Games as Art Discussion

Oooh! Almost forgot!!! The Ludologist reports:

“Join us on Wednesday, November 1st for a chat with on the subject of games and art with Henry Jenkins, Jesper Juul, Marc LeBlanc, and Eric Zimmerman.

Are games art? If not, why not? And if so, why? Is thinking of games as art useful or actually a hindrance for game developers? If games are art, what should our aspirations for the form be?”

Network: irc.freenode.net
Channel: #gamesandart
Time: 6 PM PST, 9PM EST, 2 AM GMT

There’s a link on how to get on the IRC (which I honestly don’t even know what is yet).

Doubtful that I’ll be awake – but you might! Great minds talking about an interesting subject!

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South Korean gaming culture


The New York Times has an interesting piece on the gaming culture in South Korea. It’s so well written and balanced that it just deserves a mention here!

Seth Schiesel
really makes an effort in understanding why pc gaming is such a vital part of Korean culture. Several interesting points, really.

Lee Chung Gi, owner of the Intercool bang, said: “It’s impossible for students in any country to study all the time, so they are looking for interesting things to do together. In America they have lots of fields and grass and outdoor space. They have lots of room to play soccer and baseball and other sports. We don’t have that here. Here, there are very few places for young people to go and very little for them to do, so they found PC games, and it’s their way to spend time together and relax.”

Which reminded me of Henry Jenkins’ “Complete Freedom of Movement”.

He also mentions the Korean student work culture and how parents are encouraging their kids to play to ease the stress of expectations. But he doesn’t deny that there is a problem with gaming addiction as well.

Great lazy Sunday reading and there’s even a multimedia presentation! And you just have to love the fact that they have loveseats in PcBangs, like in this picture! I’ve got to take a tour of Internet Cafés here in Bergen to see if anything similar exists here!

Brought to my attention by fascinating blogger Alice in Wonderland.

Girl gamers

I had the priveledge of meeting a new enthusiastic Media Masters student a few weeks ago looking to write something about gaming. Yay!!!!! From what I understand, she had grown up being a bit of a gamer and didn’t quite understand why other girls weren’t as well. We ended up having a conversation about the phenomenon “female closet gamers”. You know the type…the girls who’ll gladly dismiss games as a waste of time and a nerdy thing – but secretly they have a nintendo at home! Anyways…it seems like this is the topic she wants to pursue – and I just thought I’d throw it out there and see if anyone knows of someone doing something of the same research?

I guess she’s gonna have to divide between casual and ‘serious’ (although I hate that word) gamers. And I know I’ve got some articles hidden away here somewhere in my del.icio.us. (it’s taken me SUCH a long time to find a tagging system that actually works for me – some stuff just gets lost). I’m wondering how best to tackle such a question.

I’ve already mentioned Hilde Corneliussen (also…didn’t a student from good ol’ HI department hand in a thesis about this recently?)and Torill Mortensen. Also Henry Jenkins ofcourse.

The student is a blogger – AND WE LOVE BLOGGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So bless her!!!

She’s written a post where she ponders about tackling the Nintendo Wii and how they’re trying to bring in the casual gamers and women (in Norwegian) and I was thinking it might be interesting to analyse how the Xbox360, PS3 and Wii differ in their advertising.

But I thing she’s more of an audience kind of gal! I’m wondering if the answer lies in finding the hardcore female gamers who are out of the closet, interview them to see if they think it’s a big deal or not? And I think maybe she should stay away from MMORPGs – because they sometimes seem to be an exception. And I think it would be cool to look at 20 year olds and above.

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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!

So…anyways…

I know I’ve been doing a lot of cut’n’pasting on this blog lately, I do apologize to those who are waiting for my analytical academic insights . I guess I’ve been trying to resist my first impulsive of “Ooh! There’s a thought! I should blog about that” and instead diving straight into my thesis and documenting it there! So my blog writing is just amusing little tidbits I come across on my daily surfsessions. But maybe I should be pasting some extracts from my thesis in here? We’ll see what happens. Right now I’m just obsessing about sewing all my random thoughts and analysis together so that something that can at least resemble some wholeness is presentable. It’s really scary how many times I contradict myself in this process! But yeah…before I go off on a “I take myself too seriously” tantrum – for your amusement:

The spectacular Raph Koster’s written “The Ten Commandments of Online Worlds”, which is, as expected, insightful and adorable!

1. Thou shalt not mistake online worlds for games, for they encompass far more; nor shalt thou forget that play is noble, and game is no epithet.

2. Thou shalt not disrespect thy players, nor treat them as mere database entries or subscriptions, but rather as people, for thy power is granted you by them.
3. Thou shalt not remove fun or implement unfun for the sake of longer subscriber longevity, nor shalt thou consider thy sort of fun to be the only sort of fun to be had, for many and mysterious are the ways of enjoyment.
4. Thou shalt not blindly do what has been done before, but rather shalt know why all is as it is, and how it could be different.
5. Thou shalt create and follow rules that bind thyself as well as the players, for thou art of the community, not above it.
6. Thou shalt not make thy world a place for players to do real harm unto one another, or for thee to do harm unto players.
7. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s userbase, but instead be true to thine own userbase, for thou hast made them a garden, and thy job is cultivation.
8. Thou shalt make every activity within thy world one that stands alone enjoyably; if it be a game, then thou shouldst make it a fun game on its own merits; if it be other, then thou shouldst make it true to itself. Thy world doth not make boring things into enjoyable things merely because it is thy world.
9. There shalt be no number nine.
10. Honor thy ancestors, for they solved most of thy design problems.

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Yay! Henry Jenkins is blogging!

What joy!!! Definitely a welcome presence!

Henry Jenkins is the Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program
and just a MUST READ!

I’ve just read his post “Fun vs. Engagement: The Case of the Great Zoombinis” where I was introduced to Scott Osterweil’s at The Education Arcade and his captivating podcast.

It’s so good to see discussions and research about learning and games beyond ‘just’ simulations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for simulation games, but I do believe there is a clearer learning power in actual gameplay. And ofcourse this has been a topic for a long time – I guess I just understand the language so much better!

“What we did when we started designing Zoobinis was to try to think about our own experience with the mathematics of the game and try to access our own learning of it — trying to remember what it was like to encounter the subject in school or thinking about how we’d use the subject in our daily lives and try to identify times when we had been playful with the concepts in the past. In fact, most of us when we are trying to master something we find ways to be playful to it and in accessing our own playful approach to the material what we were really doing was finding the game that was inherent in the mathematics. Instead of putting math in the game, we tried to find the game in the math” – Osterweil

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Am I cheating if I do this?

So…I’m really into a flow of writing (expect a post on what soon) and I’m trying not to get caught up with ‘who said what and did they really say that’ glitches that often lead me astray to even more interesting reading which in the end leaves me with an even more immense sense of low selfesteem!

But along the way I keep using the phrase ‘sanbox games’ and a question popped up in my head (I’m sure if you could look inside my head you would probably only see a big shiny question mark, anyways). So I thought that I would just use this blog to put the question out there instead of using an hour to track it down and loose my ‘flow’!

Does anyone know who came up with the term ‘sandbox videogames’? I feel very strongly that it must have been Will Wright – but then again, Henry Jenkins is a strong candidate as well. So if you know who started using the term and where first – I would love a little hint in the right direction! But I seriously do feel like I’m cheating by asking and not doing the fundamental research that I should do all by myself! Oh the morals of life and the desire to do things right!! Will they ever stop tormenting me?