blog
Occasional thoughts and projects. You can get a feed for my blog and writing.
December 5, 2013
Tacos, Enchiladas, Burritos, Chiles, &c.
A Mexican Food Index to Alien Phenomenology
Here's a complete list of all mentions of Mexican food in my book Alien Phenomenology, or What it's Like To Be A Thing: They cover plates of enchiladas as shrubs cover the hundreds of square miles of their high desert home. (3) Tumbling in vented steel cylinders, chiles crackle over ...
November 27, 2013
For Adults Who Want to Feel Good About Themselves
My daughter on Goldieblox
The toy start-up Goldieblox has been in the news this week thanks to an ugly public fight over fair use and right of publicity with the Beastie Boys (they've since relented). But the company first gained public attention over a year ago when they first launched the Kickstarter for "an ...
November 26, 2013
A Slow Year Now Available as a Digital Download
DRM free for Windows and Mac. Get it at the Humble Store or via Storybundle.
In 2010 I released a game called A Slow Year. It was a strange game on many levels: made for the Atari VCS, and dubbed "game poems," and composed as a kind of chapbook. The game was a finalist in the Nuovo category at the 2010 Independent Game Festival, and ...
November 16, 2013
Let's Get Real Estate Listings
Perfectly adequate home in decent area. Architecturally coherent, after a fashion. Updated, insofar as it was once renovated, probably in the 1970s or 1990s, but in a manner that did more harm than good. Features rooms, hallways, ceilings, and other details unremarkable in a structure meant to be a residence. ...
October 25, 2013
"Things Could Be Different"
A response to Kevin Werbach on MOOC "rock stars"
Kevin Werbach, a Wharton professor who has been teaching a MOOC on gamification (I know, my two favorite tastes together at last!), has written a Chronicle post decrying the use of the "rock star" moniker for MOOC profs. "The rock-star meme implies that teaching is all about performance," says Werbach. ...
September 11, 2013
On the Manifesto for a Ludic Century
My full response to Eric Zimmerman
The game designer Eric Zimmerman just published a "Manifesto for the Ludic Century," and several folks were invited to write responses to it, including me. You should click through and read both of those links because this post won't make any sense if you don't. When you do, you'll notice ...
September 3, 2013
The Inverted Classroom
The "cool" origins of flipping
Last week I published an essay on the flipped classroom, arguing that condensation and abstraction might be better descriptions of what happens in such a classroom than flipping. I suggested that the flipped classroom is intimately connected to MOOCs and other educational efficiency measures, and that a truly flipped classroom ...
September 1, 2013
The False Logic of Computationalism
Everything wrong with today's computing culture in two bullet points (maybe)
A premise: all the problems of computational solutionism can be expressed in terms of two fundamental misunderstandings of Turing: Simulation is not equivalence. A machine that acts like another changes that other and itself; it doesn't reproduce them. Machines aren't intelligent; rather they are persuasive. Thus, accepting or rejecting any ...
August 18, 2013
What Grows when MOOCs Grow?
MOOCs scale for bankers and industrialists, not for students
You might want to read this New York Times article about Georgia Tech's new online masters degree in computer science. The article is pretty good, reasonably balanced, and looks at the issue from (almost) all sides. Notable side missing, as usual: what students think. Anyway, I've said enough about this ...
August 10, 2013
What You Can Get is What You Can Negotiate
Advice for negotiating academic jobs. And maybe others too.
Apropos of nothing, some advice for my academic friends who do or may have to negotiate a faculty position, either on the giving or receiving side. It probably applies well beyond academia, but I see the same disappointments year after year in the university. So much dissatisfaction among newly hired ...
August 1, 2013
OAuth of Fealty
Resignation beyond sorrow on the Facebook Platform and beyond
In recent weeks, Facebook has been sending emails imploring me to complete a survey about how they might improve their development platform. I'd been deleting the messages, but after the third request or so, I decided to click through. For those lucky enough to have avoided it, the Facebook Platform ...
July 28, 2013
Rowling and Galbraith, Strangers
The meaning of JK Rowling's attempt at pseudonymous authorship.
I did a Twitter-series on this topic this morning, and here's the Storified version of it for posterity. [View the story "Rowling and Galbraith, Strangers" on Storify] ...
June 21, 2013
Principles for University Presses
My Twitter microrant sideline during the AAUP 2013 plenary
The annual American Association of University Publishers meeting is going on this week. This morning, a plenary was held on "Three Big Ideas in Publishing." I wasn't in attendance, but the conference has a thriving Twitter backchannel on #aaup13. I have very strong feelings about university presses, partly because I've ...
June 15, 2013
One Thing Materialism Hasn't Ever Celebrated
Bruno Latour on the missing materials in materialism
Steven Shaviro pulled a delightful quote from Bruno Latour's recent book Enquête sur les modes d'existence. Une anthropologie des Modernes, which will be published in English next month as An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. I haven't yet read the book in either language, but ...
June 8, 2013
Announcing Object Lessons
An essay and book series on the hidden lives of things
Earlier this week we launched Object Lessons, an essay and book series on the hidden lives of ordinary objects, published by The Atlantic and Bloomsbury and edited by me and Chris Schaberg. We've been working on getting this going for months, and I'm excited to finally be able to ...
June 3, 2013
Exploded Ontography
The photography of Todd McLellan
In Alien Phenomenology, I discuss exploded views as one example of ontography, the cataloguing of being. Most exploded views are technical diagrams rather than, but some are aesthetic compositions that can be quite striking. Now there's a whole book full of the latter kind. The Canadian photographer Todd McLellan dismantles ...
June 2, 2013
"Of Questionable Value"
Why do we take course ratings seriously in light of the horror of anonymous ratings and comments online?
I woke up this morning to a flurry of Facebook links to Do the Best Professors Get the Worst Ratings? on Psychology Today. Everyone also seemed to be excerpting the same summary, and I now follow suit here: To summarize the findings: because they didn't teach to the test, the ...
May 26, 2013
Fortunate People Say No
The circular logic of creative success
Creative People Say No is an article has been making the rounds this week, about how creativity demands focus and time and suffers when it's interrupted by extraneous jobs and tasks requested by others. The overall message works as a pique to get you to realize that you don't have ...
May 25, 2013
ShillVille
The ouroboros only eats ouroboroi
Kevin Werbach, who has been teaching a free Coursera MOOC on Gamification, spoke about teaching a free Coursera MOOC on Gamification at the $1k-2k/head GSummit, the gamification conference run by gamification consultant Gabe Zichermann. Now you can pay $15 to watch a video of Werbach talking about teaching a free ...
May 16, 2013
The Electronic Book, circa 1995
The past and future novelty of digital publishing
It's easy to forget these things, so here's the description for the electronic "hypertext edition" of rhetorician Richard Lanham's collection of essays, The Electronic Word: Democracy, Technology, and the Arts. As Publishers Weekly wrote, "And, yes, the book is available in electronic form; as the first in the Chicago Expanded ...
May 14, 2013
The Walled Kindergarten
The inevitability of corporate content controls on MOOCs
Last week, the Council of University of California Faculty Associations (CUCFA) president Robert Meister sent an open letter entitled "Can Venture Capital Deliver on the Promise of the Public University?" to MOOC provider Coursera's CEO, Daphne Koller. The CUCFA has published the letter, which is sly, scathing, and deeply entertaining ...
May 13, 2013
Seeing Ultraviolet
Man sees beyond the normal human visual spectrum after cataract surgery
Alek Komar had cataract surgery and now he can see the ultraviolet spectrum. Read about it here. One of the more interesting aspects of the article to me details why this ability might offer an alien phenomenology of certain animals: Komar's case is interesting for multiple reasons. It's a demonstration ...
May 8, 2013
Object Lessons is coming...
A teaser for a new project
I've been working for months on a new writing and publishing project that continues and extends my interest in thinking and writing about things. Here's a teaser: objectsobjectsobjects.com. Want more info? Wait for the official announcement and full website, or just ask! ...
May 5, 2013
Work With Me on Tinkering Platforms
I need undergrads interested in electronics looking for summer work
Under the aegis of the Georgia Tech branch of the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing, my PhD student Tom Jenkins and I have spent the year thinking about and making what we call "tinkering platforms"—those simple hardware prototyping systems like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and so forth. Our ...
May 3, 2013
Doing Things is Okay
On Darius Kazemi's "Fuck Videogames"
Darius Kazemi has published a fiery talk he delivered at Boston Indies entitled Fuck Videogames. Click over and give it a read (it's quick) and then come back to read the rest. I see three main points in Darius's argument: It's not necessarily more "noble" or whatever to express something ...
May 1, 2013
Preview: Why Gamification Is Bullshit
From a longer article forthcoming in The Gameful World
My short essay Gamification is Bullshit was a very widely read provocation, but it was never meant to be a complex argument. I've finally written a longer, more detailed version of that argument in an article titled "Why Gamification Is Bullshit." It will appear in Steffen P. Walz and Sebastian ...
April 14, 2013
Well, what's your solution then?
David Graeber on thinking about ideas
Lately, it's common to see critique—even smart, detailed critique—answered with a crass dismissal: "Well, what's your solution then?" As if the very idea of raising a concern is invalid on its own. Among boosters, no critique is deemed valid without a complete alternative program. This David Graeber article is about ...
April 1, 2013
Two Reviews of Alien Phenomenology
By Sandy Alexandre and Cameron Kunzelman
For those of you interested in such things, here are two interesting and (to me) very gratifying reviews of Alien Phenomenology. First, a review in Invisible Culture by Sandy Alexandre, which considers (among other things), how literary practice relates to carpentry. I'll let you read to her conclusion on that ...
March 19, 2013
Carpentry vs. Art: What's the Difference?
A preview of an answer that might be forthcoming
Shortly after Alien Phenomenology was publsihed, Darius Kazemi asked: what's the difference between carpentry and art? Carpentry, for the record, is my name for the philosophical practice of making things, of which articles and books are but one example. I borrowed and expanded the term from the ordinary sense of ...
March 16, 2013
A Brief History of Websites
1989 Any particle physicist can have a website! 1993 Any researcher can have a website! 1995 Anybody at a university can have a website! 1996 Any company can have a website! 1997 Anybody can have a crappy website! 2001 Anybody can have a decent website if it's a blog! ...
March 13, 2013
A Lesson in Offloading
The logic of California higher education funding
Today California announced the introduction of legislation to require schools to accept credit for certain online courses, including those offered by MOOC providers like Udacity and Coursera. Let's review the logic of this process. Massively cut funding to California public education. Simultaneously, reduce public receipts, in part by offering massive ...
March 4, 2013
A dumb question about Mail.app in Mountain Lion
I finally upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion. There are a few new things to get used to, not the least of which is the horror of having desktop notifications (even if they can be turned off). But I'm more confused by a very specific behavior in Mail.app surrounding message ...
February 24, 2013
Bigos is no Ordinary Dish
A poem about the Polish hunter's stew
I haven't "blogged" for some time, mostly because I'm not sure how to blog anymore. I think you just post stuff, but it's longer than a tweet? I'm going to take a swing at it by posting this nearly two-century old poem about the Eastern European hunter's stew Bigos: Bigos ...
January 28, 2013
The Potty
A Toilet Training Koan
Some time ago I lent my voice to the audio guide for a Koine Greek curriculum for kids. Around the time it was released, we found out a family friend's then-three year old had taken to listening to the CD at bedtime, not for the Greek but just because he ...
January 27, 2013
Two Billionaires on the University
Two conveniently juxtaposable views on universities today, from two billionaires. First, Michael Bloomberg made a $350 million commitment to his alma mater Johns Hopkins, which he credits with establishing his future as a leader. The contribution brings his total philanthropy to Johns Hopkins to $1.1 billion. In addition to funding ...
January 26, 2013
The Cost of Fees
Would I be doing what I do now had I been subject to today's University of California graduate tuition and fees? Probably not.
My graduate school experience was unusual, at least for someone pursuing a humanities PhD. While I did teach some, for much of the time I was in grad school I was also working in the technology and entertainment industries. In part this is because I was an immovable ass who ...
January 25, 2013
Open, New, Experimental, Aspirational
The rhetoric of "The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age"
The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age is a new document authored and signed by twelve scholars, technologists, and entrepreneurs including Duke professor and author Cathy Davidson, organizational technologist John Seely Brown, and Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun. It's been making the rounds among those of ...
January 23, 2013
On Babies and Bathwater
You know the expression: "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." It's an old expression; the first record of it dates back half a millennium. It's supposed to mean something like, don't get rid of something desirable while trying to eliminate something undesirable. It's a very common idiom, and ...
January 21, 2013
The Microethics of Informal University-Corporate Partnerships
What are universities giving away when we host hackathons, game jams, and the like?
Everyone knows that creativity and productivity are increasingly given away for free these days, particularly when it comes to technology products and services. For example: we contribute to the business of companies like Google and Facebook by giving them our data to resell, and we contribute to the business of ...
January 5, 2013
Educational Hucksterism
Or, MOOCs are not an Educational Technology
My colleague Mark Guzdial argues that MOOCs are a fundamental misperception of how learning works. In the post, Mark argues that MOOCs misconstrue educational practice, mistaking lectures and rote-exercises for the central activities of classes in higher education. Reading Mark's post I found myself reflecting on a seemingly unrelated article ...
December 20, 2012
Meteors
An obscure title at the center of videogame copyright litigation is unearthed 30 years later.
One of the most important precedents in videogame intellectual property litigation is Atari, Inc. vs. Amusement World, Inc., a 1981 case that involved a game called Meteors by the defendant, which Atari claimed infringed on the copyright of its popular game Asteroids. Atari sought an injunction against Amusement World and ...
December 10, 2012
On Human Dangers
Prosperity and austerity in contemporary philosophy
I've had the pleasure of visiting with a number of classes recently after they've read Alien Phenomenology. Very different groups as well, from freshmen to graduate students. A common question that arose in many of these conversations relates to the consequences of object-oriented ontology. This question usually takes a form ...
December 7, 2012
The McDonald's of Higher Ed
Nigel Thrift wrote a somewhat mind-bending article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed about the Cheesecake Factorization of higher education. You should read the whole thing, but here's a choice excerpt: What I think we will see is this same chain model gradually taking over higher education. There will still ...
December 1, 2012
Talk of 10 PRINT
Reviews, Links, Code, and Discussion
Some links to discussion about 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. One of the common ways to interact with the idea seems to be writing and posting re-implementations of the program in other languages and environments. Geeta Dayal's review of the book in Slate. Discussion on Reddit r/Programming, including ...
November 28, 2012
Now Available: 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10
You Can't Buy A Better Book About a One-Line BASIC Program At Twice The Price
My latest book is out! It's called 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 and it's about a one-line Commodore 64 BASIC program. I wrote it with nine other authors, but it's not an anthology; we write in a single voice collaboratively, producing a monograph-like text. You can buy it in ...
November 24, 2012
Senior Associate Vice Provost of Something
On the top-heaviness of universities
An article in Business Week has been making the rounds this holiday weekend, The Troubling Dean-to-Professor Ratio. It's about the top-heaviness of universities and the growth of senior and executive administration. The "money quote," so to speak, is this: At universities nationwide, employment of administrators jumped 60 percent from 1993 ...
November 10, 2012
Digging for Gold in a Turd
My "Fuck this Jam" Keynote
Rami Ismail and Fernando Ramallo have organized a game jam called Fuck This Jam, in which participants are invited to build a game in a genre they hate. Given our experience making games in genres we hate, Rami and Fernando invited me (Cow Clicker) and Zach Gage (Spelltower) to deliver ...
November 8, 2012
Opener Than Thou
On MOOCs and Openness
In his keynote at the recent Educase conference, Internet zealot Clay Shirky made the case that MOOCs are not provocative because they are massive, but because they are open—except they are not really that open. So, I'm no big fan of Shirky's fanatical obsession with Internet openness, but he's right ...
November 5, 2012
Did you know, road trips are just gamified cars?
Gamification has reached such a fever pitch that its proponents have begun sounding like parodies of themselves. An amazing recent specimen is comes from Mashable, under the title "9 Strategies to Gamify Your Startup". The entire article is "worth reading," so to speak, but this one's my favorite: When people ...
October 31, 2012
Coming Soon: Simony
A teaser for my latest game
I've been quiet lately because I've been working like a madman to complete my latest game, a commission in the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville's Project Atrium series. The game takes the form of an installation that will run at the MOCA from November 17, 2012 through March 10, 2013. ...
October 15, 2012
Tenure-Track Position in Digital Media at Georgia Tech
My department at Georgia Tech has an open tenure-track position. Please distribute, apply, etc.! Georgia TechDigital Media Tenure-Track PositionGeorgia Tech's School of Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC), which provides diverse humanistic perspectives on a technological world, is seeking to fill one Digital Media tenure track position at the rank of ...
September 24, 2012
Openwashing
On MLA Job Leaks
Today the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on MLA Job Leaks, an unauthorized, "rogue" website that is republishing the Modern Language Association (MLA) Job Information List (JIL). Currently university departments have to pay to list jobs, and job seekers have to be members of the MLA or the related Association ...
