20 minutes in transylvania

On his fully equipped “Monster” hoverboard Mike, the teenage werewolf, speeds through “Transylvania,” the October 2016 version of “Subway Surfers”. Under a full moon von Frankenstein’s creature is close on his heels while Mike collects the last remaining ghosts of the weekly hunt. This Let’s Play video is meant as a showcase of version 1.62.1 … a bit spiced up with material matching the theme and ambience. Namely scenes from the movie “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man” (1943), the first of a series of so-called “ensemble” monster films doing crossovers by combining characters from several film series. The movie is public domain and can be found e.g. at The Internet Archive. Also appearing are drawings and paintings (public domain, too) by 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), generally considered the most important German artist of his generation – and tremendously influential on the design of movie-sets and all kinds of pop-culture artefacts. The early monster-crossover movies almost immediately got spoofed by several “Abbott and Costello” comedy films – in the first, “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” (1948) the pair encounters the Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s monster and Count Dracula. In the 1960s according TV-series followed: “The Munsters” (1964-1966) and “The Addams Family” (1964-1966). Contemporary visions and ideas of Halloween costumes and themes, and of course the design of this version of “Subway Surfers,” all are legacy to the monster crossovers of the 1940s. The whole concept and its heritage finally was brought full-circle and upon literary heights by Alan Moore’s outstanding graphic novel “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”.


subway shenanigans

“Subway Shenanigans” is a montage of stunts and trickjumps done in “Subway Surfers,” the popular endless runner mobile game. You will see all 52 characters available in the game until today, performing jumps you may not have seen before. Also featured are the x94 and x104 multipliers and rare events like doubled-up superjackpots from Mystery and Super Mystery Boxes. All was done in vanilla “Subway Surfers” as furnished by Kiloo and SYBO Games – no cheat, crack, or hack was employed. Special thanks go to Shaheer Ahmed who explained to me how to get the x104 multiplier. Having said that: Greetings to the “Subway Surfers” community in all the facebook groups! :o)

Apart from the original music from the game you will hear “Hyperfun” and “Quirky Dog” by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) and licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), “Cartoon Bank Heist Sting” and “Sour Tennessee Red Sting” by Doug Maxwell, and “Big Swing Band” by Audionautix.


grand theft time

GTA5 unpacked
Unfortunately I got a daytime job. That’s unfortunate—in a way, granted—’cause ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ (GTA5) for PC finally hit the storeshelves yesterday. Just returned from the store a minute ago and unpacked the thing. As you can see above till now Rockstar has done everything right. You get a fine box and not some cheap plastic DVD sleeve from the dumpster, as usual. And of course there’s the printed map of Los Santos … and seven, yes seven DVDs. I’ll shove the first one into my machine in a second. Around the web since yesterday there are horrible stories about installation problems. Well, let’s see …

Update: The whole installation process took a bit more than four hours, including the download of the 5GB patch. Then the game started up smoothly, runs flawless like a charm [nothing of all the stories flying into every direction on the net happened—quite to the contrary, it was the smoothest installation process of a triple-A title on my machine], looks absolutely incredible, gives me decent fps, and already is addictive. The atmosphere and the narration’s dramatics are just perfect. Controls and cameras are fine, too—until now I like the car steering even better than in IV.

ROCKSTAR NORTH. 2015. Grand Theft Auto V [computer game]. PC version. New York City: Rockstar Games.

minecraft photo realism

Look at what you can make out of ‘Minecraft.’ Just look at it.
    Neither the idea nor the mods necessary are by me—I just went some lengths in order to get it to run with ‘Minecraft 1.8.1,’ the latest version. Actually two nights ago I was browsing videos of photorealistic mods for GTA4 when YouTube suggested AnonimusSVer’s video called Photorealistic Minecraft! Shaders + HD Texture Pack + Physics Mod (GTX 760).’ It completely stunned me. Instantly I loved the absurd idea of a 3D-world completely made of cubes, but clad in photorealism, and the strange atmosphere it creates. So I set out to recreate it, which needed some research and searching around.
    First I installed the ‘GLSL Shaders Mod’ and then ‘Sonic Ether’s Unbelievable Shaders’ (SEUS)—the result blew me from my chair already. Next I patched the profile now created in the Minecraft-launcher with the ‘MCPatcher HD fix.’ Finally I installed the ‘LB photo realism x256’ resource pack. And that’s it, but …
    … if you do all that, your ‘Minecraft’ may well crash on you. Very likely, indeed. To avoid that first make sure that you’ve got the latest ‘Java Runtime Environment’ installed. Then, and this is crucial as the textures already are of some size, allocate more RAM to the Minecraft-profile you are using. I allocated a healthy 8GB of RAM to the modded and patched profile. It now runs absolutely fluent and despite of all the modding I can see ten chunks far without any problems whatsoever. [I take it for granted that your graphics drivers are up-to-date ;o]
    See below for due credit, complete information, and links for all mods and software employed.
    The following three pictures show the exact same view. The first one as vanilla ‘Minecraft’ gives it to you. The second one as the ‘SEUS’ ultra shader renders the default textures. For the third one I combined the shader with Scuttle’s photorealism textures … just look at it.

