March 30, 2006

A Little Help Please? Anyone have Oxford History of Board Games?

Dear kind reader,
If you perhaps have a copy of the Oxford History of Board Games, which is already (apparently) out of print, and only available through fine booksellers online for between $100 and $400 (slightly beyond my humble budget), and is not available through my entire library system for retrieval, I might wonder if you would be ever so kind as to look through the pages of your (apparently) valuable tome to see how much - if at all - said book describes the history of Cluedo (Clue), published by Waddington Games and Parker Brothers?

I would be much obliged.
Humbly, etc etc.
JR (in the Library, with the Rope).

UPDATE: Jesper kindly sent a scan of the page. Many thanks to those who emailed.

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March 29, 2006

A Few NEH Tidbits

The new Humanities magazine (which you can read online) hit my desk this morning. It opens with an interview between the Chairman and Vinton Cerf, who you may know as one of the "founding fathers of the Internet" (key in developing TCP/IP protocols), on the topic of the "Internet's role in the humanities." Some interesting stuff in their conversation as it pertains to the digital humanities, and a nod towards Steven Johnson's Everything Bad is Good for You..

Also, the NEH Film Festival is part of the 40-year celebration of the agency. The films - all made with support from NEH - will be screened at the National Archives McGowan Theater at 7pm, and the festival runs from April 18 to April 22. The link above leads to the announcement that lists the films and speakers (including Ken Burns, who will introduce episode five of his The Civil War series). The Fight, which is about the Max Schmeling vs. Joe Louis bout in 1938 also looks particularly interesting.

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New Books on Gaming

Two new books of interest now available:

Unit Operations : An Approach to Videogame Criticism
by Ian Bogost


Play Between Worlds : Exploring Online Game Culture
by T.L. Taylor

Posted by Jason at 6:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2006

MT 3.2 Upgrade Trips and Troubleshooting

This is an open thread so that we can troubleshoot the new upgrade, pose questions, offer suggestions, and discuss new functionality. Here is a link to the MT 3.2 User Manual. I'm reading through it and trying to learn the new ropes. I ask others on our server to do the same.

For any readers out there who know MT 3.2 well - I'm still trying to understand the spam prevention system in MT 3.2, and frankly am feeling a little lost without Blacklist. Can anyone explain how this works or point us to some resources? Offer more suggestions for spam prevention? Thanks

And here's where I'll put recurring issues and, if possible, solutions:

Issue 1: Can't delete comments; have to re-log into MT; other issues or bizarre behavior of this nature.

Solution: Clear your browser cache - and specifically your cookies. Restart your browser. Check to see if issues have resolved themselves. If not, leave a comment below.

A few links about MT's new spam prevention system:
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March 17, 2006


I just upgraded us to MT 3.2. Here's hoping that spam will descrease as a result. Herders - please report issues to me here or via email. Thanks.

A suitable way to spend the weekend of my 3rd Blog-o-versary I suppose.

Posted by Jason at 11:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 16, 2006

Recent Herd Downtime

Apologies to users and readers for our recent downtime. Comment and trackback spam is really dragging us down and occasionally crashing our host's servers. In an effort to alleviate spam problems, I will be installing the newest version of MT (3.2) in the near future. Until that time, basic scripts will be working but trackbacks have been universally disabled for the immediate future.

Wordherders who host with us, please see your email for complete details.

Here's hoping that things will improve. Again, thank you for your patience.

Posted by Jason at 6:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Herder Outing to Ballet Mechanique and Dada Exhibit at NGA

A Reminder and Invitation for a cultural outing and herder gathering:

Herders, friends, relatives, significant others/spouses, affiliates, kind strangers...

This Saturday, March 18, at 12:30pm

We will be gathering to witness the 1pm show of the Ballet Mechanique at the National Gallery. Afterwards, we will tour the Dada exhibit and then go out for a late lunch / early dinner somewhere in DC. I imagine that we'll probably spend at least an hour or two in the exhibit, so don't show up starving.

See my blogpost for details:

WE WILL MEET on the mezzanine, next to the entrance to the Dada exhibit hall, where the Ballet Mechanique is
set up. At 12:30ish (the show starts at 1pm, and lasts about 10 minutes - so better to be early than late).

Send an email to me if you need my mobile #, in case you need to get in touch. If I'm in metro, or underground, or in a
sunspot or something, don't blame me. Just call again or send a txt.

Please email me at some point if you plan to attend, just so I can get a head count and think about places to get lunch. If anyone has suggestions for eating spots, I'm all ears.

Here's a wired magazine article that may be of interest:

Also see

NO, SERIOUSLY, WHO'S YOUR DADA? (like I could pass that up)
The information about the Dada exhibit at the National Gallery is here.

Remember! If you bring a large purse or bag, the guards will likely make you check it, so either pack small and light or plan for extra time to get through security.

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.

Posted by Jason at 6:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2006

Do Not Do Business with IAM8Bit (ok, Maybe ... see update)

A little while ago I mentioned the I am 8-bit store, which carried t-shirts and such based on the intriguing collection, including a limited edition t-shirt based on Sean Clarity's Excitebike painting. My wife, sweet person that she is, ordered one of the shirts as a surprise for February 13th (our engagement anniversary).

The shirt never arrived.

I emailed the store email address ( to follow up, but never received a reply. With a little digging on the website, I found another email address for jon (also and sent him a note that was even in tone, but expressed some frustration from the lack of response. When he heard that we had been charged for the shirt over a month ago, but the item never arrived, he kindly wrote the following:

Well, I feel your frustration -- and I'm not quite sure what happened. So here's what we'll do. We'll ship the shirt off immediately, complete with a bonus for your patience. And I'd also be happy to refund your payment. Does that work for you?

