Wonderful geek tv!

Will Wheaton has a great new show on table top games on the new YouTube channel Geeks & Sundry. I wasn’t expecting to, but I actually watched the whole thing! So he invites guests and they play through a table top game entertainingly and informatively. This time around was Small World. There’s some great camera angles and it’s beautifully edited so that I learn the game as I chuckle and I don’t get bored. Extra kudos for inviting a woman! I hope they do Android at some time because it’s still in my closet after ending play with a big unison sigh after a dinner party over a year ago. Having a program like this to make me understand the goal and rules of the game will be lovely. And Mr. Wheaton is just the perfect game master for such a show! Very cool gaming table!

PS. For non Disneyland explorers, this is the freaky dolls he’s referring to in his intro.

The Story Part 2

I’m sitting at the airport with bad internet connection – (I mean seriously! Why do they make this so hard?!)  – but I need to get this off my chest before I get to Bergen, for I know that everyday life will distract me.

So where was I?

4) After a brief coffee break came the remarkably enchanting Karl James to talk about the wonderfully simple yet difficult skill of listening. Sometimes, if you just shut up you’ll hear remarkable stories that you never thought you’d hear. And what beautiful stories he had to share. Like the extremely powerful story of a rape victim he had been talking to. An extremely powerful woman who had worked through the grusomeness of being raped when she was 14. A man had snuck in the back door of their house and raped both her and her mother. Gruesome, right? Absolutely horrendous. But my tears didn’t start flowing until he told us that when they were supposedly finished, he forgot to stop recording and they stumbled upon something heartbreaking. The woman told him that she didn’t regret the rape – she had learned to cope with it, survived and it was a large part of who she was. But then she said something completely unexpected “I do regret what it’s done to my brother” – my eyes are welling up just thinking about her minor break down then. She began to cry and talked about how her brother had become completely secluded and was much more troubled than anyone else in the family. It was heartbreaking and a story seldom told or shared, but because Mr. James was so good at listening, we were given this precious gift. I completely agree. I’ve been thinking lately that I’m very good at articulating other’s feelings when they’re sharing them with me. In fact I take pride in being able to describe what they’re going through better than they themselves can. It makes me feel like an excellent writer and gives my ego a boost. This is totally wrong of me! Of course I should give them room to find the words themselves! I’m looking forward to discovering all the magical stories I will encounter.

Please listen here – I know they will fill my ears in the next coming weeks.

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Is Facebook a virtual world?

I remember being absolutely gobsmacked when I first read about Edward Castronova and his economic analysis of the online game Everquest. And it all spiraled from there … do you remember? We all got caught up in the rights of the avatar. I remember being enthralled in discussions about what is real and what is not real and what rights avatars have in games such as Everquest. Because we  saw avatars as extensions of ourselves, therefore we should have the same human rights as we have in our own ‘real life’. Ownership issues and freedom of expression where things that I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and debating.

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Roo Reynolds – a must!

I’ve just watched Roo Reynold’s closing keynote at the ReLIVE08 (Researching Learning in Virtual Environments) conference and I’m just so smitten!

Firstly – you just have to be impressed that he came with nothing and worked through the entire conference by taking notes so he could sum up the whole conference as a closing keynote. That’s ballsy! What a gift for a conference!

Roo Reynolds is in charge of social media at the BBC (I think that’s a good way to sum it up), but he himself says: “I look after social media for BBC Vision, which is the TV bit (e.g. there are people with similar roles to mine in news, radio and the central ‘future media & technology’ teams, and I work closely with them)”. If you’re working with social media in any shape or form you have to follow Roo Reynold’s blog. He’s smart, reflective and a whole lot of fun!

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I do enjoy a good YouTube drama

I can’t help myself, I just can’t. There’s a new YouTube-series called “Hooking Up”. It seems to be a gathering of the who’s who of YouTube-stars, at least Lonelygirl and What the Buck guy – I’m not sure if the others are well known from something else. I love the way Facebook is such an important feature og the script. I can’t help wonder if they’re maybe sponsored by Facebook. But I enjoyed it anyway – I’m such a sucker for simple high-school drama.

Norwegian folkdance in AoC

Well…I guess there’s just no doubt that Age of Conan is going to be released on schedule – May 20th – because Funcom is sneaking in more and more little peaks to the press. I feel like a day doesn’t pass by without there being something in the news about Age of Conan. Funcom is notorious for being super duper freakishly paranoid secretive, so they wouldn’t start releasing stuff unless they knew they were ready.

