fun

After last year’s excellent Rules of play (↵Salen & Zimmerman 2004) now everybody recommends:  KOSTER, RAPH. 2005. A theory of fun for game design. Scottsdale, Arizona: Paraglyph Press.  For background information see the according ↑entry at game matters with extensive comments, and ↑Conversation with Raph Koster by Celia Pearce. And if we’re talking about ‘definitive’ books on computergames, here’s a hint: Chris Crawford’s classic ↑The art of computer game design is online already since 1997. Just to round it up, the ludologist ↑points to ↑The evolution of gaming: computers, consoles, and arcade, another take on game history. And then, academics … Continue reading

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spooknik

On 4 October 1957 ↑Stephen King was at the cinema. Together with the other ten-year-olds clustered around him he watched the morning performance of ↑Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. Just as the flying saucers started their attack on Washington D.C. the movie was interrupted and the houselights went on. Pale and nervous the manager entered the auditorium. “‘I want to tell you’, he said in that trembly voice, ‘that the Russians have put a space satellite into orbit around the earth. They call it … Spootnik.’” (↵King 1993[1981]:21) For the assembled post-war kids a world crashed. The world of US-American … Continue reading

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replacementdocs

I just spent quite some time at ↑Replacementdocs, clicking through 66 pages containing 1352 game-manuals for PC alone (all in .pdf format—many more for other platforms), and in the end downloaded 52. “replacementdocs.com pledges to bring you only high quality scanned images of instruction manuals in their full, original format with all original artwork and other graphical elements intact. There will be no text-only documentation unless that is how it was originally released. There will also be no conversion to monochrome images or any other severe quality degradation.” Another worthwhile resource for computergame historians is ↑The Doom Bible, being the … Continue reading

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notebook’s roots

↑Mobile Magazine has a nice article on ↑The Birth of the Notebook by Christopher Null. The article starts with Alan Kay’s 1968 idea ‘Dynabook’, which saw the light of day only as a mockup made of cardboard (picture from ↵Lees 1980:5), as the necessary technology to make it a real thing just was not yet in existance. The Dynabook was thought for kids [play!] and the field of learning and education—the software was thought to grow with the children. The contents of Alan Kays’s original draft notes at Xerox Parc, which are dated August 1972, are remarkable: “The size should … Continue reading

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books on top games

Three titles I haven’t laid on hands yet, but definitely will: Half-Life 2: Raising the bar, The making of Doom II, and Masters of Doom: How two guys created an empire and transformed pop culture. When I was a kid I was tremendously thrilled by the Star-Wars movies (and still am today, I confess). This also is the root of a string of associations of mine which culminate in this research-project. With putting Star-Wars related items on sale, George Lucas started what today is well known as ‘merchandising’. I never bought a Skywalker-puppet or the like, but I went lengths … Continue reading

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catastrophy

Catastrophy! The Beavises’n’Buttheads which constitute the staff of MPHQ have nuked all the forums clear! I’m not whining after my postcount (which still was a poor 200 and something), but I’m somewhat shocked about the loss of this big piece of MP-modding-community history. Now I see what a fault it was not to regularly write into this diary as I had envisioned. Now I’ve got to discipline myself and do this diary properly. On the other hand the incidence was a lesson in how-the-Internet-works. And it even may offer a new chance. All of the registered users of MPHQ have … Continue reading

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unix history

Not only gamer- or modding-communities are very conscious of the history of technology, but it seems to me that ‘online culture’ in general is—Éric Lévénez maintains a ↑Unix History website, featuring “a simplified diagram of unix history. There are numerous derivative systems not listed in this chart, maybe 10 times more! In the recent past, many electronic companies had their own unix releases. This diagram is only the tip of an iceberg, with a penguin on it ;-).” For your convenience he stores several printable formats of his unix family tree for download … in case you still are searching … Continue reading

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