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Home/ Gaming and the liberal arts/ Contents contributed and discussions participated by Brett Boessen

Contents contributed and discussions participated by Brett Boessen

Brett Boessen

Depression Quest: An Interactive (non)Fiction About Living with Depression - 1 views

    Found this game after reading about Slavoj Zizek Makes a Game (posted to the Diigo group by Ed Webb).
Brett Boessen

Why I Blog - Andrew Sullivan - The Atlantic - 4 views

  • For a long time, columns were essentially monologues published to applause, muffled murmurs, silence, or a distant heckle. I’d gotten blowback from pieces before—but in an amorphous, time-delayed, distant way. Now the feedback was instant, personal, and brutal.
    • Brett Boessen
      Instant Feedback -- blogging is the gamification of authorship?
  • The form was more accountable, not less, because there is nothing more conducive to professionalism than being publicly humiliated for sloppiness.
  • The blog remained a superficial medium, of course. By superficial, I mean simply that blogging rewards brevity and immediacy
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  • the key to understanding a blog is to realize that it’s a broadcast, not a publication. If it stops moving, it dies. If it stops paddling, it sinks.
  • But the superficiality masked considerable depth—greater depth, from one perspective, than the traditional media could offer. The reason was a single technological innovation: the hyperlink.
  • in reading it on paper, you have to take the columnist’s presentation of the material on faith, or be convinced by a brief quotation (which can always be misleading out of context).
  • a hyperlink to the original source transforms the experience.
  • A blog, therefore, bobs on the surface of the ocean but has its anchorage in waters deeper than those print media is technologically able to exploit.
  • The blogger
  • a node among other nodes, connected but unfinished without the links and the comments and the track-backs that make the blogosphere, at its best, a conversation, rather than a production.
  • If you compare the meandering, questioning, unresolved dialogues of Plato with the definitive, logical treatises of Aristotle, you see the difference between a skeptic’s spirit translated into writing and a spirit that seeks to bring some finality to the argument.
  • Perhaps the greatest single piece of Christian apologetics, Pascal’s Pensées, is a series of meandering, short, and incomplete stabs at arguments, observations, insights. Their lack of finish is what makes them so compelling—arguably more compelling than a polished treatise by Aquinas.
  • Montaigne was living his skepticism, daring to show how a writer evolves, changes his mind, learns new things, shifts perspectives, grows older—and that this, far from being something that needs to be hidden behind a veneer of unchanging authority, can become a virtue, a new way of looking at the pretensions of authorship and text and truth.
  • To blog is therefore to let go of your writing in a way, to hold it at arm’s length, open it to scrutiny, allow it to float in the ether for a while, and to let others, as Montaigne did, pivot you toward relative truth
  • Some e-mailers, unsurprisingly, know more about a subject than the blogger does
  • The role of a blogger is not to defend against this but to embrace it.
  • He is similar in this way to the host of a dinner party. He can provoke discussion or take a position, even passionately, but he also must create an atmosphere in which others want to participate.
  • You can’t have blogger’s block. You have to express yourself now, while your emotions roil, while your temper flares, while your humor lasts. You can try to hide yourself from real scrutiny, and the exposure it demands, but it’s hard.
  • Alone in front of a computer, at any moment, are two people: a blogger and a reader.
  • The proximity is palpable, the moment human
  • friendship
  • Bloggers can be spun and misled as easily as traditional writers—and the rigorous source assessment that good reporters do can’t be done by e-mail. But you’d be surprised by what comes unsolicited into the in-box, and how helpful it often is.
  • A good blog is your own private Wikipedia.
  • There is a distinction here, of course, between the edited use of e-mailed sources by a careful blogger and the often mercurial cacophony on an unmediated comments section. But the truth is out there—and the miracle of e-mail allows it to come to you.
  • The reason this open-source market of thinking and writing has such potential is that the always adjusting and evolving collective mind can rapidly filter out bad arguments and bad ideas. The flip side, of course, is that bloggers are also human beings.
  • You can disappear into the partisan blogosphere and never stumble onto a site you disagree with.

    But linkage mitigates this. A Democratic blog will, for example, be forced to link to Republican ones, if only to attack and mock.

  • If all this sounds postmodern, that’s because it is. And blogging suffers from the same flaws as postmodernism: a failure to provide stable truth or a permanent perspective.
  • To use an obvious analogy, jazz entered our civilization much later than composed, formal music. But it hasn’t replaced it; and no jazz musician would ever claim that it could. Jazz merely demands a different way of playing and listening, just as blogging requires a different mode of writing and reading.
  • The reason they talk while listening, and comment or link while reading, is that they understand that this is a kind of music that needs to be engaged rather than merely absorbed.
    If you think of it, drop me a line; I'd be interested to see what came of that discussion.
Brett Boessen

Raph's Website » The best game design articles on the site - 1 views

    A thorough compendium of Koster's blogging over the past several years.
Brett Boessen

Unmanned: a Game by Molleindustria and Jim Munroe - 5 views

    Short little interactive fiction and/or game thing imagining one possible scenario for a military drone pilot.
    ...and "serious"? ...and "persuasive"? Lots to like with this. I'll definitely be using it as a complex example in a games course in the Fall.
Brett Boessen

Playfic - 5 views

    Someone took Inform 7 and made a webapp out of it!
    Looks like its just a port of Inform to a web interface: same two-part backstage/frontstage formatting of the screen, same language engine running it. The difference, which is pretty awesome, seems to be that you can post your stories to their site so others can read and comment on them. (If I'm reading it correctly.)
Brett Boessen

