Nanocon Review of “Game Magic and the Augmented Book”

If 9:30 on a Saturday morning sounds too early for you, more than likely you were not able to attend Dr. Jeff Howard’s presentation on “Game Magic and the Augmented Book” at Nanocon X. No need to fear. I braved the morning hours to bring you my account of his presentation.

Dr. Howard is currently in the process of writing a book on game magic. He shared a few of his thoughts on the subject, Saturday morning at Nanocon. This year’s theme for Nanocon was alternate and augmented realities. According to Dr. Howard, games can present us with both alternate and augmented realities. Those of us lucky enough to attend the presentation were given a chance to view a demo of the augmented alternate reality that is Arcana, a magic simulator being created at DSU.

The main focus of Dr. Howard’s presentation was on grimoires, or magical textbooks, and how they can translate into game magic systems. These magical guide books teach people how to practice magic in the physical world.  An example of a popular grimoire is the Necronomicon. This magical book created by H.P. Lovecraft has made appearances in several aspects pop culture like in The Evil Dead film series by Sam Raimi. Grimoires have also found their way into many games magic systems and stories like in Eternal Darkness, a video game for the Nintendo GameCube. Grimoires have become a common tool for transmitting the ideas of magic between mediums.

The message that I took from Dr. Howard’s presentation on “Game Magic and the Augmented Book” is that by layering symbols and meanings we can make a meaningful system of magic. If you are interested in the topic of magic and want a more complete look at game magic systems, you will have to wait until Dr. Howard publishes his book sometime in 2013. Meanwhile, grimoires are pretty good places to start if you are looking to study and create some of your own magic.

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