Archive for March, 2008|Monthly archive page


I am counting down the days — I’ve taken April off from work. The first couple of weeks will be all about BBQ, horse racing, and wild hogs, which I will try to substantiate with some photos later on, but for the remainder I’m so looking forward to time where I can finish reading a book and playing a game.

Found an interactive content independent study created by Aram Zucker-Scharff, a student at George Mason, and I’m combining that with some other stuff, like the bibliography for Jeremy Douglass’ dissertation.

Or I may just go riding for two weeks. CAN’T WAIT.


i’m in ur world

Found a new locative media game site courtesy of XYZZYnews:


Now locative games, or ubicomp games, or ARGs, or pervasive games (really I just lump all these together) have so far eluded me. What Wherigo is doing is releasing a builder (for authors) and a player for GPS-enabled devices, so people can go out to specific places and play games. Or, here’s the interesting thing — they have games you can play anywhere. So as near as I can tell, it could be like a cross between LARPing and geocaching.

Nick Currie (aka Momus) said some insightful things on pervasive games recently. While you’re there it’s worthwhile to read about another project he’s planning in London.

I’ve always been interested in this stuff, particularly the audio possibilities (and people doing fictional walking tours etc.). However much of it is quite disturbing — almost as if, even though a world mediated solely by screens makes me sick at a gut level, a world mediated by pervasive games could be even worse.

On the other hand, what are people really creating when they create pervasive games. Perhaps they’re going back to the earliest times, to people creating stories out of the world around them, not living in the nine to five business ‘reality’ many of us have come to know as the norm. Maybe people should be taking their RPGs to the streets.

Or is there something fundamentally different (and wrong) here? Is this form of play a symptom of a deeper problem, a problem of civilization?

Must we invent new forms of art for, in response to, a situation that is itself deeply flawed?

the social space of muds

is an oxymoron, right? Maybe I should call this the social space of text games, but…I don’t know.

I’m bringing this up after reading a Matthew Stadler essay at the new Rosa B. (thanks to if:book for the link), a French/English magazine whose layout seems at first quite psychotic — no, perhaps psychedelic, but I grew to like it.

Later in the night after reading the Stadler I read Ursula K. LeGuin’s recent piece in Harper’s. Both this interview of Stadler and LeGuin’s essay rest in part on the social space of art — reading, and discussion.

Looking at muds, here you have a somewhat unique phenomena — people reading collectively, synchronously. And talking about it, maybe not directly, but around it, through it. The pre-existing text is not a novel or a single story, it is a series of points on this graph of experience. Why call it a narrative? For that matter why call it an experience? Is this a fundamental difference between text muds and graphical muds — the social space of reading occurs simultaneously with the text itself. How is this different from the social space of play occurring simultaneously with play in WoW? Is someone who plays WoW out there?

Digressing a bit, I am constantly amazed to discover these new continents of text gaming — does Jove, Digichat, or SEAchat ring a bell for anyone? They didn’t for me until a day ago. And the constant refrain in the mudding community — are text games dead? How can you tell if you never knew who were the living?.

VGNG comp

OK, TIGSource is hosting this.

Could you make this game?:

VGNG example

So awesome.