An Unreal Love Story

I’ve had an extremely rotten day, it’s not getting any better and I’m starting to suspect that tomorrow is just going to be worse!

So I was very pleased when I came across this very bizarre Machinima film at Kotaku. I completely forgot what a disgustingly miserable day I was having and actually smile!! So hope you do as well! Kotaku has an interesting description “Hair meets Red vs. Blue”!

I think it’s SFW – definately if you have the sound off otherwise maybe 2 sec of crudeness!

Math and Games

So…I never hear about the really cool things going on at this university until it’s too late! I’m sitting here drinking my morning coffee and I drop by mortenjohs’ blog, Globular Game Log Online. From what I can gather the guy’s Bergenese and currently living in Lyon, France which makes this even more frustrating!

He informs me that there’s a seminar today at 14.15 at Høyteknologisenteret with the title “On combinatorial precursors of Sudoku”; This talk, a sequel to that by Randi Moe in January will attempt to place Sudoku in the historical setting of combinatorial research, sparked as it so often has been by recreational puzzles and games that turn out to have more serious applications.

Now…fair enough! It does sound a bit too advanced for my little mind but I was intrigued when the description of the seminar led me to “All kinds of mathematical games are a good thing” which apparently there’s some dispute about.

But alas! I can’t go! I found out too late and my schedule today can’t be shifted last minute! I’m not too upset, as I’m sure the lingo would be completely greek to me! But I thought maybe I’d pass the information along if someone reading this would be interested!

Sony Station Exchange and GMs responsabilities

So, yeah! I’m still trying to write about intellectual property rights within MMORPGs. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that reputation is a commodity in MMORPGs, both for the game developers and the gamers themselves, and I’m wondering if it is this reputation that is or should be protected within intellectual property rights! Firstly I’ve used Eriksson and Grill’s DiGRA 2005 paper “Who owns my avatar? – Rights in virtual property” for inspiration to illustrate the different interests game developers and gamers have in intellectual property rights. From their excellent paper:

“Two main interests are discernible in connection to the game producers:

  1. Subscription interest – virtual trade may decrease a game producer’s income from subscriptions. If new players buy advanced characters for real money they won’t have to spend time in the game (which they consequently would have to pay for) advancing their own avatars. The subscription interest is also affected by the fact that the game producer may get a bad reputation by letting people with more money than time buy themselves into the game, resulting in gamers leaving the virtual world
  2. Control interest – developers have an interest in remaining in control over their creation. In part, this may be a purely creative interest, quite separable from the subscription interest. Often, producers wish that their virtual world should remain a game only. The recognition of ownership rights in the virtual world of their game may thus conflict with their wish to control that world. Producers therefore try to establish norms implying that trade in virtual property with real money should not exist”

Bland day part 2

Oh, I knew this was coming! I just knew it! And darnit for not blogging my predictions to prove to you that I really knew this was coming!
Clickable Culture has a story about Korean mothers helping their children powerlevel, because being a part of the game and being good at it means so much within the social circles of these kids! It has everything to do with respect and acceptance so if they’re stuck, affectionate mothers come to their aid! I swear…it’s not long before we’re going to be asked what we play and how good we are at playing in job applications and probably even for schools! I’m not sure if I think it’s a good or bad thing. I don’t want to force people to play games – and I kinda feel like that’s beginning to be the case.
Before Christmas I had a conversation with a very conservative and very important business man who incidently is also a father of a nine-year old (in all honesty I truely respect and admire this man, but he’s the exact opposite of hippie, if you get my drift). So we talked about what kind of games he could buy for his son, I suggested Narnia (because I knew both he and I were hardcore The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe fans). But he looked at me sceptically and said “But my boy is smart! He gets things other kids don’t get!”, which kinda threw me off guard because even I was looking forward to playing Narnia! He continued to say something like, “No, I’ve been thinking about getting him World of Warcraft. I think it’s crucial that he develops cyber social skills and he will be quite challenged from a gaming perspective!”. This blew me away! Yes! If I’m explaining this messy, let me say it another way! This guy wanted to buy World of Warcraft for his 9 year old son because he found it crucial that his kid learn and know such cybersocieties! I was just flabbergasted!

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Things to say on a bland day!

I`m in one of those moods where absolutely everything is boring today! You know the feeling? Life is just kinda bland today!

So I wasn’t suprised when I just wasn’t impressed by’s pop-up World of Warcraft video. It was ok, don’t get me wrong…but it could’ve been much better!

