I have mixed feelings about James Paul Gee's Good Video Games and Good Learning: Collected Essays on Video Games, Learning and Literacy.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Chris also made the point that the industry was moving from questions of HOW (e.g. "How do I put 100 characters in a scene?") to questions of WHY ("Why do I want to put 100 characters in my scene? What am I trying to say by doing so?" etc)
We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.
I do not advocate that we turn television into a 27-inch wailing wall, where longhairs constantly moan about the state of our culture and our defense. But I would just like to see it reflect occasionally the hard, unyielding realities of the world in which we live. I would like to see it done inside the existing framework, and I would like to see the doing of it redound to the credit of those who finance and program it. Measure the results by Nielsen, Trendex or Silex-it doesn't matter. The main thing is to try. The responsibility can be easily placed, in spite of all the mouthings about giving the public what it wants. It rests on big business, and on big television, and it rests at the top. Responsibility is not something that can be assigned or delegated. And it promises its own reward: good business and good television.
Perhaps no one will do anything about it. I have ventured to outline it against a background of criticism that may have been too harsh only because I could think of nothing better. Someone once said--I think it was Max Eastman--that "that publisher serves his advertiser best who best serves his readers." I cannot believe that radio and television, or the corporation that finance the programs, are serving well or truly their viewers or listeners, or themselves.
I began by saying that our history will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge, and retribution will not limp in catching up with us.
We are to a large extent an imitative society. If one or two or three corporations would undertake to devote just a small traction of their advertising appropriation along the lines that I have suggested, the procedure would grow by contagion; the economic burden would be bearable, and there might ensue a most exciting adventure--exposure to ideas and the bringing of reality into the homes of the nation.
To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost.
This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.
- Art vs Pop-culture ghetto
- The important thing is that we all try
- Indies can't do all the heavy lifting. Big Games needs to pitch in too.
- "Cotton Candy for Dinner"
- It's ours to fuck up, and we CAN fuck it up.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
From Techcrunch today:
Electronic Arts closed it’s anticipated acquisition of social gaming startup Playfish for $275 million in cash. An additional $25 million in stock will be set aside for retaining the top talent at the startup, and another $100 million in earnouts are part of the deal as well if the business hits certain milestones. So the total value of the deal could amount to as much as $400 million when all is said and done.
Wow. $400M is a lot of money. Social games are clearly the hot ticket right now, so it makes sense for EA to jump in, but one has to wonder if that's money well spent.
The stock & earnout will retain the people for some time, which is I'm sure a big part of why they acquired the company.
Still, the titles are cheaper to develop, and there doesn't (as of yet) seem to be the same IP loyalty that there is in hardcore games (are there Farmville fanboys out there dissing Mafia Wars?).
Time will tell if it was a good call, but it certain does seem rash, especially with all of the kerfuffle around questionable sources of social game revenues. (Interesting meta-level piece on the same issue here)
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Seize the Daylight is a history of daylight saving time.
Friday, November 6, 2009
I've often found that some of the best lessons in marketing are those involving commodity products. No difference between Coke and Pepsi, so the marketing better get creative, right?
Monday, November 2, 2009
Well, it's November, and I've almost wrapped up the 'summer project' play structure. It was a sunny day yesterday so I snapped a couple pics.
An off-the-shelf structure wouldn't work because we were building on an incline and over a retaining wall, so we decided to do something custom. As usual, this led to my getting a bit carried away.
Original rough concept in Sketchup:
Same, with rough orientation in situ:
Final product (still need a few pieces of trim, a pirate flag for the mast, etc):
From the downhill side (still needs a few pieces of 'hull' planking), showing slide and climbing wall: