Hamar Game Challenge 2006

It’s so lovely reading about this initiativ!!! On the 20th of April there’s something called Hamar Game Challenge 2006!

“The group with the most innovative and best game idea wins. But it’s not enough to have a new and excellent idea. The panel evaluates the ideas based on many factors. How did the group present the game? What is the sale potential if the game gets published? What about the technology behind the game – is it good enough? And do the members of the group have enough technical knowledge to make the game?

This and more will be looked at in detail. The winner(s) will get a paid trip to E3 in Los Angeles, 6 months free office-space, and help with all business aspects from Gründerhuset.”

The catch is that only 2nd and 3rd year students at Hedmark College can submit game ideas. But I’d really like to go and see what they come up with!!

But I have to wonder….are we putting too much pressure on future game designers to produce sellable products? Shouldn’t we allow them to explore their ideas and their creativity in peace? And also – what if you design the best game, but you’re not exactly the most charismatic person who can sell ideas? Are we really expecting all game designers to be wonderful sales people as well? Don’t we have enough of those around to borrow a few?

It’s a great initiative! I guess I’m only ticked off that we couldn’t have made a ‘national’ thing out of this! Made it a real IGDA event somehow!!!

Where’s the hunger for knowledge?

A few years ago I woke up in a pool of drool at a desk at an insurance company. I had been there for two years and well…I was so freakin bored that I had actually fallen asleep! So I quit and volunteerly stepped into the realms of poverty and unemployment. It’s funny, but I look back on that time with fondness, aren’t I weird? Let me tell you why…

I rediscovered the public library. I set out to find out about things I had always wondered about like the whole Middle East conflict and The Cold War. And one day I found Jean Baudrillard’s “Simulacra and Simulation” and the rush I felt was amazing! I started remembering the thrill of feeling my mind exploding with ideas, opinions and new ways of looking at things. I remembered my inspirational teacher Tiziana Terranova (at UEL) and the way her enthusiasm for New Media was just intoxicating. I started re-reading a lot of the literature from my Bahcelor Degree and well…ended up applying for a Masters Degree here at UiB. While most of my friends were starting their careers, businesses and family life….I decided to go back to studying. And to be completely honest with you, I think I told family members and friends a bunch of yooo ha like “Prospects of getting a job here in Bergen will be so much better” and blah blah blah!! But this wasn’t what I was thinking! I was looking forward to two years of discussion, research, writing and being introduced to new wonderfully exciting ways of looking at society, community and technology!
Now, most of those who have met me (and I suppose read this blog) know that I’m not very good at hiding excitement! I was overflowing with ideas, opinions and I wanted to share all this with just as passionate students! He he! Any idea where I’m going with this?
I was so distraught when my fellow students at their first semester were already thinking about jobs. I mean…ambition is good, sure! I just felt it was such a drag to start thinking about such things! We were there to study media and write mind blowing thesis’! We were going to dig deep into things that only a University will give us the freedom to do! Explore, analyse, research, discussion! I for one was not going to pick a topic that would guarantee me a job! I’m certain I quickly gained a reputation as a ‘know it all’ at the department because I would ask people what they were looking at and get genuinely intrigued and share stuff that I had read or seen! I’d ask questions! But I was always met by this wall of insecurity. Perhaps it was my age that was a problem, I was exactly where I wanted to be! I mean, sure! I had my insecurities as well! I’m not exactly the brains of my family and I’ve always been somewhat of a lazy (save things to the last minute) mediocre student and I was completely convinced that my surroundings were ten times smarter than me (still am actually).
So…where is this ‘Dear diary’ post really leading? I suppose I’m frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm for academic research in general! Ofcourse these students are scared, because society is telling them that what they’re doing is useless! I read an article, ironically in the MIT Technology Review, the ‘European Institute of Technology Is Deferred‘. And then there’s cut backs at the university and well…my impression is that there is no investment either from government or private spheres because they see no use academic research. What bollocks! Apparently there needs to be shown proof of practicality before research projects can be justified!
I am so saddened by the thought that such bright wonderful colorful minds are going to be dragged into a system where their thoughts and ideas are being forced into a closet! Where’s the explorational thrill?!! The practicality of research? Are you freakin kidding me?
I was at a meeting a few months ago that was supposed to be a discussion between the business world and the university. I was appalled when university members were suggesting that maybe their courses should cater more to local businesses…that students should be writing thesis’ for businesses…yeah! That’s going to really boost new ideas!!! Jeez! After the meeting I introduced myself to some people representing a new business here in Bergen that’s supposed to help university graduates come into the business world. And I told them that I really didn’t want businesses holding presentations for me…if they truely wanted us to integrate…well…I thought maybe it was a good idea to have a forum so I could tell the business world my research and my thesis! I’d rather educate them on what I’m doing than them educate me about how the business world works. They thought it was a bad idea and when I told them my field of research and they actually laughed at me! I got some reponse like “What the hell is THAT going to be good for?!”. My response to that situation? I looked at them wide eyed and laughed at them back, shook my head and left.
Yeah! I guess what I’m saying is that there seems to be no pride of students’ work! There’s really nowhere to get enthusiasm and encouragement from! There’s no sense of intrigue and curiosity! Most of the students I’ve met are doing some fascinating things! They’re discovering stuff I never would have thought to look for! And the sad thing is, they feel worthless! There’s this overwhelming sense that what they’re doing is not important because it’s not related to a career somewhere! And I hate that! What they’re doing is important! What they’re discovering is EXTREMELY important! Academic research is important! Fresh new ideas and minds are important!!! How the hell can a country survive without them?
So…I could go on and on…but now I need to go to my bank and beg for money! Yay!! I’m just going to have to publish this without reading it through again or else it’s going to be eating away at the back of my mind for a while! If I’ve wasted your time with confusing arguments and not made myself clear or am not justified in my tantrum, please excuse me!

