Even if you’re a regular video gamer, you might not know the name Jason Rohrer. He doesn’t make the sort of huge, AAA games get multi-media marketing campaigns, but he has designed many intriguing smaller games over the past decade, including Passage, Primrose, Diamond Trust of London, and The Castle Doctrine. Rohrer’s latest game wasn’t designed to be played by anyone currently alive, but rather for people thousands of years in the future.
According to Polygon, it’s called A Game for Someone and Jason Rohrer designed it for the express purpose of placing it in a time capsule and burying in the Nevada desert, hopefully to be opened many, many years in the future. Rohrer took an approach that was influenced by ancient board games such as Mancala, Mahjong, and Go.
“Humanity’s Last Game” was the main theme of the 10th (and final) Game Design Challenge. Jason Rohrer created A Game for Someone by first creating a video game version of the time-capsule game. Once the rules were seamless, he set about physically manufacturing the board game pieces and board, using a resilient metal to withstand the passage of time. The result was an 18-inch by 18-inch game board with pieces made from 30 pounds of titanium.
Rohrer then sealed the game’s instructions, which were written on archival, acid-free paper, inside a Pyrex glass tube and buried them somewhere in the Nevada desert. He buried the game on public land, far from any roads or populated areas — in other words, in the middle of nowhere.
During the Game Design Challenge, Rohrer gave the few hundred people in attendance an envelope with the phrase “Please do not open yet” written on it. Once his presentation was completed, he told them to open the envelopes. Inside each envelope was 900 sets of GPS coordinates which, combined with all of the envelopes in the room, equaled more than 1 million unique GPS coordinates. Rohrer estimated if someone reached one GPS coordinate with a metal detector a day, it would take about one million days, 2,700 years (or much sooner) to find the game.
Needless to say, Jason Rohrer won the Game Design Challenge with A Game For Someone.