The Playing Columbine Trailer

The trailer to the documentary about Super Columbine Massacre RPG is out. Some may remember the controversial debate that followed after it was pulled from the Slamdance Guerrilla Gamemaker Competition. If anything at all this game has spurred great discussions about gameplay as documentary/storytelling/art. I’m not very opinionated about this documentary yet, except that I adore the debate and I’m looking forward to seeing the whole thing. But for some opinions check out Kotaku, Water Cooler Games and Game Politics.

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Simpsons in MMORPG

I love it when great shows reference the MMORPG worlds. The Simpsons is no exception. Just from the beginning when Marge has to accept a dodgy EULA I started to laugh. Bart’s attitude at the end is just precious. It reminds me of all the people I’ve talked to who have become hooked but one day just say “Ah – whatever!”.

Columbine game is all about art!


It’s funny how certain tragic events can spawn new luscious things!

There’s been a whole lotta uproar these past few weeks because Super Columbine Massacre RPG was pulled as a finalist from the Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition.

Personally, I can’t believe they waited for it to get so far only to pull it off the list – which makes me rather suspicious. They write that:

“There are always legal checks and balances with any Slamdance program. Specifically with the subject matter of Super Columbine Massacre Role Playing Game Slamdance does not have the resources to defend any drawn out civil action that our legal council has stated can easily arise from publicly showing it.”

Man! Capitalist society can be such a ruthless freedom-of-speech stomping evil dictatorship!

Then, other game developers start pulling their games from the festival in an act of solidarity. TGC (thatgamecompany) explained it very nicely:

“As game designers, each project we have done so far, and plan on doing in the future, aims at showing games as a serious and expressive medium. We cannot help but wonder, if SCMRPG were a film, if the reaction by the Slamdance organizers would have been the same. Removing it from the festival is discouraging, because it implies that games are still not to be taken seriously, that games are only for mindless fun. If we are trying to work against this stigma as artists, then we also have to fight against this stigma as entrants in the festival as well.”

So this incident has really triggered an inspirational discussion about games as art! Which I think is really exciting! And my heart pounded even more when I read Clive Thompson‘s excellent piece, ‘I,Columbine’ in Wired this week! I don’t think I’m exaggerating by saying it’s the best artistic critical analysis of a game I have ever read!

You’re constantly reminded of how creepily unbalanced Harris and Klebold were. One minute they’re tossing off nihilistic riffs: “When I’m in my human form, knowing I’m going to die, everything has a touch of triviality to it,” Klebold muses. The next minute they’re quoting Shakespeare: “Good wombs hath borne bad sons.

I’m having a hard time pulling out quotes because it’s all so relevant and good – but I’ll paste this one in just in case you don’t read the whole thing – but you really should! It’s a beautiful beginning of art criticism in games!

“It uses the language of games as a way to think about the massacre. Ledonne, like all creators of “serious games”, uses gameplay as a rhetorical technique.”

Gameplay as rhetorical technique! I love it!!!

It’s tragic that Slamdance felt they had to pull it from the competition – but I’m loving the discussions that have spawned from it!

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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Street Wars!


I just love this stuff and I really wish I had the guts, energy and time to organise something like this in Bergen!!

In London this June – Street Wars! Assassin with water guns!! Oh what fun!!!!


At the start of the game you will receive a manila envelope containing the following:

* A picture of your intended target(s)
* The home address of your intended target(s)
* The work address of your intended target(s)
* The name of your intended target(s)
* Contact information of your intended target(s)

Upon receipt of these items, your (or your team’s) mission is to find and kill (by way of water gun, water balloon or super soaker) your target(s).

 

And Oslo is organising a “Capture the flag” event on June 17th! Yay!!! Meet up at 2 pm at Schous Plass infront of the library – maps and props will be handed out for free! More info via Underskog! Thanks to i1277 for pointing it out to me!

Controversy and drama

Super Columbine Massacre RPG

It’s caused a lot of controversy lately, which I suppose is only natural. It’s a game about the Columbine school shootings of 1999, and you know…it’s not pleasant. This ofcourse has raised havock! Ian Bogost at WaterCoolerGames, who is quite passionate about games with an agenda – wrote an interesting piece a few weeks ago, which has caused people like Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council to call for Bogost’s resignation from Georgia Tech.I suppose that’s what upset me the most really. Personally, I haven’t played the game because it just seemed too uncomfortable, for me – I’m such a wimp, I know.

Mr. Bogost has written yet another brilliant post on the media coverage, which really needs to be read in full – I’ll cut’n’paste the summary here though:

“Most of all, I am deeply worried by this culture of ineffability, a culture that would rather not talk about anything at all for fear that it might make someone uncomfortable. This trend descends from Theodor Adorno’s argument that the holocaust becomes “transformed, with something of the horror removed” when represented in art, thus his famous statement that to write poetry after Auschwitz would be barbaric. These events are considered “ineffable” — unspeakable, unrepresentable. It is a tired sentiment that we must move beyond. Of course topics like 9/11 should make us uncomfortable. Of course Columbine should make us uncomfortable. But that is no excuse to put these issues away in a drawer, waiting for some miraculous solution to spring forth and resolve them for us. If we do so, history is much more likely to forget them. I don’t care if we make videogames, films, novels, poems, sidewalk art, cupcakes, or pelts as a way to interrogate our world. But we must not fear that world.”

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Come Out & Play

Oh, this link is going straight to Bergen Kommune!!

New York City (ofcourse) is having its first annual Come Out & Play Festival September 22-24! Oh what fun!!!!

Ofcourse we already have ‘Game Days’ during the summer! But they can be soooo much more than the great stuff they’ve already got going! Infact!! They should just hire me!!! He he!!

There’s just so much play can bring to a city! And I’ve just deleted a whole lotta hippi’ish peace, love and happiness words – but you get my drift, right?! Lots of drunken violence going on? Bring the people out to play!! Things that will bring strangers together – make them laugh together! And OMG I can’t go on about this without falling into a trance of pl&h talk!!!

And why not make stupidly placed ugly buildings the center of dazzlement for one night of Tetris or anything else truely spectacular!!!! Oh you know that this just has to be done!!!