September 19, 2012
Progress
A brief note on Chick-fil-A
After weeks of protests, counter-protests, public outcry, kiss-ins, and other assorted drama surrounding Chick-fil-A's beliefs about and contributions against gay marriage, news today claims that the company has agreed to various concessions, including ceasing donations to organizations that promote discrimination, specifically against LGBT civil rights. Watching people post this story ...
September 16, 2012
I Know! Let's Talk about Politics and Ontology Again!
Some responses to some responses to some responses
All right, this one of those posts that responds to conversations taking place on multiple blogs and on Facebook, so it's going to be confusing if you haven't read everything. Let me try to give you the backstory: First, Levi wrote On Ontology, another account of the difference between ontology ...
September 14, 2012
Media Studies at Georgia Tech
Some changes in my role and new initiatives
As my college just announced yesterday, I'll be taking on a slightly different role at Georgia Tech. You can read the full release, but the relevant bits are as follows: I have been named Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies I am also now jointly appointed in the ...
September 12, 2012
Ritual and Fashion
Žižek on "radical" academics
This excerpt from a 2008 article by Slavoj Žižek has been sitting in my notebook for a while, and I thought I'd post it. My personal experience is that practically all of the "radical" academics silently count on the long-term stability of the American capitalist model, with the secure tenured ...
September 11, 2012
Real Networks Don't Have Leaders
September 11 and Distributed Networks
On September 11, 2001 I was supposed to meet with Rick Harshman, an Akamai account executive, in my Los Angeles office. I only remember Rick's name eleven years later because it kept staring at me from my Outlook calendar that morning suggesting an alternate timeline. I can't remember why we ...
September 6, 2012
Christmas Bytes
Get A Slow Year and Racing the Beam when you support this indie film about videogames in 1982 on Kickstarter
A few months ago Brett Neveu sent me a script for a movie he is producing, about a group of teenagers hoping to get an Atari VCS for Christmas 1982. The script is fun and charming, sitting somewhere just between Dazed and Confused and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. There's now ...
August 26, 2012
An Increasingly Ordinary Affair
The office work of research
Partly responding to my recent post on ideas versus their commercialization among writers and intellectuals, I came across this excellent and tragic paragraph on the state of intellectual work in this post: ‎Meanwhile, academic life is becoming an increasingly ordinary affair, a job in which you hurry from task to ...
August 22, 2012
Speaking of Fees...
The facile scourge of paid speaking
Writing for Esquire, Stephen Marche writes about The real problem with Niall Ferguson's letter to the 1%, which amounts to "paid speaking gigs." Here's the money quote: Ferguson's critics have simply misunderstood for whom Ferguson was writing that piece. They imagine that he is working as a professor or as ...
August 21, 2012
Images of Things
A quick image litanizer
You may be familiar with my Latour Litanizer, a simple example of what I call "carpentry" in Alien Phenomenology. It uses Wikipedia's API to assemble randomized lists of objects of the sort I refer to as "Latour Litanies." If you've read Alien Phenomenology, you may also remember a related example, ...
August 19, 2012
Get Well, Galen
A lesson in fiction and reality
My kids just delivered some hand-made get-well cards. I was instructed to deliver them to Galen, the main character in the Wizard 3000 videogame series, a series of my kids' invention which is not only fictional but fictionally fictional. Pop culture being what it is, Hollywood has started to make ...
August 11, 2012
In Defense of Competition
On sport, games, success, and failure
On her blog, my Georgia Tech colleague Amy Bruckman writes about her dissatisfaction with this year's Olympics. While she loved the games as a kid, Bruckman wonders if her new feelings of disappointment arise from watching them as an educator rather than as a little girl: "I look at young ...
August 7, 2012
On Big Cats
A dumb, frustrating prediction about OS X and technology reporting
I made this stupid joke on Twitter today: The primary innovation in OSX 10.9 will be the move to canine product names. I was referring to Apple's longstanding tradition of code-naming their OS X releases after "big cats": Cheetah (the original OS X), Tiger, Lion, Leopard, etc.. The thing is, ...
August 2, 2012
Bone's Brigade
It's been exactly eight months since I last dined at Bone's, a time-honored Atlanta steakhouse. Last time, I took my family and my daughter wrote one of her infamous reviews of the place—giving it a very rare positive review. Today the maitre d' saw that I was there with my ...
July 25, 2012
Academia Still Isn't So Bad
On Terran Lane's "On Leaving Academia"
Over the last day or so, many of my Facebook friends have been posting UNM CS professor Terran Lane's reflections on leaving academia for a job at Google. It's worth a read, and raises some very valid points about the troubles with academia—pay, funding, job security, incentives, isolationism, work/life balance ...
July 23, 2012
The Rhetoric of MOOCs
On massiveness, students, and flipped classrooms
The annual Computing Research Association conference is taking place this week at Snowbird in Utah, and one of today's plenaries is about online eduction and Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). Reading the description of the session, I noticed two common positions on MOOCs that I think are rhetorically effective yet ...
July 18, 2012
MOOCs are Marketing
The question is, can they be more?
Earlier this week, Georgia Tech and eleven other higher education institutions announced their participation in Coursera, a company that hosts online courses. Reactions have been predictably dramatic, as exemplified by Jordan Weissman's panegyric in the Atlantic, titled The Single Most Important Experiment in Higher Education. I'll spare observations on the ...
July 10, 2012
Buying Hypothetical Products
Kickstarter is just another form of entertainment
Also: I expanded the ideas in this post into a short article for Fast Company, Kickstarter: Crowdfunding Platform Or Reality Show? The web is flipping out today over the OUYA, a hypothetical new videogame console posted today on Kickstarter. It promises "A New Kind of Video Game Console," but it's ...
July 6, 2012
Why Time is on the Inside of Objects
More on Harman on Time
I recently described time as a phenomenon "on the inside of objects." Peter Gratton objects that time is "at the surface level of objects" for Harman, because the latter describes it as the tension between sensual objects and sensual qualities. Gratton argues, "if time is at the surface of where ...
July 4, 2012
Time, Relation, Ethics, Experience
Some responses to the Alien Phenomenology reading group
Following the discussion of chapter 1, Darius Kazemi has posted discussion notes for chapters 2 and 3 of Alien Phenomenology—Ontography and Metaphorism, respectively. I thought I'd make a few comments on the topics discussed there. Time Time is discussed as a particularly mind-bending topic in OOO. AP doesn't offer a ...
July 2, 2012
BIT.TRIP Sisyphus
Camus said, the struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. ...
July 1, 2012
Two Takes on Alien Phenomenology
From the Italian news and an online reading group
Today yields two humbling approaches to Alien Phenomenology. First, an article by Evan Selinger in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, L'anima delle cose ("the soul of things"). It's in Italian, but I'm sure you can figure out how to read it somehow. Corriere della Sera is a very old ...
June 30, 2012
Obamacare: the Videogame
On failures to communicate
There's a great article by Monroe Anderson at The Root titled 'Obamacare,' the Video Game?. Anderson recalls asking Obama strategist David Axelrod "why so many voters were so clueless as to how President Obama had spent the first two years of his first term." Axelrod's response: "information gridlock." Essentially, the ...
June 29, 2012
Irish Joys and Noisemakers
Ontographs by Gregory Blackstock
Via Marina Zurkow via Greg Borenstein, a ">series of very lovely images that collect different sorts of similar things together, by Gregory Blackstock. They're the kind of images I call ontographs, works that catalog the rich variety of being. You'll find Irish joys, noisemakers, monsters of the deep, historic homes. ...
June 26, 2012
A Toaster is Not an Octopus
Consequences of poststructuralism
Today I posted a reply to a mailing list which has been discussing OOO off and on. One complaint registered was that OOO is not "fuzzy" enough, and fuzzy or "soft" things are more desirable. It may not seem a very substantive comment, but I think it hits on ...
June 21, 2012
Academia.edu Finders Fees
Is this ethical?
Yesterday I received the following email from Academia.edu, a social network for academics to share research papers. Hi Ian, We noticed that you are following the Computer Science research interest on Academia.edu. We wanted to mention that we are hiring software engineers at Academia.edu, and if you know any current ...
June 20, 2012
Nuts to that! Yay things!!!
A comment on Alien Phenomenology
I was recently shown this comment by Daniel Joseph from a discussion of chapter 1 of Alien Phenomenology. The thing that Ian is doing here is positing that philosophy can be practiced for the pure joy of things, as a way into the thing for it the thing itself. It ...
June 20, 2012
I 🐄 New York
I don't know. I was in New York, and then I was looking at Zazzle and there was this guy with his pointer finger in the air, and the next thing I knew... ...
June 16, 2012
It soared, a bird, it held its flight, a swift pure cry, soar silver orb it leaped serene, speeding, sustained...
Reflections on Twittering Rocks
In 2007, Ian McCarthy and I launched Twittering Rocks, a live performance of the central "Wandering Rocks" chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses, which we executed every Bloomsday (that's today, June 16) from 2007 through 2011. Last year, due to a change in the Twitter API (the move to OAuth, ...
June 15, 2012
OOO and Politics
A response to Cameron Kunzelman
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not exactly sure what blogging means to me these days. But whether by accident or design, I've been avoiding some of the back-and-forth debate that both helps and hinders the work of philosophy online these days. That said, this is one of ...
June 11, 2012
Cube Clicker
I implemented Peter Molyneux's Curiosity inside Cow Clicker
Peter Molyneux is unusual among commercial game designers. He's very well-known and successful, yet his games are often quite unusual, and his crazier ideas have a reputation for not quite making it to market. Molyneux's penchant for absurdist, conceptual design koans even inspired a Twitter parody, @PeterMolydeux, whose design one-liners ...
May 27, 2012
What should we do for a living?
Some comments on "The Facebook Illusion"
There's an interesting opinion column in today's New York Times by Ross Douthat, The Facebook Illusion. The gist of the article is that the Internet economy is not capable of producing the economic growth, prosperity, and support of previous economies. ...the problem is not that Facebook doesn't make money. It's ...
May 19, 2012
A Game of Throwns
For some reason I made this...
...
May 17, 2012
Food Insofar As They Give You Food
A tiny note on first class air travel
I fly a bajillion miles a year and as such I have access to the first class cabin on almost every flight, which makes me a lucky bastard as much as a privileged one. I thought I'd share, from a plane of course, just one humbling notes on modern first ...
May 15, 2012
10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10
A new book in software studies
My next book is even stranger than my last. It's an entire book, 65,000+ words worth, about a single-line Commodore 64 BASIC program that is inscribed in the book's title, 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. And if that isn't strange enough, I wrote the book with nine other collaborators ...
May 11, 2012
Royalty Rate Reset
A question for authors...
I'll admit it, I don't usually read my book royalty reports. Sometimes I look at the total sales, but the rest is too complex and detailed to bother with. I deposit the checks. But today I received one and noticed something that I'd never really thought about before. A bit ...
May 7, 2012
Rocks are Rocks
Response to "Aliens, but definitely not as we know them"
I received a great email response to my recent New Scientist column on alien phenomenology. I thought I'd share a part of it anonymously just because it felt so shareworthy. Rocks are rocks. They are rocks in relation to humans, and they are rocks in relation to birds and they ...
April 25, 2012
Star Castle for Atari VCS
D. Scott Williamson's "impossible" adaptation
In the fifth chapter of Racing the Beam, Nick and I discuss Howard Scott Warshaw's popular Atari game Yars' Revenge. The game is often called Atari's most successful original game for the Atari 2600, but in fact it was originally meant to be an adaptation of Star Castle, a then-popular ...
April 23, 2012
The Future Was Here
Jimmy Maher's Platform Study of the Commodore Amiga
I'm very happy to announce the publication of the latest book in the Platform Studies series, Jimmy Maher's The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga. It's a terrific book about this influential multimedia microcomputer. As someone who never had an Amiga in the 80s and 90s, but who was often ...
April 21, 2012
My Spam Readers
...might be more interesting than my human ones
Yesterday I participated in a panel on the life and work of Alan Turing, for whom 2012 marks a centennial. As you'd probably expect, the discussion included conversation about artificial intelligence, what counts as "intelligence," and when AI is "good enough." The Turing Test, of course, is famous for reframing ...
April 17, 2012
OOO and New Aesthetics
Three links
There's been a small flurry of discussion about the New Aesthetic lately, several takes on which have connected it to object-oriented ontology. If you don't know what "the New Aesthetic" is not to worry, the articles linked here explain it in addition to arguing for (or against) its relationship to ...
April 11, 2012
Alien Appearances
Initial reactions to Alien Phenomenology
This is just a quick post to point you to a few early reactions to Alien Phenomenology. First, Levi Bryant has two posts up, From an object's point of view and A brief note on units and operations. Substantive stuff as usual. Levi draws productive connections to Jakob von Uexküll, ...
April 1, 2012
Write My Missing Chapters
Mark Sample's assignment for How to Do Things with Videogames
I've been flattered to see so many courses in media studies and related fields adopt my 2011 book How to Do Things with Videogames so quickly. But my favorite use of the book in a classroom thus far comes from Mark Sample's Videogames in Critical Contexts course. He's assigned his ...
March 19, 2012
Plenoptic Photography
First image out of my Lytro
I just received my Lytro lightfield camera. It's the first commercialized plenoptic camera, which is an optical device with an array of lenses to capture a scene at multiple focal points. There's a lot of terrible rhetoric in the tech and electronics communities about this camera, claiming that it will ...
March 11, 2012
Rise of the Videogame Zinesters
Anna Anthropy's new book
These days, everybody can make and distribute a photograph, or a video, or a book. Rise of the Videogame Zinesters shows you that everyone can make a videogame, too. But why should they? For Anna Anthropy, it's not for fame or for profit, but for the strange, aimless beauty of ...
February 28, 2012
Game Developers Conference 2012
My schedule for this year's event
It's almost time for the Game Developers Conference again! To think, last year I was struggling to escape the grip of a certain cow game, and this year I've perhaps almost partly escaped the grip of a certain cow game. This year I've got a relatively light schedule. First, Ben ...
February 27, 2012
Videogames as Art Medium and Inspiration
or, A Slow Year at the Telfair
This week, the Telfair Museums will open Game Change: Videogames as Art Medium and Inspiration. My game A Slow Year is among the pieces that will be on exhibit from February 27 to April 1, 2012. I'll be in Savannah Thursday evening for the Game Change panel, from 6-8pm at ...
February 18, 2012
Alien Invasion
An update on my next book
I talked to my publisher this week and got news that Alien Phenomenology is scheduled to land in the warehouse by March 7. It should be shipping to booksellers immediately thereafter. If you preorder from Amazon.com, you'll see it ship out that very week. While I can't make any promises, ...
February 15, 2012
The Perils of Farmville
Me on NPR's Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane
I've had a chance to be on a number of different radio programs, both national and local. I really like doing radio, particularly longer programs on NPR and CBC since the additional time really allows more sustained exploration of a topic. It's also particularly fun and weird to be on ...
February 8, 2012
Making Books
It's not the same as writing books
Back when his book The Textual Life of Airports was published in December, Christopher Schaberg reported what most authors do: seeing his book for the first time. "What a weird feeling," Chris wrote. "It resembles an object from outer space. Vaguely recognizable, yet totally alien at the same time."This is ...
February 2, 2012
Academic Professional Job Opening
Work with me at Georgia Tech Digital Media
We have a job opening for a staff position in my program at Georgia Tech. The job is for an Academic Professional, who will serve as assistant to the Graduate Program in Digital Media. You get to work with me and nine other core faculty in the program, as well ...
January 31, 2012
Slashdot Q&A
Just a short pointer post for those who get my updates via blog or RSS. Last month Slashdot covered the Wired article about me and Cow Clicker, and invited readers to pose questions. The editors selected some, which I answered, and which Slashdot has now published. The questions were good, ...
January 28, 2012
Speculative Realism Aggregator Update
New blogs, optimized, mobile version, etc.
As promised, I've cleaned up and updated the Speculative Realism blog aggregator. Thanks to those of you who made suggestions in the comments or by contacting me directly. A few quick notes: I've added a link to the aggregator in the right sidebar, under "resources." Not sure why I never ...
January 24, 2012
On Technical Agency and Procedural Rhetoric
A quick response to Joshua McVeigh-Schulz
There's an interesting discussion over at Culture Digitally between Gina Neff, Tim Jordan, and Joshua McVeigh-Schulz on the subject of technical agency, or "how we should (re)theorize the politics of technological systems." Gina Neff's opening comments include a welcome statement about the limits of SCOT perspectives on technical systems: Within ...
January 18, 2012
Help Feed the Speculative Realism Feed
Seeking updates for the SR blog aggregator
As many of you know, for some time I've been operating an aggregator for blogs related to speculative realism. You can view post previews on this site, and there's also an RSS feed in case anybody is still using RSS readers ;) It's about time I revised and updated the ...
