Entertainment, Games, Technology – wOOt?!

There’s been some interesting blogposts lately about the frustrations of what articles to put where, what to discuss where and what words describe what?

Aleks, at The Guardian Games Blog ponders on the acceptability to blog about social software in a games oriented blog. Second Life (which my puter stubbornly is denying me access to), MySpace, Flickr and del.icio.us all encompass play, as well – but is it right to discuss them in a games blog?

“For me, social software often fits the bill more so than goal-directed environments in which I have to shoot things (badly), solve puzzles (incorrectly) or collect items I don’t care about (slowly). Yet in these environments there is play. Even if the play is not formal, there are playful experiences. And so I think they deserve as much time on here as the latest chart toppers.”

I think I disagree. I think we’ve moved beyond this now – these places deserve their own spaces for discussion. But ofcourse, sometimes these social software sites produce games as well and sometimes people make some fascinating gaming observations of them, like “Digg-ing the game”! Which definitely deserves discussion in a games blog!

Meanwhile, over at Wonderland, Alice ponders about BBC’s editorial decision to report that the World of Warcraft expansion is delayed in the Technology section, alongside news about YouTube and Google. I think a lot of news about World of Warcraft is very interesting to technology readers and definitely deserves space there as a lot of what’s going on there has to do with technology, culture and society. But that the expansion is delayed is pure entertainment news, to be sure! I understand that it can be confusing at times, though. Seb Potter has a comment which I agree with:

“I’d like to see “Virtual” as a section, but I guess you’d start to need to just duplicate all the categories of real-life news eventually.”

I’m partial to ‘Virtual Life’ as a section. Some World of Warcraft news is pure gaming news, technology news and virtual life news – we shouldn’t have to think that just because World of Warcraft is a game, that all news from within has to be documented in a games section. And I certainly feel that there is room for another section of news with the title ‘Virtual Life’ – I’m sure most gamers who don’t play Second Life are extremely tired of all the Second Life news in their medium, and well…Second Life isn’t a game! BUT! If someone were to design a really cool game in Second Life – I’m sure they’d love to read about it! And as for the technology section, I’m sure the social impact new technology has had in MMORPGs is only interesting to a certain point, I think it’s time to move on! Unless you’re actually interested in ‘virtual life’! Sigh…am I making any sense?
It certainly is obvious that we’re at a crossroads here, which is so exciting! I can imagine myself as a granny someday saying “Oh…I remember back when we thought these worlds were just games for pure entertainment! Ha ha ha! We were so naive!”

Virtual World Travel Agency

This is great!!! A virtual guide service, Synthravels!! I love the idea! Clickable Culture reports about this new business that has started to offer guided tours for “those who wish to tour virtual worlds even without the necessary experience” – I love it! I haven’t tried it out yet, but I’ve registered with my preferred time and can’t wait to have a look at all the worlds I just don’t have the capasity and time to experience first hand!

“Synthtravels was conceived by Mario Gerosa and by Matteo Esposito.”

What I’ve learned – Part 1

I’m wrapping up my typology of TSO players and intellectual property rights chapters this weekend and I’m getting kind of sentimental and sad about ending a chapter in my life also – and all my…ehm…work being visible on paper. I could have easily finished this sucker a year ago, but then I would have missed out on a few thoughts and new insights. But I suppose that also has contributed to my low self esteem and the constant second guessing of my thoughts, memories, sentences, conclusions, understandings, sanity and intelligence. So I’m not recomending the extra year, far from it, but I’m just saying that I’m glad I took it. I’ve had such a great time, learning so incredibly much – both relevant and irrelevant.

One thing that I absolutely adore and despise about Media Studies is that it encompasses so incredibly much! Back in my bachelor days I never quite got into the spirit of ‘reading’ film – I mean, sure! I loved reaching for hidden meanings and mis-en-scene and – well, to be honest I’m getting bored just writing about it now, so maybe ‘love’ is too strong a word here. Two semesters of film classes was quite enough for me. Anyways…I was lucky and privileged to have Tiziana Terranova introduce me to…ehm…I think we called it Cyberculture, back then (1997-2000) – which blew my mind and woke my desire to learn more! I remember becoming a huge Baudrillard and Foucault fan and discussing hyperreality with passion at the local pub. Ooooh! I’m about to give you my life story here aren’t I? I suppose my point is that I come from a Media Studies background, a part of the Cultural Studies movement (?). On paper I can supposedly ‘read’ film, pictures, commercials and understand media politics (hahahahaha!) and well at least discuss the issues of identity in media and semiotics.

Continue reading

Silence Variations


Yay! Finally!!! The Silence Variations is now available for download!!!

I suppose we were all stunned in August, 2004 – when some thieves manage to just casually steal Munch‘s famous ‘Scream‘ and ‘Madonna’ paintings. And when I say casually – I mean just taking the darn things off the wall and running out of there!

So Overdog Games designed this magnificent game for Bergen Kunsthall‘s Game On exhibition last year.

“Silence plays out endless variations on this theme, as a two-player computer game installation: Wave your guns, find the paintings, and get the hell out. If nobody gets hurt, all is well. It’s the classic heist story, but with a twist: There is no flaky partner, no smart-ass heroes, and no wise-cracking cops. Too simple? Well, this time that’s the tune.”

The paintings have finally been retrieved! And the game is finally available for download! Yay!

And they warm my little ol’ heart when they also release the code under a Creative Commons license!! Bless them!!!

