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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)


  •    Merrill Lynch is Stupid Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
     
    Wednesday, May 17 2006 @ 04:38 AM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    I've long wondered when solid business reporting would become a mainstay of the game business. Sure, Dean Takahashi's new Xbox book is a classic boardroom narraitve and a must read for anyone interested in the mechanics of the big dollar game business. And I've always found Chris Morris as well informed scribe as any. There are others, of course.

    But in general, we get business people who jump in, make stupid speculations and then get ink as if they have been paying attention.

    Case in point, check out Forbes reporting on a Merrill Lynch analyst pulling a $200 price point for the Wii out of, well, thin air. I've been tentative about this topic in the past, but now I'll confidently predict that it wont happen. And here's why the Wii will cost at least $249, and might even cost $299 or more.

    read more (669 words)

    4 comments
    Most Recent Post: 05/24 04:49AM by David

     
             

       GDC Wrap Up: Pretty Pictures Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
     
    Tuesday, March 28 2006 @ 11:19 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    For quite some time, I have been trudging to conferences and taking snapshots. You can catch this year's batch HERE

    Not too many pictures this year. I guess it all looks the same after a while.




    Post a comment

     
             

       Considering Gravity Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
     
    Thursday, March 02 2006 @ 05:52 AM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    What’s the biggest issue in massively multiplayer games today? Virtual inflation? Ownership of digital property? Identity and behavior in second-selves? How about gravity?

    For the past two semesters I have been using games (Second Life and SimCity, mainly) to teach students about urban planning and design. One of my favorite questions is ask them is:

    “What makes this game real? What makes it not real?”

    Ask a room full of planners and architects-in training what’s not real about SL and you know what they say?

    • Gravity is weird
    • No pollution
    • Screwed up perspective
    • Insubstantiality of matter (OK, they don’t say this exactly. But that’s the idea they always try to get at.
    The funny thing is, in the world of MMO study, these issues tend to take a back seat to more traditional economic, legal and social science concerns. I’d argue, to the contrary, these differences are at least as important as to whether virtual land ownership gives you legal standing in the real world.

    read more (751 words)

    7 comments
    Most Recent Post: 08/23 01:18AM by Anonymous

     
             

       The Medium Is Not The Message Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
     
    Monday, February 13 2006 @ 08:49 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Explain this to me:

    My kids have a Gamecube hooked up to a 15” LCD monitor/television in their room.

    At some point recently, the screen was damaged. And by damaged I mean that more than half the screen was illegible. The TV was trashed. You can see from the picture included here. If you look very hard you will see that the game Simpsons Hit and Run is on screen. But you have to look very hard.

    The other day I walked into the kid’s room to discover that one of my sons was playing Hit and Run, on the broken screen. Apparently he could see just enough to sort of drive around the town—perhaps simulating driving a car with severe glaucoma.

    At first, I thought this was an obsessive, or maybe desperate, attempt at entertainment. But my house is filled with games and alternative game systems—including Game Boys and Game Boy Advances among other things. A game critic’s kids are never at a loss for videogame fun. Then, a few days later, I witnessed another kid playing at the house, working his way through Hit and Run on the damaged screen. I asked them what they were doing and they said, “Playing a game.” It was if they didn’t notice most of the graphics were gone.

    So, the question I have is this—What’s going on here? Is McLuhan wrong, is the message just more important than the medium? Or is this the perfect example that McLuhan is right—these kids would rather mess with the medium, even when the message is garbled?



    21 comments
    Most Recent Post: 08/28 04:13PM by Anonymous

     
             

       Disneyfied (Disney Fried?) Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
     
    Tuesday, January 10 2006 @ 09:59 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    I just got back from a typically hectic and entertaining week of vacation in Walt Disney World with my kids.

    I’ve been to the Florida and California parks on many occasions and they never fail to both amaze and appall. Like a lot of visitors, I get a huge kick out of experiencing the near-reality fantasy life of a Disney theme park. And like many (more than probably admit it) after a few days I’m desperate for a dark, dingy and desolate downtown bar. Unreality finds its antidote in savage reality, I suppose.

