"Girl things" in games

Granted, I really don’t have time to focus on blogging at the moment, so excuse me if I’ve misunderstood this completely! I just….I just couldn’t let this pass by without adding some comments. I’m confused, terrified and well…just a tad insulted, to be honest.

Edward Castronova’s latest Terra Nova post examines one of the ‘theories’ introduced at Ludium 1. Uhm…from what I can gather The Koithuo team proposed a way of looking at ‘the evolutionary theory of human gender differences’ and implementing this as a test into games, using Steen’s ‘girl game modes’ which say “that women will be interested in a) games about rating men’s prowess (The Yenta Game”), choosing men to connect with (“The Marriage Game”), and getting men to stay committed to them (“The Newlywed Game”).”

Now…it seems the crew at A Tale in the Desert have implemented a game in their world to test these theories. Which I completely concur with Castronova when he writes that:

“Regardless of whether you agree with Steen’s theories or not, the exciting thing here is that we get to see them tested, at the level of an entire society. It’s not just a theoretical/political debate any more. We’re getting some information.”

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Wow! This is just so awesome it desserves it’s own post here and not just a del.icio.us tagging!

GAM3R 7H3ORY – which is a networked book on games.

“All in all, an envelope-pushing endeavor, in both form and content. Eventually, GAM3R 7H30RY will be published by a conventional press, but between now and then we’re trying to investigate new creative strategies in the peer-to-peer environment. We call this a ‘networked book’ — the book as social software. We’re hoping to spark discussion about that as well.” – copied from Boing Boing.


This according to Ben (Vershbow?) from The Insitute of the Future of the Book! This just combines everything that I love about my field of study – just like my thesis is beginning to do! I really do love this stuff! I haven’t read all of it yet – or contributed – but it seems GREAT! I was a bit troubled by the lack of references – but this is discussed in the forum – and it seems he’s going to do some linking to the bibliography! Oh how I’d love to hand in my thesis in this way!!

Second Life

To those of you who haven’t been curious enough to enter Second Life yet – here’s a great little tour of some fabulous stuff Second Lifers have created! It’s beautiful, I must say! And they’ve even made they’re own version of Guiness; Goodness – awwwww…isn’t that sweet?!!

Taken from Pierce P. tv – there’s more machinima there if you want it!


This game is just starting to sound more and more fabulous!! I’ve just listened to a podcast from the GDC 06 of Caryl Shaw’s (Producer, Maxis) talk about “Building Community Around Pollinated Content in Spore” and I’m in complete awe! I almost feel guilty for criticising The Sims Online, but I’m sure anyone would agree with me there. And I almost think they’re kind for keeping the game going as I’m sure there are only a couple of thousand players (huh…need to check up on that) since those that still are there are still passionate about it.

Keywords for the talk: technology, content, community; generative content; small file sizes; “bragging rights”, flickr inspired tagging; stories behind the objects; massively solo player game

I’m truely pumped!!

Also check out Will Wright’s talk with BBC Technology about “User-generated future of gaming”. At one point they actually talk about letting avatars roam through different gaming spaces – interesting!!

Controversy and drama

Super Columbine Massacre RPG

It’s caused a lot of controversy lately, which I suppose is only natural. It’s a game about the Columbine school shootings of 1999, and you know…it’s not pleasant. This ofcourse has raised havock! Ian Bogost at WaterCoolerGames, who is quite passionate about games with an agenda – wrote an interesting piece a few weeks ago, which has caused people like Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council to call for Bogost’s resignation from Georgia Tech.I suppose that’s what upset me the most really. Personally, I haven’t played the game because it just seemed too uncomfortable, for me – I’m such a wimp, I know.

Mr. Bogost has written yet another brilliant post on the media coverage, which really needs to be read in full – I’ll cut’n’paste the summary here though:

“Most of all, I am deeply worried by this culture of ineffability, a culture that would rather not talk about anything at all for fear that it might make someone uncomfortable. This trend descends from Theodor Adorno’s argument that the holocaust becomes “transformed, with something of the horror removed” when represented in art, thus his famous statement that to write poetry after Auschwitz would be barbaric. These events are considered “ineffable” — unspeakable, unrepresentable. It is a tired sentiment that we must move beyond. Of course topics like 9/11 should make us uncomfortable. Of course Columbine should make us uncomfortable. But that is no excuse to put these issues away in a drawer, waiting for some miraculous solution to spring forth and resolve them for us. If we do so, history is much more likely to forget them. I don’t care if we make videogames, films, novels, poems, sidewalk art, cupcakes, or pelts as a way to interrogate our world. But we must not fear that world.”

