Game On

Our cover features a game designed by Wick Perry ’13 about geologic process. Players assume the role of one of four gods (Pele, Enki, Gaia, or Anansi) and collaborate to make an island. White chips are rock, red chips are soil, blue chips are rivers, and the green cubes are trees. Players draw cards and create geologic features. Wick hopes to complete the design after finishing his current project, Crescent Loom. Photo by Clayton Cotterell

Solve Problems. Play Games.

Reed magazine cover, June 2017, photo by Clayton Cotterell

Cover of Reed Magazine, June 2017
Photo by Clayton Cotterell

Angry Birds. Minecraft. Pokemon Go. Sometimes it seems like we’re surrounded by people playing games. On the bus, in doctors’ waiting rooms, in cafes, we race furiously against the clock to dodge alligators, annihilate castles, hunt for seven-letter words. We build bridges, elude robots, trap queens. We shoot, we score. Has there ever been a period in human history where so many people spend so much time on games?

The truth is that games aren’t just for fun any more. They constitute an entire art form. They can teach us tactics, strategy, deception, teamwork, leadership, and patience. They also offer a powerful framework for learning new skills.

In this issue, we decided to take a look at some of the ways in which Reed students, professors, and alumni are exploring this vast and exciting field.

Wick Perry

Inside the Mind of a Microbe

Wick Perry ’13 designed a game where players build their own creatures— and construct their brains.

Disconnect Three

Disconnecting the Dots

Florin Feier ’17 devises an unbeatable strategy for a variant of Connect-4.

Acacia Parks

Play Your Way to Happy

Can a smartphone app help you find happiness? Psychologist Acacia Parks ’03 has a pretty good idea.