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 apartment 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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sight

  ‘Sight’ is a wonderful new short film—in fact the graduation project of Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo at ↑The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem—driving the fusion of ↑augmented reality with ↑gamification to cyberpunked heights. MAY-RAZ, ERAN AND DANIEL LAZIO. 2012. Sight [short film]. Jerusalem: The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. via ↑entry at ↑kueperpunk … Continue reading

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engine john’s goggles

Just last week I had my students discuss in class Alex ‘↑Rex‘ ↑Golub‘s excellent ethnography-based article ‘↓Being in the World (of Warcraft)‘ (2010). One of the points Rex powerfully makes is that it isn’t ever more realistic (or: naturalistic) graphics and supposedly intuitive interfaces that guarantee deep immersion into computer games and so-called ‘virtual worlds,’ but social relationships (a point that I do second fully). Hence the vision of ↑VR pioneers/evangelists like ↑Jaron Lanier and the prospects fostered by cyberpunk were somewhat misleading: No sooner had text only worlds blossomed before it appeared they would be replaced by immersive “virtual … Continue reading

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everything is connected

‘Watch Dogs’ as presented by Ubisoft at E3   They kept it a secret until some days ago. I am not closely following the coverage of ↑this year’s E3, but from what I read it seems that a lot of the major players in the industry put some disappointing shows on the floor. Not so Ubisoft—here I have to admit that ↵since ‘↵Far Cry 2‘ I am a regular fanboy—they stunned the audience by presenting ‘↑Watch Dogs,’ which is heavily cyberpunk-drenched, truly just twenty minutes into the future, ↑at the most. Gamezone was the first to sum the available information … Continue reading

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last riddler challenges

Just yesterday I had a longer conversation [not online, but face to face, beer by beer] with a doctoral student of mine ↑who does deeply immersed fieldwork around and within the ‘StarCraft II’ (SC2 | Blizzard Entertainment 2010) pro-gamer scene. Matchingly enough the day before yesterday I reread ↓Bearman 2008 and ↵watched ‘King of Kong’ (Gordon 2007) and ‘Chasing Ghosts’ (Ruchti 2007), wondering at the lengths high-end arcade-gamers go. Well, he told me about the lengths the SC2-specialists go, especially in terms of analysis of the game, its patches, actual matches, etc. Up to writing book-lengths compendiums. After enough grinning … Continue reading

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