DAXNITRO, ID_MINER AND KARYONIX. 2014. GLSL Shaders Mod for Minecraft 1.8.1/1.8/1.7.10 [computer program]. Version 2.4.1 alpha [15 November 2014].
KAHR. 2014. MCPatcher HD fix [computer program]. Version 5.0.0_02 release [24 November 2014].
MOJANG. 2014. Minecraft [computer game]. Version 1.8.1 [24 November 2014]. Stockholm: Mojang.
ORACLE. 2014. Java SE [standard edition] Runtime Environment [computer program]. Version 7 Update 72 (Build 1.7.0_72-b14). Redwood Shores: Oracle Corporation.
SCUTTLES, MISA, ADRIORN AND AAGEON. 2014. LB photo realism x256 [digital textures]. Version 10.0.0.
SONIC ETHER. 2014. Sonic Ether’s unbelievable shaders mod for Minecraft 1.8.1/1.8/1.7.10 [computer program]. Version 10.1 Preview.
Here are the current specs of my system [and here is its story ;o]: Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth P67 | CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 @ 3.10 Ghz [quadcore] | RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB | Graphics card: Asus HD 6950 2GB | Power supply: BQT P9-850W | SSD: ADATA SSD S510 120GB SCSI | HDDs: WDC Raptor WD1500AHFD-00RAR1 @ 10,000RPM ATA, WDC WD5000AAKS-00TMA0 @ 7,200RPM ATA | Optical drives: TSSTcorp DVD-ROM SH-D163C ATA, Plextor DVDR PX-760A ATA | Monitors: 2x Asus VG278HE | Mouse: Razer DeathAdder 2013 | Keyboard: Steelseries 7G | OS: Win7 HP SP1

reverse sportscar heist

Meanwhile everybody playing Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal 2014) seems to know about the dealer’s showroom in The Loop where you can easily steal a Scafati GT, the most lamborghini-ish of all cars in the game. There are videos on YouTube and more information around the Net explaining the feat. Just walk into the store, enter a car, drive it through the glass panes of one of the floor-to-ceiling windows, and off you go. I already had driven two Scafati GTs, stolen on the street, but nevertheless wanted to see the showroom.
When I reached it in an orange 336-TT—it already was that dirty when I picked it up at a Motel’s parking lot—I saw that there were only two cars on display in the vast room. Which gave me an idea …
How about filling up the showroom with sportscars, instead of stealing them from there? There’s no suitcase to be found at the station, so something else has to be done in the game.
The 336-TT to my eye is a mix out of a Porsche 959/969, 911 and an Opel GT—but the front’s shape definitely resembles a Lamborghini Miura. So it makes a nice pair with the Diablo/Gallardo and something else mix the Scafati GT is. Both being orange was a lucky coincidence. … the guy on the left doesn’t like orange or just has no sense at all for automotive history.
    Having the first two arranged nicely I set out to get the next sportscar. But when I returned with it, both orange cars had disappeared. Instead there was only one red Scafati GT now. As someone has said in a comment somewhere—it’s not GTA, and there’s no place for storing cars. Well, let’s see …
Here you can see me just having delivered number three. Meanwhile it got dark and rain poured. The trick seems to be not to walk too far away from the showroom. As The Loop is a glitzy and wealthy ‘hood, chances are that you’ll find sportscars in close vicinity.
The best I could achieve was to get six cars into the showroom. The two Scafati GTs which already were there, a red and a black one; a silvergrey Boxberg R1; two Sunrims, one red and one yellowish green: and a Papavero Stealth Edition. The green Sunrim was the end of the streak, because the police followed me after I had stolen it by dragging its possessor from the steering wheel. After my release from custody the cars of course were gone again. In the words of the immortal Freddie Mercury: ‘I’m gonna go go go there’s no stopping meeee’
Once more I managed to cram six cars into the showroom. See how neatly I parked them in order to get more cars into my indoor parking lot? You guessed it, they disappeared. Enough is enough, I am leaving this place—I heard that there’s a Papavero dealership in the Mad Mile—maybe their showroom is more stable …
    No mods or cheats employed.

