Rune Klevjer – Congrats!

Rune Klevjer presented his PhD thesis on Friday – sadly I had to work, so missed it! But I’m so looking forward to reading

What is the avatar! Fiction and Embodiment in Avatar-Based Singleplayer Computer Games.

I’m sure it’s absolutely amazing! No doubt!

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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.

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!”

So here’s an interesting dilemma!

I’m a terrible sister!! My sister’s birthday is tomorrow and I STILL haven’t found her a gift! She lives in Australia and I’ve been surfing around for a couple of days trying to find something VERY modest for my student budget. There’s a few options out there that seem modest…but the cost is so much more!
So…my sister is an eager WoW’er…and I’m wondering….how unethical would it be for me to buy her a gift certificate for virtual goods?