graeber on play

Why do animals play? Well, why shouldn’t they? The real question is: Why does the existence of action carried out for the sheer pleasure of acting, the exertion of powers for the sheer pleasure of exerting them, strike us as mysterious? What does it tell us about ourselves that we instinctively assume that it is? (Graeber 2014) GRAEBER, DAVID [ROLFE]. 2014. ↑What’s the point if we can’t have fun? The Baffler 24. Available online. via email from Flo—tnx! … Continue reading

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there’s a glow

  This is the music video for the song ‘There’s a glow’ by the band NO, a Los Angeles-, respectively Echo-Park-based Indie sextet, which just published its debut album ‘El Prado.’ Filmmaker Johnny Agnew almost entirely filmed the video within the computer game ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ (GTA V | Rockstar North 2013)—my, my, how ↵machinima has developed since I first posted about it in 2005 or so. I especially do like the ironic, humoresque ambience and narrative of the video, very gamer-like. And as we are already at it: not that I’d have time for it, but where are … Continue reading

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damascus it is

On 26 February 2013 TV2 of Denmark needed a backdrop for a report on the current conflict in Syria. As it seems someone at the station searched the web for a suitable picture and hit upon a beautiful vista of the old city of Damascus. But the picture shows Damascus as it most probably has looked during the time of the ↑third crusade (1189-1192). Above that the picture doesn’t depict anything from the empirical world, but is a still from the computer game ‘↵Assassin’s Creed‘ (Ubisoft Montreal 2007). Quite tell-tale is the wooden beam attached to the minarett at the … Continue reading

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players unleashed

Players Unleashed is a thought provoking and well-argued reconstruction of the history of digital games and the role of player modifications to such artifacts. Focusing on the wide-ranging universe of mods for the best selling game The Sims, Sihvonen presents a cogent and persuasive argument for the importance of such activities, and in doing so helps us understand the vital role that players have claimed in the development and evolution of digital games. (Mia Consalvo) SIHVONEN, TANJA. 2011. ↑Players unleashed! Modding The Sims and the culture of gaming. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. … Continue reading

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slowing down light

↑A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay. These effects, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, include the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased … Continue reading

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moving the map

Here is yet another example from the ↵games with defects: ↑PlaygroundPong. From ↑the documentation: PlaygroundPong is a proof of concept for inverting Avatar & Playground. The player cannot move the paddles at all like in a regular Pong game. The ball seems to move from side to side but clearly it does not! The player cannot identify with the avatar (playing object), he or she has to get to terms with moving the background (from left to right, right to left, top to bottom and bottom to top) in order to bring the paddles in a position where they manage … Continue reading

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games with defects

While attending the ↑Third Annual Conference of the Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung (↑GFF), at the University of Zurich I got to know ↑René Bauer, a game designer who teaches at the Hochschule der Künste in Zürich (↑ZHdK). He showed us quite some of the projects done by his students—see yourself at ↑and-or—wonderful, fantastic, up to absolutely hilarious. I especially like the idea of creating computer games with built-in gameplay defects which are making you think. Take for example ‘↑laichenberg‘, a first-person shooter which was advertised as being ‘more realistic than doom3, unreal etc.’  With the graphics craze of the last decade … Continue reading

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wolfenstein 3d online

At ↑Tom Hall’s weblog I ↑read that Bethesda has celebrated the 20th birthday of ‘Wolfenstein 3D’ (id Software 1992) by putting it online as a free browser game. But when I clicked ↑the link I got a 404—it ain’t here anymore. Either Bethesda has taken it offline again, or the fabulous German banning mechanisms kicked in. I am too lazy to go via proxy, especially because there’s another solution. At Virtual Apple you can ↑play that milestone of computer game history via an Apple ][ emulation. ID SOFTWARE. 1992. Wolfenstein 3-D [computer game]. Mesquite et al.: id Software et al. … Continue reading

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doom post mortem

It took them quite a while, but finally, in 2011, ↑John Romero and ↑Tom Hall did a post-mortem on ‘↑Doom‘ (id Software 1993). You can watch the hour-long presentation, video and slides, ↑at the GDC Vault. If you do not readily understand everything the two guys are relating, I, for the umpteenth time, heartily recommend ↑David Kushner‘s ‘↑Masters of Doom‘ (2003). If you already have read the book, watch the post-mortem nevertheless.     For example, what I did not know: In March 1993 20th Century Fox offered id Software the Alien licence to make Alien the game. But the … Continue reading

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assassin’s creed framework

Although the main plots of the ↑‘Assassin’s Creed’ games have historical settings—during the Third Crusade (Ubisoft Montreal 2007), the Renaissance (2009), and the American Revolution (2012)—the narrative as a whole bows down to ↵the cyberpunk dicourse. The story which delivers the framework decidedly is cyberpunkish: In the present day, or 20 minutes into the future, the evil corporation ‘Abstergo Industries’ abducts one Desmond Miles. In a secret appartment hideaway he is made to connect to the ‘Animus,’ a computer able to revoke ‘genetic memory.’ That way Miles is able to experience the lifes of his ancestors as interactive virtual realities … Continue reading

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