UBISOFT MONTREAL. 2014. Watch dogs [computer game]. Montreuil: Ubisoft.

quantification prescribing interaction

Metric locations on the Facebook news feed (circled in red) by Benjamin Grosser
Artist and composer Ben[jamin] Grosser, currently teaching at the School of Art & Design, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, two days ago has published his fine article What do metrics want? How quantification prescribes social interaction on Facebook.” Here’s the abstract:

The Facebook interface is filled with numbers that count users’ friends, comments, and “likes.” By combining theories of agency in artworks and materials with a software studies analysis of quantifications in the Facebook interface, this paper examines how these metrics prescribe sociality within the site’s online social network. That prescription starts with the transformation of the human need for personal worth, within the confines of capitalism, into an insatiable “desire for more.” Audit culture and business ontology enculturate a reliance on quantification to evaluate whether that desire has been fulfilled. These conditions compel Facebook’s users to reimagine both self and friendship in quantitative terms, and situates them within a graphopticon, a self-induced audit of metricated social performance where the many watch the metrics of the many. The theoretical analyses presented are further considered and examined in practice using the author’s artistic software, Facebook Demetricator. In use by thousands worldwide since late 2012, this software removes all metrics from the Facebook interface, inviting the site’s users to try the system without the numbers and to see how that removal changes their experience. Feedback from users of Facebook Demetricator illuminates how metrics activate the “desire for more,” driving users to want more “likes,” more comments, and more friends. Further, the metrics lead users to craft self-imposed rules around the numbers that guide them on how, when, and with whom to interact. Facebook Demetricator, through its removal of the metrics, both reveals and eases these patterns of prescribed sociality, enabling a social media culture less dependent on quantification.

GROSSER, BENJAMIN. 2014. What do metrics want? How quantification prescribes social interaction on Facebook. Computational Culture 9 November 2014. Available online.
via Mark Deuze at fb—tnx!

fix at pleasure

Leonhard Euler (1707-1783) as depicted on the former Swiss 10 francs banknote
In addition to his substantial contributions to science (see Bogolyubov, Mikhailov & Yushkevich 2007) the eminent swiss mathematician and physicist Leonhard Euler (1707-1783) also wrote texts accessible to the general public. Eulers didactics are absolutely admirable because you can dive into both ‘Elements of Algebra’ (1770) and ‘Letters of Euler on different subjects in physics and philosophy addressed to a german princess’ (1768-1774) without presuppositions, without any previous knowledge whatsoever. His ‘Elements of Algebra’ begin at virtually nothing and then build up to unforeseen heights. Here is in full the beginning of chapter one of section one of part one, which simply is headed ‘Of mathematics in general:’

1. Whatever is capable of increase or diminution, is called magnitude, or quantity.
A sum of money therefore is a quantity, since we may increase it or diminish it. It is the same with a weight, and other things of this nature.
2. From this definition, it is evident that the different kinds of magnitude must be so various, as to render it difficult to enumerate them and this is the origin of the different branches of Mathematics, each being employed on a particular kind of magnitude. Mathematics, in general, is the science of quantity; or, the science which investigates the means of measuring quantity.
3. Now, we cannot measure or determine any quantity, except by considering some other quantity of the same kind as known, and point out their mutual relation. If it were proposed, for example, to determine the quantity of a sum of money, we should take some known piece of money, as a louis, a crown, a ducat, or some other coin, and show how many of these pieces are contained in a given sum. In the same manner, if it were proposed to determine the quantity of a weight, we should take a certain known weight; for example, a pound, and ounce, &c., and then show how many times one of these weights is contained in that which we are endeavouring to ascertain. If we wished to measure any length, or extension, we should make use of some known length, such as a foot.
4. So that the determination, or the measure of magnitude of all kinds, is reduced to this: fix at pleasure upon any one known magnitude of the same species with that which is to be determined, and consider it as the measure or unit; then, determine the proportion of the proposed magnitude to this known measure. This proportion is always expressed by numbers; so that a number is nothing but the proportion of one magnitude to another, arbitrarily assumed a unit.
5. From this it appears that all magnitudes may be expressed by numbers; and that the foundation of all the Mathematical Sciences must be laid in a complete treatise on the science of numbers, and in an accurate examination of the different possible methods of calculation. (Euler 1822 [1770]: 1-2 | bold emphasis mine)

