February 29, 2004

Leap Links

Magic Words: Interactive Fiction in the 21st Century, an article on IF on 1up [see also Jerz, GTA, Slashdot].

2003 Xyzzy Awards

NYTimes Deconstructing the Video Game (reg. required), which mentions the Form, Culture and Video Game Criticism conference at Princeton on March 6.

Nick M.'s fascinating Continuous Paper.

Ed Ayers and Charles M. Grisham, "Why IT Has Not Paid Off as We Hoped (Yet)," EDUCAUSE Review 38.6. [via MGK]

Jerz's Playing, Studying and Writing Interactive Fiction

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February 26, 2004

What Book am I?

Thanks to Chuck, I took the quiz, which told me ...

You're I, Robot!
by Isaac Asimov
While you have established a code of conduct for many generations to follow, your demeanor is rather cold and calculating. Brought up to serve humans, you have promised never to harm them, to follow orders, and to protect yourself. Living up to this code has proved challenging and sometimes even drives you mad. If you were a type of paper, you would be pulp.
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

I especially like that last part.

"If you were a type of paper, you would be pulp."

Well, yeah. Sometimes I feel that way.

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February 23, 2004

Feed Test

It ain't pretty, but it might be is working (except for Brandon's - his xml file only has a datestamp for the entire list, instead of each entry, which breaks it for the rest of the herd).

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"Dungeons and Dreamers" Chat

A belated post - John Borland and Brad King, authors of "Dungeons & Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Gaming Culture From Geek to Chic," were online Friday, Jan. 30 for a washingtonpost.com - Live Online chat session.

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Curiously Strong Games?

I came across the Altoids Arcade, which has a flash-based adventure game. "Curiously Strong All Night Long" is based around the Altoid Strips and looks very Leisure Suit Larry. I haven't had time to play far, but I found it odd enough that it merited a link and a future look.

Altoids probably has nothing on Crimson Room (US server) by Toshimitsu Takagi. [via GTA]

EDIT: Comments have been closed for this post. Thanks!

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February 22, 2004

Feeding the Herd

As I mentioned before, I want to set up the main Herd page so that the most recent post from each herder shows up on the page - the posts would mingle according to most recently updated, at least in theory.

Tried MT-RssFeed. Not doing exactly what I want. There are actually two different feeds there - the first is just an experiment with chucks rss alone. The second is everyone's.

Going to check out Carp next.

But if anyone has any suggestions or advice, I'm all ears (eyes?).

Here is a (Google-cached) example of what I'm looking for. At the AoIR conference, there was a RSS feed from all people involved in AoIR with a blog. This is the description and this is what it looked like (in terms of form, rather than style).

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Mental Note

Gary Alan Fine. Shared fantasy : role-playing games as social worlds. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1983.


Beyond Role and Play, edited by Markus Montola and Jaakko Stenros, product of the Solmukohta nordic role-playing convention.

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February 20, 2004

Expose a Hidden Side

"Dating" left the following two comments - spam, of course, but oddly poetic in the insertion of random keywords in text mined elsewhere. If I had "HTML Comments" turned on, the words would have been links to Dating's various websites ... without their technological backing, the keywords look to find meaning elsewhere...

This kind of thing is imitated airfare badly and often by others, but Carson's credit card phraseology within poems remains ski vacation her own: "Rotate the husband and car rental expose a hidden side," she urges plane ticket early on
methodology, the deliverance, even) airfare as about a lot of other music - we credit card practiced several flows over the track ski vacation before we actually recorded the raps car rental - the finished product was surprisingly plane ticket credible

Rotate the husband and car rental... expose a hidden side.

By golly, there might not be enough monkeys and typewriters in the world, but spammers might well give us greater evidence of old cliches.

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February 19, 2004

The Muppets Take Wolfram and Hart

Just when I started not to care about the WB canceling Angel, they turned around and put out one of the best episodes ever.


The description:

When a popular children's show begins to steal the life forces of children by hypnotizing them, Angel (David Boreanaz) goes directly to the studio to uncover the evil doings. Upon entering the building, Angel triggers a spell that transforms him into a puppet.

Now ranking in my top 10 list of Buffy/Angel episodes. Ever.

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Memory Card

Mia Consalvo, a game researcher at Ohio University, has started a new blog named Memory Card where she already has an interesting thread about the ethics of researchers using game cheats. [via TerraNova, which has some comments on the cheating thread as well]

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February 18, 2004

News Round-Up

IDGA - Ivory Tower column, Dungeons, Dragons, and Ivory Towers, where Chaim Gingold focuses on issues of collaboration between the game industry developers and academics/researchers.

