Control Freaks: Modding and the Clash with Law

People are investing major chunks of disposable income and (astonishingly, in a flat-out work-obsessed society where no one has time) untold hours in modding. It’s one of the fastest up-and-coming social trends in the United States. And modding has already tumbled head-on into a legal snake pit. –Andy Oram –Control Freaks: Modding and the Clash with Law (oreilley.net) Modding is the practice of making and sharing new content for existing commercial…

Between Stories and Games

Since we currently cannot make games of sufficient (accessible) complexity to rival the heights of our best storytelling, we perhaps should focus on the other side of the equation. Games produce play and implicit narrative: we can look at ways of making those implicit narrative situations tie into an explicit narrative, thus deepening the sense of involvement (and the mimicry) of a game, and (crucially) of building dynamic explicit narratives…

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Beyond 'Flinch and Twitch' Games

On Oct. 31, the Serious Games Summit gets underway in Washington D.C. Its sole focus: To bring together the computer gaming industry with other experts from various fields for more than just a good time. –Beyond ‘Flinch and Twitch’ Games (Cybershake) Thanks to some (partial) funding from SHU, I’ll be going to this event. My students were crushed when I told them I was cancelling most of my classes Monday and…

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Student Sanctioned For Comments On Homosexuality

A complaint was filed against Miner because he used the word “subhuman” when writing about gay people. The university’s Judicial Affairs panel found that those remarks violated the school’s university code of conduct. [...] As punishment, Duquesne University made Miner take the offending blog off his online profile. We checked that profile and the blog is gone, but Miner is also supposed to write a 10-page paper on homosexuality in…

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Blasts From the Past: What today's game designers can learn from Space Invaders.

For the last decade, most game companies have been governed by one obsessive idea: that making games more lifelike?more three-dimensional and hyperreal?will make them more fun. But this hasn’t worked. Even the crappiest game today has an elaborate 3-D world you can wander around and marvel at the superb rendering of shadows, the elaborate tattoos on the characters, or the lens flares when you look up at the virtual sun.…

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The Uncanny Valley

The uncanny valley itself is where dwell monsters, in the classic sense of the word. Frankenstein’s creation, the undead, the ingeniously twisted demons of animé and their inspirations from legend and myth, and indeed all the walking terrors and horrors of man’s imagining belong here. In essence, they tend to be warped funhouse-mirror images of humanity, and many if not most share one or both of a pair of common…