Jules Henri Poincaré (1854-1912)
Now compare this to what Henri Poincaré wrote on ‘science and hypothesis’—for the full passage of the text see poincaré on sts:

[…] the position held by hypothesis was seen ; it was recognised that it is as necessary to the experimenter as it is to the mathematician.

[…] we should examine with the utmost care the role of hypothesis ; we shall then recognise not only that it is necessary, but that in most cases it is legitimate. We shall also see that there are several kinds of hypotheses; that some are verifiable, and when once confirmed by experiment become truths of great fertility; that others may be useful to us in fixing our ideas; and finally, that others are hypotheses only in appearance, and reduce to definitions or to conventions in disguise. The latter are to be met with especially in mathematics , and in the sciences to which it is applied. From them, indeed, the sciences derive their rigour ; such conventions are the result of the unrestricted activity of the mind, which in this domain recognises no obstacle. For here the mind may affirms because it lays down its own laws ; but let us clearly understand that while these laws are imposed on our science, which otherwise could not exist, they are not imposed on Nature.

[…] the aim of science is not things themselves, as the dogmatists in their simplicity imagine, but the relations between things; outside those relations there is no reality knowable. (Poincaré 1905 [1902]: xxi-xxiv)

And for the sake of it, here is the German original of the above Euler-quote, ‘Von den mathematischen Wissenschaften überhaupt:’:

Erstlich wird alles dasjenige eine Größe genennt, welches einer Vermehrung oder einer Verminderung fähig ist, oder wozu sich noch etwas hinzusetzen oder davon wegnehmen läßt.
    Diesemnach ist eine Summa Gelds eine Größe, weil sich dazu setzen und hinweg nehmen läßt.
    Ingleichen ist auch ein Gewicht eine Größe und dergleichen mehr.

Es giebt also sehr viel verschiedene Arten von Größen, welche sich nicht wohl herzehlen laßen; und daher entstehen die verschiedene Theile der Mathematic, deren eine jegliche mit einer besondern Art von Größen beschäftiget ist, indem die Mathematic überhaupt nichts anders ist als eine Wißenschaft der Größen, und welche Mittel ausfündig macht, wie man dieselben ausmeßen soll.

Es läßt sich aber eine Größe nicht anders bestimmen oder ausmeßen, als daß man eine Größe von eben derselben Art als bekannt annimt, und das Verhältniß anzeiget, worinnen eine jegliche Größe, von eben der Art, gegen derselben steht.
    Also wann die Größe einer Summa Gelds bestimmt werden soll, so wird ein gewißes Stück Geld als z. E. ein Gulden, ein Rubel, ein Thaler, oder ein Ducaten und dergleichen für bekannt angenommen, und angezeigt wie viel dergleichen Stücke in gemeldeter Summa Gelds enthalten sind.
    Eben so wann die Größe eines Gewichts bestirnt werden soll, so wird ein gewißes Gewicht als z. E. ein Pfund, ein Centner, oder ein Loth und dergleichen für bekannt angenommen, und angezeigt wie viel derselben in dem vorigen Gewicht enthalten sind.
    Soll aber eine Länge oder eine Weite ausgemeßen werden, so pfleget man sich darzu einer gewißen bekannten Länge, welche ein Fuß genennet wird, zu bedienen.

Bey Bestimmungen, oder Ausmeßungen der Größen von allen Arten, kommt es also darauf an, daß erstlich eine gewiße bekannte Größe von gleicher Art fest gesetzet werde (welche das Maaß, oder die Einheit, genennet wird) und also von unserer Willkühr lediglich abhängt; hernach daß man bestimme in was für einem Verhältniß die vorgegebene Größe gegen dieses Maaß stehe, welches jederzeit durch Zahlen angezeigt wird, so daß eine Zahl nichts anders ist als das Verhältniß, worinnen eine Größe gegen eine andere, welche für die Einheit angenommen wird, steht.