January 11, 2012
This is a Blog Post about the Digital Humanities
A response to Stanley Fish, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and others
For the first time in five years, I attended the Modern Language Association (MLA) conference. This is the main conference for scholars of language and literature, with about 8,000 attendees at this year's event in Seattle. Among the big things going down this year: the ongoing clash of cultures between ...
January 8, 2012
Robert Jackson's DSCOOOO1.jpg Project
At the O-Zone Journal
The new O-Zone journal has a section called OO Frequency, for content that takes a form other than writing. A while ago they posted my short video for OOOIII, Seeing Things, which deals with the photographer Garry Winogrand and the website Dear Photography. More recently, they've posted a lovely new ...
January 5, 2012
Airplane Explanations
Some notes from in-flight
On planes, passengers lose all connection with personal and cultural history. This is why everything must be explained by flight attendants, carefully and completely yet succinctly, efficiency. To fasten your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle and tighten the strap. To release, pull the tab on the ...
January 2, 2012
Review of Bone's Restaurant
By my nine year-old
It's been a while since my daughter has offered her opinion in writing on matters of contemporary culture. No doubt you remember her reviews of TRON: Legacy, recording artist Madeline's album White Flag, and Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams. And if you do, you may have noticed a pattern ...
January 1, 2012
Civet Poo Coffee
A tiny review
Kopi luwak, or civet coffee, is a rare, expensive, and low-production variety of coffee. A rather unusual process is required to produce the coffee. First, the Asian Palm Civet, native to the Indonesian Archipelago, selects and eats certain wild coffee cherries. The civet consumes the cherries for their outer pulp, ...
December 26, 2011
Object-Oriented Answers
Responses to Parikka
Jussi Parikka, author of Insect Media among numerous other books, recently posed a series of questions about object-oriented ontology. Levi Bryant has already responded, as has Paul Caplan, and I like both of their responses. I thought I'd offer my own here, so here goes. (The block quotes are Jussi's ...
December 22, 2011
The Virtues of Long Compiles
Thoughts on the material conditions of programming practice
I was corresponding yesterday with Jock Murphy, a Portland-based photographer, software engineer, and mobile game developer. Jock had read Racing the Beam, and we were talking about the relative differences between the 6502 and the Z80 microprocessors. This subject led us to different programming practices, a topic Nick and I ...
December 20, 2011
If the reader clicks the word "cow" then the cows will come.
Wired's online cow clicking game about Cow Clicker
As promised, I'm now linking the iPad and web versions of Wired's story on Cow Clicker. There are some interesting features of each. The iPad edition features clickable cows that moo, but the online version of the story really, uhm, sets the moood... it includes a complete Cow Clicker-themed cow ...
December 15, 2011
The Curse of Cow Clicker
In this month's Wired Magazine
Jason Tanz wrote a fantastic feature for the January 2012 issue of Wired about me and Cow Clicker. The feature includes, to use Levi's words, a centerfold of me, on a fence, in a pasture, with a cow (see below). The print issue is on newsstands now, with a web ...
December 11, 2011
A New Philosophy for the 21st Century
Briggle and Frodeman in the Chronicle
Adam Briggle and Robert Frodeman have written an excellent article for the Chronicle, A New Philosophy for the 21st Century. A stupid subscription is required, frustratingly, so let me excerpt some of the good bits for you here [update: here's a PDF]: It is time to reclaim the public role ...
November 28, 2011
Innovative Leisure Opening
Video with talks by me, Jesse Fuchs, Sonny Rae Tempest
I had previously mentioned Innovative Leisure, a show of new games for Atari I curated at Babycastles. The opening took place almost two weeks ago, but due to travel and then the Thanksgiving holiday, it's taken me this long to follow up. Thanks to Ida Benedetto, you can watch this ...
November 25, 2011
Bill Watterson on Academic Writing
Just a reminder... ...
November 22, 2011
Overly Traditional, Overly Narrow
Nick Montfort on Digital Humanities
This week my Racing the Beam co-author and platform studies series co-editor Nick Montfort spoke at the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities & Computer Science. In addition to discussing the two new platform studies titles shipping this spring, Nick reports that he met Perry Collins, a a new program officer ...
November 21, 2011
The Nonhuman Turn in 21st Century Studies
Call for Papers
Below is the CFP for a conference to be held by the Center for 21st Century Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, on May 3-5, 2012. Confirmed invited speakers include me, Jane Bennett, Bill Brown, Wendy Chun, Mark Hansen, Erin Manning, Brian Massumi, Tim Morton, and Steven Shaviro. Hope to see you ...
November 19, 2011
Two New Interviews
Two new and relatively extensive interviews with me were recently published. The first is in Forbes, conducted by David M. Ewalt. It mostly covers material from my latest book, How to Do Things with Videogames, but there's some new material toward the end. The second interview, with Aaron McCollough, appears ...
November 12, 2011
Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing
Cover art and Blurb
Here's the cover design, tagline, and blurb for my forthcoming book Alien Phenomenology, or What It's Like to Be a Thing, which will be published by University of Minnesota Press in early 2012. It's hard to express how exciting it is to have a hot wing on the cover of ...
November 10, 2011
Innovative Leisure
An exhibition of new games for the Atari
I'm curating an exhibit of new Atari games at Babycastles, which opens this Sunday, November 13th. It's called Innovative Leisure (a term I lifted from an early Atari slogan) and will take place at a new art games arcade at Death By Audio. The show exhibits games by Sonny Ray ...
November 5, 2011
McObjet a
Lacan and the McRib
Each year, the McRib returns for a brief visit to Earth. Its arrival elicits reactions ranging from horror to awe. No matter the tenor, each response's inspiration is the same: this would-be rib sandwich is really a restructured pork patty pressed into the rough shape of a slab of ...
October 31, 2011
Being-Towards-Winning
Steven Connor on Winning
There are lots of great excerpts to share from Steven Connor's new book A Philosophy of Sport. Here's one: The sudden approach of the finish line involves a significant shift of effort. Instead of pushing forward, to overcome a considerable and continuing resistance, you are about to break through from ...
October 22, 2011
What's in a Medium?
A response to Mike Thomsen
The New Inquiry published a review by Michael Thomsen of my latest book How to Do Things With Videogames. It's just the kind of review an author hopes for: fair, thoughtful, based on a thorough reading, and full of new ideas and observations. I'm grateful to Thomsen for writing it. ...
October 17, 2011
The Future of Literature in an Age of Digital Media
An event at Georgia Tech this week
This Wednesday, October 19, the Wesley Center for New Media, the Georgia Tech Digital Media Program, and the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture will host a symposium on the future of literature. The event has been orgainzed by Jay David Bolter and Maria Engborg. It is free and open ...
October 16, 2011
Saying Something
Steven Johnson on Derrida
The author Steven Johnson has an essay in the New York Times today, I Was an Under-Age Semiotician, about his younger years as a Semiotics major at Brown. It's worth a read for anyone who did or still does philosophy or "critical theory," to use an annoying term. But I ...
October 15, 2011
Pearly Pixie Services Inc
A tooth fairy tool for parents
When your kids lose teeth, they may be inclined to write extensive letters to the tooth fairy, making specific requests or posing questions. While this is an endearing act to be sure, you'll want to stop short of penning a false reply. Instead, see this as an opportunity to educate ...
October 10, 2011
Frequent Flight
My contribution for airplanereading.org
Christopher Schaberg and Mark Yakich have written a lovely little book called Checking in/Checking Out, about air travel. It's a two-sided book meant to be read from both ends. Schaberg's side is about his experience working for United in Bozeman, Montana, and Yakich's is about his attempts to overcome ...
October 6, 2011
The Illusion of a Literal Description
Garry Winogrand, circa 1974
Tod Papageorge shared with me a talk Garry Winogrand gave at MIT in 1974, which he (Papageorge) introduced. An audio recording from the University of California Riverside's archive captures much of the lively question and answer period, which included a wealth of fantastic material. Here are two of my favorites: ...
October 5, 2011
A Photograph is a Photograph
Tod Papagorge on the Ontology of Photography
Apropos of two of Levi's recent posts about materialism and fictions, I thought I'd share this excerpt from an interview with photographer Tod Papageorge. He's responding to a question about the need for photography to have a moral responsibility, something Susan Sontag had suggested. It's always been puzzling to me ...
October 3, 2011
The Unbearable Lightness of Clicking
Leigh Alexander on my games
Popular game enthusiast site Kotaku just published an article by my friend and game writer Leigh Alexander, about my last two games, Cow Clicker and A Slow Year. My good friend Frank Lantz makes several appearances. I guess I'm not going to say much more about the article, except that ...
October 2, 2011
Misusing Media
A thought experiment
Lately I find myself talking a lot about contemporary "misuses" of computer media. That is, about trends that make partial use of the properties of such media, or that (in my view) mistake some less interesting, less promising, or less relevant set of properties as primary. For example: treating the ...
September 24, 2011
Notes on Loyalty
Gamification and Operational Closure
Two seemingly unrelated things happened to me yesterday, which further reflection revealed to have surprising connections. First, I spoke on a panel at the Online News Association conference about games and news. Julia Schmalz (now of Bloomberg, formerly of USA Today) and Rajat Paharia (of gamification vendor Bunchball) were the ...
September 22, 2011
Albuquerque: The Unknown
A Sony Pictures Imageworks recruitment video
Via University of New Mexico-based philosopher Iain Thomson, this recruitment video Sony Pictures Imageworks commissioned to help their Cali-bred brethren open up to the idea of moving to a new satellite office in Albuquerque. As someone who grew up in Albuquerque and worked with various divisions at Sony Pictures Entertainment, ...
September 19, 2011
Hard Clicking, Soft Clicking
More Cow Clicker on national Australian Television
I'd previously shown you Leo Burnett Sydney CEO Todd Sampson advertising a popupar Australian TV show called The Gruen Transfer, about advertising techniques, while wearing a Cow Clicker t-shirt. Here's a shot of Sampson on last week's episode, in which he proudly dons the shirt. You can watch the whole ...
September 15, 2011
Seeing Things
My talk at the Third Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium
Here's my short talk from the Third Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium (Sept 14, The New School), on the photography of Garry Winogrand. As I've already mentioned here, I had to miss the symposium because I was in China, so I submitted this short video instead of giving a presentation in person. ...
September 13, 2011
Two Brief OOO Notes
First, Levi Bryant's treatise on object-oriented ontology, The Democracy of Objects, is now available to read online. Print and PDF editions forthcoming. Congrats to Levi for its unveiling. Second, the third object-oriented ontology symposium will take place tomorrow (14 Sept) at the New School. As I mentioned earlier I'm in ...
September 10, 2011
A Tip of the Cow
Facebook likes Cow Clicker
While they've never said so in public, it seems Facebook has always been a silent fan of Cow Clicker. I've been tipped off about it several times, including via this shot of a Cow Clicker doodle on the whiteboard "wall" at Facebook HQ. A wider view of the wall cow ...
September 8, 2011
Cowpocalypse Now
The Cows Have Been Raptured
Yesterday evening, the countdown timer atop the Cow Clicker pages finally elapsed, and as per the prophesy, the cowpocalypse was summoned. Despite the players' cowllective intelligence in solving the Cow ClickARG, despite their numerous supplications to the bovine gods in response to the threat of moo-msday, nevertheless the Cowpocalypse has ...
September 2, 2011
OOOIII
At the New School
The third object-oriented ontology symposium will take place on September 14 at The New School in New York City. This event follows the first two symposia, held at Georgia Tech in April 2010 and at UCLA last December. Special thanks to McKenzie Wark for hosting it.I'll be in China that ...
August 31, 2011
El Empleo
A short film about people and objects
This a charming and fascinating short film that should be of interest to those of us interested in people, objects, technology, and related matters. (via D.E. Wittkower) ...
August 27, 2011
Cold, Grey Dirigibles
Brief thoughts on Steve Jobs's Resignation
Steve Jobs is a fascist. That's what everyone loves about him: he tells us what he wants, and he convinces us we are going to like it. And we do, not because he's right (despite popular opinion), but because it's so rare to get such definitive, brazen, top-down, abusive treatment ...
August 25, 2011
Beyond the Elbow-Patched Playground
Part 2: The Digital Humanities
This is the second part of a two-part essay about the humanities. Part 1 discusses some current ideas about the role of the humanities in the university and the world. Part 2 addresses the trend of the "digital humanities" in light of these observations. -ib If we accept the premise ...
August 23, 2011
Beyond the Elbow-Patched Playground
Part 1: The Humanities in Public
This is the first part of a two-part essay about the humanities. Part 1 discusses some current ideas about the role of the humanities in the university and the world. Part 2 addresses the trend of the "digital humanities" in light of these observations. -ib Recently, Stanford comparative literature professor ...
August 22, 2011
How To Do Things With Videogames
Now Shipping!
My latest book, How To Do Things With Videogames is now shipping from Amazon.com in the US. For those of you in Europe, it'll be a little while longer. And before you ask, a Kindle edition has been created and should show up Amazon any day now. The book ...
August 21, 2011
Dear Kindle Readers
A tiny rant
The following message appears on Amazon.com listings for which a Kindle edition appears not to be available. Some of the time, this means that a Kindle edition is not available. But most of the time it is a lie. Why? Because the process of publishing a Kindle edition involves submitting ...
August 18, 2011
Of Lumps, Lava, and Firehoses
Some notes on process philosophy contra object-oriented ontology
Prompted by Ben Woodard, there's been a recent flurry of posts in the philosophy blogosphere about the differences between process philosophy and object-oriented ontology. Specifically, Ben argues that thinkers of process are stuck "in the twilight of becoming" and content to allow "becoming to be utilized as an escape hatch ...
August 17, 2011
My Mooed Ring
Cowstum Skullworks
My friend Matt Maloney makes custom skull rings. Once I saw the bespoke designs he'd done, and given the knowledge of the coming cowpocalypse, I knew I had to have an artifact to document my year-long bovine madness. Matt and I met yesterday and I took delivery of the ring. ...
August 15, 2011
Variety in Videogames
On embracing videogame diversity and combatting exploitationware
In many of the reactions to Gamification is Bullshit, both in the comments on this site and in responses elsewhere, a common objection is raised. It goes something like, "you're just afraid of unfamiliar uses of games." Here's a particularly odious version of that argument, by Libe Goad on ZDNet ...
August 14, 2011
The Original Cow Clicker
On CompuServe
Yes, I know it's probably just a reference to checking stock prices (a bull market), but I choose to interpret the cow as a reference to the promised "adventure games" or perhaps even "fantastic space games." If you can read the text, you'll also note that "videotex service" CompuServe offered ...
August 13, 2011
The Problem With Every Hotel Room
...
August 8, 2011
Gamification is Bullshit
My position statement at the Wharton Gamification Symposium
(Also available in Portuguese, Japanese, and reprinted at The Atlantic and Kotaku) In his short treatise On Bullshit, the moral philosopher Harry Frankfurt gives us a useful theory of bullshit. We normally think of bullshit as a synonym—albeit a somewhat vulgar one—for lies or deceit. But Frankfurt argues that bullshit ...
August 6, 2011
1,000,000 of Anything
On startups and small businesses
A recent article asks whether apps are just a feature, or if they are a business. Should individual creators or very small teams try to make a decent living from an app (a "lifestyle business") or should they raise venture capital and expand (a "startup"). The article cites Buffer, an ...
August 4, 2011
Talking, Writing, Publishing
Some August miscellany
I've been busy dealing with administrative preparations for the start of the fall term, and finishing up a couple of summer projects. I have a bunch of blogmatter in the hopper, but in the meantime, here's a few recent bits and pieces of mine that you can find elsewhere: I ...
July 27, 2011
Concealment and Fear
David Foster Wallace on "Academic English"
In comments to my response to Geoff Dyer's critique of academic writing, Bill Coberly suggested that "a lot of the tolerance for lousy writing in academia does come from that (probably unconscious) desire to keep academia sacred and mysterious." There's probably something to this. On a related note, the faslanyc ...
July 24, 2011
A Sorrow Blind to Itself
On Bad Writing and Isolationism in the Humanities
In Friday's New York Times, the novelist and essayist Geoff Dyer wrote a scathing indictment of academic writing. An Academic Author's Unintentional Masterpiece takes aim at the well-known art historian Michael Fried, but it could easily have been written about almost any scholar in the humanities, veteran or novice, successful ...
July 20, 2011
The Mooen Transfer
Todd Sampson in a Cow Clicker t-shirt
Watch this TV ad. Pay close attention around 0:23. Did you see the guy in the Cow Clicker t-shirt? Pretty crazy. I posted about this on Facebook and Twitter, but here's a bit more information about how that may have come to pass. The Gruen Transfer is an Australian TV ...
July 18, 2011
Atari VCS Programming in TextMate
An easier way to make Atari games on your Mac
Download the TextMate Atari VCS Support Installer (Mac OS X 10.5+, 60k)Several years ago I was really getting heavily into Atari VCS programming—for teaching, for art, and for research on Racing the Beam. VCS programming is notoriously hard at first, but like anything once you get the hang of it, ...