I want more, more and MORE!!! Bogost has also picked up on it! Yay!!!

Velvet-Strike

This is new to me…and oh…how beautiful!!! I’m truely touched!

Velvet-Strike is a collection of spray paints to use as graffiti on the walls, ceiling, and floor of the popular network shooter terrorism game “Counter-Strike”. Velvet-Strike was conceptualized during the beginning of Bush’s “War on Terrorism.” We invite others to submit their own “spray-paints” relating to this theme.”

It’s just…beautiful! Anti war graffiti in such a ‘reality-like’ war game? Amazing! And as they state:

“You are for or against us, you are with us, “the one”, or you are with the enemy is the underlying logic of the West, as I understood a talk by Marina Grzinic at an international cyberfeminist conference in Germany in December 2001. (Pre-axis of evil.) Although computer games replicate this binary competitive logic maybe there is something ultimately subversive in the knowledge that it is only a game, that at any moment you may switch sides with the “other”, you may play the terrorist side in Counter-Strike.”

and

“Reality is up for grabs. The real needs to be remade by us.”

I’m such a sucker for movements like this!!! Gives me so much hope! And I’m going to stop now before I get all sappy!!

Great webzine – specially for media students

Just wanted to give a little heads up to my fellow Media Studies fanatics…cause…you know that’s where I originally come from! I find it so charming…and honourable that so many think I’m Information Science…I like to think of myself as an Infomedia person. But, you know, I really didn’t know what CSS was until last week (thanks to the brilliantly smart Laser Lasse and Siv) – so sorry if I’ve deceived people somehow!

Anyways!!! The fabulous Mr. Jenkins’ blog introduced me to Flow which is:

“…an online journal of television and media studies conceived by Christopher Lucas and Avi Santo and launched in October 2004. Flow’s mission is to provide a space where researchers, teachers, students, and the public can read about and discuss the chanigng landscape of contemporary media at the speed that media moves.”

It’s probably a tad too American for us – but it’s a joy to stumble onto some collaborative online presence of media studies. I’m sure there’s more out there, it’s just not a common occurance for me to stumble onto such pure media studies stuff. Personally I’ve moved beyond these interests – but I know quite a few students could be interested in this stuff – so just wanted to give a little heads up for those interested!

Reservoir Dogs Marketing Campaign

I’m glad I’m alone here right now and no serious students around trying to study! I just had one of my surfing breaks from my hellish monstrosity and was introduced to the Reservoir Dogs Game ads!!! I love them!!! I’m sorry – I know they’re crude and all that….but I’m certainly smitten!!!
Aleks at the Guardian Games Blog asks if it isn’t illegal to use kids to promote something “that would give broadcast output an 18+ rating”? That’s an interesting question actually! How exactly are broadcasting regulations and the internet combined?! Ooooohhh!!! This would be a great subject for a Master’s thesis!!! Although I’m sure it’s already been written a lot about….seems so familiar…yet I cannot remember what the law is! Must restrain myself from searching for the info – MUST FINISH, MUST FINISH!!!


Anyways! Hope you enjoy them just as much as I did!

What’s the point of having a blog if I don’t share?

I’ve noticed that my del.icio.us’ing has minimized my blogging immensley! And I have way too many posts that I haven’t finished yet! Sometimes I just don’t post stuff because I’m sure EVERYONE’S informed from somewhere else, which is the case with this lovely coke ad! I didn’t want to like it, but I think it’s just beautiful!!!! I’m gonna see if I can tidy things up this week and get some of these unfinished posts out, blog the stuff tagged ‘toblog’ – and then there’s THE WORK!

Frasca

This whole narratology vs ludology discussion is quite…well…ARGH! Just frustrating, I guess – and ofcourse this comes from the fact that we’re still trying to figure out the language of games.
So I had a glance at my huge ‘to read’ pile the other day, upset because I keep maneuvering myself into tight suffocating corners that I can’t spread my wings and fly away from. But I guess that’s what writing a thesis is all about ey? Narrowing things down to the bare essentials and constantly contradicting oneself?
Anyways! I pulled out some Gonzalo Frasca, which I had put aside because I naively thought I could escape the whole narratology vs ludology debate! He uses a Markku Eskelinen quote which I LOVE!

“As Markku Eskelinen argues, “outside academic theory people are usually
excellent at making distinctions between narrative, drama, and games. If I
throw a ball at you I don’t expect you to drop it and wait until it starts
telling stories””

Don’t you just love that?! What a great way to mock the debate! Anyways…the article (or is it an introduction chapter?) can pretty much be summed up by:

  • representation vs. simulation
  • Aarseth’s cybernetic systems
  • simulation semiotics or “simitiocs” (what a lovely new word!)
  • “Simulations can express messages in ways that narrative simply cannot” (how bold!!!)
  • A discussion on Caillois’ definitions of ‘play’ and ‘game’; piadia and ludus
  • 3 act rule (which I’ll write more about in next post)
  • 3 different ideological levels in simulations
  • A typology of simulation rules

You’ll be reading a bit more about this later on today or tomorrow! I’m at work right now and I don’t have my Jesper Juul or Espen Aarseth notes available!

Hmmm….so why did I even bother writing this post? Well first off…you have to admit that quote is amusing, but probably because I’m in the middle of writing a job application to a really cool job, and didn’t want the first post they saw to be my emotional worship of the Sultan’s Elephant! He he! The dilemma’s of linking to your blog everywhere and at the same time trying to sell yourself as a sane desirable person!!