Hieraus ist klar, daß sich alle Größen, durch Zahlen ausdrücken laßen, und also der Grund aller Mathematischen Wißenschaften darin gesetzt werden muß, daß man die Lehre von den Zahlen, und alle Rechnungs-Arten, so dabey vorkommen können, genau in Erwegung ziehe, und vollständig abhandele.

BOGOLYUBOV, N. N., G. K. MIKHAILOV, AND A. P. YUSHKEVICH (eds.). 2007. Euler and modern science. Washington D.C.: Mathematical Association of America.
EULER, LEONHARD. 1768-1774. Lettres à une princesse d’Allemagne sur divers sujets de physique et de philosophie. Two volumes. Saint Petersburg, Frankfurt: Kayserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften.
EULER, LEONHARD. 1770. Vollständige Anleitung zur Algebra. Two volumes. Saint Petersburg: Kayserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften.
EULER, LEONHARD. 1822 [1770]. Elements of Algebra. Third edition. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Co.
EULER, LEONHARD. 1911 [1770]. Vollständige Anleitung zur Algebra. Leipzig, Berlin: B. G. Teubner.
POINCARÉ, JULES HENRI. 1905 [1902]. Science and hypothesis. London, Newcastle-on-Tyne, New York: The Walter Scott Publishing Co., Ltd. Originally published as La science et l’hypothèse. Paris: Ernest Flammarion.

brandnew ancient games

V Five V
Obviously I am not at all informed, let alone up to date—granted. But then again this wasn’t really to be expected. Not that I’d have any time for it whatsoever, but nevertheless last Saturday I suddenly decided that it was high time to finally play ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ (GTA 5 | Rockstar 2013 [sort of 2013])—in a minute I’ll come back to why I so suddenly longed for GTA 5. As I like having my games on physical data storage media, neatly arranged on the shelf, I set out towards my regular shop. The game already hit the store-shelves in September 2013, so my hopes were high that I’d get it at a heavy discount. Even triple-A titles like that rapidly drop prizes and currently you can get e.g. ‘Dishonored’ (Arkane Studios 2012), ‘Assasin’s Creed III’ (Ubisoft Montreal 2012a), or ‘Far Cry 3’ (Ubisoft Montreal 2012b) as absolute bargains. Already from just halfways through the shop I could identify the distinctive GTA design on the cover of a dozen or so boxes displayed on the according shelf. When I stood right in front of it I gasped and thought, ‘that I do call a prize-drop!’ as the GTA 5 box said € 5,-. Very much in doubt, and restraining myself from looking if they offered GTA 4 for € 4,-, I picked up the case and read … ‘pre-order box.’ My, my, those marketing- and shop-keeping geniusses these days—displaying pre-order boxes for a game that was released more than a year ago. Toodle-oo … wait a minute, it also says ’27th January,’ but GTA 5 was released in September ’13 … and then it dawned on me. Quickly checking the Wikipedia-entry on my phone confirmed my worsed fears: Back then it was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and towards the end of January 2015 they will release it for the PC. And there they went, my hopes for getting a triple-A title on a bargain. In January they will charge us PC-gamers the full prize for a game 16 months old. But then again I still am playing ‘Quake Live’ (QL | id Software 2010), which essentially is ‘Quake III Arena’ (Q3A | id Software 1999), a meanwhile 15 years old game.
    Inevitably the price for the PC-version of GTA 5 naturally will drop, too—so what? Why then does that bother me at all? Because of two reasons on slightly different but interconnected levels.
    First, the universes of especially big, story-driven games are mythical territories in which the members of the gaming scenes collectively partake. (Knorr 2012a, b, c) It’s not only the action and the storyline, but all kinds of artistic content and the atmosphere a game generates which are embraced. This embracing works together with, acts out and adds upon an inner universe—a personal conglomeration of ambiences, sentiments, æsthetics, and narrative content, built from a lifetime of digesting popular culture, and of assimilating its modes of representation into ones own conceptions of life. Titles like those of the GTA-series are among those at the forefront of this, because they are choke-full with allusions and citations. This looms an ever larger associative universe and weaves its fabric tighter and tighter. The tradition of easter eggs, little or bigger things within the gameworld, intentionally hidden there to be discovered by the players is one of these qualities. And here’s the problem. Especially in open-world games exploring is decisive. Exploring the vast game world and then sharing the explorations and experiences with others online. Well, everything in GTA 5 is already found and done—by the console jockeys. The vast number of let’s-play-, stunt-, and easter-egg-videos at YouTube is ample testimony of that. Of course I could ignore everything on GTA 5 at YouTube and the Net in general, but that’s not the way titles like that are played. Just like most of the people do not never talk about movies or TV-series they’ve seen. Quite to the contrary. Talking about movies and learning more about them and their backgrounds from a variety [pun not intended] of sources is an essential dimension of how media are ‘consumed.’ The same is true for computer games and much of the interaction around them naturally happens online. Since September 2013 PC-gamers are shut out from this interaction in respect to GTA 5. Well, now you could say: Why haven’t you bought a console? Which leads me to my second point.
    Of course I could’ve bought a console, or all of them. I did not, mainly because I do not like them very much, I prefer the PC. But my personal preferences are not important here—if at all then only a portion of their backgrounds. The PC is an open all-purpose system. Beyond that my main machine was especially built to cope with high-end games. Now, I’ve already got an all-purpose machine which is superior to most other systems when it comes to running games … why should I buy a special-purpose machine which is inferior, too [for the moment I do not take into account specialities like the Wii- or Kinect-technology]? The only reason would be because parts of the industry urge me to do so. E.g. by not publishing certain game titles for PC.
John Romero
Seven years ago John Romero perfectly expressed what I more or less thought at that time, too:

Next-gen console is big but its future isn’t too bright with the emergence of cheap PC multi-core processors and the big change the PC industry will go through during the next 5 years to accommodate the new multi-core-centric hardware designs. My prediction is that the game console in the vein of the PS3 and XBOX 360 is going to either undergo a massive rethink or go away altogether.

Well, either that massive rethink has taken place or we were both dead wrong. Leaving the rethink aside, what has happened, and what was not taken in consideration at all back then, is the strategy of creating ever more closed systems instead of open ones, and consolidating them by the powers of the market. The blatant example of course is Apple’s closed technological ecosystem iPhone, iPad, iTunes which has begun to swallow their lap- and desktop computers and operating systems, too. Fabulous hardware intentionally crippled. And consoles are closed ecosystems by design. There interpretative flexibility is smaller and creativity dwindles because practices of appropriation like e.g. modding (Knorr 2012c) are made harder. But still there’s the PC. Hell, yes, but if I want to play an A-list title, no matter if I officially downloaded it or bought it on DVD, I have to log on to closed ecosystems like Games for Windows, Uplay, Rockstar Social Club, or whatyouhave. If, and only if, the title is out for PC at all.
    Erh … didn’t think that that would develop into such a rant :) There’s way more to it, but I’ll leave it at that for the time being, I think.

ARKANE STUDIOS. 2012. Dishonored [computer game]. Rockville: Bethesda Softworks.
EIDOS MONTREAL AND NIXXES SOFTWARE. 2011. Deus Ex: Human Revolution [computer game]. Shibuya: Square Enix.
ID SOFTWARE. 1999. Quake III Arena [computer game]. Santa Monica: Activision.
ID SOFTWARE. 2010. Quake Live [computer game]. Richardson: id Software.
KNORR, ALEXANDER. 2012a. “Being a god full time: The rewards of game modding,” in Gamebased learning: Clash of realities 2012 edited by Winfred Kaminski and Martin Lorber, pp. 363-373. Munich: Kopaed.
KNORR, ALEXANDER. 2012b. Räume online. Berliner Blätter: Ethnographische und ethnologische Beiträge 60/2012: 80-88.
KNORR, ALEXANDER. 2012c. “Game modding: Die soziokulturelle Aneignung digitaler Spielräume,” in Raum, Zeit, Medienbildung: Untersuchungen zu medialen Veränderungen unseres Verhältnisses zu Raum und Zeit edited by Gerhard Chr. Bukow, Johannes Fromme, and Benjamin Jörissen, pp. 135-153. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.
ROCKSTAR NORTH. 2013. Grand Theft Auto V [computer game]. New York City: Rockstar Games.
UBISOFT MONTREAL. 2012a. Assassin’s creed III [computer game]. Montreuil: Ubisoft.
UBISOFT MONTREAL. 2012b. Far Cry 3 [computer game]. Montreuil: Ubisoft.