Michael, of GTA, officially announced the creation of the Experimental Game Lab at Georgia Tech, which is holding an open house on February 27th.

The Associated Press is getting into the game with their recent article on game studies, now syndicated at a newspaper near you.

If you kick a robotic dog, is it wrong? - the Christian Science Monitor looks into the question. GTA delves deeper.

Matt K.'s graduate seminar blog links to much of the conversation around Aarseth's Cybertext (which is, quite frankly, not much - for such an important book, there are surprisingly few reviews of it). Great set of links (and Espen even swings by).

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February 13, 2004

5 Elements / Academic Blogging

The 5 Elements of Digital Storytelling by Nora Paul and Christina Fiebich from the U. of Minnesota [via Lisbeth].

Also, Lisbeth's Academic Papers on Blogs

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February 5, 2004

"Online, Anyone Who Types Can Be a 'Writer.' In Theory, That Is."

A friend clipped the following article for me from last Sunday's Washington Post (ah, clipped ... how lovingly old school): iT was a dark stormy Nite . . . (TechNews.com @ Washpost) by Linton Weeks, a WashPost Staff Writer. The article is presumably about "Neterature: writing on and for the Internet," where (as the subtitle states) "Online, Anyone Who Types Can Be a 'Writer.' In Theory, That Is."

And I hate to be nasty (no I don't), but I kept checking the date, because I would swear that this article, except for its references to blogging, was written in 1998. The article's list of "Neterature's" attributes?

  • Not always in complete sentences.
  • Often with bullets.
  • Not a lot of punctuation but a great deal of self-exploration you know
  • case often lower when should be upper and Vice Versa.
  • Rife with misteaks -- easily corrected but mor often not.
  • Full of attitude and not always kind. Sometimes sinister and fraught with swear words. Othertimes saccharine and spangled with winking, smiley-face emoticons.

i maen isnt That jst Nsane you know?!?!?? ;) ;) :) :-o

Seriously. Even though the article references some popular blogs (such as William Gibson's), the example quoted is by a 20-year-old GW student, described as:

a recent excerpt -- errors and all -- labeled "The State of Our Union Is Lousy"

I don't object to focusing on the student's blog, but it seems to be used precisely to support the article's bullet points of what constitutes "Neterature." Bad spelling, full of errors, someone mouthing off, and terribly unsophisticated. Sophomoric.

Which is, in terms of representation of the whole, one ink splatter on a large Pollock canvas.

Other representations of Neterature in the article, from e-poetics to fan fiction, all get the same type of crappy example. Here's the fan fiction piece Weeks uses:

Here is a short story -- bad punctuation and spelling included -- based on the mindless computer game Minesweeper:

-The Tale of Joe - By Nazi Janitor One day, Joe Schmo, decided to quit his job of being a taco salesman. But, he had no idea what to be. Then he saw an ad in the paper: "DUDE BECOME A MINESWEEPER AND SWEEP MINES. NOTE: YOU MIGHT DIE BUT WHO CARES?!?!?!?!".

"Hyuck hyuck hyuck, this is thuh kinda job I'm looking for, hyuck." Joe said to himself.

Joe was hired. But sadly, he was killed buy a mine because he selected the wrong box. And because he was a smiley, his eyes turned into X's and his face exploded because he sucks at life. The End.

Linton Weeks shows an amazingly sophisticated lack of knowledge about writing online. He could have talked about the technologies that allow bloggers to create social networks, report on wars (did he miss the whole warblogging thing?), and hold discussions on special topics. Or, perhaps, he could have spoken to the increased complexity of interactive fiction and organizations that feature IF, like the ELO, Rhizome, or trAce. Instead of looking at Astonia, perhaps he might have thought to discuss Everquest and its subscribers that number in the hundreds-of-thousands?

The article concludes with the type of fear-driven hype that was, again, typical in 1998.

So even if we want to read -- or write -- more textured, complex prose, we may not be able to. The result is slapdash, small-vocab, shallow, callow writing that seems to be devolving with the technology rather than evolving.

Beware folks - technologies of writing will cause you to write shorter, shallow prose. We're doomed. Oh no.


On one side of the equation, today's engineers have made it eerily easy for writers to write -- certainly more rapidly and, some would say, more creatively and innovatively.

On the other, maybe the easier we make it to write, the worse some of the writing gets.

I didn't realize that engineers had also made it easier to get unsophisticated, ignorant articles published on the front page of Sunday's Style section. I guess at the Washington Post "Anyone Who Types Can Be a 'Writer.' In Theory, That Is."

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February 2, 2004

More Pics of Evie

[click on the image to go to the full gallery of 24 images]

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