Gamurgy Defined

Photo of gamurgization

There aren’t too many words in the dictionary that end in “urgy”. Metallurgy… Thaumaturgy… Dramaturgy… Zymurgy (yum!). And, if I can just get spell checker to remove the red underline, Gamurgy. Well it’s not but it should be.

Here’s my definition:

Gamurgy:
1. The science of discovering, creating and combining games.
2 . The art of finding the game in anything.

Like metallurgy, it has to do with making alloys of games. Coming up with something new from two previous game ideas, or creating something out of a game mechanic and something in nature or culture.

Like thaumaturgy, it is a magical art. It creates magic and quite often has to do precisely with the themes of then magical world.

Like dramaturgy, it is literary in nature, it often invites acting and make believe, and it is enjoyed by both the spotlight-seekers and the engaged viewer.

Gamurgize/Gamurgization:
1. (To) turn something into a game…

WAIT, PAT, THIS ALREADY EXISTS.
IT’S CALLED “GAMIFY” or “GAMIFICATION”!

Go ahead and look at the online definition for gamify. It’s all about video games. And don’t get me wrong, I love video games, but that’s a whole different website.

Gamurgize/Gamurgization:
1. (To) turn something into a game that is not normally considered game-like..
2 . (To) find a way to combine two unrelated things (or games) and create a game out of both which honors both ideas.

And I would further add that whatever is created needs to be fun or at least educational. It needs to speak to the individual elements and it should at least evoke a feeling upon playing it of having given the experience of both elements.

And like zymurgy, it should go well with beer.

  • – – –

The history of Gamurgy

Gamurgy logo

Gamurgy is an idea I created in 1999.

By that time I had been playing and creating games for over 20 years. As I looked back on all the types of games I had created, one thing was pretty clear: I liked to combine games and I liked to make a game out of either A) the last thing you would expect, or B) something I was dared to use as source material.

In 1989 I made a game in which playdough creatures ran around a pit made out of a trash can lid with a hole in the middle. The players had to maneuver around the pit wielding light sabres and the attacks themselves involved squishing and cutting the playdough creatures in half.

In 1991 I made a game in which my sister’s Barbie doll accessories were used as weapons to fend off waves of (again, playdough) zombies using a copy of the board game Mall Madness.

I even made a copy of Settlers of Catan — at six-times size! — in which each player wasn’t just a different color, they were a different set of 70s childhood toys. There was a Tinker Toys player, a Lincoln Logs player, one with Legos, one with Erector Set, one using a Richard Scarry Playskool set and one using Micronauts.

By the mid 90s I was making games for one-off uses mostly. If anything survived until a second playing, it was a miracle. And generally speaking, I was much more in favor of NOT replaying games. Why do the same thing a second time when you could make something brand new again. Not that I threw anything away… I just became a game hoarder.

And not just a physical game hoarder, but a digital hoarder as well. My ideas were filling up hard drives (they were smaller back then), so I figured i would start a website to feature my game ideas.

The first website name I came up with was “Gamergy”, a combination of “game” and “synergy”. And since I was on AOL at the time (as was everyone else) I tried reserving an AOL site with the name “gamergy”. Not allowed. So I tried “game mixer”. Also restricted. Who was taking all these names? I tried “game synergy”, “game combining”, “game bartender”… none of them were allowed. Eventually it became clear that AOL was barring anyone from creating any sites with the prefix “game-“, probably so that they could use them at some future date.

But “gamurgy” worked. I reserved, and then poured all of my ideas onto “members.aol.com/gamurgy” on December 31, 1999. Somewhere out there the internet remembers my AOL member Hometown Site. But good luck finding it.

If I can find a printout or an ancient floppy with the files, I will upload them again to gamurgy.com, but in the meantime it’s all new games, baby!

So, welcome to “Gamurgy.com”!

“A game site in existence since last century!”

Barely.

  • – – –