Public Broadcasting goes gaming

And it’s about freakin time too!

NRK the Norwegian Public Broadcasting company will be releasing a free computer game for kids this fall, called Superia.
writes that they want the game to give kids creative freedom to make videos, animations and drawings a.s.o., and this will then be shared on the childrens tv channel or something. I’m also presuming that content will be shared between players as well – will they be able to interact with one another in the game, you think?

Either way… I’m so so so so so happy that nrk is brave and innovative enough to explore this direction. I’ll have to dig a little deeper. I was just about to close down for the night when I read about this – so excuse the rushed sentences.

The gameplay that has posted doesn’t really seem all that creative or adventurous, to be honest – but I’m sure the real fun’s in there somewhere!!

It’s apparently created by the BBC – hmmm…. – it must be Adventure Rock, right? I wonder if the lovely Mildly Diverting and Wonderland had their interactive hands on this at some point.

49% Casual Gamers play everyday

Chris Bateman’s got some interesting results from a survey they’ve done for a new player model, with 1040 responses.

Of those who classify themselves as casual gamers 49% play every day! Sounds like a statistic Jesper Juul would be interested in.

Also only 1.25% enjoy games without stories. I think that’s interesting.

We’ve received 1,040 responses to the survey, of which 55% (576) are from North America, 30% (317) are from Western Europe or the UK, 5% (52) are from Australasia, and a few responses from everywhere else in the world besides.

The majority of respondents play games every day (66%), with many of the others playing every week (26%). Interestingly, of those that self-identified as “Hardcore”, 81% play every day, and of those that self-identified as “Casual”, 49% play every day. It seems that even people who see themselves as a Casual player are still playing amazingly often.

The most popular approach is to play alone (40%), with just a few playing single player games with pad passing or some similar group play (7%). The remaining players all prefer some kind of multiplayer format, whether in the same room (17%) or over the internet (19%, of which 5% is team or clan play), with the remaining 16% preferring virtual worlds and MMORPGs.

On the subject of game stories, there is overwhelming consensus, with 93% saying either that stories are very important to their enjoyment of videogames (36%) or that stories help them enjoy videogames (57%). A mere 5% say stories are not important, and just 1.25% say they prefer videogames without stories. Clearly, story occupies a vital space in the modern world of videogames gamers love stories!

So you’ve lost a ring ey?

ARG-guru Jane McGonigal has designed a new game for the 2008 Olympics, The Lost Ring.

At the moment it seems like a sort of collective-blogging/web 2.0-story-game.
We’re introduced to six characters. Ariadne, Markus, Noriko, MeiHui, Diego and Lucie. They all woke up in some form of labrynth with amnesia, some funky white fitness suit, white goggle that you can’t see through – blindfold and a funky tattoo on their arm which reads: Find the lost Ring in Esperanto.

I’m quite pleased that this is truly international. French, English, German, Spanish, Chinese and I think Japanese (I can’t be bothered to look up right now). I also like the way they use many different types and brands of web 2.0 media. I’m astonished by how much work they’ve put into it and how thorough they’ve been. I think Jane McGonigol’s genious is clearly evident.

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Protesting in a virtual world

Joseph DeLappe is an active artist protesting the war in Iraq.

On March 20th, the date of the US invasion of Iraq, DeLappe will enter America’s Army, peacefully.

America’s Army is an MMORPG designed by the US military which also functions as an active reqruiter. for the army.

He’ll be using the login name “dead-in-Iraq” and well…I’m almost tempted to download America’s Army to witness the action. But quite honestly, I’m not sure if that’s a good idea. Would I be supporting America’s Army or would I be supporting Joseph DeLappe?

“As of 1/17/08, I have input 3745 names. I intend to keep doing so until the end of this war. As of 1/17/08 there have been 3929 American service persons killed in Iraq” – Networked Performance

So he’ll be manually(!) writingthe name, age, service branch and date of death of each service person who has died to date in Iraq.

Does it all sound familiar? Well, it seems he started dead-in-iraq in 2006. It kinda gives you a perspective on matters when an artist repeats his protest 3 years in a row. That’s interesting.

I have to admit I’m feeling a tad sorry for the poor MMORPG players – I mean what are they suppossed to do? Hmmm – maybe they should join him somehow? Maybe he should invite them to. It would be lovely if someone documented the discussions this sparked in-world. It seems he doesn’t engage in any social conversation…well…who could blame him with 3745 US soldiers to memorialise.

It certainly made an impression on me. I think it would be cool if they could stream the protest but I worry about the privacy rights of the players.

Using Game Design to "foster social change"

The World Wide Workshop, an organisation commited to using the internet for educational purposes of youth and children in developing communities, has created a wonderful site called, through it’s Globaloria Project. It’s still in Beta – so I haven’t been able to test it yet – but just look at this: is comprised of an open architecture of educational, programmable websites and related wikis that offer more than 100 educational activities, simulations and tutorials to play, learn, explore and contribute new ideas online.

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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!

The art of McGee

American McGee’s in Shanghai developing Grimm with his company, Spicy Horse Games. And lucky for the world I live in, McGee’s a blogger! He was quiet there for a while – but he’s now frequently sharing his brilliant creations with us, his fans. One clue as to why I like McGee’s work is to be found on his ‘about’ page:
His stated mission is

“to create a unified production method for story telling across the interactive and film industries” and of himself, he says, “I want to be the next Walt Disney, only a little more wicked.”

It’s just so gutsy, ballsy and well…I’d say a realistic goal with such a creative mind as his. I like to think of him as one of the best storytellers in game art, so I think he’s well on his way to achieving this status. I’m a big fan, although, I actually haven’t played Bad Day LA yet. Like, Alice – I didn’t think it was quality McGee stuff – but it seems it might just be. OooOOoo – looking forward to having my account filled up again after a really expensive Christmas!

2 Films that didn’t make it

We never really had the opportunity to run through the whole program before the machinima night (my fault because I have to work during the day) – so I spontaneously cut 2 films from the program.

I already knew that we had too many films and that I would have to limit my time on the microphone. I wanted the films to speak for themselves – but then again – I have so much to say about these films. But in the end I was glad – because it turns out that I still get nervous with a microphone and specially when the room is filled with sceptics and people I admire so incredibly much. But I’ll get into that more later.

There was just too much, so I had to cut

Tristan Pope’s ‘Not Just Another Love Story’

Part 1

This one hurt me the most. Because I was talking to some folks after who started discussing why there weren’t any political machinima – and this was my example of that – but oh well! Another time.