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New Ties

I’m literally on my way out the door from work but I just had to comment on this! By the way, is it nerdy not wanting to leave work on time because you wanna finish blogging? I’m beyond hope now aren’t ?!

But just look at this New Ties project:

The NEW TIES project is growing an artificial society using computer
that develops agents–or adaptive, artificial beings–that have
behaviours. The project is the first of its kind to develop a
large-scale and
highly complex computer-based society. The project’s results
may have larger
implications for information technologies design,
evolutionary computing
systems, artificial intelligence and linguistics.

The project’s goal is
to evolve an artificial society capable of
exploring and understanding its
environment through cooperation and
interaction. The agents are sufficiently
complex and their environment
demanding, which enables them to develop a
communication system to learn how
to cooperate and to adapt.

Completely stolen from Mark Wallace’s blogg!

How cool isn’t this?!!!

2 New Games Worth Keeping An Eye On

BUD – “A lightweight passively multiplayer online game where your data is your playfield”

I’m not certain I understand the gaming element in this or even the fun factor but it certianly is interesting.

“bud.com is an experiment to turn our personal data trails into a playfield for a web-based massively-multiplayer online game. Call it passively multiplayer – the reality of communication networks. Already, Web 2.0 and social networking sites keep track of our relationships and communications. bud.com proposes to make that web more engaging through surveillance with non-threatening stakes: browser-based multiplayer play.

Honestly, I still like to be in control of what information I share with my networks – this sounds kinda scary and I’m sure my surfing would become more tactical than the freedom of my own curiosity. But it certainly is an interesting concept – and I’ll be eagerly following his progress!


PlayByWiki – the pen is the sword

Yes! It’s a Role Playing Game using Wiki! Looks really interesting! And to be honest I’m thinking this is more of a collaborative story telling than a game! Oh how those definitions are blurring my mind! It looks great! What a truely interesting concept!

Doppelganger Virtual Nightclub

Red Herringreports:

  • The well-funded San Francisco-based company is trying to tie together the trends of online advertising instant messaging, and online gaming. Like many youth-oriented companies in the wake of concerns about safety in public chat rooms and on MySpace, Doppelganger thinks it can walk the line between cool and wholesome”

I don’t know….I just don’t know! There’s supposed to be live DJs and bouncers but there is ‘no punching, hitting, or kissing’ – I can’t help but wonder if that’s just not a tad too boring!

Social places like this need som kind of common denominator – like gaming. The article doesn’t really dwell on what gaming features are available – so I may be wrong here. I very much agree with Mortensen that in order to create new social spaces there has to be a common background and challenges and tasks (she lists more, but I’m sticking with these two for now). I’m not so certain that this can be found by going to a virtual nightclub – but ofcourse if they’re looking at the MySpace tendencies they’re hoping that groups of already established friends will come there to hang out. But this is still different. It seems they’re focusing their attention on the consumer culture and the bodily form of the avatar and things.

  • “In-game advertising is hot, and Doppelganger says it’s ready to pull out all the stops – in a tasteful way, of course…Doppleganger’s immersive advertising will include clothing and media for purchase, both digitally and physically. The ad-coated buildings surrounding its clubs are meant to resemble nighttime hotspots in New York or Tokyo. and the company wants to build out its world, with users decorating their own apartments near the clubs”

So how come this is going to be popular and There never was? And yet…social games like Habbo Hotel are a huge success! Spot the difference?

They’re marketing towards teenagers, but the article fails to mention if it’s restricted just for teenagers. But here’s the thing I think is smart though, “But unlike Linden Lab’s popular Second Life and other massively multiplayer online games, Doppelganger isn’t primarily a full-screen experience. The idea is to slide into the multitasking world of teenagers, with a minimized buddy list screen open at all times”.

This is a type of convergence I can see working (and I’m hating myself now for going to the South Park talk and not Eirik Solheim‘s lecture ‘(?)at the Nordic Media Festival). Just like BBC 1’s festival and their virtual BBC 1 radios in Second Life! I was fortunate enough to experience David Zach‘s talk on Friday – and as he mentioned – the culture today is very obsessed with not letting anyone tell us what we can and cannot do, say or buy – yet most teenager rooms are EXACTLY the same. So I don’t know! Maybe it will catch on, but if it does I’m certain that there needs to be some form of ‘complete individual freedom to do, say and buy’ illusion for these teenagers to think it’s cool! After all, isn’t that some of MySpace‘s allure?

Speaking of My Space…have you noticed the new proposed bill: