[casual_games] gamelab :: changes

Matthew Ford matthew at fordfam.com
Thu Mar 16 21:22:49 EST 2006

In case you are not on this mailing list; this is a significant development.
Good on them! 
I wonder if this means they will eventually pull distribution from their
other channels?
And who knows more about the "project-based investment" pattern mentioned
below? I *think* I know but I may not have it right.


From: gamelab [mailto:info at gmlb.com] 
Sent: Friday, 17 March 2006 8:59 AM
To: gamelab
Subject: gamelab :: changes

The inventive game development company you've grown to love through titles
like Diner Dash, BLiX, and LEGO Junkbot is busting out in all directions. We
are becoming a game publisher, starting a new partnership with Curious
Pictures, pioneering a new form of game financing, receiving a major
research grant from the MacArthur Foundation, and we've got great new games
to boot! 
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
-Gamelab the publisher-
That's right: Gamelab is becoming a game publisher. We'll be financing and
distributing our own work. For a creatively-driven company, this is an
important and necessary step in our evolution: there are new audiences to
reach, new stories to tell, and new forms of gameplay to explore. Initially,
we'll be focusing on three downloadable games - the same business model as
Diner Dash - but multiplayer and handheld games are also on the horizon.
-Curious Pictures partnership-
Gamelab is teaming up with Curious Pictures, a leading NYC-based animation
studio known for award-winning series like Kids Next Door and Sheep in the
Big City. Curious and Gamelab are creating a narrative property that we'll
publish as a downloadable game and bring to a variety of other media.
Code-named BRENDA'S BRAIN, the project brings a Hello Kitty pop sensibility
to the adult world of psychological quirks. 
-A new funding model-
It's one small step for Gamelab, one giant leap for independent games.
Taking a page from the film industry, Gamelab is funding titles through
project-based investment. Not a traditional game publishing deal and not
venture capital, project-based investment has been bandied about the game
industry for years - and now it's here. We already have one project underway
funded through this model, a downloadable game about office life that we'll
publish ourselves. More games funded on this model to come.
-It's genius-
And now for something completely different. The MacArthur Foundation is
awarding a major grant to Gamelab and the Academic Co-Lab at the University
of Wisconsin, Madison. The $1 million+ award will fund the research and
development of Game Designer, innovative educational software that will
teach junior high through university students about game design by letting
them create and modify games. The Academic Co-Lab, headed by leading game
scholar Jim Gee, will work closely with Gamelab throughout design and
production. Game Designer is part of The MacArthur Foundation's ongoing
support for research and innovation in digital media, youth, learning, and
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
-Play games now-
Of course, Gamelab is still making great games! We've got two downloadable
titles just out on the web, both published by PlayFirst. Plantasia is an
action sim about gardening, featuring a romance story about a hard-working
fairy restoring the gardens of a dilapidated estate and a handsome
groundskeeper with a tragic past. Egg vs. Chicken is a comedic action-puzzle
romp through time, as the player helps a rag-tag team of eggs fend off
marauding chickens as they battle over which came first. Both games feature
approachable and addictive gameplay, chock-full of music, story, and
luscious visuals.
-More games soon-
We've got several more original games coming out over the next few months.
LEGO Fever, a project we're publishing in partnership with our favorite toy
company, is one part wild LEGO brick building and one part hip nostalgia.
Shopmania, published by iWin, is a frantic parody of consumer culture that
puts the player behind the retail counter of a mega superstore. Two pop
culture games with VH1 are also in development. Last but not least, Gamelab
is continuing a partnership with NYC nonprofit Global Kids, in which we
collaborate with high school students to make a game about a social issue.
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
-Anything else?-
Gamelabbers are busy as usual outside our office. At the Game Developers
Conference next week, catch talks from Nick Fortugno, Peter Lee, and Eric
Zimmerman. Eric also just launched The Game Design Reader, an anthology
co-edited with Katie Salen  and published by MIT Press. Greg Trefry
continues to write smart game reviews for PopMatters.com and Nick Fortugno
pens design essays for gamezebo.com. Jacqueline Yue created a series of
information graphics for Metropolis Magazine. Nick Fortugno, Catherine
Herdlick, Peter Lee, Mattia Romeo, and  Greg Trefry are hard at work on Come
Out and Play, a festival of street games running this fall in NYC. Lauri
Berritta is getting her Manhattan-based Dirt Theater Company up and running.
Beom Shim's award-winning animations are appearing in festivals in New York
City, Paris, Rome, and Stuttgart. Ranjit Bhatnagar continues to exhibit his
wacky robot musicians, at the Flux Factory gallery in Queens and the
Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, CA.
-What is Gamelab?-
The New York Times says Gamelab is a company with a "penchant for smart
experimentation." But decide for yourself. The current Gamelab crew includes
Lauri Berritta, Ranjit Bhatnagar, Naomi Clark, Tim Conkling, Josh DeBonis,
Nick Fortugno, Heath Goldman, Catherine Herdlick, Yun Kyung Huh, Dauna
Jeong, Peter Lee, Carolina Moya, Seok Min Oh, Peter Nicolai, Kyron Ramsey,
Mattia Romero, YunHo Seo, Shim Beom Sik, Khoeun Tep, Greg Trefry, Howard
Wakefield, Jonah Warren, Jacqueline Yue, Stephanie Yue, and Eric Zimmerman.
Audio stylings by mixmaster Michael Sweet and his crew at Audiobrain.
Gamelab TEENS include David Dai, Joel Esquite, Jane Friedhoff, Riley Gay,
Ben Hayes, and Aaron Santigo.
Contact Eric Zimmerman for more information about anything mentioned above:
646 827 6644 / eric at gamelab.com.  
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Gamelab: www.gamelab.com
Curious Pictures: www.curiouspictures.com
MacArthur Foundation: www.macfound.org
Academic Co-Lab: www.academiccolab.org
Plantasia: www.playfirst.com/game/plantasia
Egg vs. Chicken: www.playfirst.com/game/eggvschicken
LEGO: www.lego.com
VH-1: www.vh1.com
Global Kids: www.globalkids.org
Audiobrain: www.audiobrain.info
Game Developers Conference: www.gdconf.com
The Game Design Reader:
PopMatters: www.popmatters.com
Gamezebo: www.gamezebo.com 
Metropolis Magazine: www.metropolismag.com
Come Out and Play: www.comeoutandplay.org
Shim: www.shimbe.com
Flux Factory: www.fluxfactory.org

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