The Metagame (Local No. 12, 2013) is a new series of games and associated card deck designed to provoke discussions of culture and play. Designed by Colleen Macklin, John Sharp, and Eric Zimmerman (also known as Local No. 12), the Metagame consists of a deck of 250 cards representing cultural artifacts ranging from Citizen Kane to the iPhone to the Big Mac to Pride and Prejudice, along with a series of comparison cards that include questions to provoke discussion between players (e.g., “Which better represents America?” or “Which will save the world?”). Originally designed as a massively-multiplayer conference game to provoke discussions of videogame culture and design, the new version of the Metagame tackles a much wider palette of human experience. The new Metagame cuts a wide swath across culture and fosters discussion as a form of playful interaction. We see the latest version of the Metagame as an avenue for educators to engage with the idea of using discussion and argumentation as central game mechanics, while also providing a game design toolkit that allows anyone to create their own game that engages with art, architecture, music, food, fonts, games, and many other meaningful parts of our everyday lives. We seek to provide players, researchers, and educators with the experience of playing and designing using the Metagame, exploring new avenues to provoke, discuss, and instruct about culture.
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