Alter Ego out in May!


Robbie Cooper’s book Alter Ego: Avatars and their Creators is out in May! I’ve been waiting for this a loooooooooooong time now! Can’t wait! It’s such a wonderful project!!

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The State of Play book!


I’ve pretty much accepted that my thesis is just a summary of discussions about MMORPGs. When you start out such things, you always think you’re gonna write something new – but, naw! I’ve foolishly created my own typology though – I don’t know what I was thinking, it just felt like something that needed to be done! I’m waiting for a ‘go ahead’ from my darling advisor, now, while I’m trying to sum up…well…way too much actually! The ontology of the avatar (oh please inject me with an instant psychology degree!), intellectual property rights of avatar created content (oh please inject me with a law degree!) and MMORPGs – collaborative fiction, society or gameplay? (urgh – still working on the set-up there).
ANYWAYS!!! I say that it’s all about summing up the discussions – and they can all be found in this new book!!! Excellent that they’ve published it all in one book! What I’ve always loved about the subject of MMORPGs is the involvement from so many disciplines! There’s lively discussions between designers, lawyers, economist, psychologist, anthropologists, historians, sociologists and…urgh…you name the field and they’re probably heavily involved already! If you’re interested in studying MMORPGs, buy this book! It’s ESSENTIAL!!! No matter what field you’re coming from! I hate to be an advertisement but BUY THIS BOOK!!!!!!
I’ll probably be back later to link to the brilliant minds behind it – but I’ve spent way too long with my morning news and coffee and must dash to dive into work!!

Historical Simulations and AI

So…Peter S. Jenkins is alive and well…it seems…and challenging my thoughts again. Now…I’ve only skimmed through this, and I honestly can’t decide if he’s gone mad or if he’s one of the genius future thinkers of our time!

I’m gonna have to have another go at it…but let me present you with: “Historical Simulations – Motivational, Ethical and Legal Issues”.

After skimming through it – I feel like I’m still not sure what he means with historical simulations and AIs! I mean…he starts off pretty boldly:

“The notion that the perceived world is an illusion or a simulation has arisen for centuries in the works of philosophers, mathematicians, and social scientists. A recent variant on this theme, posited by Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford, is that it is possible that we are forms of artificial intelligence in an ancestor, (i.e. historical) simulation created by a future society.”

And then he gets me back to nodding – because he mentions McLuhan’s ‘rearview mirror effect’ and some of Castronova’s ideas of using ‘synthetic worlds’ but I suppose I’m just nodding from recognition – because my hair just rises up when he starts using words like apocalypse!

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GAM3R 7H3ORY

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!!

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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