My name’s Mark Johnson. I’m an academic and a game designer, currently based at the University of York. I primarily use this blog for updates about my own game, but I also sometimes write pieces of games criticism on topics that interest me, generally level design and interesting kinds of game narratives.


I design/program/develop Ultima Ratio Regum, a roguelike-ish game written in Python. Its narrative and themes are inspired by the works of Jorge Borges and Umberto Eco, and its gameplay by Europa Universalis, Dwarf Fortress and Dark Souls. As well as providing the challenging gameplay experience one expects from “classic” roguelikes, I want to get players thinking intellectually about other issues such as historiography, cryptography, philosophical idealism, linguistics, and many others. I have been developing it for over three years and I’m now coming to the end of the “worldbuilding” aspect of the game, likely to be by far the largest and most time-consuming. Ultima Ratio Regum can be found on Facebook, Twitter at UltimaRegum, on Roguebasin and IndieDB, and has been reported on in a number of gaming news outlets. From late 2014 onwards, developing URR will be my full-time occupation for a year!

Outside that I’m currently finishing off a doctorate and planning to move into game studies. In the past I was professional poker player for three years (primarily Stud 8/b) and the highest ranked 1v1 Red Alert 2 player in the world. I currently spend some of my gaming leisure time pursuing what I hope to be my first gaming world record, and I’m probably (mostly by accident) the world’s leading collector of classic Command & Conquer merchandise/memorabilia.

I can be emailed at mark at this domain, and please do – I love any and all comments and/or critique. Alternatively, if you’re an academic and interested in collaboration (or you want to give me a job studying games), do please get in touch, and my CV’s available on request.

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