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Constellation Games Game Design Promo: My editor has an extra advance copy of Constellation Games, which she asked me to give away in a gala promotional event! This put me in a pickle: I love giving things away, but I really hate "promotional events". So I came up with something fun: you can win a copy of the paperback (or, if you're already a subscriber, a subscription upgrade), by fleshing out the Constellation Database of Electronic Games of a Certain Complexity.

For those who haven't read Constellation Games: the CDBOEGOACC is an enormous XML document containing metadata for entertainment software from countless alien civilizations, as well as the computers and peripherals necessary to run that software. Like, imagine if Jason Scott worked for the Culture. To give you the idea, here are some CDBOEGOACC quotes from the narrator's Twitter feed:

Every CDBOEGOACC entry is a tiny science-fiction story about an alien culture and someone who responded to their culture by making a game. If you like this idea, you are the target audience for Constellation Games and you should enter this contest to win a copy. The CDBOEGOACC is the part of the book that was the most fun to write, and I can't think of a better gala promotional event than asking you to come up with these mini-stories.

You can write something tweet-sized like the quotes above, or you can flesh out an idea a bit more and put it on your weblog, or whatever. It doesn't matter to me, so long as you somehow make sure I know about it. Only entries I know about will be judged. Surefire ways to make sure I know about it: send me email, post a link in the comments below, or use the unwieldy hashtag #cdboegoacc on Twitter or Identica.

The contest ends when I wake up in the morning on April 10, one week from tomorrow, and pick my favorite CDBOEGOACC entry. We'll mail the winner their advance copy right away, which means you'll get the book a few days before its official release on April 17. (As a bonus, this uncorrected proof contains a huge continuity error in chapter 35, which you can find and then feel superior to me.) I'll also pick a random winner, who will get a free base subscription to the serial, plus a collected ebook once the serialization is done.

Since the goal is to make cool things, you can enter more than once to improve your chance of getting the paperback, but the random drawing is one entry per person. I will judge entries on the twin criteria of "sensawunda" and "comedy", the binary star by which I steer my novelist's ship. Have fun!


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