July 14, 2011
Netflix Didn't Kill the Video Store
On online video subscriptions
As you couldn't possibly have missed, Netflix announced changes to their subscription plans this week. Specifically, they separated streaming subscriptions from disc-based ones. It used to be possible to add DVD rental to a streaming subscription for $2 extra, but now you'll have to pay $7.99 more for a single-disc ...
July 13, 2011
Save the Pigs, Click a Cow
An Open Letter from Cow Clicker to Pig Assassins Worldwide
(Cross-posted from Cow Clicker) For almost a year now, Cow Clicker has helped thousands of people from dozens of countries engage in the affectionate practice of clicking a cow every six hours (or even more often). While the lamentable practice of cow-tipping may get more public attention, cow clicking ...
July 10, 2011
Recent Interviews
It's interview season, apparently. I've done a number of interviews recently, and I figured it would be easier to link them all at once for my devoted readers enjoyment (that's you). First, Laureano Ralon published oan interview with me on Figure/Ground Communications. The interview covers the state of scholarship and ...
July 9, 2011
Luck and Destiny Irreducibly Alien
Lingis on Videogames
I would be remiss if I didn't point out the passage in The Imperative in which Alphonso Lingis discusses videogames (albeit in brief): But although we use our automobile only to roll to one end of the city and back again, transportation evokes the existence of remote and enchanted destinations ...
July 4, 2011
Social games? Boeh!
Cow Clicker in Het Parool
The Dutch newspaper Het Parool ran a story last Saturday about Cow Clicker. You can read a scan of the story below (in Dutch, click for the large version), but equally interesting to me is the fact that the paper put an enormous Cow Clicker cow on the front page ...
July 1, 2011
Revisiting Asynchronous Multiplayer Games
Me on Me on Social Games
In the autumn of 2004, I wrote a paper titled "Asynchronous Multiplay" for the Other Players Conference on Multiplayer Phenomena, which was held at IT University, Copenhagen in December of that year. To give you an idea about how long ago 2004 was on the timescale of game development and ...
June 22, 2011
A Slow Year Limited Edition
Photos of the signed, numbered set of twenty-five
I started working on my Atari "game poems" project A Slow Year almost exactly three years ago. I had spent an idle summer afternoon writing 6502 assembly on the couch, and the first versions of the summer game took form. Slowly, over time, the work revealed itself to me: a ...
June 21, 2011
The Clickness Unto Death
The Fate of Cow Clicker
This is hard to explain. Something's happening to Cow Clicker. Some months ago, evil bovine lords broke into Cow Clicker and started making demands. Their mysterious clues became the Cow ClickARG, which, Inception-like, sent up Alternate Reality Games from within the send-up of a Facebook game. Clues were scattered by ...
June 21, 2011
Enumerations
Kazemi Parses Harman's Objects
If you liked my Latour Litanizer, a tool for creating lists of objects, then you'll also like Darius Kazemi's new little gizmo, Objects that are enumerated in Graham Harman's "Prince of Networks". Here's what he did: I wrote a script to parse the original text [Prince of Networks] for things ...
June 20, 2011
The Imperative
A strange review of Alphonso Lingis's 1998 book
Jean Georges is one of four Michelin Three Star restaurants in New York city. It's very French, so French that you're just as likely to hear the language spoken as English. That and the environment in the main dining room—a single, enormous, plush chamber on the ground floor of the ...
June 17, 2011
A Slow Year Nears
Box and book preview
I'm spending this week and the start of next putting the final touches on the limited editions of A Slow Year. This involves a lot of trimming and glueing, as I'm attaching images and plaques to their final homes on books and boxes. It's hard to explain how good it ...
June 15, 2011
Fifth Annual Twittering Rocks
Prepare now for Bloomsday tomorrow
It's hard to believe, but tomorrow will mark the fifth time Ian McCarthy and I will execute our Bloomsday on Twitter performance "Twittering Rocks." (For more information, read here and here.) New this year: thanks to @francophony, you can follow all 50+ Ulysses characters via this convenient list. When we ...
June 14, 2011
A Joyboard Game Rediscovered
New Versions of lost Video Soft Titles for Atari
In the description of my Amiga/Joyboard homage game Guru Meditation, I made the following statement: As far as I know there have been no games released for the joyboard since Mogul Maniac (not counting two unreleased Amiga prototypes from the early 80s), so Guru Meditation also reminds us of ...
June 9, 2011
Write a Platform Studies Book
...and secure your fame and fortune forever*
Nick Montfort and I were thinking about the Platform Studies series today, as we are wont to do. There are two books in the series that are nearing completion now, which we are delighted about, but there are many more to be written. We were talking about some platforms that ...
June 8, 2011
Book Reviews Aplenty
In the new issue of Game Studies
A new issue of the free online scholarly journal Game Studies has just been published. Game Studies is now in its eleventh year, a fact as startling as it is encouraging. In addition to new articles on games and pragmatist aesthetics, bishōjo games, serious games, and the use of music ...
June 3, 2011
Cow Poke
Edge Magazine's Feature on Cow Clicker
The May issue of the UK-based consumer videogame publication Edge Magazine included a four-page, full-color spread about Cow Clicker, written by David Thomas. Edge is sometimes hard to find in North America, but they recently put the piece online, so you can read it there. The article is fantastic. It's ...
May 30, 2011
Writing Books People Want to Read
Or, How to Stake Vampire Publishing
Alex Reid wrote an excellent rejoinder against academic book publishing last week. The post was inspired by a discussion at the recent Computers and Writing conference about traditional publishing versus blogging and other forms of digital publishing. It's an old, perhaps even a boring topic at this point, so Alex ...
May 22, 2011
Review of Cave of Forgotten Dreams
By my nine year-old
If you enjoyed my daughter's review of TRON: Legacy, or her recent take on Athens singer/songwriter Madeline, then I know what you've been asking yourself: When will she review a film by Werner Herzog? Mercifully, the wait is over. Her review of Cave of Forgotten Dreams appears below. I don't ...
May 19, 2011
Ebooks and Print Books
What Amazon.com's ebook sales figures really mean
Among the many overzealous, under-synthesized tech business stories today, perhaps the most surprising is the news that Amazon is now selling more ebooks than print books. 105 ebooks for every 100 print books, as it happens. While 105 > 100, a more accurate but less scintillating headline might be, "Amazon ...
May 18, 2011
What do Videogames do to Art?
A response to the NEA frenzy
Last week the National Endowment for the Arts announced their new call for proposals in an "Arts in Media" category. This category, in the NEA's words, "seeks to make the excellence and diversity of the arts widely available to the American public through the national distribution of innovative media projects ...
May 15, 2011
Free-Range Games
Videogames against Cognition, against Aesthetics
The Guardian ran a story today about videogames and cognition, which covers the usual assumption that games are popular/good/whatever because they tap into some innate cognitive drive, whether it be for learning or obsession. Good games, the article concludes, are the ones that do what we want, but that we ...
May 6, 2011
Preorder My New Book
How To Do Things with Videogames, coming late August
You can now preorder my new book, How To Do Things With Videogames. It's a shortish book, about videogames as a medium. The book includes new essays as well as new versions of earlier essays, bookended by a bit-sized theoretical argument about games as a medium. Here's the blurb, followed ...
May 1, 2011
@11ysses
Another reading of Ulysses on Twitter
Since 2007, Ian McCarthy and I have performed an act we call Twittering Rocks on June 16. It's a day otherwise known as Bloomsday, the day on which the events of James Joyce's novel Ulysses take place. Our rendition focuses on the central chapter of the book, Wandering Rocks, in ...
April 23, 2011
Mastering ATL
How to use Hartsfield-Jackson like a pro
As an expert user of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport. I thought it might be fun to share the methods I've devised for making use of the airport with minimal impact. These tips assume that you're a frequent flyer and not just a lamer leisure traveler. They also assume you're flying Delta, ...
April 16, 2011
Cathode
A terminal of yore
As someone who has worked on simulated television effects for Atari games, I was happy to learn about Cathode, a "vintage terminal emulator" for Mac. It simulates phosphor burn, screen curvature, glare, refresh rates, beam desyncrhonization, jitter, and other effects common to mini-computer terminals of yore. It's a functioning terminal ...
April 13, 2011
Newsgames Embrace Hard Complexity, not Easy Fun
A response to Paul Carr and Chris O'Brien
Cross-posted from PBS Idea Lab Earlier this month a group of journalists, game designers, and academics gathered at the University of Minnesota for a workshop on newsgames. I was there, as was fellow Knight News Challenge winner and San Jose Mercury News tech business writer Chris O'Brien. After the event, ...
April 3, 2011
Looking Busy
Newsgames and the Paralysis of Media
I'm at the University of Minnesota this weekend, where Nora Paul has organized a workshop on Newsgames. It's an excellent group, comprised of equal parts journalists, game developers, and academics. On the flight over, I read Ivor Southwood's Non-Stop Inertia. It's about the precarious nature of work in the contemporary ...
March 27, 2011
Aerotropolis
A review of the book by John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay
Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next is a book with a stark premise: historically, cities have developed and thrived around transportation technologies. The present age is that of the airplane, and cities will be built for and around them. What seaports were to the eighteenth century, railroads to the nineteenth, ...
March 22, 2011
Beyond Blogs
How do scholars want to read and write?
There's been a flurry of discussion in the speculative realism corner of the blogosphere over the last week about the nature of blogging as an academic pursuit. There are more posts than I can link or summarize (a point to which I'll return), but for now, you can read Adam ...
March 19, 2011
The Cleanup Quotient
On the pleasures and pains of home dining
When dining out, there are a number of criteria by which to judge one's meal. The quality of the food, of course, and its presentation, and the service, and the ambience for certain. Perhaps the value of the experience relative to expectations, and so forth. But the stakes are different ...
March 9, 2011
Getting Real
On the Digital Humanities
Each year, the organizers of the Day of Digital Humanities ask participants the question, "How do you define the digital humanities?" Recently I browsed the many responses scholars have offered over the years. They vary widely, from simple ("Humanities by digital means") to definitive ("The application of information, computing, and ...
March 7, 2011
ADM : Heinz :: Facebook : Zynga
GDC Social Game Debate
Now that I'm back from the Game Developers Conference, I'll post some summaries of my talks. Let's start with the Are social games legitimate? debate, which moderator Margaret Robertson quickly transformed into an "Are social games evil?" debate. I was clearly the only real detractor on the panel, and I'm ...
March 3, 2011
Cow Clicktivism
Click a cow, change the world
I know what you've been thinking. Sure, I enjoy clicking cows, but what good is it doing? Is cow clicking just for fun, or can cow clicking make the world a better place? Molleindustria and Cow Clicker are pleased to announce Cow Clicktivism, a cooperative social game with real-world impact. ...
February 26, 2011
Simulating Social Shame
How Spent missed the mark
There's a nice persuasive game making the rounds, called Spent. It was made by ad agency McKinney for the Urban Ministries of Durham. The game attempts to illustrate how easily financial hardship and low income work can devolve into homelessness. It does a pretty good job, too, taking the same ...
February 24, 2011
My GDC Schedule
Debates and Rants
The Game Developers Conference takes place next week in San Francisco. Here's my speaking schedule for the event. I guess it's filled with general ire this year all around. Serious Games SummitMonday - Tuesday (all day)Ben Sawyer, Jane McGonigal, and I organize the summit, which takes place on Monday and ...
February 21, 2011
My First Cow Clicker
Are you investing in your calf's future?
By now, the virtues of cow clicking are well-known and understood. But there's a problem: Cow Clicker is bound to Facebook, and to use Facebook one must be over the age of thirteen. Are our children meant to be cooped up indoors, never allowed to romp through pastures of their ...
February 17, 2011
Mission Uncritical
Facebook and Software Architecture
I've been thinking about software architecture lately, mostly as a result of continuing to suffer at the hands of Facebook's horrific platform and API. For those who haven't tried to use it, Facebook's platform is notoriously atrocious. It's badly documented and doesn't always do what the documentation says. It breaks ...
February 10, 2011
Releasing the Cows
In order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing.
Thanks to Glenn Essex for making me aware of this important Buddhist message about cows. Releasing the Cows (Told by Master Thich Nhat Hanh) One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of ...
February 5, 2011
The End of Conceptual Art
Lessons from iCapitalism
Whether via the lamentable trend of gamification or through the very public release of Jane McGonigal's new book, the topic of videogames' impact on the real world has been front-and-center of late. Enter iCapitalism, an iOS game that critiques both capitalism and iOS games through a simple design. As in ...
January 25, 2011
Computers are Systems, not Languages
On substituting programming languages for natural languages in the humanities
Last year I learned about a rumor swirling around the comparative literature department at UCLA, where I did my PhD. Supposedly I had managed to get C++ to count as one of the three languages required for the degree. It's not true, for the record, but it is a topic ...
January 24, 2011
RIP Jack LaLanne
Father of the first exercise videogame
Fitness expert Jack LaLanne died yesterday at age 96. He's most notable for starting the first health clubs, but anyone who lived with television in the late twentieth century couldn't have missed LaLanne's many programs and endorsements. Despite his fame, and despite the recent popularity of home fitness videogames like ...
January 20, 2011
Cowclickification
Anything you can click you can cow click!
Last year, the social gaming phenomenon Cow Clicker captured the world's imoogination, offering players the opportunity to click on a cow every six hours—or even more often. Since July 2010, more than 50,000 people have clicked over 50 breeds of cows over 5 million times, engorging their accownts with over ...
January 17, 2011
Koklickar
Cow Clicker in the Svenska Dagbladet
Here's the Cow Clicker cow displayed enormously across the culture section of the Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden's main newspaper. There's something tantalizing and disturbing about seeing the cow on newsprint. The article it accompanies can be read online, although it's in Swedish. ...
January 14, 2011
Reality is Alright
A review of Jane McGonigal's book Reality is Broken
Jane McGonigal's new book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World is destined to be one of the most influential works about videogames ever published. The book is filled with bold new ideas and refinements of old ones. It's targeted at ...
January 12, 2011
What is an App?
A shortened, slang application.
I've been thinking about this question a lot over the past year. It may sound silly given the ubiquity of the word, but despite all the "apps" on our phones and webpages and other devices, I'm not sure we have a good sense of what it means, or what that ...
January 9, 2011
Press Round-Up
In lieu of a real post
I've been busy since the holidays catching up and preparing for the new term, which makes this the requisite occasional "I haven't posted on the blog" blog post. Since I've been reduced to such self-referential shame, I figured I might as well take things even further and offer my readers ...
January 2, 2011
The Best of 2010
Year of the Cow
Switched.com ran a story offering their assement of The Best Tech Writing of 2010, and my piece Cow Clicker: The Making of Obsession. I'm in good company, too: others in the top 15 include Zadie Smith, Malcolm Gladwell, William Gibson, Gary Kasparov, and the inimitable Onion. I'd never heard of ...
December 31, 2010
2010
A summary
Here's a quick link summary of my 2010, including both major events/work and smaller moments that took the form of blog posts. Happy new year, all. Disney cease-and-desist - the turtlenecked hairshirt - the Art History of Games - Hacks, Remakes, and Demakes - Heavy Rain - Pascal spoken here ...
December 30, 2010
Review of TRON: Legacy
By my eight year-old
We saw TRON: Legacy. My eight year-old daughter wrote this review of the film, which she suggested would be appropriate for blogging. If you haven't seen Tron Legacy yet please for your own good don't go see it. Because if you did then you would almost definitely die of boredom. ...
December 30, 2010
Newsgames on Kindle
Just a quick note to let you know that our book Newsgames: Journalism at Play is now available on Kindle. The price is $9.99. Its been interesting to see the increase in demand for my books on Kindle. I've had a fair number of relatively anxious requests about when this ...
December 29, 2010
Click.
More Zynga bullshit
Kyle Orland, co-author of the forthcoming book Farmville for Dummies, writes this introduction to a two-part feature over at Gamasutra, by Tadhg Kelly. The title: "How Zynga's CityVille Has Compelled 70 Million Players." Given today's surprising new interest in Cow Clicker over on Reddit, I thought I'd share some delightful ...
December 27, 2010
Awkwardness.
A review of Adam Kotsko's book
Adam Kotsko's little book Awkwardness is a pleasurable and insightful read, yet another reminder that Zero Books is quickly becoming the trusted source for short, punchy works on philosophy and cultural theory. In the book, Kotsko offers a tiny theory of awkwardness: "The tension of awkwardness indicates that no ...
December 22, 2010
Cowfight!
Two cows battle for supremacy, and you decide the victor
In celebration of Gamasutra naming Cow Clicker one of the top 5 cult games of 2010, a glorious new feature is born! Cowfight! Now two cow types can battle to supremacy. Each click counts as a vote, thus buying and clicking a cow marks a player's support. Watch your cow ...
December 19, 2010
The Secret Life of Cities
Geoffrey West and Urban Withdrawal.
There's a terrific article in today's New York Times about theoretical physicist Geoffrey West's attempt to build a general-purpose logical model of cities. The way West describes his motivations, "I've always wanted to find the rules that govern everything," offers an elegant summation of why I find procedure a more ...
