Creative Commons and the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge [VIDEO]

A few months ago, I was invited to speak in a round of lightning talks at Red Hat. The event was in celebration of the Creative Commons' license's ten-year anniversary, so my talk focused on the winner of the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge, which was released on that license. They were kind enough to record the talks, so you can see mine above. Hardly the makings of a TED Talk, but I think it went okay. Here's the official synopsis from

Daniel Solis (@danielsolis), an art director by day and game designer by night, describes what sets ancient games apart from the ones sold in today's market. Beyond big boxes, colorful pieces, and lots of noise, ancient games employ three main criteria: access, elegance, and fun. Access—across language and geographic barriers. Elegance—applying a few rules that are easily understood but take a long time to master. And fun—we all know about that.

Solis tells us that while Chess is only 800 years old, older games like those from ancient Babylon are unplayable by us today: we simply don't know the rules! Interested by this, Solis started a challenge for anyone to create a game today that might still be played 1000 years from now. He asked contestants to use what he identifies as the base characteristics of long-lasting games: access, elegance, and fun.

The winner, James Ernest with Take Back Toe, went a step further: he licensed his game under Creative Commons, reminding players that long-lasting games encourage free sharing and collaborative learning.

The video and that bit of text above are both released under an attribution, share-alike Creative Commons 3.0 license from


  1. Daniel -

    Thanks for this.

    Wow. It would be nice if we started building games that would last 2 years or 5 or 10, much less 1000 or more years.

    It is our choice as game designers to build disposable games. We also choose to release them in a way that surrenders our control of them and limits our ability to "make a living" as game designers.

    If I had a game design that I wanted to survive 1000 years to day, what would I do with it?

    Throwing it out on the Internet is not enough.


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