Press Start to Continue: Toward a New Video Game Studies | HASTAC - 3 views

  • being a gamer is less an inherent attribute—either you are or you aren’t—than it is a malleable description of practices that change throughout one’s lifetime, whether from “hardcore” to “casual,” single-player to “social,” or genre to genre
  • one could argue that part of the origin story of game studies was the struggle to establish the idea that games are not narratives--that they were a radically "new" textuality, but this just delayed the needful discussions of how games related to the inherited media ecology, how they used narrative, music, video, etc. to new effects
  • students tend not to be "well-played," on an analogy to "well-read," but knowledgeable in one or a few genres
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  • what about our students' physical abilities and skill sets? How does skill play into their experiences of games?
  • Can or should one philosophize about a medium one has not embraced to the point of design?  I vote:  no.
  • In an academic paper, I don't think that I would feel legitimate in citing something from a designer. It doesn't feel credible, even though the designer may be someone like Ron Gilbert
  • a senior-level seminar in “Digital Games and Culture”
  • Betty Hayes and I have been teaching an undergrad games studies course uniting new media reading/writing, academic readings across disciplines, and gameplay across genres for two years now
    HASTAC has started a forum (a blog post with lots o' comments) to discuss video game studies.
Brett Boessen

MIT TechTV - Part 2 of 3-Games As An Aesthetic Form - Frank Lantz (NYU Game Center) - 3 views

    Lantz, designer of Drop7 and head of the NYU Game Center, which has a new game design MFA, talks about aesthetic characteristics of games in this second part of his three-part talk at MIT (part 1 lays out his thinking about aesthetics and art in general, and part 3 is the QnA).

    I especially like his provocations that "all games are digital" and "games created computers", both of which have to do with his definition of games as "the aesthetics of interactive systems."
Brett Boessen

Terra Nova: Movies Stink - 15 views

    Castranova is not usually so passionate in his writing.  Very interesting perspective, though.
  • ...4 more comments...
    Honestly, I'm starting to feel similarly. Though I am finding many of the long-form serial narratives of TV pretty engaging. Still, I appreciate the value in *doing* over watching/consuming. And yet what he's saying is essentially a version of the old "film/tv makes you passive" argument, which I've always recoiled against. So I'm torn.
    I don't know that tell. :)
    Wow. That's...very detailed. Doesn't leave a lot of room for empathy or understanding: pretty cut and dried. :)
    THAT Camp - Games. Done and done. :)
    I'll actually be there Thursday evening, but I'm going to dinner with my parents and brother (who live in the area). I am staying through Monday morning, though. We should be able to find some time to catch it, I'd guess. What are your travel plans?
    Cool -- I'll see you Friday morning then. Let's try to grab a meal at some point. :)
Brett Boessen

People Who Were A Game Designer Include Harold Ramis - - 2 views

    I love this, though I'll admit I would *never* be that one guy who sticks with it.
Brett Boessen

Minicraft - 7 views

    Persson produced this in 48 hours for a game design competition.
    Just walk up to it and press X -- it opens the window, which lists everything you can make and which/how much resources are needed to make the item. If you have gathered enough, it will list those you are able to make at the top of the list.

    It does not seem like you can pick up a workbench like you can in Minecraft, but maybe I'm missing something.
Brett Boessen

Raph's Website » Rules versus mechanics - 2 views

    Nice fine-grained discussion of one designer's distinction between "rules" and "mechanics."
Brett Boessen

The "Rattomorphism" of Gamification | Critical Gaming Project - 3 views

  • the revelation born out in long term studies is that ultimately it backfires. Over time, people engaged in activities that are structured by and sustained through operant conditioning grow to resent or hate those activities, and their creativity in approach as well as their productivity declines.
  • Ian Bogost has done an excellent job identifying gamification rhetoric as bullshit, and suggesting many of its products are exploitationware. In light of Kohn’s work we are compelled to add that the logic of gamification is the logic of corrosion
  • If the goal is to get users to simply DO something, then the logic of gamification may not read as corrosive – just effective
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  • But if quality of action, emotional engagement, and development over time matter at all, we should be concerned about the corrosive conditioning the techniques of gamification entail
  • The problem is that there is no such thing as a “game layer,” if we understand “game” to mean something more than an assemblage of techniques we find in games
  • What we are really talking about here is more like a “reward layer,” or more abstractly, an activity “feedback layer” that draws its inspiration from techniques associated with games, and thus evokes expectations of gameplay
Brett Boessen

image2rqz.gif (300×176) - 4 views

    Why game designs should include challenge.
Brett Boessen

Codify - iPad - 6 views

    I wish I knew -- I don't have an iPad. Looks like there's a fair bit of text entry, though; in the demo clip there's definitely an external keyboard of some kind in use. I would think that would make it pretty hard to have much fine-grained control without such a device.

    Still, I'd like to try it. Maybe my institution will foot for an iPad...if they do, I'll let you know. :)
Brett Boessen

Terra Nova: Game Education: What Should You Study? - 7 views

    • Brett Boessen
      The comments for this post are especially interesting.
    They're certainly two perspectives on pedagogy I myself encounter regularly, though for me it's digital media production instead. Still, I wonder if games is entering the academy at an interesting time in terms of opening up conceptions of learning and pedagogy. A decade or two ago, and we might have seen less interdisciplinary language in the way these folks are talking about games as an object of study.
    I was really thinking about TV -- guess it's more decades ago than I'd thought -- and the way TV became the younger sibling to film. Of course there are more formal similarities between them than between either and games in many ways, so maybe the comparison is not particularly apt.
    I don't really see that, myself, at least not from the production side, because computers and coding are such a prominent component. But it does seem like game studies is overlapping with existing media studies in many institutions. Perhaps we'll see a more demarcated split between studies and game design in a way we haven't seen with film and TV (not that film and TV aren't fairly demarcated at lots of schools; but they're still usually in the same department when they're both available).
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