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Ed Webb

10 Years Of Civilization II: 1700 Virtual Years Of Hell - 1 views

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    I'm not only amused by the way the author of this post has taken the simulation so clearly as an accurate analog for what could happen in the real world, but am also intrigued at how widely this story is being re-posted and commented on. I've seen it everywhere: blogs in my RSS, Twitter, and Facebook. I wonder if that is a function of how widely Civ has been played, how closely the analogy to RL adheres for readers, or something else?
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    Good point, Brett. Perhaps it's a function of the game's horrible outlook, which resonates with our current stresses.
Ed Webb

Oh No! Video Games!: Who's That Video Game?! » The Fascist Politics of the In... - 4 views

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    Objectification of the other is not exclusive to fascism, by any means. Many other 'isms' do it - colonialism being a fine exemplar. But it is true that states use this consistently to mobilize their populations.
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    Interesting argument re: dehumanization. The examples he picks involve voiced, named characters, rather than anonymous hordes.
    This is another fine teachable issue.
Ed Webb

Tea Party Zombies Must Die! - 1 views

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    Good example of a newsgame.
Ed Webb

Home | Project Terra - 4 views

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    Very interesting. The website is thin on information, but the fora look pretty active.
    Who's behind this, just some hobbyists?
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    I think one person is building it, with lots of input from the community. The latter is large and active mainly due to migration from Cybernations and NationStates, so far as I can tell. Experienced players & groups from both games have plenty of suggestions...
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    Cool. I'll check it out.
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    This is now up for sale, after a hiatus of the site being down. Looks like he'll take $300 for it, or release it to public domain for the same amount.
Todd Bryant

Cat and the Coup, game Iran before coup - 1 views

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    Apologies if I added this already.
Ed Webb

Postings of a Troubled Mind - WSJ.com - 2 views

  • At times, Mr. Loughner seemed to be reaching out to fellow gamers for help and advice, albeit in a disturbing way. Sometimes they offered it, such as giving him pointers about job hunting. At other times, his postings seemed so outrageous that the gamers mocked or ignored him.

    The online postings, written using pseudonyms, were shared with the Journal by a person who had access to them. Two fellow gamers who participated in the online forums say the author was the accused gunman, and some of the postings discuss incidents from Mr. Loughner's life that others have corroborated.

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    The chat forums associated with games could be mines of information for the right research project. I hope they rarely become newsworthy in this way.
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    Good point. Gaming discussion has grown into a wide field for all kinds of research.

    I'm waiting for "gaming made him do it" arguments to appear.
Ed Webb

Playing as the Enemy - 2 views

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    I'd be very interested to play a level such as those myself. Quantifying "restraint," "remorse," or "laying down your arms" seems like a particularly tough assignment, though.
Ed Webb