the arkham knight

Batman's breastplate in 'Batman: Arkham Knight'
After the disappointment ‘Batman: Arkham Origins’ (Warner Bros. Games Montreal 2013) was [and Jaz is with me here, giving good reasons, why it was disappointing], Rocksteady Studios is at the helm again and ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ (Rocksteady 2015) is scheduled for release on 02 June 2015. After their glorious games ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’ (2009) and ‘Batman: Arkham City’ (2011) I am absolutely convinced that Rocksteady will do it again. Just like The Creative Assembly just recently saved the Alien-franchise with the fantastic ‘Alien: Isolation’ (2014) after Gearbox Software nearly had ruined it with the godawful ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines’ (2013).
    But I digress. What I really want to talk about, again, is the ever growing impact of what I call the cyberpunk discourse—up to it hijacking other genres. For example the cyberpunk discourse infested the zombie genre [see omega legend for that, and, more elaborated, including computer games, and just recently printed, Knorr 2014].
    And there’s yet more hijacking.
    Have you noticed that today’s two biggest superhero franchises from the two big comic book universes, Marvel and DC, are about superheroes without any superpowers whatsoever? Instead, both Iron Man and Batman heavily rely on technology. With Iron Man it’s obvious. His superhuman abilities are due to his exoskeleton armour. It’s all the suit as Steve ‘Captain America’ Rogers (Chris Evans) tried to point out to Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark (Robert Downey jr.) in ‘The Avengers’ (Whedon 2012):

Steve Rogers: Big man in a suit of armour. Take that off, what are you?
    Tony Stark: Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.
    Steve Rogers: I know guys with none of that worth ten of you. I’ve seen the footage. The only thing you really fight for is yourself. You’re not the guy to make the sacrifice play, to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you.
    Tony Stark: I think I would just cut the wire.
    Steve Rogers: Always a way out … You know, you may not be a threat, but you better stop pretending to be a hero.
    Tony Stark: A hero? Like you? You’re a lab rat, Rogers. Everything special about you came out of a bottle!

Both their superhero personas are products of technology. And here’s yet more to it, too. To the list of what Tony Stark sees himself to be we could add ‘potential alcoholic’ and ‘troubled personality’ among other things. In a nutshell, despite of his armour’s fine design he’s not a streamlined hero, but a hardboiled character. So is Bruce ‘Batman’ Wayne. His deeply traumatized noir personality is drastically rendered in Christopher Nolan’s dark movie trilogy (2005, 2008, 2012) which truly made the franchise into what it now is [hugo strange gives a bit of further background].
    But back from the depths of hardboiled film noir character psychology to the, equally deep-reaching, surfaces of design. Reviewing the until now available still and moving images from ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ gave me the impression that Batman gets ever more similar to Iron Man. Compare Batman’s new costume, a suit of armour really, to the Iron Man Suit Mark VII designed by Phil Saunders and digitally sculpted by Josh Herman for ‘The Avengers’ movie:
The design of Batman in 'Batman: Arkham Knight'
The Iron Man Suit Mark VII designed by Phil Saunders and digitally sculpted by Josh Herman for 'The Avengers' movie
Watch the ‘Arkham Knight’ announce trailer Father to Son and the gameplay trailer Evening the Odds to see more of the suit and its exoskeletal robotic qualities in operation. And to see the Batmobile. It really is the vehicle which drove cyberpunkish posthumanism ideas deep down into ‘Arkham Knight.’ Very revealing in this respect is what Dax Ginn, Brand Marketing Producer at Rocksteady Studios, said at E3 2014:

And then bringing in the Batmobile at any time. You know, we wanted to make sure that the Batmobile feels like an extension of Batman‘s abilities, that augments Batman‘s abilities—but is only ever like a second away, a button-press away. You want to be driving, one button-press and it’s there, and you seamlessly transition into it. You want to get out of it, you just eject out at any time. So that kind of interplay between man and machine was really the heart and soul of the entire design of the game. (from 00:00:58 on | bold emphasis mine)

Batman ejecting from the Batmobile in 'Batman: Arkham Knight'

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