December 14, 2010
Specters of Tacology
To the burritos themselves!
Georgia Tech computer science PhD student Mark Nelson sends along what is surely the best piece of writing ever about ontology and burritos, Specters of Tacology. As Mark notes, I sometimes joke that after my career as a game scholar (a ludologist, if you insist) is over, I'll take up ...
December 13, 2010
Buffered Causation
Finding the Friction Point
There are many charming and lurid moments in Circus Philosophicus, Graham Harman's short, new book of philosophical myths. But this is the passage I find my mind returning to, in which Graham explains why causation is buffered: A thing does not come from the void and strike us like a ...
December 11, 2010
Clickistan
A game to support of the Whitney's annual fund
Clickistan may be the craziest thing I've seen recently. It's an abstract online art game by Ubermorgen.com, which is also and simultaneously a promotional game for the Whitney Museum of American Art's 2010 annual fund. The Whitney commissioned Clickistan, which they describe like this: a work of computer game ...
December 9, 2010
Philosophy of Computer Games
Call for Papers - in Athens!
It's not often that I get to address both my philosopher friends and my game friends at once, but this is such a case. The Philosophy of Computer Games has released a call for papers for the 2011 conference, which will take place April 6-11 in Athens, Greece. I'm on ...
December 5, 2010
Another Faculty Job Opening at Georgia Tech
in Digital Media / Public Media
My program at Georgia Tech has yet another job opening, in the area of civic digital media. I hope you might apply for it, or share it with those who might be a good match. The School of Literature, Communication, and Culture of the Georgia Institute of Technology seeks applications ...
December 2, 2010
Godville
A Zero-Player Game
Can't believe I missed this. Godville is a browser and iPhone game that bills itself as "zero-player," because, well, play doesn't require a player. Godville is a massively-multiplayer zero-player game (ZPG), playable in the browser. The gist of the Godville is a parody on everything from "typical" MMO games with ...
November 26, 2010
What is a Sports Videogame?
Video of my Vienna Games Conference Keynote
Earlier this fall I gave a keynote at the Vienna Games Conference, aka Future and Reality of Gaming, or FROG. The video of the talk has now been posted, and you can watch it in its entirety. The talk tries to answer the question in the title... the gist of ...
November 22, 2010
A Slow Year is Now Available
Please buy one!
I'm happy to announce that my award-winning game A Slow Year is now available for purchase. I often have the pleasure of announcing a new videogame I've made or book I've written. Today I get to do both for a single release, as A Slow Year is both a book ...
November 20, 2010
A Personal Appeal from Cow Clicker Creator Ian Bogost
We are soon entering our 6th month online, and I want to take a moment to ask you for your help in continuing our mission. Cow Clicker is facing new challenges and encountering new opportunities and both are going to require major funds. Cow Clicker is based on a ...
November 18, 2010
Los Angeles Litany
Game Design, Newsgames, Objects, and Whitehead
I'm doing a whole crap-ton of things in Los Angeles the week after Thanksgiving. First I'll be visiting Tracy Fullerton's game design class at USC on Monday. Next I'll be giving a talk on Newsgames at the USC Annenberg School, at noon on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, I'll be participating ...
November 15, 2010
Trying to Meet
An Email Found Poem
Sounds like Thursday lunch is a bust What does everyone's schedule look like Next week? I'm also available Thursday at 3:30 Unclear, I have this other thing at 2, or 4. Tuesday 14th lunch is fine with me Wed 8 11-12 also good I currently have a meeting 12-1 and ...
November 12, 2010
Process, Place, Relic, and Escalation
My Indiecade "Project Next" Talk
In addition to getting to exhibit (and collect two awards!) for A Slow Year at this year's Indiecade festival, I was also invited to do a talk at the conference portion of the event, in a session called "Project Next." Jon Blow, Chris Hecker, Alex Neuse, Paolo Pedercini and I ...
November 8, 2010
A Slow Year Limited Editions
Let me know if you want one.
A Slow Year is about to ship, and I'll be posting information about it in the very near future. As I've mentioned before, the game will be released in two editions, both packaged as unusual books of poetry: a Windows/Mac edition running in a custom emulator, and a numbered, signed ...
November 5, 2010
Object-Oriented Feminism
At the 2010 Society for Literature Science and the Arts Conference
Last week at the Society for Literature Science and the Arts conference, Katherine Behar organized two back-to-back panels on Object-Oriented Feminism (OOF). There were six papers total, and a response to each panel by Katherine Hayles and myself, respectively. To participants, Behar posed the question, "What would a program for ...
November 4, 2010
Diskinect in the Living Room
Why physical movement games are incompatible with our homes
The Microsoft Kinect is available today, and with it come innumerable reviews of its successes and flaws (find a summary of them at Gamasutra). A common property of many negative reviews is the enormous amount of living room space Kinect requires, far more than most people will have in a ...
November 2, 2010
The Newsgames Blog
Are you reading it?
Now that you've ordered your copy of Newsgames: Journalism at Play (you did that, right?) I'd like to remind you that the Newsgames blog is full to the brim with new content. You can find it at newsgames.gatech.edu/blog. Here are some of the latest posts: Pac-Man's Political Cartoon Games Representation ...
October 28, 2010
Any Questions?
More existential art from my daughter
You may remember my daughter's talent for existential art. Here's her latest offering. Click for a larger version. ...
October 25, 2010
Jobs at Georgia Tech
Two tenure-track lines in my school
The Georgia Tech School of Literature Communication and Culture, where I work, has just announced two tenure-track job openings. I've pasted the job ads below. I hope any of you who might be interested will apply, and I encourage the rest to spread the word. Job One - Digital Media ...
October 20, 2010
Vegetamorphism
Ent as Metaphorism
I just read Ted Friedman's thought-provoking article "The Politics of Magic: Fantasy Media, Technology, and Nature in the 21st Century," about the reasons for the rise of fantasy genres in popular culture. He's currently developing this line of thought into a book (to be titled Centaur Manifesto, I believe), but ...
October 16, 2010
Promiscuous Ontologies
OOO at the RMMLA
It was particularly appropriate to come to Albuquerque to speak on object-oriented ontology with Levi Bryant and Tim Morton. Why? Well, you'll have to wait for Alien Phenomenology to understand, but it will be clear on the first page. The RMMLA was lively and fun, much unlike it's bigger brother ...
October 13, 2010
A Slow Year Wins at Indiecade
My Atari VCS game earns Virtuoso, Vanguard awards
Last week and weekend I exhibited A Slow Year, my Atari VCS game poem project, at Indiecade. The show and the conference were fantastic, and it was a pleasure to meet new friends, see old ones, hear great talks, and see great games. I was particularly happy to meet Gaijin ...
October 11, 2010
Newsgames is Now Shipping
I've had a very busy week with both GDC Online and Indiecade, following right on the heels of two other conferences back home. There's much to report, and I'll be doing so in the coming days. For now, I want to note that Newsgames is now shipping, and you can ...
October 7, 2010
Ruminations on Cow Clicker
My GDC Online Talk
Yesterday I gave my talk at GDC Online, about Cow Clicker. You can read Gamasutra's recap of it, and you might also want to read Raph Koster's thoughts. Next stop, Indiecade, where I'll be showing A Slow Year. ...
October 3, 2010
Period Pieces
Cultural Studies, circa 1995
I recently fell upon this reprint of a Lingua Franca article from 1995, "The Routledge Revolution: Has Academic Publishing Gone Tabloid?" written about Bill Germano during the golden age of cultural studies book publishing. One thing is for certain: By spotting intellectual trends ahead of the curve and responding with ...
September 29, 2010
A Slow Year Cover Art
The book jacket for my game
A Slow Year has gone to the printer at long last. I thought I'd share the jacket art. I've shown the illustration here before, but not the cover. This is the jacket for the standard edition, which will be available in trade paperback with software for Windows and Mac. The ...
September 27, 2010
Red Means Stop. So Does Rain.
Why do Atlanta traffic lights go out when it rains?
I've complained about this before in passing, on Twitter, but it's become such a major issue for my sanity that I now feel compelled to work through it. Today it's raining in Atlanta. When it rains in Atlanta, no matter how mild is the rain, the traffic lights go out. ...
September 25, 2010
What Goes on Inside Houses
Žižek on Videogames and Reality
Slavoj Žižek tends to make occasional offhand references to videogames. Here's one from an interview in New Scientist from last month (read it here instead if you don't have a subscription) And what is your take on reality? There is an old philosophical idea about God being stupid and crazy, ...
September 21, 2010
Philosophy and Simulation
DeLanda on Computation
Apparently Manuel DeLanda has a new book on philosophy and computer simulations. It's titled Philosophy & Simulation: The Emergence of Synthetic Reason, and is scheduled for release in spring 2011. Here's the blurb: In his new book, the internationally renowned Manuel DeLanda provides a remarkably clear philosophical overview of the ...
September 20, 2010
Me in Playboy
In the articles, I mean
Playboy runs a "top professors" feature in their annual college issue, and I am fortunate to be one of the twenty profs baring my intellectual gifts in the October issue, even if in brief (not in briefs though). The rest, I'm afraid, will have to be left to your imagination. ...
September 18, 2010
Metaphysics is a Subway
Philosophy as Engineering
Harman offers the following provocation over two posts this week: Building a philosophy is more like trying to build the world's best subway system than like trying to be an ascetic monk --or revolutionary, for that matter-- standing in a lofty tower and bemoaning the filth and disease of the ...
September 16, 2010
Vygotsky on Real Objects
Via my doctoral student (and Newsgames co-author) Simon Ferrari, this snippet from Lev Vygotsky's classic text Mind in Society: A special feature of human perception—which arises at a very young age—is the perception of real objects. This is something for which there is no analogy in animal perception. By this ...
September 14, 2010
Newsgames Excerpted
in The Atlantic online
Our book Newsgames: Journalism at Play should be hitting the streets in a couple weeks. If you're eager to get your hands on some of the material in advance, you'll be happy to learn that The Atlantic just published an excerpt from the first chapter, which you can read here. ...
September 11, 2010
"This Question of Language"
Derrida on September 11
In October, 2001, Giovanna Borradori conducted an interview with Jacques Derrida about the 9/11 attacks. The result was paired with a similar conversation with Jurgen Habermas, and published as Philosophy in a Time of Terror. You can read exerpts of both interviews online. I happened to read the interview ...
September 9, 2010
Quotables
Stuff I said to the Press
I thought I'd share few recent mentions of me in the media. I try not to do this with every little mention, but all of these are really good articles that you should read anyway. First, Chris Suellentrop's New York Times Magazine story Video Games that Bring Afghanistan Home. It's ...
September 7, 2010
Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment
circa 1979
A few years ago dynamic difficulty adjustment for videogames became a hot topic, first in the research world and then in game design too, thanks to titles like Left 4 Dead. Design novelty and technical innovation, right? As usual, not really. Here's the abstract of a patent filed 31 years ...
September 2, 2010
Art History of Games on YouTube
Videos of the Art History of Games talks are now available on YouTube. They're a bit easier to watch this way, not to mention easier to embed. The whole event was so superb, it's tough for me to pick favorites. But if I had to, I'd probably settle on talks ...
August 31, 2010
It's This for That
The Inflation of Absurdity
A website has been making the rounds over the past few days, called It's This for That. It's one of those simple, satirical text generators, of which there are dozens by now. This one target's today's technology startups, answering the question, "Wait, what does your startup do?" with a simple ...
August 30, 2010
Two Books, One Summer
Alien Phenomenology and How to Do Things with Videogames
My goal this summer was to finish two books I'd been working on. By July I had some concerns, as writing wasn't coming as easily as I'd hoped, and then I got overwhelmed by the unexpected stampede of cows. But I just completed the second manuscript, and I'll admit I'm ...
August 29, 2010
Persuasive Games in Paperback
Cheaper and Floppier!
Persuasive Games is finally available in paperback! You can see it in all its perfect-bound glory at the bottom of this post. This is great news for everyone, as the paperback copy now costs a mere $12.82 on Amazon.com. If you prefer the hardcover, it's down to $23.40, and the ...
August 26, 2010
Art History of Games: Video
Go watch the awesome talks
Back in February, Georgia Tech Digital Media and SCAD Atlanta held the Art History of Games conference, which I organized along with Michael Nitsche and John Sharp. We had an amazing group of speakers as well as an opening for three commissioned games. It was unbelievably amazing in every way ...
August 25, 2010
Academic Mumblespeak
Stop it.
A week or so ago, I had a Twitter discussion with a few academics about writing pet peeves. I'd started the exchange with this simple request: Free advice to academics: if you find yourself writing "in many ways," stop and delete it. Other suggestions followed. Alice Daer suggested "the ways ...
August 24, 2010
The Magic Carpet
Notes on Glamour
When I was an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, the Academy Awards were still being held at the Shrine Auditorium, which is located just north of Jefferson, directly across the street from campus. It's quite a structure, built in the Moorish Revival style and opened in 1926. At ...
August 20, 2010
Digital Printing Won't Save Scholarly Publishing
...but a few successful books might
Via my colleague Mark Guzdial, I've just learned that Rice University Press is being shut down entirely. It's unfortunate to see a university press shuttered, but it comes as no surprise that some will fall given the perfect storm of a terrible current economic climate in both universities and in ...
August 19, 2010
Modernauts
Uhm, freeplay is the disruption of presence?
Finally! A way to connect the recent "Derrida Debates" to videogames! Behold Modernauts. It's inspired by the well-received Nintendo DS puzzle game Scribblenauts, in which the player solved puzzles by typing in the names of objects, which would appear for use in the puzzle. To complete it, the player would ...
August 18, 2010
The University of Stockholm Syndrome
On the "adjunct problem"
Brian Croxall writes in response to Anthony Grafton's New Republic review of Louis Menand's book The Marketplace of Ideas. In brief, one of Menand's suggestions is to admit fewer graduate students and shorten the time to the PhD to combat the lack of job opportunities; Grafton responds that grad school ...
August 16, 2010
DerridaGate
Or is that De(rrida)bate?
This is the post in which I point to the latest installment in the almost-infamous 2010 Derrida Debates without commenting on them: Derrida's supposed textualism, by Adam Kotso at An und für sich Realism is de rigueur, by Levi Bryant at Larval Subjects What, you didn't believe me? ...
August 14, 2010
Is Cow Clicker a Travesty?
On the different sorts of satire
What is Cow Clicker? Is it a satire? Yes, but it's more complicated than that: it's also a real game that people can (and as it would seem, many thousands do) play "in earnest." That's caused a number of people to ask if it ought to be taken seriously as ...
August 11, 2010
The Sciences, The Humanities, and Design
Nelson on Cross on Design
Mark Nelson wrote up an interesting bit on design as the third discipline, in which he suggests that design is a kind of third-term offset against the old science/humanities split. Mark notes that Whitehead is a precursor to such thinking, albeit in his educational writings rather than his metaphysics: There ...
August 10, 2010
Top 10 Ways Bartenders Screw Up My Old Fashioneds
Plus, how to make one properly.
The Old Fashioned is one of a few common cocktails for me, both when I'm at home and when I'm out. However, when ordering one at a bar, the likelihood of something going mildly to terribly wrong is disturbingly high. That in mind, I present the Top 10 Ways Bartenders ...
August 9, 2010
Speculations I
A new journal of speculative realism
If you follow the speculative realism blogs you know this already, but many readers here who don't might be interested in this anyway: the first issue of the new journal Speculations has been released. The mission: "a journal of speculative realism that hopes to provide a forum for the exploration ...
August 7, 2010
On Coming Out as a Realist
Morton Joins the OOO Mafia
Tim Morton has just announced his "coming out" as an object-oriented ontologist. For those of you haven't been following Morton, he's the author of The Ecological Thought and Ecology Without Nature, and his views on an interconnected "mesh" of life forms is one you should know about. There is something ...
August 6, 2010
Cow Clicker Cloned!
Dip your pointer into Fish Feeder
Cow Clicker is now officially a real Facebook game. How do I know? Because it's been copied! Christian Primozich has created Fish Feeder, which takes Cow Clicker's "innovative" cow clicking mechanics and applies them to the equally common social game genre of fish fondling. You can play it here. It's... ...
August 5, 2010
Non-Human Media
Interview with Eric McLuhan
Harman points to Figure-Ground Communication's interview with Eric McLuhan. It includes a question from Harman about Laws of Media, namely "why did they they the tetrad to human artifacts?" Of course, this is also the question Levi and I will pose in our planned book on McLuhan. McLuhan doesn't really ...
August 1, 2010
Halo 2600
Ed Fries demakes Halo for Atari
Ed Fries, who used to run game publishing for Xbox, has created a demake of Halo for the Atari 2600. I'd talked to Ed about the project when I was exhibiting A Slow Year at the IGF this year, and he'd been kind enough to show me some late stage ...
