. I’ll move to L.A. just so I can unregister too.

        Cancel my subscription!

        1. *runs from room crying*

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