Interactive Australia 2007

The Centre for New Media Research & Education (which looks really cool, by the way) at Bond University in Australia has published a report that:

“…provides data on who is playing games in Australia, what their attitudes and behaviours are like compared with non-gamers, the nature of the games market, the importance of games in the family experience and the role of online access in game purchasing and play.
The study is based on a national random sample of 1,606 Australian households who responded to more than 75 questions and over 300 data points in a 15-minute online survey run by ACNielsen Surveys Australia in late September 2006. Two units of analysis are explored in the study: the household and the player individual within the household.”

It’s interesting data. Nothing that really surprises me – but nice to see such reports finding nice little heartwarming details such as:

“Parents and children are increasingly playing together. 35% of gamers are parents.”

I would really like to see the questions asked though, because it seems just a tad too optimistic – too good to be true, in a way. But then I’ve always been skeptical to such things as I’ve done my fair share of phone surveys. ;)

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The Future

So I’m sitting at my desk at university going through my thesis because I’m finally going to defend it in 2 weeks! I’m also extremely honoured and excited because I’ve been asked to be a guest lecturer for HUIN 206 & 307: Critical Approaches to Technology and Society 1&2. I’m kinda caught in the middle between scared to death with what on earth I can say of any relevance and the excited jumping up and down feeling of “YES!!!! I’ve been wanting to present this stuff for AGES!!!”. It will be fun to see which feeling wins the scale of balance when I walk in there. Either way it is a perfect opportunity for me to practice my defense by working on my presentation.

Reading through the thesis isn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. It was good to take a break and read it more calmly now – I’m not 100 % pleased with it – in fact – far from it – but I’m more calm about seeing what I’ve done wrong and what needs a little bit more analysis and explaining. It’s kinda fun, you know!!!

Also, I’ve come in to university today to start working on an outline for a research fellow position that’s opened up at the department. I’m not sure I stand a chance – but I’ll hate myself if I don’t try. Department politics seems to be central on my mind. What would that professor like me to write about, what would that one – and how do I present this to convince them that they really want someone researching this stuff here – they just didn’t know it before? I think I’d love to move on to Machinima. But that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. Thought I’d read a few articles and see which angle I want to focus on. The department is really focused on democracy and media – so I’m wondering if I can lure them in somehow with ‘voices of the people’ or something. Sigh. I’ll think of something. It’s running around in my head full speed – but if you have any suggestions you’re welcome to throw them this way.

In the mean time I’ve been to a few interviews for jobs and my financial situation is making me desperate! Job hunting would be fun if I didn’t have to worry about my bills at the same time! I’ve really enjoyed all the interviews – but there’s really only been one who’s job was exciting and inspirational – and it’s in Oslo – waiting to hear from them tomorrow or Friday. It was just so extremely lovely being at an interview where I could actually talk ‘shop’ and not ‘fake’ being excited. I really genuinely was. It’s easy to put my life on pause and hold my breath till I know if the job’s mine or not – but I can’t.

I knew this would be a weird time in my life. It’s so exciting to think of the possibilities of the future – but at the same time it’s hard not to have moments of depression and self doubt. I need to feel I’m going somewhere though! So yesterday I started jogging – hehe! Didn’t get very far – but I’m hoping this will turn out to be a daily thing and notice my body getting fitter and fitter. I’ve got way too much ‘thesis’ plus ‘holiday’ fat to get rid of!!! It’s my own psychological treatment!

So we’ll see just what happens! Maybe I’ll end up with a job at my local grocery store – they’re always so friendly! Or maybe I get to work on a PhD? Or maybe I’ll move to Oslo for a great job? Or maybe I’ll move to Singapore? Or maybe I’ll have to move on to the street and be on welfare for the rest of my life?! It’s all so confusing!!! Hehe!

State of Play – New York Law School

So they’ve had a State of Play conference in New York and Mark Wallace does a wonderful job of summing up the whole thing – bless him! Looks like they’ve really been critical of themselves and looking to see what could be done in future research – which I think is good!

One thing that surprised me however was Jesper Juul’s post on the discussion of ‘games have rules’. I’ve accepted that ages ago, and I really don’t understand what the problem is in acknowledging that games have rules and most importantly NEED rules – but apparently, they still can’t agree on that. Juul breaks the discussion down to two positions – pro-rules vs. anti-rules.

“Pro-rules people generally make pragmatic descriptions of the gameplaying activity, and anti-rules people commonly apply a general poststructuralist skapticism towards descriptions of structure.”

I’m baffled that this is still disagreed upon. In my thesis (which I’d love to write all over again) I broke everything down to two issues – gameplay and societal -> rules and identity. Just because some players choose to defy some of these rules doesn’t mean that they’re not complying with them. Rather acknowledging them to then defy them. The gameplay rules are what makes the world a game – and we mustn’t forget that worlds like, Second Life are NOT games – so we should stop using them as examples. The societal rules are something that is considered by your gameplay method and social communication. Um – maybe I’m not ready to talk about this yet.

Referencing question

So…most of what I’ve written using TL Taylor’s fabulous research, I used after reading her papers – most of which are now in her book. So should I change the date to 2006 on everything? I guess so huh? This was a stupid question wasn’t it?! I am getting stupider and stupider aren’t I?! Hehe!
Earlier today I asked a big shot lawyer friend of mine if you could say that a persons reputation is their intellectual property!! Yup I’m all over the place! But surprisingly mellow and really enjoying writing!! So bizarre and oh so cozy and enjoyable! I’m a mad happy camper!

MMORPGs as New Media

That’s where I wanna go!!! Well…at the moment at least! I’m sitting here revising some Poster quotes and I’m mesmerised and pumped!!! Medium theory and MMORPGs! It’s perfect! If someday I’m lucky, I wanna write about MMORPGs as a medium – what communication media is available and how people use them! Oh – my mind is ecstatic!!! I can barely just touch the theme in my present work, but it was needed for me to understand what the hell MMORPGs really are, what the play is and how players interact with the software. This whole RMT thing is fascinating – but, you know, I’m gonna leave that to the nerdy economists. Play in MMORPGs as narrative and fiction? Well…definitely interesting and something I’ll keep my eye on. Intellectual Property Rights of gameplay? Argh – enough lawyers on that one – too much law for me – and besides, just considering what national law system to use is dizzying for me!
I was just sitting here working on my intellectual property chapter and squeezing in a few Poster theories and thought “You know, you really should have thought about adding a chapter on MMORPGs as medium – with a touch of technological determinism! But you’re way too late in considering that now!”. But now I just want to finish this sucker and start working on an outline for a doctorate! Yay!!! Finally something ‘goal like’ in sight! Finally something to fight for!! Woo hoo!!! I’m really having an adrenalin kick here!!! ;)

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.

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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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Brain vacation

So, my blogging isn’t what it used to be, I think my brain’s gone on a little vacation without me (easily distracted by such events as Sting being in town and well…work). So I STILL haven’t gotten around to concluding my thoughts on narratology vs ludology!!!! It’s at the tip of my tongue (or fingertips) and I’m hoping that I’ll get most of it done at uni today after work! I am soooooooo looking forward to concluding my thoughts on the subject, which I’m sure will never ever ever be completely substantial and confident – but I need to draw the line somewhere at sometime, right?!!! But first lots of interesting tidbits to blog about – so excuse the rushed thoughts and cut’n’paste mentality! A lot I need to get off my chest and I feel like I’m about to explode!

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!!