Ian Bogost is a software artist and researcher who specializes in games. He helped found the software company Persuasive Games. Bogost is also a professor of digital media at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Bogost is frequently booked as a speaker on technological and social issues. You may recognize him as a sometimes-commentator on the Colbert Report.

He has written a number of different books and games.

His books include: Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System, Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, A Slow Year, Newsgames: Journalism at Play, and How To Do Things With Video Games.

"A Slow Year" is a book of essays/poetry which includes four one kilobyte games written for the Atari. The other books are all academic works.

Earlier this year his book of speculative philosophy Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing was published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Even more recently Bogost coauthored the book 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5 + RND(1)); : GOTO 10 in conjunction with Nick Montfort, Patsy Baudoin, John Bell, Jeremy Douglass, Mark C. Marino, Michael Mateas, Casey Reas, Mark Sample, and Noah Vawter. The title of the book is a BASIC program and the book uses that program as a lens to examine the computer programming as art, randmomness, the Commodore 64. The collaboratorrs come from all corners of academia in the US: MIT, University of Maine, George Mason University, and UC Santa Cruz (amongst others—Vawter, a sound artist, is the sole non-academic).

His most "popular" game thus far is a Facebook app called CowClicker. The object of that game is to click the cow.

Even more recently he was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Jacksonville, FL to create an interactive game to be housed in that museum's atrium. He made Simony, which is an update of the classic 1980s handheld memory test game that is available on the iPad and iPhone. If you are not familiar with the game Simon, it had four different colored buttons which would flash in a different sequence which would build successively. The trick was to remember the order of flashes and touch the buttons in the right order. As with memorizing any simple sequence, this game quickly became rather difficult.

Bogost's first impressions of the physical space at MOCA was that of an Apple Store and secondly a cathedral. Upon entering MOCA, one ascends a staircase to enter an area made to look like an altar. An iPad rests upon a dias and a speakers pipe sound into the center of the space. The iPad is set in a mode such that it can only play Bogost's game.

As for the game itself, Bogost made a few twists to old Simon. First off, The game's text is all in Latin. Players also have the option to "buy" points after their memory fails to keep up with the patterns set by the game. There is a global leaderboard which charts the highest ranking players (who have likely bought their way to the top, just like those who bought indulgences so as to enter heaven. Those who are on the top of the leaderboard will help decide what the museum gets to do with the monies raised by the game. 

Like many of Bogost's games, Simony is free to play (note that you will need the necessary iDevice to play though).

Bogost holds a BA in Philosophy and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a Masters and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UCLA.


Persuasive Games

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