August 26, 2005

AC2 Shuts Down

Just a few months after releasing an expansion pack for the game, Turbine announced that they wereclosing Asheron's Call 2. I played AC2 briefly, but was turned off by the (at the time) overwhelming system requirements that brought my FrankenPuter (assembled with care, duct tape, and electricity) to a screeching halt. Although the graphics engine produced beautiful results (individual blades of grass that parted as you ran through), the gameplay was just not on par with AC1. It will be interesting to see how this affects other Turbine products - AC1, D+D Online, and Lord of the Rings Online...

What happens to the ruins of an online game?

Come to think of it, I still have the CD. Looks like they are offering a free month's play if you rejoin... might be worth a revisit for a few parting screenshots.

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August 23, 2005

Feed Digest

Feed Digest - perhaps the feed mechanism for the Herd that I've been looking for...

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August 17, 2005



Spell with Flickr.

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August 12, 2005

What D&D Character Are You?

[aka: open invitation for mockery]

I Am A: Lawful Good Elf Ranger

Lawful Good characters are the epitome of all that is just and good. They believe in order and governments that work for the benefit of all, and generally do not mind doing direct work to further their beliefs.

Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Secondary Class:
Monks are strange and generally not understood by the world at large. They live apart from people, and follow strict codes that restrain their behavior and lifestyle. They have an exceptionally calm outlook on life, and generally do not resort to violence unless absolutely necessary. Even when they do, their code of conduct forbids the use of all weapons - except their hands. As such, monks are extremely skilled at hand-to-hand combat, and no other style.

Mielikki is the Neutral Good goddess of the forest and autumn. She is also known as the Lady of the Forest, and is the Patron of Rangers. Her followers are devoted to nature, and believe in the positive and outreaching elements of it. They use light armor, and a variety of weapons suitable for hunting, which they are quite skilled at. Mielikki's symbol is a unicorn head.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan

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Is that a bug in my coffee?

Sims 2 content "worse than Hot Coffee" - PC News at GameSpot

What is fascinating to me about all of these debates is that they are actually grounded (or should be) in a rather complex discussion of the nature of electronic materiality.

Meanwhile, in other news, reports reveal that by writing certain letters in a particular order in the margin of the popular novel Great Expectations, Pip and Estella actually run a crime syndicate. Investigations continue.

[not that it matters, but this isn't meant to defend Rockstar, who I think were idiots, though I find this recent attack on The Sims 2 rather silly - and amusing.]

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Jamie Kane

I started an account for the BBC IF/game Jamie Kane. "Jess" (a character) emailed me and invited me to the message boards. While I've only read a little bit, one thing that strikes me as somewhat odd is the diachronic nature of the board. The timestamps are only a few minutes apart, and yet the conversation flows in a normal pattern, with characters carefully responding to the previous post. Most of the message boards I've participated on usually developed a different pattern, with some comments completely ignored, while others generating several synchronic responses. Not this linear give-and-take.

Maybe it's just me though...

UPDATE: the chat session you have with Jess is the same way. You can't keep typing when she is typing (your window is covered by an animation that indicates she is writing a message).

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August 5, 2005

Economist on Gaming

Video gaming | Chasing the dream |

IS IT a new medium on a par with film and music, a valuable educational tool, a form of harmless fun or a digital menace that turns children into violent zombies? Video gaming is all these things, depending on whom you ask.

I vote zombies!

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On the Horizon

The journal On The Horizon - The Strategic Planning Resource for Education Professionals (Volume 13 Number 2 2005) has an entire issue dedicated to the uses of games, blogs, and other technology in the classroom. You can access the table of contents and paper abstracts, but full papers are available only to subscribers. The issue includes articles from several usual suspects, such as Jill Walker, Mia Consalvo, Michael Mateas, and Ian Bogost.

Too bad full-text isn't available online. I'll have to buzz by LoC for photocopies.

update: Looking through the archives, it looks like they had a previous special Issue: Second generation e-learning: serious games
(Volume 12, Number 1, January 2004)

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August 4, 2005

Sweet Dreams

The title essay to Sweet Dreams by Johanna Drucker is online. Read away.

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Education Arcade talk @ UMD

Going through my email, I found my write-up of Henry Jenkin's talk on the Education Arcade that he gave at UMD in February. I added the report in my February archives.

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Born-Again Bits

In the attempt to "keep e-lit alive," Alan Liu and other members of the ELO's Preservation, Archiving, and Dissemination (PAD) initiative have released Born-Again Bits: A Framework for Migrating Electronic Literature. Happy reading!

[via GTA]

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Games and Morality

Two recent Wired articles about structuring moral choices in computer games:

God Games Seek Souls, Not Profit

Christians Code Heavenly Games

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Serenity Now!

We just finished watching the DVD of Firefly. When the show came out, we watched several episodes but because of its schedule, we missed many. Having now seen the entire (half) season, I really wish it was still on the air, and heartily recommend that you Netfli... (how do I make this a verb?) ... it asap.

The film, Serenity, is due to come out September 30th, so we're booking babysitters now. ;-)

Meanwhile, read an interview with Joss about the film.

[thanks to Wonderland for the t-shirt heads-up]

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August 2, 2005

The September Project

David is an old friend working on an important project. I believe several herders participated in this event last year.

The September Project ( )is a grassroots effort to encourage public events on freedom, democracy, and citizenship in libraries on or around September 11. September Project events are activities of reflection, discussion, and dialogue about the meaning of freedom, the role of information in promoting active citizenship, and the importance of literacy in making sense of the world around us. Events take place on September 11, on the weekend of September 11, or throughout the month of September. In other words, whenever it works best for your library and community.

Libraries around the world are collaborating with organizations to host public and campus events, such as: displays about human rights and historical documents; talks and performances about freedom and cultural difference; and film screenings about issues that matter. Over 100 examples of events can be found at: For events tailored to a more academic audience, please visit:

Currently, over 160 public, academic, school, and institute libraries in 13 countries are participating. Participating countries include: Bangladesh, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Nepal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, the US, and Venezuela. You can view a map of all participating venues here:

If you plan to offer programs that explore these ideas, please sign up. Signing up takes a moment and places your library on the map of participants. Please visit:

I hope you and your colleagues will consider participating in this project, and please let me know if you have any questions and suggestions. Respectfully,

david silver

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August 1, 2005

Video Game Music

Thanks to Brinstar from Acid for Blood for Video Game Music Link Dump. I sense a forthcoming playlist.

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