The funny thing is that I really thought I was bored with it all now. I was very adamant in my opinion that teasing the fans for sooooooo long would slap them in the face because they would just get bored and annoyed by all the delays. I was wrong.

Just look at this – they’re including Hallingdans. It’s a Norwegian folk dance. I’m so impressed. My overly national romantic heart has officially melted. Video bellow is in Norwegian from Aftenposten.no, where you can distinctly hear that the movement director (?) for Age of Conan, who came up with this great idea, is from my neck of the wood – of course he’s a Bergenser!

I’m excited now. I just might get over the testosterone overload feeling I have against Age of Conan and go out and buy it! I adore details like this!

I wouldn’t have noticed this if it wasn’t for Nina’s twittering, so thanks!

Gamers connecting through common interests – the new market?

According to Red Herring, game developer start-up, Outspark (site unavailable at writing moment) has managed to secure $11 million in funding from Tencent (a Chinese internet service company who’s mission is “to use Internet-related technologies for the betterment of human life”), Altos Ventures (Silicon Valley venture capital firm) and DCM (another venture capital firm in Silicon Valley).
Apparently they’re combining web 2.0 applications with casual games and focusing on revenue from the sales of virtual items – such as avatar clothing a.s.o. To me it all sounds very Habbo Hotel’ish, but why wouldn’t new gaming companies focus on the Habbo model?
It seems they’re using independently developed games and using them within they’re community. As Justin Moresco writes:

“And with an office in Seoul, Korea, Outspark hopes to tap into the
much-lauded game developer pool in the country. Both its current games, Fiesta
and Secret of the Solstic, are licensed from Korean developers.
Altos Venture general partner Han Kim said Outspark will continue to source games from Korea and then “localize” them for the North American market.”

I’m intrigued by the sourcing of gamedevelopers and the localizing efforts.
They’ve already registered one million users in the course of five months, which seems cautiously promising. I’m intrigued.
Venture Beat writes:

“Users get a single ID and use the same currency across all of Outspark’s games,
so they don’t need to sign up multiple times for the same services. The idea is
to encourage Outspark users to connect through common interests, not just
through the games they play together.”

P.S. – practicing writing articles in a hectic work day and publishing quickly – for reasons I’ll come back to soon. This was read about and reported in the course of 1 hour – constantly interrupted by other things. Me thinks me needs more practice – he he!

Second Life Coca Cola vending machine

“Not Coca Cola but the essence of Coca Cola” – well that’s branding for you. But it’s really well thought out and has to be one of the best commercial ventures into virtual worlds I’ve seen so far. They’ve really embraced the collaboration era and that has to be admired. Clearly understanding that avatars are “thirsty for experience” – I’m impressed. I’ll be eagerly monitoring their success. Although I was rather hopeful that there would be more “set your brand free to be played with” as discussed in the Building Businesses in Virtual Worlds panel at State of Play V. This seems to be more restricted ehm…gameplay? interaction? from what I can see. But I haven’t taken the time to experiment with them myself yet – so I really shouldn’t be too critical.

Accessibility In Virtual Worlds

BBC reports that IBM has designed a device that gives 3D sound “to create a sense of space” for the blind to be able to enter virtual worlds.

“Characters in the virtual world can have a “sonar” attached to them so that the user gets audible cues to alert them to when they are approaching, from which direction and how near they are. “

That’s just so cool!

Is the Second Life hype brought on by overly eager marketing types, killing Second Life?

Yesterday my feed reader was bombarded with Norwegian articles and blog posts about Second Life. Now, being a ‘job hunter’ who wants to continue working within the virtual world field, I get quite excited about such days! When I hardly have time to read all the Norwegian news about a virtual world – that means my future job prospects are looking up, right? Ssshhhh – don’t answer that – let me continue being deluded, sometimes ignorance is bliss and hopeful! ;)

The attention, it seems, comes from Wired’s “How Madison Avenue Is Wasting Millions on a Deserted Second Life” by Frank Rose about how most places in Second Life are deserted and businesses aren’t finding the consumer wealth they were looking for. I’m not certain what to make of it all. Two thoughts spring to mind: 1) Refreshing to see Second Life getting som critical press coverage from Wired 2) Do I really care enough about Second Life to go defend it on the different critical Norwegian blogs and websites? Not really.

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