Rainy. Still eating antibiotics. I used some time this Sunday to update my web pages, put couple of articles (one on horror fiction in Finnish, the gameplay experience paper from DiGRA-05 with Laura, in English) available into my university home page, then updated the links in the photo album page (in Finnish; you can also go directly into my server pics-folder with mostly uncommented stuff).
While going through all those materials, I started thinking whether I should have some “selected few” pictures collection somewhere. So, I went back to my old flickr account, and put a few of my favourites there. Hope you like them, too – and find them this way more easily accessible than in the larger achive folders.
Another tidbit making rounds in the gaming blogosphere, the
GALVANIZE! flash game, promoting the most recent Chemical Brothers album. As far as the web games go, this is actually rather fun – and a proof that you get nicely away with the gameplay of pinball, as long as the theme, music and (mostly) visual jokes kick ass.
While going through the blog post from the previous week (I think there was c. 750 on those few blogs that I currently subscribe to), I came across this discussion in WaterCoolerGames.org on Ian’s critique of the new “Sex & Games SIG” IGDA has helped to put into motion.
Sex, violence, oh well. Certain old topics keep up stirring the minds, and provoking discussions from year to year. Human nature? I used to study classical tragedies in the past, and many of those took up themes from history and mythology that can easily remind you from the tabloids (or reality tv) of today. But, you must admit, the artistic execution does have certain differences here. That being the key issue here, I am of course in favour of allowing the full spectrum of human emotion and condition to figure as the the starting points for interactive cultural forms, too, but what I am really interested to see is that what new the developers can come up with from these themes.
Participating in a Finnish Future Studies Society’s seminar, I’ve been presenting my tentative view on future-oriented game studies (keyword: game cultures), and getting a nice mix on the seminar themes, marginality and centrality. The trick, of course is, how to identify those marginal phenomena which are somehow symptomatic, or “weak signals” telling about our future. What is your current favourite future?
There was another electricity power cut in our area early this morning – my UPS woke me up with its pitiable beeping. The power was away perhaps for an hour, don’t know for sure (fell asleep again). These things are real pain, particularly as my ADSL box (Zyxel) is not linked to UPS (a compatibility problem with the AC adaptor power connectors), and after waking up, Zyxel decided to assign my server a new internal IP address. Nice, I only had to reassign all my NAT conversions and firewall settings, after I had figured out something was wrong in the first place.
There must be a more stable world coming up for our multi-server, connected homes – someday?
Saw the Spielberg-Cruise War of the Worlds yesterday, btw. I rather enjoyed it: it succeeds in bringing a sci-fi war into the realistically chaotic street-level, rather than giving the classic “president, scientists, army and other heroes” serving. But but. I suppose there are only so many Tom Cruise films the universe can hold. We are probably getting near the End of Days.
Heh, this video (that Valve’s Steam offered us) literally “kicks ass” — it is so great to see people taking the medium, ranning away into some crazy direction and just having plain old fun. See: RagDoll KungFu video (an indy game familiar from the GDC).
It was either finishing Half-Life 2, or the Banks novel, and since I was supposed to keep to bed, it ended up being the novel. I am reading Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels out of their publication order, but I suppose it does not matter. Rather than parts of some grand narrative, they appear to be “splintered light”, parts or reflections that are aimed to experiment, play with, and illuminate a larger whole – or universe. As a synthetic vision of aesthetics and a world-view (metaphysical, philosophical, historical, political, and psychological, at least), they remind me of Tolkien.
Now, finished with Use of Weapons, I am again reflecting on tragedy, our endlessly repeated need to find the human nature in the “glorious waste of all that is most beautiful”, to question the obvious – even when you have the supposedly ultimate freedom granted by fantasy. Or, as in this case, of science fiction. This cleverly structured, emotionally gripping and in the end rather puzzling narrative (how do you understand Elethiomel in the conclusion, in relation to all the previously narrated memories, eh?) is after all supposed to be a part of “communist-utopian” space opera. — Reading, looking, feeling and smelling, all the gritty details, the symbolism and execution (a fragment of bone, close to the heart, truly?), I became convinced that this is yet another attempt to come up with a fantasy that goes to great lengths of avoiding being Fantasy, that will use all available means and get rather desperate in the process to convince you it is speaking about something Real.
You can also read Iain’s Guardian interview (and become even more jealous of the lucky bastard).