New exciting paper

I really should consider getting my del.icio.us hooked up here so I don’t have to write a post each time I just have a link to add!!

But till then…here’s a new paper that’s out
“MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research” by Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc, Robert Zubek.

I’m pretty much finished with my game analysis, so I’m gonna keep this one ‘on the shelf’ for a while so as I don’t get swayed and confused again! I’m pretty much in the process of mapping out the communication levels in TSO at the moment – hence new papers on ‘my list’ like Yochai Benkler’s “Communications infrastructure regulation and the distribution of control over content”. There’s probably others as well…but I honestly can’t remember what’s new and what was there to begin with anymore! Sorry!

But I thought maybe you, Stavelin or anyone else in Klevjer’s class might be interested in it!

Another legal battle to follow closely

I honestly don’t understand the point of bothering!

Yet another really, really important case has eluded my attention until now!

Brian Kopp, a 24 year old WoW player released a book called “The Ultimate World of Warcraft Leveling & Gold Guide” in August and sold it on e-bay. Blizzard, Vivendi and the ESA responded by “sending repeated takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), asking eBay to yank the auctions because of copyright and trademark infringement concerns”. Kopp put up quite an impressive fight but in the end his eBay account (hmmm…article doesn’t say anything about his Blizzard account…I wonder if he’s still allowed to play?) was suspended.

The companies didn’t let it rest with this, however, they went on to claim copyright and trademark infringement! They claim that he couldn’t sell the book because it “attempts to trade off the substantial goodwill and recognition that Blizzard has built up in connection with its World of Warcraft product”.

I mean, COME ON!!! REALLY?!! I honestly don’t see the problem here. Now, I haven’t read the book and to be honest I’m not a big fan of books like this, but I honestly feel there’s more good publicity in consumers producing such stuff…than harm!

It looks like Kopp is quite the fighter, because he’s now filing a lawsuit against them. I thought the text was quite intriguing, so I’m just going to cut’n’paste from the CNet article:

“Kopp’s complaint argues that his book does not infringe on any of the companies’ copyrights for several reasons: The book presents a disclaimer on its first page about its “unauthorized” nature, contains no copyrighted text or storylines (ooohhh…that’s a touchy word to use in reference to MMOGs) from the game and makes “fair use” of selected screenshots under copyright law, the complaint said. In effect, if the video game industry’s actions are upheld, “then selling a how-to book about Microsoft Word would infringe Microsoft’s copyright, expecially if the book contained one or more screenshots of Word’s user interface,” said Paul Levy of the public-interest advocacy group Public Citizen, which joined in filing the suit on behalf of Kopp. “We think this cannot be the law.”

What silliness of Blizzard and what bravado of Kopp! You just gotta respect the guy for fighting back!!

New Gaming book calling for contributors

Ooooh!! I can’t tell you how exciting it is to actually recognise one of the names on this list of editors and actually met the guy!! What a thrill!!!

Anyways…it’s called “SPACE TIME PLAY – Games, Architecture, and Urbanism”

Absolutely all the topics are interesting! And I have a sneeking suspicion that there are people at our department working on these exact topics who might have some stuff to share? But what do I know? I don’t know anything of what’s going on at our department as I keep missing presentations and lectures….but this is another rant, which I’m working on at the moment, but harder to blurt out my thoughts there as I tend to get quite emotional on the subject.

But anyways…thought I’d mention it in case they read this and in case someone felt compelled to share information with those interested!


As if I didn’t have enough to read, the scrumptiously gorgeous Marve led me to this interesting place:


It’s truely fascinating! I’ve been trying to get my head around the whole blog to give a summary here – but there’s just too much interesting to report!

I mean, there’s a great post about a collaborative Packman game!

There’s a fascinating piece on computer games and animals! I have plans of following each link to this during the course of the day! Absolutely fascinating projects, and well…kinda weird, really!!

And then there’s this ‘Net-art wrestling match’ (picture)

And all this in just one day!!!!! I wonder what lies beyond?!! Definitely looking forward to digging deeper into it!

Oh…and PS:

I saw someone reading ‘Theory of Fun’ at our department yesterday! Yippi!!!

Oooh…and I’m kinda wondering…do you think there’s much truth in Kotaku’s rumours that Raph Koster is quiting SOE and starting his own studio? That would be cool – but I guess it’s also doom for Star Wars Galaxies. Oh dear!