July 29, 2010
Against Aca-Fandom
On Jason Mittell on Mad Men
Television scholar Jason Mittell doesn't like the television show Mad Men, and he's written an article about why. It wasn't news to me; indeed, I'm one of the interlocutors he mentions having argued with about the show on Twitter and elsewhere. I knew Jason was writing this piece and I've ...
July 28, 2010
Weird Media and Tiny Ontology
Two Teasers
I'm behind in keeping up with my corner of the philosophy blogosphere. In part I've been distracted by cow clickery, but more so I've been spending as much time as possible writing Alien Phenomenology, which I fully intend to complete before the end of August. I'm thus offering two teasers ...
July 26, 2010
Moos and Merch
Cow Clicker coverage and crap
I wasn't entirely prepared for the runaway success of Cow Clicker after it's release last week Indeed in the near future, I might pose the question of what counts as "success" for such a work. In the meantime, here's a quick rundown of a few of the more lively discussions ...
July 24, 2010
Website Updates
New stuff and new ways to get it
A few housekeeping notes this weekend. First, I've updated the Speculative Realism Aggregator to include the blogs of Jeff Bell ("Aberrant Monism) and Tim Morton ("The Ecological Thought"). If there are any other blogs that belong in the system that I'm missing, let me know. Second, you may not know ...
July 21, 2010
Cow Clicker
The Making of Obsession
(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1&appId=111596662223307"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Also read Wired Magazine's January 2012 feature on Cow ClickerI made a Facebook game about Facebook games, called Cow Clicker. You can go play ...
July 12, 2010
Social Games on Trial
NYU Video Game Seminar IV
Jesper Juul has been organizing videogame theory seminars at NYU. This week, I'm going to be participating in the sixth iteration of said series, "social games on trial." Aki Järvinen will take the pro-social games position, and I will fill my court-ordered role as naysayer. The official announcement appears below. ...
July 9, 2010
The Mereology of Cola
On generic names for carbonated soft drinks
Harman links to this lovely map infographic of generic names for soft drinks in the United States (click below for a bigger version). It's been around for a while but is worth revisiting in light of a few points Graham makes in his post. First, Graham wonders what comprises the ...
July 6, 2010
Thank Galt I've Stockpiled
Let's Laugh at Libertarians
After a few days talking about Marxism here and elsewhere, I figured it would be good to spread my wings and pick on libertarians. Here are two specimens. First, from cartoonist Barry Deutsch comes the 24 Types of Libertarians (or click on the cartoon for a legible version at Deutsch's ...
July 4, 2010
Letting Go
The Realist Invitation and the Correlationist Imperative
A lively discussion erupted from my post on philosophy and politics of a few days ago. Among other things, commenters revisited the relationship between ontology and politics, issues OOO proponents in particular have attempted to disentangle. Among the many lengthy comments from David Rylance comes this snippet, which may have ...
July 2, 2010
There are no Blown Calls in Football
On World Cup officiating and the nature of Soccer
The topic of World Cup officiating came up in the comments on my recent Gamasutra column. I offered some thoughts there, but given the fact that the quarter final matches will start up today, it seemed worth rescuing those thoughts from the noise of web page comments. Specifically, I've been ...
July 1, 2010
Slow Media
A manifesto and blog
Given that I'm currently completing a project called A Slow Year, and given that it is, somewhat poetically, taking longer than I anticipated to finish, and given that I'm resolved to do it right rather than to do it fast, given all those things I was intrigued to learn of ...
June 29, 2010
I am not a Marxist
More on Politics and Philosophy
In recent days there's been a flare-up of discussion about speculative realism and politics. It's a more mild and reasoned one than previous debates, with contributions well worth reading. First read Chris Vitale's post Queering Speculative Realism. Then read Diversifying Speculative Realisms on Archive Fire. After that go read Levi ...
June 28, 2010
I felt a little like Oppenheimer
Gary Yost on Videogames
Gary Yost, creator of 3D Studio Max, on videogames in San Francisco Magazine: Several years later, Autodesk saw Yost's work and gave him a contract to start developing three-dimensional design software. That got Yost jazzed up; his father was an architect, and he loved the idea of helping to build ...
June 27, 2010
Latertasking
How multitasking really works on iOS 4
Despite the fact that I develop for iPhone, I can't tolerate using beta versions of the OS on my personal device. So it was only last week that I I installed iOS 4 on my iPhone last week. Ever since, I've been trying to grasp how the widely-anticipated multitasking feature ...
June 25, 2010
Playful & Playable
Plus yet another update on A Slow Year
My forthcoming game A Slow Year is on exhibit at a show curated by Lara Sánchez Coterón, Playful & Playable: Critica y Experimentacion con Videojuegos. It runs until September 15 at Sala Amarica, in Vitoria Gasteiz (in northern Spain). Here's a description of the exhibition, which also includes work by ...
June 22, 2010
Mommy, Can I Be Daniel Larusso for Halloween?
Thoughts on Karate Kid
Recently I've been interested in remakes, so I was eager to see The Karate Kid, which revisits the now-classic 1984 film of the same name. The remake is one of the most faithful I can remember; in a time (in a world?) of updates and adaptations that wax nostalgic about ...
June 19, 2010
Objects and Videogames
Why I Am Interested in Both
Like every sane person who does anything in public, I egosearch to see how people are reacting to things I'm doing. I use a few tools, but mostly Icerocket, which offers a condensed view of blog, Twitter, news, and Facebook reactions to search terms. The latter results are new, thanks ...
June 17, 2010
Cartoonist
Our Winning Project in the 2010 Knight News Challenge
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's News Challenge award winners were announced Wednesday at MIT, and my project was among the 12 of 2,400 entries to have been awarded a grant. It's research I'm working on with my colleague Michael Mateas (UC Santa Cruz). Here's a summary of ...
June 16, 2010
Burgertimeology
You've just thrown away a lot of points, and a lot of peppers
This is amazing. ...
June 13, 2010
Object-Oriented Rhetoric
Thoughts on the RSA panel papers
I've now had a chance to read three of the four papers from the RSA Object Oriented Rhetoric panel. Jim Brown's summary is quite accurate, and I also recommend Nate's thoughts on the potential of OOR. Here I'll offer an overview of my reading of the papers, followed my my ...
June 11, 2010
The Rancor of Rhetoricians
Object-Oriented Misunderstandings
A while back Jim Brown mentioned to me that there would be an object-oriented rhetoric panel at this year's Rhetoric Society of America conference. Jim attended RSA but wasn't able to make the panel; still, he's managed to dig up the papers and he wrote up a summary over on ...
June 10, 2010
Cross about Crosswords
Graham has a short post up mentioning Heidegger's distaste for the crossword puzzle. Given that we have a whole chapter about crosswords and related puzzles in Newsgames, I'm particularly keen to read this if anyone digs it up. Heidegger's reaction was actually quite common. Some may not realize that the ...
June 8, 2010
The Spring Handhelds
Apple and the Rhetoric of Change
Now that yet another Steve Jobs keynote is over, I find myself more interested in what Apple was saying about itself than what others are saying about its new gadgets. Despite my apparent pique pommaire, I like Apple stuff. I do my computing on a Mac and I have an ...
June 4, 2010
The Cocktail Party Test
Branding Your Weird Academic Field
I've been meaning to post a link to Ethan Watrall's April article Building an Interdisciplinary Identity in a (Mostly) Non-Interdisciplinary Academic World. It includes a number of tips for branding yourself as an academic when working outside of or in-between traditional fields. I know that many academics, particularly those straggler ...
June 2, 2010
A Slow Tease
Updates on the Development and Release of A Slow Year
One of the lovely things about making a videogame called A Slow Year is that I can take as damn well long as I please to get it done. But that doesn't mean I don't owe an update to those of you who have been following the game. At the ...
June 1, 2010
Dropping Out to Enroll
A Question About Academia.edu
I've been noticing a lot more activity via Academia.edu (it's a social network for academics, for those of you fortunate enough not to be one and who might not be familiar). I wonder if folks are creating new accounts or reanimating old ones partly because of recent dissatisfaction with Facebook's ...
May 28, 2010
Two Immanent Deadlines
Indie Games and Code and Los Angeles
I have two June 1 deadlines to remind you (and myself) about: (1) The IndieCade independent game festival. You can submit online. The festival will be held October 8-10 in Culver City, CA. (2) The Critical Code Studies conference. It will be held July 23, 2010 at USC. Both are ...
May 26, 2010
TNT Airlines Safety Video Parody
For medium light, pull the shade to its middle section
Check out this funny send-up of an airline safety video: I particularly love the unreasonably extended instruction for using the window shade, but the entire thing is choice satire. ...
May 23, 2010
Rorty Roundup
Summaries, Papers, and Blogs
An update on the aftermath of last week's Rorty conference. First, organizer Liz Losh has posted detailed accounts of all the sessions on her blog: Part 1, archives Part 2, data Part 3, philosophy Part 4, public intellectualism Part 5, rhetoric Part 6, closing I spent part of last week ...
May 20, 2010
Endless String of Meaningless Buzzwords
The Onion on Foursquare
Leave it to The Onion to say what we're all thinking, or should be, about Web 2.0 "social games" like Foursquare. "Foursquare is a little bit of everything—a friend-finder, a local city guide, an interactive mobile game," said company cofounder Dennis Crowley, as if reading from the same tired script ...
May 16, 2010
Remembering Rorty
Pragmatism and Realism
On Friday I was honored to participate in Time Will Tell, But Epistemology Won't, a conference in memory of Richard Rorty and in celebration of the opening of his collection of papers in the UC Irvine Critical Theory Archive. Particular attention was given to the "born digital" materials, which are ...
May 12, 2010
The Objects Speak
Audio Proceedings of the Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium
Did you miss last month's Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium? Lament no more. Recordings of the talks are now online at the conference website. You can download them individually as MP3 files or get an archive of all the talks in one fell swoop. Total running time is 5 hours 49 minutes. ...
May 10, 2010
Duchamp's Grandchildren
Videogames as Art
From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Nothing is new under the sun. (thanks to Aaron Lanterman) ...
May 8, 2010
Preorder Newsgames
You can now preorder Newsgames from Amazon.com. As I post this, the price is $16.47, which is pretty good for a hardcover. It's possible the price will change, but it's only likely to get cheaper if it does. Oh, and the October 2010 date is a books in print date. ...
May 6, 2010
Flash is not a Right
What Gripes about Apple tell us about Computational Literacy
I've been watching reactions to Apple's controversial decision to prohibit the publication of iPhone applications created in environments other than Apple's own. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C ...
May 3, 2010
Affluence and Activism
Richard Rorty on Politics, circa 1998
I've been reading a bunch of reviews, interviews, and other secondary materials about Richard Rorty in preparation for next week's event at UC Irvine. Among the works that will get mention in my talk is the 1998 book Achieving Our Country. I thought I'd share a snippet from a Rorty ...
May 1, 2010
Hildegard ate most of the tacos!
Mereology and the Partitive Plural
Levi Bryant has written a drove of meaty new posts in the past couple days. There's one about his blue mug, one about entanglement, one that asks if eclipses are objects, and one about ideology. But it's his post about strange mereologies that I want to point you to today. ...
April 30, 2010
NONOBJECT
Design Beyond the Object
In addition to our new book Newsgames, the Fall 2010 MIT Press catalog (PDF) includes a wonderful new title called NONOBJECT, by designer Branko Lukić (frog design, IDEO) and writer Barry M. Katz (California College of Design). I paste the press's blurb below in its entirety, it's so lurid and ...
April 30, 2010
To Twee
verb
I'm still using Twitter, for better or worse. But I realized today that I quite frequently abort my tweets before posting them, usually due either to mounting ennui or anticipatory shame. Therefore, I hereby coin the following: "To twee" is to type something into Twitter but then not post it. ...
April 28, 2010
Ooh, Objects
Object-Oriented Ontology Recordings, Book, Mirth
As Levi has revealed, he and I are putting together a book, Object-Oriented Ontology. It will carry both the proceedings of last week's symposium, as well as new contributions from Katherine Behar, Melanie Doherty, Katherine Hayles, and Adrian Ivakhiv. We may add at least one more contribution as well, stay ...
April 27, 2010
A Litany of Litanies
Reactions to the Latour Litanizer
Levi just posted a link to my Latour Litanizer, which has generated a bunch of new traffic to and reflection about the tool. Over at Effervescent Crucibles, Michael points out that the litanizer tends to bring up people quite frequently. As he observes, "it points to the fact that, because ...
April 25, 2010
Me in a Time of Error
Interview for Gratton's Realism Course
Peter Gratton was kind enough to interview me in conjunction with his realism course. You can read the interview here, on his blog Philosophy in a Time of Error. You might also want to revisit the previous interviews with Harman and Bennett. Bryant's is coming up next. I'm at a ...
April 24, 2010
Object-Oriented Ontology: Over
The Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium went off without a hitch today. All of the talks were excellent, as was the discussion. In addition to local attendees from Georgia Tech, Emory, and state of Georgia institutions, we also welcomed out-of-towners from Florida, North Carolina, New York, Maryland, and more. The talks and ...
April 22, 2010
Gratton Interviews Bennett
Peter Gratton has been interviewing some of the authors of readings in his speculative realism class this term. The latest interview, with Jane Bennett just went online. Bennet is the author of this year's Vibrant Matter which you should probably read. Earlier Gratton interviewed Graham Harman, and his interview questions ...
April 20, 2010
OOO: This Week!
It's a very busy week. I just got back from a quick trip to Los Angeles, and now I'm making the final preparations for the Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium this Friday at Georgia Tech. I hope to see you there. Despite some very reasonable concerns about the volcanic ash mess disrupting ...
April 17, 2010
Newsgames Described
Cover, blurb, price, etc.
MIT Press has put up the informational webpage for Newsgames, and the book should be appearing in the catalog and in books in print (and therefore at Amazon et al) soon enough. You can read the description on the MIT Press site, and I've also pasted it below. The list ...
April 15, 2010
Time Will Tell, But Epistemology Won't
Richard Rorty archive event at UC Irvine
My colleague Liz Losh is organizing an event at UC Irvine next month in celebration of the opening of the Richard Rorty born-digital archives at that institution's library. The event must have the best title in recent memory, "Time Will Tell, But Epistemology Won't." The schedule looks great, with folks ...
April 12, 2010
The Rhetorics of Spring
Software grows like new leaves
Thanks to Jan Holmevik, Cynthia Haynes for hosting me and Greg Ulmer at Clemson University last week. The occasion was a seminar and symposium on games and rhetoric, organized thanks to Victor Vitanza and his Pre/Text journal. I enjoyed lively conversation with students and faculty alike. Somehow it was the ...
April 8, 2010
Newsgames Book Jacket
Extra! Extra!
Behold the book jacket for Newsgames: Journalism at Play, to be published this summer. ...
April 5, 2010
Philosophy Book Guy
I would like to return your quote-unquote Critique
Peter Gratton's letter to a a student, and Graham Harman's response to it, reminded me of an observation I've wanted to share about academic discourse in general. There's a fictional character from The Simpsons known as Comic Book Guy. Offering sarcastic quips about his "favorite" comics and television shows (often ...
April 3, 2010
Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium Schedule
I've posted the schedule for the Object-Oriented Ontology symposium (April 23 at Georgia Tech). Titles and abstracts are there, as well as the overall flow of the day. Once again, the event is free and open to the public. If you know you're going to attend, please do sign up ...
April 2, 2010
Regret, Regret, Regret
Halo and Philosophy
Did you enjoy reading The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy and World of Warcraft and Philosophy? Do you wish you'd written an article for a collection like that? Do you fancy yourself an elite supersoldier like Master Chief? Then maybe you should pen a chapter for the just-announced Halo and ...
March 30, 2010
How to Speak in Public
Me and Harman on Giving Lectures
After an email conversation he and I had, Graham offers some thoughts on the best way to give talks. Here was my original off-the-cuff thought: One of the lessons I’ve learned in the past five years is that there is no right way to give a talk. There are, however, ...
March 29, 2010
Mario on the Dole
The adult future of your favorite game characters
Here's another fun excerpt from the forthcoming Newsgames book, from the chapter on "Platforms." Once the playthings of children, characters like The Legend of Zelda’s Link and Super Mario Bros.’ Mario are now blank canvases ready to accept adult scenarios like political scandal, insurance fraud, dysfunctional health coverage, spousal abuse, ...
March 26, 2010
Objects in Theory and Practice
Thoughts on the Object-Oriented Empiricist
Via Bryant, I just discovered the blog Struggles with Philosophy. I'm not sure who the author is, but as Levi points out, discussion there has recently taken up Object-Oriented Ontology. Here's an excerpt from the latest salvo. At one level I want to differentiate between the theory (or philosophy) of ...
March 22, 2010
Being in the World Movie
Guys with Beards talk about Heidegger
Check out this awesomely insane forthcoming film by Tao Ruspoli, about philosophy and the reception of Heidegger. It's called Being in the World, and the filmmaker characterizes it as "an attempt to bring profound philisophical ideas to a non-academic audience." From the film blurb: Being in the World is a ...