    That is to say, I think I have a good grip on the good and bad of Disney fantasy. And I always find something new each trip This time I was kind of overwhelmed by just how religious the whole thing is. And my “religious,” I don’t mean right wing American Christian. I mean the religion of the mouse--with devotees toting mouse icons and partaking symbolically of the body of the mouse in the form of mouse shaped ice cream. Disney World is deeply, and fundamentally, religious.

    Still, what I wanted to sort out, and now I need your help, is trying to figure out:

    What is the relationship between videogames and Disney World?

    Put on your thinking Mouseketeer caps and post in the comments section.



    20 comments
    Most Recent Post: 08/28 08:06AM by Anonymous

     
             

       Videogames: Closing the Annoying Gap Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
     
    Friday, December 09 2005 @ 10:41 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    In case you missed it, Jesper Juul’s new book is out: Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds.

    I’m looking forward to getting a copy and catching up on Jesper’s good ideas. He always has a very interesting and informed point of view on games.

    But even before I crack the book, I have the tiniest of bones to pick—he’s taken his considerable knowledge and insight and placed it firmly on the opposite side of a debate I’ve been engaged in for a while.

    It’s “videogames” not “video games.”

    read more (246 words)

    24 comments
    Most Recent Post: 08/28 12:15AM by Anonymous

     
             

       America's Army Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
     
    Tuesday, September 20 2005 @ 05:11 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    Have you checked out the The Escapist yet?

    "Cool stuff," he says as he casually mentions his latest story in this glossy online game magazine. This time I take on explaining the America's Army game.



    12 comments
    Most Recent Post: 08/27 11:03PM by Anonymous

     
             

       Digital Doldrums Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
     
    Saturday, August 27 2005 @ 08:09 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    The summer is over. Back to work.

    Every year I find that I all but stop playing games through the summer months. My mix of leisure switches over to seasonal activities like drinking beer, barbequing and hanging outdoors. The games can wait.

    But this year it was something else, too. I realized that the world of games feels a bit stagnant. In part, I’m sure, this is due to the usual lull that comes before a new wave of console launches. With the 360 due in a couple of months, the focus on games has shifted from the present to the future. I’ve been though this hardware cycling enough that I don’t get too excited about it any more. In fact, the industry’s flailing of focus will probably be death of the business. Sooner or later fans get tired of always being told, “Just wait till you see the next thing.”

    It’s exciting for a while but eventually it’s like playing the lottery--- the fun of thinking about the future either gets boring or becomes a destructive addiction.

    So, that’s part of it.

    Still, I don’t want to lay the whole issue at the feet of the gaming industry. Not when my bigger disappointment, I think, is how I’ve been feeling about game studies.

    read more (655 words)

    18 comments
    Most Recent Post: 08/27 09:49PM by Anonymous

     
             

       Mirror, Mirror Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
     
    Thursday, March 17 2005 @ 09:51 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    All the conversation about “photorealistic” graphics and the immersive qualities of such a thing seems to miss one obvious point. We already have a perfect, real time, interactive, 3-D representation of the world presented on a 2-D surface. It’s called a mirror.


    read more (361 words)

    27 comments
    Most Recent Post: 08/28 03:57PM by Anonymous

     
             

       Total Immersion Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
     
    Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 11:59 PM UTC
    Contributed by: David

    What is immersion?

    In my last post, I proposed a new term, the Turing Event. I suggested that a Turing Event would mark the point at which simulated reality was indistinguishable from real reality.

    To help make the point that such a term was useful, I suggested that something as ambiguous as “immersion” would be well served by a term such as the Turing Event. You could, conceivably define immersion as some fraction of the Turing Event. The closer to the TE, the more immersed you are. Full immersion was equivalent to the being inside a Turing Event.

    This, I thought, would help sort through some of the silliness that surrounds games and all the talk of their relative immersiveness viz other games and media. That is, I hoped to make a point that we could discard general overreaching statements like, “Man, San Andreas is a completely immersive game.” or "Videogames are much more immersive than television."

    Of course, in my pursuit of simplicity, I rolled over a bunch of nuance and some toes.

    read more (670 words)

    31 comments
    Most Recent Post: 08/27 03:33PM by Anonymous

     
             

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