M/C Journal: "Artificial Intelligence" - 0 views

  • Within twenty-four hours of the sensationalistic news breaking, however, a group of Battlefield 2 fans was crowing about the idiocy of reporters. The game play footage wasn’t from a high-tech modification of the software by Islamic extremists; it had been posted on a Planet Battlefield forum the previous December of 2005 by a game fan who had cut together regular game play with a Bush remix and a parody snippet of the soundtrack from the 2004 hit comedy film Team America. The voice describing the Black Hawk helicopters was the voice of Trey Parker of South Park cartoon fame, and – much to Parker’s amusement – even the mention of “goats screaming” did not clue spectators in to the fact of a comic source.
  • The man behind the “SonicJihad” pseudonym turned out to be a twenty-five-year-old hospital administrator named Samir, and what reporters and representatives saw was nothing more exotic than game play from an add-on expansion pack of Battlefield 2, which – like other versions of the game – allows first-person shooter play from the position of the opponent as a standard feature. While SonicJihad initially joined his fellow gamers in ridiculing the mainstream media, he also expressed astonishment and outrage about a larger politics of reception. In one interview he argued that the media illiteracy of Reuters potentially enabled a whole series of category errors, in which harmless gamers could be demonised as terrorists.
  • a self-identified “parody” video was shown to the august House Intelligence Committee by a team of well-paid “experts” from the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a major contractor with the federal government, as key evidence of terrorist recruitment techniques and abuse of digital networks. Moreover, this story of media illiteracy unfolded in the context of a fundamental Constitutional debate about domestic surveillance via communications technology and the further regulation of digital content by lawmakers. Furthermore, the transcripts of the actual hearing showed that much more than simple gullibility or technological ignorance was in play.
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  • elected representatives and government experts appear to be keenly aware that the digital discourses of an emerging information culture might be challenging their authority and that of the longstanding institutions of knowledge and power with which they are affiliated. These hearings can be seen as representative of a larger historical moment in which emphatic declarations about prohibiting specific practices in digital culture have come to occupy a prominent place at the podium, news desk, or official Web portal.
  • The hearing also invites consideration of privacy, intellectual property, and digital “rights,” because moral values about freedom and ownership are alluded to by many of the elected representatives present, albeit often through the looking glass of user behaviours imagined as radically Other. For example, terrorists are described as “modders” and “hackers” who subvert those who properly create, own, legitimate, and regulate intellectual property.
  • lawmakers identify Weblogs (blogs) as a particular area of concern as a destabilising alternative to authoritative print sources of information from established institutions.
  • To understand the larger cultural conversation of the hearing, it is important to keep in mind that the related argument that “games” can “psychologically condition” players to be predisposed to violence is one that was important in other congressional hearings of the period, as well one that played a role in bills and resolutions that were passed by the full body of the legislative branch. In the witness’s testimony an appeal to anti-game sympathies at home is combined with a critique of a closed anti-democratic system abroad in which the circuits of rhetorical production and their composite metonymic chains are described as those that command specific, unvarying, robotic responses.
  • “oral tradition”
  • hroughout the hearings, the witnesses imply that unregulated lateral communication among social actors who are not authorised to speak for nation-states or to produce legitimated expert discourses is potentially destabilising to political order.
  • The experts go on to claim that this “oral tradition” can contaminate other media because it functions as “rumor,” the traditional bane of the stately discourse of military leaders since the classical era.
  • In this hearing, the word “rhetoric” is associated with destructive counter-cultural forces by the witnesses who reiterate cultural truisms dating back to Plato and the Gorgias. For example, witness Eric Michael initially presents “rhetoric” as the use of culturally specific and hence untranslatable figures of speech, but he quickly moves to an outright castigation of the entire communicative mode. “Rhetoric,” he tells us, is designed to “distort the truth,” because it is a “selective” assembly or a “distortion.” Rhetoric is also at odds with reason, because it appeals to “emotion” and a romanticised Weltanschauung oriented around discourses of “struggle.”
  • The premise behind the contractors’ working method – surveilling the technical apparatus not the social network – may be related to other beliefs expressed by government witnesses, such as the supposition that jihadist Websites are collectively produced and spontaneously emerge from the indigenous, traditional, tribal culture, instead of assuming that Iraqi insurgents have analogous beliefs, practices, and technological awareness to those in first-world countries.
  • In the hearing, the oft-cited solution to the problem created by the hybridity and iterability of digital rhetoric appears to be “public diplomacy.” Both consultants and lawmakers seem to agree that the damaging messages of the insurgents must be countered with U.S. sanctioned information, and thus the phrase “public diplomacy” appears in the hearing seven times. However, witness Roughhead complains that the protean “oral tradition” and what Henry Jenkins has called the “transmedia” character of digital culture, which often crosses several platforms of traditional print, projection, or broadcast media, stymies their best rhetorical efforts: “I think the point that we’ve tried to make in the briefing is that wherever there’s Internet availability at all, they can then download these – these programs and put them onto compact discs, DVDs, or post them into posters, and provide them to a greater range of people in the oral tradition that they’ve grown up in. And so they only need a few Internet sites in order to distribute and disseminate the message.”
  • Bogost may be right that Congress received terrible counsel on that day, but a close reading of the transcript reveals that elected officials were much more than passive listeners: in fact they were lively participants in a cultural conversation about regulating digital media. After looking at the actual language of these exchanges, it seems that the persuasiveness of the misinformation from the Pentagon and SAIC had as much to do with lawmakers’ preconceived anxieties about practices of computer-mediated communication close to home as it did with the contradictory stereotypes that were presented to them about Internet practices abroad. In other words, lawmakers found themselves looking into a fun house mirror that distorted what should have been familiar artefacts of American popular culture because it was precisely what they wanted to see.
Todd Bryant

2011: Obama's Coup Fails Injects Politics Into Strategy Game | Underwire | Wired.com - 2 views

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    I wonder if we'll see anyone on campuses citing this story as a way of arguing that games are culturally unpleasant.
    Good catch, Todd.
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