The new eMagazine The Escapist looks like a great thing: smart writing on games, crossing the boundaries, filling the niche between academic journals and popular games press. Looks like there is a market already for this kind of independent and intelligent stuff. See: The Escapist home page.
This is so going to be one of those fantasy films I am going to see – I just hope they’ll put it into a big screen over here. See: the MirrorMask home page. Neil Gaiman. Dave McKean. The Jim Henson co.
Two house-warming parties today. Sanna and Kimmo (my sister and her partner) recently bought a house in Espoo – very idyllic. Ruksu and Mirka will celebrate theirs later today in Pirkkala. Makes you think what kind of home to make; particularly in that kind of dreamy, sky-is-the-limit kind of way. A totally peaceful house, next to a lake and a sauna, with all modernities, a combo of nature, culture, and hi-tech. A very Finnish dream, I suppose.:-)
Our lab will soon put out a call for a seminar in RPG studies (taking place in March 2006 over here), and tonight I again came across this CAR-PGa list of RPG studies. It is curious how disconnected the RPG studies field actually is. There is the English language newsgroup discussion which led to the three-way model. There is the interactive drama stuff (e.g. these pages by Brian David Phillips). There is the Scandinavian larp theory, put forward in the Knutepunkt/Solmukohta conventions and related book projects. And there must be so many other subfields out there. You might do well by following things like Markus Montola’s reading diary.
Much is being hidden/revealed through the craft of table-top RPG game masters, or digital RPG designers (or online world designers & producers). This evening I also watched (well, mostly only listened) through the GDCTV recording of Bioware’s Greg Zeschuk giving presentation “Storytelling Across Genres“, captured during this spring’s GDC. Nice points about character creation, the (artificial character) “uncanny valley” and many other different fascinating issues. Also some interesting Jade Empire demos. But as a player principally educated among various table-top RPGs, I keep thinking whether interacting with a computer-driven NPC is actually phenomenologally same thing as “role-playing” in the sense I understand it. When it is a simulated conversation agent, or “robot”, this fact always somehow affects the suspension of disbelief, and downplays the “role-playing” part (“What can these people come up with together?”), while emphasising the systemic aspect (“How can I solve this puzzle, which is offered to me in the form of “dialogue”, or “story?”). But, that said, many of these character or story-driven games are immensely enjoyable, and I respect the effort. RPGs, after all, are so much more my cup of tea than a typical FPS, for example.
Digital Photography Review has a story of the new Canon EOS 5D, which is a 12.8 megapixel system aimed to photo professionals; see story. I wouldn’t turn it down either, but at €3459, it seems that I am nowhere in the target group for this baby.
We all would definitely do well with a little more colour; me too. Decided to do two things: change the template for this blog, and take a walk with my camera in the evening sun. Well… I am still not certain about this colour scheme, and like these
video clips prove, there is probably much more to movie making than a tiny Ixus camera which can record some bouncing pixels.
On the marketing research corner, eMarketer recently put together some data to claim that about one-fourth of video game players watched less television last year, and the trend seems to be continuing. “Game Over for TV” is their title, but I would not go so far. Rather, we will just see more and more of mixed media forms. A virtual telly night with you favourite in-game buddies, anyone?
After installing the new Google Desktop Search (Version 2 Beta) to my “mediaserver” machine at home (that is, the one with the better display and larger hard drives) today, I was served by the Sidebar application. It is one of those “all-in-one” applications that might be useful, or then they just take extra desktop space and you end up deleting them fast. I am not sure which camp this one belongs to; by default it displays a slideshow of all my image files (and others from the web), and the Weather part only gives you US locations, which is pretty lame. At the same time, there are several “Advanced Features” that are promising — and also a bit spooky. It monitors the pages I surf, the newscasts, RSS/Atom feeds I subscribe to, and displays new titles automatically in the sidebar. Well, we’ll see — have to test this more. One thing is sure: this is symptom of us being now in the always-connected, broadband age and era. One can also become addicted and just stare at this, semi-adapted stuff endlessly being refreshed from the wells (and junkyards) of the net.
The first “What’s Hot” recommendation I clicked and viewed was this Aeon Flux SF movie trailer. Nice; more futuristic Kung Fu action and recycled storylines? But right on target: I might go and see the flick.
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.