March 20, 2010
I Wore Pixel Socks
Interview about A Slow Year
At the IGF, Adam Niese over at PixelSocks interviewed me about A Slow Year. The interview is now online, and you can read it at PixelSocks.com. Issues we discussed include the idea of the "game poem," how instructions and other meta-textual materials contribute to a work, reactions and expectations for ...
March 18, 2010
Playing Political Games
On the White House and Videogames
In a large theater at the 2010 Game Developers Conference, ten thousand game makers gathered for the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice awards ceremonies, where the best indie and mainstream games of the year are celebrated by and for their creators. In between the two, an unusual video ...
March 17, 2010
Jobs of the Future: Coffee Engineer
Caffeinating at Georgia Tech
There are many good things about Georgia Tech, but coffee is not one of them. On campus, after 3pm, it's almost impossible to find coffee. I find this utterly baffling. My seminar this term meets 2-5pm Wednesdays. We take a break around 3:30. The coffee stand in the student center ...
March 12, 2010
A Slow Year Cover Art
GDC continues, and I owe this site updates. For now, a small one. I gave a short talk about A Slow Year at the Nuovo Sessions today, in which I revealed the cover and label art for the game. I thought I'd post those here for the rest of you, ...
March 10, 2010
An Atari Travels
My VCS Goes to GDC
As you may remember, I brought my Atari out to GDC for the Independent Game Festival. It's been having an unusual time indeed during its travels, and I believe it hasn't seen this much excitement in some 33 years. Here are some highlights: In the Delta SkyClub Stowed under the ...
March 7, 2010
Exergames, Microtalks, Nuovo Sessions, and More
My 2010 Game Developers Conference schedule
This week is the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. For those of you who want to catch up with me there, here's my speaking schedule for the week: Tuesday and Wednesday I'm co-hosting the Serious Games Summit (with Ben Sawyer and Jane McGonigal). I'll be moderating two panels there, ...
March 5, 2010
Exhaust Objects
Thoughts from an Atari 1978 Board and ROM
In anticipation of the Independent Game Festival next week, today I constructed the first two cartridges of A Slow Year. More on that soon, but for now I wanted to share the object below, residue from the construction. It's a board holding a 2k mask ROM for an Atari game. ...
March 4, 2010
We Have Never Been Threshing
Winner, Weirdest Use of a Combine Metaphor
From Moral Leadership in a Postmodern Age, by Ron Hill: If modernity acted like a combine harvester, sweeping away the old crop and transforming it into uniformly square bales, postmodernity allows some of the crops to survive and even to be replanted amidst the bales. It's sort of awesome. Maybe ...
February 28, 2010
Philosopher Slab Poems, in Pixels and Letters
Also, win a copy of a book I haven't yet written
Sometimes serious ideas emerge from the strangest places. Last week Harman tossed an offhand question onto his blog: Who is the most overrated philosopher?. It sparked quite serious discussion all over. So serious that before long, Harman found himself wondering if an anthology of opinions on "overrated philosophers" could indeed ...
February 27, 2010
How to Turn Heavy Rain into a Restroom Simulator
The Urinal Sublime
I'm still working my way through Heavy Rain, and I'll save my comments about the game until I finish. For now, I broke it in an interesting way that's worth sharing. When you are playing as Norman Jayden in the police headquarters, it is possible to go into the men's ...
February 26, 2010
A scientist, a philosopher, and an engineer walk into a conference...
Courtesy of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, I bring you a cartoon comparing scientists, philosophers, and engineers. It speaks for itself, of course, but I'll make two observations about it nevertheless. First, the cartoon thinks it's mocking scientists and philosophers, but when I read it, it's the engineer who looks like ...
February 23, 2010
A Slow Year Nears
Updated Screenshots and Trailer
As the IGF approaches, I have a few updates to relate about A Slow Year. First, expect to see a number of interviews with me about the game emerging over the next two weeks. The first is on Rock Paper Shotgun, and I'll report back when the others drop. My ...
February 21, 2010
Materialisms
The Stuff of Things is Many
The past few days have witnessed a flurry of comments on the use and misuse of "materialism" in philosophy, starting with Gratton and continuing with Harman (1, 2) and Bryant. Gratton hits the nail on the head when he asks, "What kind of material would we even be talking about?" ...
February 19, 2010
Pascal Spoken Here
Learning about Learning Programming from the Apple ][
Among the many, many things we talk about when we discuss curriculum for the Computational Media degree is how to make learning programming facile and appealing all throughout a student's career. Many sub-problems arise, for example, how can one help students learn new languages and environments after they've become familiar ...
February 17, 2010
Chicken's Revenge
Hacking Freeway
Today in my Atari Hacks, Remakes, and Demakes class we talked about disassembling binaries and doing graphical hacks. These are the simplest kind of ROM hacks to do, as they only require changes to data in the disassembly, which is usually relatively easy to find and identify. My in-class example ...
February 15, 2010
Mel Brooks, Ontologist
from Videogaming Illustrated, October 1982
One of my students found a bunch of old computer and videogame magazines and shared them with me last week. I've been slowly perusing them as time allows, and I found something surprising in the October 1982 issue of Videogaming Illustrated. It's from a multi-page feature called Star Words, in ...
February 12, 2010
"People are More Important than Things"
What the Wall Said
One of my students found and snapped this plaque at last week's Art History of Games symposium. When mounted in an art museum like the High, an inscription this strives to remind its visitors that they stand above the artifacts held hostage in the galleries, despite the apparent attention paid ...
February 9, 2010
Information is Beautiful
...but it's not necessarily informative
My next book, Newsgames: Journalism at Play (co-authored with my graduate students Simon Ferrari and Bobby Schweizer), is being prepared for publication, and it should hit the streets in late summer of this year. In anticipation, I'll try to offer some occasional previews of the content we cover in the ...
February 6, 2010
The Art History of Games
Day 2 and Exhibition Opening
We're already into the third and final day of the Art History of Games symposium, and as an organizer I haven't even tried to blog the talks. You're best bet is to check out coverage online (Gamasutra covered part, but not all, of yesterday's sessions), or to review the Twitter ...
February 4, 2010
The Art History of Games
Day One
This evening we began the Art History of Games symposium here in Atlanta, organized by Savannah College of Art and Design - Atlanta and Georgia Tech. After introductions, myself and my co-organizers John Sharp and Michael Nitsche presented a discussion of the concept of an art history of games. Then ...
February 3, 2010
Objects & Things
DiSalvo joins the party
My colleague Carl DiSalvo, who will participate in this April's OOO Symposium, has started up a blog: Objects & Things. The site will offer another perspective on objects, that of design. I've added it to the SR Aggregator. ...
January 31, 2010
Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium
April 23, 2010 at Georgia Tech
I'm happy to announce that we'll be hosting the first Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium at Georgia Tech, on Friday April 23, 2010. Speakers include myself, Levi Bryant, Graham Harman, and Steven Shaviro, with respondents from the local Atlanta area: my Georgia Tech colleagues Hugh Crawford, Carl DiSalvo, and Eugene Thacker, and ...
January 30, 2010
The Sanitary Handheld
Public Rhetoric and the iPad
I swore I wasn't going to write anything about Apple's newly announced iPad, but I suppose it's unavoidable. Instead of its benefits or flaws, however, what's interested me the most about the gadget is the public reaction to its name. It seems that back in 2007, MadTV wrote a spoof ...
January 25, 2010
The New Nerd Mafia
Me in the Best of Atlanta
The Atlantan just put out their annual Best of Atlanta issue, and it includes a "design" section which features a handful of Georgia Tech researchers, myself among them. You can read it online; you'll just have to navigate to page 34-35, where the article begins. There are some zingers. As ...
January 20, 2010
Year of the Woman
What the state of women in Hollywood's tells us about women in games
Today I listened to NPR On Point on the ride home. The topic was "A big year for Hollywood women?", with film critics Manohla Dargis and Nicole LaPorte discussing (and deflating) recent buzz about the "Year of the Woman" in movies. If you listen to the show online, you'll be ...
January 18, 2010
The Marketplace of Ideas
Louis Menand's new book on professors and professionalization
Via Peter Gratton, I've just read Slate's detailed review of Louis Menand's new book The Marketplace of Ideas, about the state of the university and the anxiety of the professoriate. Given that my own feelings about such matters are far less measured and far more informal than Menand's, I'll look ...
January 17, 2010
A History of the World in 100 Objects
From the BBC and the British Museum
Yet another high-profile slate of objects to report. The BBC and the British Museum are collaborating on a set of radio programs detailing a history of the world in 100 objects. The objects are drawn from the collection of the British Museum, and the radio program begins tomorrow (18 ...
January 16, 2010
Loosely-Cobbled Arrangements
Object-Oriented Philosophy and Sculpture in Art Papers
The object-oriented uprising continues. This time, it can be found in a sizable article in the November/December 2009 issue Art Papers Magazine. The piece stretches across eight pages or so (alas, only in print), covering contemporary sculpture and its relation to object-oriented philosophy. Often incorporating the detritus of everyday life, ...
January 15, 2010
Things Rule
Liz Losh on Object-Oriented Teaching
Over at the Digital Media and Learning blog, Liz Losh writes a nice introduction to the "emerging theory" of object-oriented philosophy. Her post discusses the surprise popularity of objects at last month's Digital Arts and Cultures conference, including very prominent mention in Kate Hayles opening plenary. Losh then asks how ...
January 14, 2010
Who Can Beat Nixon?
Defeat doesn't finish a game, quit does.
Here's a lovely specimen I hadn't seen before: a board game released in 1970 about Nixon's then-forthcoming (and ill-fated) reelection. The game seems to resemble Monopoly, although its unclear how the game works from just the board. According to the game's Board Game Geek entry, the game's events (driven by ...
January 9, 2010
The Turtlenecked Hairshirt
Fetid and Fragrant Futures for the Humanities
In a reflection on all the recent hubbub about the sordid state of the humanities and the recently proposed possibility of a cure in the form of the "digital humanities," Cathy Davidson offers the following lament: When I think of what the humanties offer...it is astonishing to me (and tragic) ...
January 8, 2010
Premature Sunsets
Will XBLA's Game Room ever support new games for old systems?
Back when the Nintendo Wii first came out, I wrote about a hope for it, specifically for its Virtual Console feature. Here's what I said: Without exception, the Virtual Console has been touted as a digital distribution channel for new games and "classic" games from vintage consoles. But the Virtual ...
January 4, 2010
A Slow Year in the IGF
My game among the Nuovo category finalists
The Independent Game Festival (IGF) has announced finalists for the 2010 competition. I'm happy to say that my game A Slow Year is among the finalists in the Nuovo category, designed "to honor abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development which advances the medium and the way we think about games." ...
January 2, 2010
Please Stand Clear of the Closing Rights
How Disney and Zazzle conspire against me (and you)
I've reported twice on my experience selling things on Zazzle, the custom on-demand online print service for apparel and paper goods. First, just over a year ago, I mentioned the t-shirt designs I had made to riff on the Disney World monorail announcer notice, "Por favor manténgase alejado de las ...
December 30, 2009
Writing for Readership
Making books appealing
Harman offers his thoughts on the virtues of short books, with a mention of the conversation he and I had in Cairo about the constraints of the Atari and how they relate metaphorically to book authoring. The flavor of the genial teasing seems to be "haha, getting lazy there, aren't ...
December 26, 2009
Boredom and Torpor
Mark Fisher on discipline and pedagogy
I read Mark Fisher's excellent little book Capitalist Realism this week. It's a short book long on insights, many of which provoked me, some of which I disagreed with, and a few of which I want to share. Here's the first of the latter kind, from a discussion of the ...
December 25, 2009
Christmas Cracker
A tiny dollop of yuletide greetings
As we do most years, we opened Christmas crackers—those little cardboard tubes that pop when pulled, revealing small toys, paper crowns, and jokes. I thought I'd share a particularly brilliant joke from one cracker, one that made me think of object-oriented philosophy as much as it did Christmas (even if ...
December 22, 2009
Speculations Journal
Announcement and Call for Papers
Thanks to the work of Paul John Ennis, a graduate student at University College, Dublin, there is now a new online, open-access journal for speculative realism: Speculations: The Journal of Object Oriented Ontology. Here's a blurb about the project: Speculations is the journal of object oriented ontology. We hope to ...
December 21, 2009
Pralines and Polygons
Electronic Arts Eyes the South
You may have heard that Electronic Arts is considering opening a large studio in Georgia, either in Atlanta or Savannah. Many of us in the area had heard rumblings about this, but the Atlanta Business Chronicle filed the first official story on the matter late last week. Georgia has offered ...
December 16, 2009
Latour Litanizer
Generate your own Latour Litanies
Recently, Harman has adopted my name "Latour Litany" for the lists of things that appear in various writing. I coin this term in the chapter on ontography in my OOO book in progress, Alien Phenomenology, a preview of which I delivered as a keynote at SLSA in November. There are ...
December 12, 2009
Racing the Beam is a Front Line Award Finalist
Game Developer Magazine holds an annual Front Line Awards, for "the year's best game-making tools in the categories of programming, art, audio, game engine, middleware, and books." Racing the Beam is among the finalists. We're definitely an outlier, the other books covering much more "practical" development concerns (Game Coding Complete ...
December 10, 2009
Eight Bit Me
Promotional Materials for Think Inside the Box
Nick Montfort and I are giving a lecture tomorrow (Friday) at UC Irvine, as a part of the Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds lecture series. The talk, held at 4pm in Donald Bren Hall, covers aspects of Racing the Beam and platform studies. All of that's just context ...
December 9, 2009
Panic for Atari
Broken dreams and cool boxes
Panic Software, who makes Mac utilities like Transmit (an FTP client) and Unison (a USENET client), has created a set of hypothetical boxes and watercolor box art, as if their apps had been made for the Atari 2600. You can buy them online. They are insanely awesome. ...
December 8, 2009
What is Object-Oriented Ontology?
A definition for ordinary folk
Recently I was speaking to a writer about my recent work. She's doing a feature for a local magazine on creativity research and design practice in the region. I've been fortunate to get a lot of press over the years, and it's become increasingly important to me to find ways ...
December 2, 2009
More than Meets the Eye
A Memento Stulti
Twenty-five years ago, Peter Headley gave me the Transformer "Skids" for my birthday. He couldn't come to my party so he gave it to me at school. That very day, before I got to play with it much, Jeremiah Glenn broke one of its arms off whilst transforming it. It ...
November 29, 2009
Once Upon a Time in the West
Exhibiting Guru Meditation
I spent part of today assembling and testing Guru Meditation cartridges. Some are bound for collectors, but I'm also readying one to ship off to Slovenia for exhibition at Pixxelpoint 2009, the 10th International New Media Art Festival. The theme of the show is "Once Upon a Time in the ...
November 25, 2009
Arch-Obscurantist In the House
A note from my critics
I have many critics. Critics are helpful, wonderful creatures who produce as much pleasure as ire, partly because they provide amusement as often as commentary. Normally I don't respond to the more vocally invective ones, but I'm making an exception for "videogames bitch-site" Remedial Waste. They offer the Remedial Lexicon, ...
November 24, 2009
Atari Reborn (Again)
New in-browser emulators for classic Atari games
Atari has been through a lot as a company. Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded it in 1972. They sold it to Warner Communication in 1976. Ray Kassar ran it through the crash of 1983, after which he was forced out due to accusations of insider trading. Warner split Atari ...
November 23, 2009
Speculative Inhumanities
Blog Series on Ethics and Ontology
A couple months back, Speculative Heresy and The Inhumanities announced a cross-blog event for which they invited short but substantive pieces to answer the following question: “While speculative realism has critiqued anthropocentrism in ontology, and critical animal studies has critiqued anthropocentrism in ethics, there has yet to be many productive ...
November 20, 2009
Oh Woe Is Oprah
A Billionaire's Blight
Am I missing something here? Oprah, who has a net worth of roughly $2.5 billion and can do whatever she wants, is crying and soul searching because she is ending her talk show so that she can restart it on her own cable network? ...
November 18, 2009
The Art History of Games
A Symposium, hosted by Georgia Tech and SCAD
The Art History of Games is a three-day public symposium in which members of the fields of game studies, art history and related areas of cultural studies gather to investigate games as an art form. Speakers include me, Brenda Brathwaite, Jesper Juul, Frank Lantz, Henry Lowood, Christiane Paul, John Romero, ...
November 16, 2009
The Papers are Calling
Or is it the other way around?
While I'm catching up from last week's trip to the Mobile Media Symposium at UCLA (more on that later), and this week's new deadlines, I thought I'd drop a few CFPs for those of you who might be interested. First, the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games has ...
November 10, 2009
Modern Warfare 3
The kind of game I wish I could make
The Onion reports on the planned sequel to Modern Warfare 2, an "Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks." (thanks to Graham) ...
November 9, 2009
Orienting Ourselves
Thoreau, wood, and axes
In the final Whitehead panel at SLSA this weekend, my colleague Hugh Crawford made an interesting observation about object-oriented ontology during his talk on trees. Specifically, he noted that most interest in OOO focuses on "objects" and "ontology." But another helpful perspective can be gained from attending to "orientation." He ...
