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Title: - Video Game Theory and Criticism  •  Size: 58977

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Friday 03-Mar
  • EA's "Black" opens like a film. So why doesn't it feel like one? (16)

  • Thursday 02-Mar
  • Considering Gravity (7)

  • Monday 13-Feb
  • The Medium Is Not The Message (21)

  • Thursday 19-Jan
  • All Your Readers Belong To Us (10)

  • Friday 13-Jan
  • Censorless Violence (12)

  • Tuesday 10-Jan
  • Disneyfied (Disney Fried?) (20)

  • Friday 30-Dec
  • The Escape from Xmas (14)
  • Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap (24)

  • Tuesday 15-Nov
  • Gerbils (19)

  • Thursday 13-Oct
  • Suddenly Serious about Games (12)

  •    Toy Stories and Cut Scenes Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Friday, August 27 2004 @ 04:07 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    What is a videogame without interaction?

    I’d call it an “algorithmic artifact.”

    Bottling this concept of the interaction-less videogame in a new term helps me get to an answer for a question that been nagging for a while:

    What is the difference between a film produced on computer, such as Toy Story, and a videogame, which, of course, is produced on a computer?

    The answer probably seems obvious. But as is often the case, the obvious answer doesn’t quite answer the question.

    read more (708 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/17 02:23AM by Anonymous


       Games, Vacation, Leisure and IKEA Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Wednesday, August 18 2004 @ 11:19 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    After two weeks without a broadband connection, I didn’t have much of a chance to work on articles or update the site. But I did think a fair bit about leisure and videogames.

    While I didn’t actually play any videogames while driving across the great expanse of the American Northwest, I didn’t actually want to. I suppose the relaxing leisure of vacation was enough to carry my mind away from the joys of the joystick.

    Still, there on the side of the road, a common sign—GAME CROSSING.

    It reminded me that people are game about games. It also made me wonder just how hard it would be to come up with a notion of games that includes Pac-Man and stalking around talk grass with a rifle and taste for deer meat.

    While on hiatus, I did manage a couple of ruminations on games and leisure for the Denver Post. Those missives are available online:

    Ask a Simple Question

    Ideas About IKEA and Gaming

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 08:03AM by Anonymous


       Simple Questions, Difficult Answers Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Friday, July 30 2004 @ 10:33 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    After much fretting and fussing, I finally submitted by answers to PublicBeta’s “Difficult Questions About Videogames” project.

    At first I thought this would be fun. Then I realized that whatever I said might be put into the context of answers coming from other participants such as the Ludonauts , the Avant Gamer and The Ludologist. I’m not particularly intellectually shy, so I don't embarrass simply because of some stupid idea or another I have espoused. Still, it seemed liked a little hard thinking was in order to try and sort out these tricky questions. No reason to look more foolish than necessary.

    Asking questions such as “What is a videogame”, “How can you tell if a videogame is rubbish? “ and “Why is playing videogames fun?” is innocent enough. And, of course, that’s what makes them diabolically difficult to answer—at least with any sort of brevity.

    For me, the effort of trying to lay out a clear and concise answer to these difficult interrogatives was a real thrill and challenge. Now I can’t wait to see what the PublicBeta guys make of all the answers and to see what other people have said when the book is published this fall.

    I am sure I have a soft spot for this sort of research because of the journalistic side of my life. I believe asking simple questions of people and listening to what they say is a great way to find out about things. This reporters’ approach to game theory should provide a fascinating and terribly useful survey of thought around game studies!

    Most Recent Post: 08/27 02:59AM by Anonymous


       I Love Bees, or do I? Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Thursday, July 29 2004 @ 08:03 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David might be a prank, an art project or, most likely, a clever marketing ploy.

    What we know for sure is that the promotional trailer for the upcoming game Halo 2 flashes the URL to ilovebees. A quick visit to the site presents what appears to be an emergent AI is in the process of taking over someone’s homespun honey business Website. A little clicking around and you end up on a blog that provides the context—or at least heightens the mystery. Oh, and did I mention that the ilovebees site itself has some sort of ominous countdown timer threatening (promising?) “COUNTDOWN TO WIDE AWAKE AND PHYSICAL”. Whatever that means.

    What is interesting to me is whether or not we should consider this collections of sites and clues some sort of a game. Certainly the forums are ablaze with folks trying to unravel ilovebees as if it were a riddle or puzzle of sorts.

    I’ll step out and say that ilovebees is nothing more complex than a good old mystery story.

    But first, let me explain why I don’t think it is a game or a puzzle.

    read more (723 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 05:06AM by Anonymous


       Blog On Blog Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Monday, July 19 2004 @ 04:42 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Game researcher Toby Hede has started up GameBlogs, a site which aggregates game news and game research blogs.