Although, in this state of boringness my mind fixated on one fact. According to this video, 16 percent of the way over 6 million subscribers, are women! Which I thought was rather odd, because 80 % of the WoW players I know, are women! Bizarre isn’t it? Ofcourse now I’m not counting those who’ve quit playing the game because it was too addictive! Which led my mind onto another thing! A few months ago, a friend of mine was complaining about a personal problem! He had moved into his girlfriends flat and felt that he had no space of his own! It was becoming quite a strain on their lovelife and he was considering giving the whole thing up. And what do I suggest? “You know, you should start playing a MMORPG! That will give you some space and time to yourself! You’ll be able to completely relax while she’s sitting on the coach watching tv!”.
Turns out, he started playing WoW, loves it and even better, they’re both incredibly happy and loving their life together!! Now…the satisfaction of giving sound love advice is satisfactory in itself, but it being bringing gaming into the relationship and it actually working? That’s just… Man!! I’m good! He he!!

Peer Gynt

This year, we’re commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of Henrik Ibsen (is it just me or isn’t it a bit odd celebrating a great man’s death instead of his birth, although I’m sure we do that as well?).

Lots of innovative stuff is blossoming out of the woodwork from all over the world! I’ve truely been amazed several times.

i1277 sent me (oh how I adore being a part of this ‘secret’ Infomedia blogging network) this BBC produced Peer Gynt game! I think it’s great! Short and pointless, to be sure, but a lovely homage to the music of Peer Gynt!

Photo: From the visual profile for the Ibsen Year 2006

Games are the democratization of fiction!

Awwww…aren’t those words just vigorating? They’re not my own, ofcourse, it’s Tappan King who’s uttered them to Greg Costikyan. It’s so revolutionary, isn’t it?! Games are setting fiction free to the people!

“the Artist creates, the audience consumes. Games, contrariwise, allow individual players to participate in the creation of their fictional experience. The developers still shape and constrain that experience, to be sure, but there is no experience without the active engagement of the player; the player may well do something with the construct that the developers had not anticipated; and the ultimate experience is a collaboration in which both sides participate, not something handed down from On High by the Great Artiste. It is, in other words, the antithesis of aristocratic; games are a way for everyman to participate in creating his or her own narrative experience. Games are a democratic artform for a democratic age.”

But alas, I’m not ready to say that ‘play’ is fiction or that playing fiction is democratic and nonlinear. It’s just a nice and powerful notion. I suppose I fell for this completely because it is right at the core of my arguments on MMORPGs. There is a sense and a feeling of democracy, but come right down to it, it’s all an illusion. One could maybe compare it to the illusion of democracy in Iraq! Or the freedom to say whatever you want in your e-mails!

But, then again, this is not really what he’s saying either, is it? Democratization of fiction! We’re creating fictions that people can interact with. But we’re not exactly creating a collaborative art form are we? Or are we?

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Games For Health

So...Games For Health is hosting an event right before E3 (May 9th if you’re in the area). They’ve made a promotional video which I think deserves some attention here. You’ve got to admit that this is a brilliant initiative.

I’ve started my own secret campaign here in Bergen! I’m sending e-mails to different departments at the university on different games and topics I think are relevant to them. I very seldom get any response, ofcourse! But what do I have to loose?

Venting thoughts!

Otherwise my Easter has been spent lying on the couch ignoring social circles because ‘I’ve got so much work to do’ and watching tv and letting my eyes wander warily over to my computer with a passionate hatred!

I’ve kinda gotten myself into a sticky situation, which I’m either overthinking or I just need to drop it all together. Let me share it with you! I’m trying to explain the attachment we feel to our virtual assets in MMORPGs and I thought I’d found the perfect example. Now, let me point out that I want to go on to explain the distrust of the coding authorities (excellent word, Castronova!) to rectify such situations. So let me just vent out here:
Madelaine, a player in The Sims Online (TSO) loves to build houses! One time she had spent a lot of time, love and effort on a house which was fabulous! A friend of hers was constantly hassling her with wishes to buy it. Madelaine was flattered and in the end gave in! A few days later Madelaine came to me quite distraught. She had just found out that her friend had copied the house from Alphaville to Blazing Falls (another virtual city in TSO) and was passing it off as her own design. Madelaine was quite distraught, and rightly so in my opinion. So this is where I get into trouble! I don’t understand Intellectual Property Law! I thought this was a perfect example of that, and the more I think about it, the more I think it has to do with copyright.

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