My sincere apologies. We're a small operation that is, well, somewhat overwhelmed with the popularity, so things seem to have fallen through the cracks.

// jon

A nice note, I thought, I wrote back, stated that we were happy to pay for the shirt and support a project that's probably not exactly swimming in funds, and that we were looking forward to receiving the package. I thought the matter was nicely resolved, a simple mistake rectified, no harm no foul. That email exchange happened on February 8th.

It is now March 10th. And still no shirt. No email response to my follow-up inquiries for a tracking number. No refund of the purchase price *instead* of the shirt. Nothing.

So, a simple warning to those out there who might consider doing business with this group. Don't. I hate having to write a rant about bad business, especially when it probably stems from simple incompetence rather than maliciousness, but I would hate to have what appears to be an endorsement in the previous post lead to others losing their cash.

UPDATE: Jon replied swiftly to my latest email, refunding me my money and offering to overnight a shirt. Perhaps more importantly, he said that they had instituted an electronic package tracking system, which we can all hope will prevent these sorts of headaches in the future.

So, we'll see. Hopefully they've fixed their issues. Assuming the shirt actually arrives, I'd say that at least their customer support is fair.

Posted by Jason at 4:59 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 8, 2006

Mapping Games and Virtual Tourism

A few interesting tidbits to consider in The New York Times article Is the Pen as Mighty as the Joystick? [free registration required; link will expire].

"It's like writing a travel guide to a place that doesn't exist," Mr. Hodgson said. "Whereas Frommer's guides tell you what hotel to stay in, I tell you which hotel not to stay in because you're going to get dragged down by a gangster."


"The first thing I thought was, 'I need a map,' " said Mr. Hodgson, 33, who spent the first part of his time getting to know New York and New Jersey, where the game is set. With help from the company, he also familiarized himself with a range of weapons, the best ways to blow up buildings and how to extort various characters. There are 50 to 60 ways to murder people in the game — from running them over with cars to garroting — and many ways to shake down a merchant.

Not much to add right now - I'm on limited time. But I wanted to note the article for its focus not so much on the use of guides, but on their creation.

Posted by Jason at 6:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nebraska Digital Workshop

The Center for Digital Research in the Humanities Call for proposals looks like a great opportunity especially for graduate students, although the description seems to suggest that humanities computing projects (actual applications, archives, etc) are what they are looking for, rather than the broader "digital humanities" (which might involve study born-digital objects like cybertexts or computer games). In any case, if you are working on a digital project, check it out.

And hurrah for another digital humanities center.
[via palms]

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Wordherders In Action

Occasionally I like to showcase the work done by various members of the herd; this was a busy week for the Wordherders. MattK gave a talk at UT-Austin on his work on "Textual Forensics of Mystery_House.dsk". I've seen a few variations of this particular branch of his research over the years and it never fails to entertain. Speaking of entertainment, our Natalie (Critters and Spectacles) was the superstar of the week, showcasing her mug on NBCTV4 with West Wing's Bradley Whitford.

Two herders Chuck (The Chutry Experiment) and Marc (Things As They Are) presented at this year's SCMS, joining herd-friend KF (Planned Obsolescence). On this coast, herder CJ presented at NEMLA in Philadelphia.

Jason Jones (The Salt-Box) is hosting this month's Teaching Carnival, so be sure to check back soon and/or contribute to the Carnival.

A good luck to Non-Zombie, who retired his blog "thanks for not being a zombie" this month, after three years of blogging.

Finally, motions are in place to upgrade the Wordherders space. Plans include:

  • upgrading software to 3.2, which should include better template support and better spam control

  • getting a Feed working that compiles the latest entries from all herders (even those not hosted on the herd server/MT install), which brings with it...

  • a better, more user friendly, and more community-centered Wordherder main page.

And don't forget the Wordherder (and friends!) outing to the Dada exhibit on March 18. Details here. Email or comment if you'd like to attend.

[Cross-posted on the main Wordherder news blog]

Posted by Jason at 6:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 7, 2006

Tools for Game (and New Media) Scholarship

On our way over to Scott's talk today, Marc was telling me about his VIAO, which came with (correct me if I'm wrong Marc) a TV tuner card and some software that allowed him to play his GameCube on his screen. The software also allowed him to record his play sessions. My understanding had always been that there was significant lag with a setup like this, making console game play all but impossible on such a rig. This is why I've avoided buying another video card, and why the Adaptec GameBridge was potentially a big deal (and, at under $100, still seems like a possible solution). Marc says, not so - it works just fine (Marc, have you tried it with the PS2?).

I'm curious about other's experiences - how do you "do" game scholarship? What tools do you use? What tools do we need? Do you record play sessions or, like me, just have a LOT of notes and a LOT of saved game files?

This is at least indirectly related to Scott's talk, in which he gave a nice overview of the ELO, its history and purpose, some of its future goals, and the challenges implicit in the study of new media objects that question, resist, or even outright defy genre. Scott shared several examples from the forthcoming Electronic Literature Collection and generated some nice discussion about genre and the "literature question" (as in, "Is this even literature?"), as well as about general e-lit teaching strategies and preservation and archiving challenges. Though I've followed Scott's blogging (both his personal one and Grand Text Auto), I was pleased to hear about his work in person, which was intriguing enough to run the program well past its normal stopping time.

If you are in the DC area, MITH's Digital Dialogues has a great line-up this semester, including scholars like Scott (today), Jerome McGann and Johanna Drucker (March 14) and Alan Liu (April 28) as well as writer Shelley Jackson, author of Patchwork Girl, Skin, Doll Diaries (April 17) and comic guru Scott McCloud of _Understanding Comics_ fame (May 2). There are many others, so look at the full schedule here (PDF).

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