Metagaming began, like so many metagames, as a way to play—a way to extend the life of software, continue to engage after game over, recover the histories of player communities, invent new methods for exploring media ecologies, design our own videogames, and, ultimately, investigate and intervene on the ways in which we play and are played by the autonomous operations of technical media. After all is said and done, Metagaming continues to be one of the best games we’ve ever played and one we hope to keep playing indefinitely. After all, metagaming is not just an environment for games, but an environment for life.
Having lived with this project for the past five years, it’s hard to trace all of its various influences and inspirations, but it’s clear that Metagaming was never a single-player game. Among the many people we have to thank, this book would not exist without the mentorship, confidence, and direction of N. Katherine Hayles and the foresight, trust, and patience of Doug Armato. We are also grateful for the careful guidance of our readers at the University of Minnesota Press as well as the assistance of Danielle Kasprzak, Erin Warholm-Wohlenhaus, Jen McIntyre, Kimberly Giambattisto, Jason Begy, Terence Smyre, Cast Iron Coding, and the whole Manifold team.
Well before we started working with the University of Minnesota Press, Metagaming began in Gainesville thanks to the early encouragement of Don Ault, Richard Burt, Sid Dobrin, Katerie Gladdys, Terry Harpold, Jack Stenner, Gregory Ulmer, and Phil Wegner at the University of Florida. The project was further developed in Durham thanks to continued conversations with Mark B. N. Hansen, Timothy Lenoir, Eric Monson, Mark Olson, Bill Seaman, Victoria Szabo, and Claire Woods at Duke University.
We are thankful for the continued support of our colleagues from Vassar College, Pratt Institute, and University of California, Davis; our cohorts at University of Florida’s English department and Art and Technology Program as well as Duke University’s Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies and Media Arts + Sciences Program; our collaborators in the Digital Assembly Working Group, the s-1: Speculative Sensation Lab, the Greater Than Games Lab, the Game Changer Lab, the Mod Lab, GameCamp!, Center for 21st Century Studies, and Babycastles Gallery; our many co-presenters and co-players at the annual meetings of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, the Electronic Literature Organization, Utopian Studies, and Awesome Games Done Quick; and our students in Montreal, Gainesville, Durham, Poughkeepsie, Brooklyn, and Davis.
We would like to personally thank Zach Whalen and Laurie Taylor for inspiring us to begin early; Mark Bernstein and Stacey Mason for blogging about our early work; Peter Waites and Danuta Fjellestad for inviting us out; Melissa Bianchi and Kyle Bohunicky for inviting us back; Luke Caldwell and James Hodge for reading along; Craig Gordon and Jack Sapperstein for playing along; Jacob Gaboury, Laine Nooney, David Parisi, and Carlin Wing for slacking off; Kris Cohen and Peter McDonald for responding; Mac and Izzy for being there the whole time; and everyone that we (almost certainly) left out. Finally, we would like to especially thank Patrick Jagoda, Ian Bogost, Colin Milburn, and Anil Venkatesh for their close readings, thoughtful critique, and continued encouragement throughout this lengthy process. And, most of all, Metagaming would not have been possible without the love and support of Jean Boluk, Eileen LeMieux, Vince LeMieux, Steven LeMieux, Jacob LeMieux, Kellie Miner, and our entire immediate and extended families for putting up with us as we wrote through breaks, vacations, and holidays in Lampasas and Sherbrooke.