    Similar to Game Tab's approach to gaming news, GameBlogs also includes the more theory/academic side of the video game Web question. Or, as he has posted on the site:

    "The basic idea is simple: bloggers register their game-related blog, and GameBlogs simply keeps an updated register of posts - a single, aggregated, searchable view of the best game-related blogs around the web."

    The site is new and Toby is still looking for submissions.

    Most Recent Post: 08/27 09:34PM by Anonymous


       Exposing Secrets and the Nature of Play Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Sunday, July 18 2004 @ 09:22 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    I thought this quote was particularly relevant to a recent discussion about the difference between traditional games and video games.

    "It is meritorious and fruitful to have grasped the affinity which exists between play and the secret or mysterious, but this relationship cannot be a part of the definition of play, which is nearly always spectacular or ostentatious. Without doubt, secrecy, mystery, and even travesty can be transformed into play activity, but it must be immediately pointed out that this transformation is necessarily to the detriment of the secret and mysterious, which plays exposes, publishes, and somehow expends. In a word, play tends to remove the very nature of the mysterious."

    -- Roger Caillois, Man, Play and Games (1958)
    Translated by Meyer Barash, 1961. p 4.

    read more (99 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/27 06:33PM by Anonymous


       The Yawning Gap of Game Studies Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Monday, July 12 2004 @ 09:42 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Let’s study games.

    In a giant pile place all the games anyone has ever come up with--from Senet and Poker to Pong and Everquest, from Badminton and Bingo to Chess and Grand Theft Auto III. Now ask yourself, “What do all the things in this pile have in common?” Or, to borrow Jesper Juul’s finely worded inquiry: What is the heart of gameness?

    Gameness is one of those tricky qualities. It doesn’t seem to be particularly hard to seperate games from not-games—some things fit, other things don’t. But when you really try to describe why football and Solitare go together, it gets difficult. Jesper’s keynote on gameness both proves the complexity of answering the question and underlines the general lack of consensus on a best and final definition of games. You can easily point toward gameness, but it’s hard to put your finger right on it.

    Still, without descending into that lexical quagmire, we can surface a couple of common features. While some might argue these features are not sufficient to describe games, they are certainly necessary pieces. So, we can say that games needs rules and something that makes the game entertaining. And even if you think that a game needs all kinds of other things to be fully realized, these two features, or characteristics are essential. They are the only things that reliably link puttering around in The Sims to undoing your competitors in Monopoly or returning a Tennis serve.

    The trouble is, and the point I want to focus on here, is that video games have one extraordinarily distinct component that other games don’t have. There is something about video games that makes them very different from all other sorts of games. And this difference that makes a world of difference, (to paraphrase Gregory Bateson) is the difference that separates video game studies from the rest of game studies as much as motion separates film study from the study of still photography.

    read more (1281 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 04:43PM by Anonymous


       Simulation of the Mind Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Saturday, June 26 2004 @ 04:35 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    “We experience not the raw sensory data but a simulation of them. The simulation of our sensory experience is a hypothesis about reality. This simulation is what we experience. We do not experience things themselves. We sense them. We do not experience the sensation. We experience the simulation of the sensation.”

    The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size, Tor Norretranders (p.289)

    read more (237 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 06:32AM by Anonymous


       The Lag Snag Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Thursday, June 17 2004 @ 10:03 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    "Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts... A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding..."

    -- William Gibson, Neuromancer

    As a science fiction buff and generally imaginative person, my friend Bruce enjoys a good virtual reality tale. Whether it’s Neromancer's cyberspace, Stephenson’s Metaverse or just your run-of-the-mill Matrix, he enjoys the philosophical conundrums of the mind-body duality as much as the next guy.

    But as a computer programmer, just don’t get him started on the feasibility of actually building massively populated virtual worlds. He happens to know a thing or two about latency, and knows too well that it’s the long-term lethal flaw awaiting futuristic virtual world building.

    I call his issue “Bruce’s Virtual Reality Lag Snag”.

    read more (1973 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/28 07:52AM by Anonymous


       So Long Anonymous Comments Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
    Saturday, May 29 2004 @ 10:45 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Since it's inception, buzzcut has accepted anonymous comments. I always figured that it should be easy to comment, and I didn't want to require people to have an account to comment.

    Well, the recent practice of "comment spam" has required a change of policy. You are free to sign up for an account, but you'll need a valid email address to get one and you'll need an account to comment or submit stories.

    read more (84 words)

    Most Recent Post: 08/27 11:11PM by Anonymous


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