mana’o

The ↑Mana’o Project is “an experimental open access anthropology repository.” It is just some months old, but there already are items as far back as 1891, including some classics. Of course the frequency of items gets bigger and bigger as you get closer to the present day. Additionally the topics are tell-tale in some respect, too. Below I listed what generated a search according to my current focus of interest. Alas, it would be premature to deduce, that the things “cyber” have conquered whole anthropology, because those working on said topics of course are the first to publish their texts … Continue reading

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postigo on mods and modders

After his brilliant “From Pong to Planet Quake: Post-industrial transitions from leisure to work” (↵2003) ↑Hector Postigo has published an already promised piece plus has yet another one on the topic in the pipeline:  POSTIGO, HECTOR. 2007. Of mods and modders: Chasing down the value of fan-based digital game modifications. Games and Culture 2(4): 300-313.  This article is concerned with the role that fan-programmers (generally known as “modders”) play in the success of the PC digital game industry. The fan culture for digital games is deeply embedded in shared practices and experiences among fan communities, and their active consumption contributes … Continue reading

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charlie’s demons

Imagine a world where speaking or writing words can literally and directly make things happen, where getting one of those words wrong can wreak havoc, but where with the right spell you can summon immensely powerful agencies to work your will. Imagine further that this world is administered: there is an extensive division of labour, among the magicians themselves and between the magicians and those who coordinate their activity. It’s bureaucratic and also (therefore) chaotic, and it’s full of people at desks muttering curses and writing invocations, all beavering away at a small part of the big picture. The coordinators, … Continue reading

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02/11

the day ↑DRM went down on its knees again As far as I understand the matter, it now is possible to decrypt the contents of ↑HD DVD and ↑Blu-ray Discs, because for both the same root/master key is used. For all about the processing key and the technicalities, go to the ↑according thread at ↑Doom9. For German-only passers-by, ↑Heise has a story. The whole matter is not only a current one, work and discussion are still going on right now, but is very interesting as well. The contents of said thread, the interaction taking place there, already is a premium … Continue reading

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kirkpatrick 2004 excerpts

Technological politics and the networked PC  However, the best illustration of the kind of positive cultural politics envisaged here concerns the culture of game modification. Games players write and exchange ‘mods’—modifications to games programs that include new twists of storyline and environment—and have succeeded, through this activity, in obliging games producers to leave their source code open for this purpose, something hackers have not yet persuaded the manufacturers of Windows to do. This has been achieved through the market, with astute games manufacturers recognising that there was demand for games with accessible source code, but also through successful negotiation and … Continue reading

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full circle

computergame violence as a result of economical competition  Media coverage on the amok run in Emsdetten on 20 November 2006 already dwindles away, but the discussion on computergames is going on—and I direly hope that it will go on for longer, as long as it stays above the naive level of “killergames”-rhetorics. There indeed is a need for a broad public and political discussion on computergames, I think—over here in Germany and everywhere else where computergames are sold and played [on the whole globe, that is?]. Although I am always quick to point out, that there is way more about … Continue reading

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from pong to planet quake

gamemodding as post-industrial unwaged work ↑POSTIGO, HECTOR R. 2003. ↑From Pong to Planet Quake: Post-industrial transitions from leisure to work [.pdf | 88KB]. ↑Information, Communication & Society ↑6(4):593–607.  abstract: In the closing weeks of 2002, video games were featured in various popular American news publications and media outlets such as Wired, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek and Time Magazine. It is becoming increasingly apparent that video games are no longer child’s play, but rather that they are poised to become a major entertainment form for the twenty-first century. Social analysts and media scholars must begin to formulate an understanding of this emerging … Continue reading

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chinese gold farms

The New York Times’ David Barboza has written an article on chinese gold farms, called ↑Boring Game? Hire a player which is available online via the International Herald Tribune:  FUZHOU, China One of China’s newest factories operates here in the basement of an old warehouse. Posters of World of Warcraft and Magic Land hang above a corps of young people with drowsy eyes glued to their computer screens, pounding away at their keyboards in the latest hustle for money. The people working at this clandestine locale are called “gold farmers.” Every day, in 12-hour shifts, they kill monsters and harvest … Continue reading

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synthetic worlds

↑Edward Castronova, who rose to fame with his ↑Virtual worlds: A first hand account of market and society on the cyberian frontier (↵Castronova 2001—see also ↵Castronova 2003 and ↑terra nova) has written his first full-length monograph [↑Overview]:  ↑CASTRONOVA, EDWARD. 2005. Synthetic worlds: the business and culture of online games. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. via entry at digital genres … Continue reading

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cyber sabre

Quite a time ago, while drinking beer at a party organised by our students, I told a fellow anthropologist about game-items from Everquest being sold at ebay (see e.g. Castronova ↵2001 and ↵2003). All I harvested was an amused smile and the somewhat depreciatory comment “That’s completely crazy!” Resisting the temptation to answer “And what about ‘your people’? Talkin’ to the Dead! Bah!—Humbug!” (my colleague has done equally extensive and phantastic, simply great fieldwork in Southern India) I instead started to think about the response—I had to think a bit in order to reach the following quite obvious conclusions, for … Continue reading

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