November 8, 2009
Barred Ronald
Is there a Lacanian matheme for this? ...
November 7, 2009
Speculative Realism Notes
Observations from SLSA
This weekend the SLSA Conference is taking place in Atlanta, and a few things of interest to those of you who follow speculative realism are going on. For starters, I presented my keynote yesterday, on alien phenomenology. In general, the audience seemed still unfamiliar with SR and OOO, but also ...
November 4, 2009
Alien Phenomenology
Abstract for my SLSA plenary
The Society for Science Literature and the Arts annual conference is about to start up here in Atlanta. The program is online, and the SLSA folks have updated it with the abstract for my Friday evening plenary. I thought I'd reproduce it here for those of you who are interested ...
November 3, 2009
Pretty Girls for Nixon
An image and a story on a theme, circa 1972
Feb. 21, 1972, Mao's residence, the first meeting between Nixon and Mao, as arranged by Kissinger. Nixon: I have read the chairman's poems and speeches, and I knew he was a professional philosopher. (The Chinese laugh.) Mao (looking at Kissinger): He is a doctor of philosophy? Nixon: He is ...
November 1, 2009
Atari Hacks and Demakes
My Spring 2010 seminar
Some of you might be interested in this, the course description for my Spring 2010 graduate seminar/studio course, LCC 8823 Special Topics in Game Design and Analysis: The Atari Video Computer System: Hacks and Demakes In this intensive seminar, we will explore every aspect of the Atari VCS (2600), the ...
October 29, 2009
If You Follow Me...
Twitter and Subtlety
In June 2007, Ian McCarthy and I started performing Wandering Rocks on Twitter each Bloomsday. My original explanation of our project began with the phrase "I do not like Twitter." I hadn't realized it until today, but back in June (almost exactly two years after our first effort), my name ...
October 25, 2009
Rise, Crossover
Learning from the jazz pop instrumental
I seem to wind up in the car for at least part of the early afternoon every Saturday. As a result, I've developed a habit of listening to the reruns of America's Top 40 with Casey Kasem that play on satellite radio channel 70s on 7. This week's chart was ...
October 22, 2009
Things I Did Instead of Blogging
The miscellany of autumn
I've been a bit of a mess this week, as I'm finishing up the Newsgames book with my two graduate students and preparing my keynote for SLSA the week after next. Fortunately, interesting things have gone on without me. As I previously mentioned, on Monday, we hosted a colloquium on ...
October 18, 2009
Now You Can Burn My Books
Thoughts on Kindle and electronic editions
Apparently my publisher has started issuing Kindle editions of my books. Two are now available in Amazon's electronic format: Persuasive Games and Unit Operations. Readers might be interested to find that MIT Press seems to have taken up a different strategy with their electronic book pricing. Specifically, the Kindle editions ...
October 16, 2009
How to Think About Narrative and Interactivity
A colloquium with Espen Aarseth, Fox Harrell, and Janet Murray
The School of Literature Communication and Culture at Georgia Tech is hosting what is sure to be a great colloquium next week, "How to Think About Narrative and Interactivity." It will be held 4:30-6pm on Tuesday October 20th in the Skiles building on campus (map), room 002 on the ground ...
October 15, 2009
Art on Spec
Thoughts on Kickstarter
A relatively new service called Kickstarter, which describes itself as a funding platform for artists. Writers, filmmakers, musicians, and other creators can post projects to the site with attached budgets, which visitors can fund via pledges. If the budget is met within the specified time, the project gets funded. Otherwise, ...
October 12, 2009
Disney: We Own the Concept of the Castle
Fun with Infringement
Almost a year ago, I wrote about my modest success selling t-shirt designs on Zazzle.com that artfully depict the Disney World monorail announcer's characteristic Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas. In that piece, I also drew attention to the ways products like this exert fandom by commercially exploiting holes ...
October 8, 2009
She is beautiful, and I love her
New Yorker parodies the New York Times
This is already a month old, but I'm just seeing it now: the New Yorker ran a set of satirical New York Times videogame reviews, in response to the Seth Schiesel fawn over The Beatles: Rock Band (to which I responded strongly, in case you forgot). My favorites: A princess ...
October 5, 2009
Object-Oriented Ontogeny
Kids and Objects
Just to assure everyone that the torch will be passed to the younger generation, behold the following. My seven year-old has been working on analogies in her schooling, and she recently took the opportunity to affirm the wonder of the world of objects. She reads: "Happy is to sad as ...
October 3, 2009
Material Permanence
Or, atoms are more memorable than bits
I read this article about alternatives to paper business cards yesterday. It mostly covers electronic alternatives to business cards, from social networking sites like LinkedIn to iPhone apps like Bump. It made me think of when I first met Jouni Mannonen, a Finnish game entrepreneur. We met at the 2003 ...
October 2, 2009
The Ribs of Reform
Politics and Slow Cooking
There's been a surge of discussion in the past couple days about the relationship between object-oriented ontology and politics. For one part, Levi Bryant responded to Reid Kane's concerns about what he perceived to be the "absent political dimensions" and "neoliberal alliances" of OOO and Actor-Network Theory. A liveley discussion ...
October 1, 2009
Presentation Software Sucks
Here are some features that would make it better.
I do a lot of presentations. They come in various forms: class lectures, conference papers, keynote talks, corporate presentations, and business pitches, to name a few. Often I use slides and visuals in these talks, and I do so in various ways. In my class lectures I try to use ...
September 28, 2009
Hegemony and Salad Shooters
Cultural Studies, Politics, and Realism
If you're the kind of person who is the subject of Michael Bérubé's scathing critique of cultural studies in last week's Chronicle of Higher Education, then you've probably read it already. To summarize via citation, Bérubé argued that the impact of cultural studies "has the carbon footprint of a unicorn," ...
September 27, 2009
Speculative Realism Aggregator
All your blogs are belong to us
Of the many exciting aspects of speculative realism and object-oriented ontology, one of them is the movement's strong presence online, especially through blogs. I realized that I've been having a hard time keeping up with all the SR-related blogs, so I created an aggregator that slurps them up, labels them, ...
September 25, 2009
Peanuts, by Charles Bukowski
Schroeder played the piano and all of the girls loved him.
I'm not a big fan of fanfic, but I am quite enamored of appropriations of pop culture that shed surprising new light on their source material. For some time, my favorite example of this sort of thing has been Garfield Minus Garfield. By removing the titular cat from each comic ...
September 22, 2009
Super Bogost Land
My Videogame Cameo
Federico Fasce's games consultancy Urustar makes videogames for use in communication strategies. As a part of their launch, they have created Urustar - The Game, which you can play from their website. I seem to appear, in pixel form, in the game's opening. I think it's a good likeness. As ...
September 20, 2009
Computing as a Liberal Art
Thoughts on Education, Research, and Progress
I recently read Paul Lockhart's incredible essay "A Mathematician's Lament" [PDF]. Lockhart, a mathematics teacher at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, wrote the piece in 2002, but it wasn't published until last year, on Keith Devlin's monthly column. "A Mathematician's Lament" begins with the nightmares of a musician and a ...
September 18, 2009
Buy Me
Cashback available
I've been trying out Microsoft's new search engine Bing, mostly out of curiosity, and partly to see how alternatives to Google feel for everyday use. Naturally, one of the first queries I conducted was an ego search. The results are reasonable enough, but what really caught my eye is that ...
September 16, 2009
Philosophers are Worse Than Videogame Fans
A Visit to the Bestiary
When I was a philosophy undergraduate student, I had a life-changing experience in a class on the philosophy of language. It was a good class, as undergraduate classes tend to be: I learned the basics of a subject had known little about previously. The course was taught by a newly ...
September 14, 2009
Husserlian Souvenirs
Or, my Dad read Logical Investigations and all I got was this lousy coffee mug
I realize the world is not entirely comprised of philosophy jokes, but sometimes it sure seems that way. I just came across this Personalized Name Gift - Husserl Mug on Amazon.com: Curious, but not chortle-inducing... until I read the product description: This is a brand new custom made coffee mug ...
September 13, 2009
Don Draper and Elle Macpherson
So good for beautiful people
On last week's episode of Mad Men (season 3, episode 4), the fictional Sterling Cooper ad agency shot a TV spot for the then-new diet cola Patio. 1962-3 was the year of diet soda, with the introduction of RC Cola's Diet Rite, Pepsi's Patio and Coca Cola's TaB. As often ...
September 11, 2009
In the War on Ideas, War Always Wins
On the British Government's neglect of Alan Turing's role in the history of computation
In the winter of 1952, Alan Turing called on the Manchester police to investigate a break-in at his house. He suspected an estranged lover was responsible and, being the earnest man that he was, reported his suspicion to the police. The problem was, Turing's lover was Arnold Murray. Homosexuality was ...
September 9, 2009
A Gigantic Vermin
Kafka in Spore
Georgia Tech alumna Kate Compton has been working for Maxis on Spore for the past four years or so. Back when she was a masters student, she took my course on videogame translation and adaptation. This week, Kate announced a new official scenario for Spore Galactic Adventures, which she created ...
September 7, 2009
"Life goes on within you and without you"
On The Beatles: Rock Band
Last week, the NY Times published Seth Schiesel's effusive review of The Beatles: Rock Band. Calling the game a "transformative entertainment experience," Schiesel argued that it "may be the most important video game yet made." Schiesel's logic is sensical: the combination of Beatles + videogame gives baby boomers something ...
September 5, 2009
Object-Oriented Ontology and McLuhan Visit Game Studies
My Talks at DiGRA 2009
I'm just returned from the 2009 Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) Conference, which was held this week at Brunel University in Uxbridge, UK. The conference was enjoyable, with good talks, good company, and good ale. I did two talks at this DiGRA, the text of which I have now posted ...
September 4, 2009
Computers and Creative Play
Nolan Bushnell on Educational Videogames
I stumbled upon an article by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell about the educational potential of videogames. It's not dated, but based on the biographical one-liner I'd say it's from around 1982. Here's the first paragraph: The computer, the single most powerful development of the twentieth century, is still puny in ...
September 3, 2009
Heidegger's Lunch
Sippable Soup
Surely someone has already made this joke, but that won't stop me: ...
September 1, 2009
What They Said About Me
New Book Reviews
Some recent book reviews, one each of all my books: First, LB Jeffries wrote about Unit Operations at Pop Matters. It's nice to see that title getting covered outside of the usual academic venues. Second, from Jennifer deWinter an extensive review of Persuasive Games, including a blow-by-blow for each section ...
August 29, 2009
Object-Oriented Sing-Along
What's it like? It's not important.
For some reason, my memory recently called up the 80s/90s alternative rock band They Might Be Giants. I wonder if the song "Particle Man," from their 1990 release Flood, might not be the preemptive, unofficial theme song of speculative realism: Particle man, particle manDoing the things a particle canWhat's he ...
August 27, 2009
Joystick Soldiers
The Politics of Play in Military Video Games
Routledge has just published Joystick Soldiers, a new book about military videogames edited by Nina B. Huntemann and Matthew Thomas Payne. I wrote the foreword for the book, so I suppose I have to admit that my recommendation comes partly on those grounds. Still, as I wrote in the ...
August 24, 2009
The Tetrad and the Pentad
Zingone's take on a fifth law of media
I've been teaching Marshall McLuhan last week and today in my Introduction to Computational Media class. This year, for the first time in that class, I decided to assign excerpts from Laws of Media in addition to Gutenberg Galaxy and Understanding Media. In particular I wanted to expose my students ...
August 22, 2009
I Prefer Not To
On The Human-Centered Objection
Over on Larval Subjects, Levi raised some concerns about Nate's recent post about zombies and speculative realism. Specifically, Bryant expressed a worry that treating humans as zombies might suggest that object-oriented ontology sees humans as lesser forms than other objects, rather than as one of many objects on equal footing. ...
August 20, 2009
Here is my toys, I was thinking about you. We think that we need.
A Translation Party with Lacan
On the heels of my recent notes on anagrams and mysticism comes a different kind of truth-generating machine, Translation Party. It's a variation of the old telephone game, via retranslations. You enter an English phrase, and Translation Party translates it back and forth between English and Japanese until the latest ...
August 19, 2009
A Rhetorician and an Enemy of Hannibal
More Good Blogs to Read
Two interesting blogs have come to my attention, and I thought I'd pass along the recommendation to read them. First, Nathan Gale's An Uncanny Ontology. Gale recently wrote about zombies and ontology, which I talked about here yesterday. He's also been working on an interesting theoretical frame for object-oriented thinking, ...
August 18, 2009
Objects.... oooobbbjjjeeecccts...
Zombies and Ontology
Over at Un-canny Ontology, Nathan Gale writes a post that responds to and extends both mine on Harman's conception of cuteness and Bryant's on the unheimlich. The uncanny valley rears its head, a concept originally developed by Masahiro Mori about the moment when robots cease to seem realistic and begin ...
August 16, 2009
Amateur Gasbag Blooding
Anagrams and mysticism
Via Graham Harman, I discovered the "best name anagram" generator, which does exactly what it sounds like. For example, Graham Harman's anagram name is HA HA! GRR! MAN AM You may have seen it too, since the site makes it easy to post one's name anagram on Facebook, so anagrams ...
August 15, 2009
When Blogs Close
On shuttering Water Cooler Games
I've just closed Water Cooler Games, the blog about "videogames with an agenda" that Gonzalo Frasca and I started in 2003. I have also archived the site in its entirety here on Bogost.com, and all existing links to pages on watercoolergames.org will forward correctly in perpetuity. When Gonzalo and I ...
August 12, 2009
A Theory of Cuteness
Graham Harman and a Tiny Horse
Today John Sharp showed me this insanely cute dwarf miniature horse, named Koda. He's about as big as a cat, so noticeably smaller than a normal miniature horse because he is, well, a dwarf. Click for a bigger image, or see more pics here. One of my favorite sidetrips in ...
August 10, 2009
Philosophy, Emergence, and Simulation
Manuel DeLanda's New Book
Graham Harman mentions Manuel DeLanda's new book, which boasts a title that should intrigue anyone reading this website: Philosophy, Emergence and Simulation. Here's a three-minute video of DeLanda talking about it a bit more. It sounds like the book is mostly about animal intelligence, with the connection to simulation having ...
August 8, 2009
Meh and the Mundane Sublime
On Netflix, the Simpsons, and Jean-Luc Nancy
We just rejoined Netflix after several years away from it. While recreating preferences and ratings on a fresh account, we noticed something surprising: Netflix doesn't allow a user to judge things as "just ok." Take a look at the tool-tip explanations for their five-star ratings: Netflix's recommendation system is generally ...
August 5, 2009
Why I Hate ACM Format
And why it's bad for digital media and game studies
Two key conferences in digital media and game studies, Digital Arts and Culture (DAC) and the Digital Games Reserch Association (DiGRA) use an unexpected format for their papers: ACM, the format devised by the Association for Computing Machinery for publications in computer science. I have nothing against computer science, but ...
August 4, 2009
The Ontology of the Game of Life
On Levi Bryant on John Doyle on Levi Bryant on John Conway
Over at Larval Subjects, Levi Bryant discovered Conway's Game of Life. Later, responding to John Doyle's comments, Braynt reflected on the ontological status of the game and its objects. Says Levi: there are not two worlds– one consisting of the really real or "mind-independent objects" and another consisting of mind ...
August 2, 2009
Tantrum Capitalism
Thoughts on Skype and Ebay
If you follow technology news—or even if you don't—you couldn't have missed this incredible story about Skype. Apparently when Ebay bought Skype for $2.6 billion back in 2005, they didn't acquire all of the latter's core product. Specifically, Skype's founders sheltered key peer to peer subsystems for the service in ...
July 30, 2009
Another Heidegger Blog on Me
Interview with Paul Ennis
Paul Ennis has been publishing interviews with a number of contemporary thinkers working in and around the area of speculative realism, on his website Another Heidegger Blog. So far, participants have included Lee Braver, Graham Harman, Levi Bryant, Adrian Ivakhiv, with Jeffrey Malpas to come this week. I was honored ...
July 28, 2009
The Metaphysics Videogame
Part 2: What Kind of Videogame?
In part 1 of this series, I introduced the idea of a metaphysics videogame and described why such a thing might be a good idea for philosophy. That was the easy part. In this post I'm going to explore what such a game might look like, in the abstract. The ...
July 26, 2009
Harman on Constraint
Like a high-speed film of a horse running
Graham Harman has been posting a series of enlightening thoughts on writing as he races toward a book deadline, taking only two months from start to finish. The book in question has a word limit (a character limit, really) because it is destined for immediate translation, and the translation has ...
July 25, 2009
How to Blurb Hegel
Behold this wonderful endorsement on the old Hackett edition of Hegel's Introduction to the Philosophy of History: It suggests an amusing party game for philosophers (or academics of all kinds): devise the most subtly derisive quip possible for a given book. (thanks to Mark Nelson) ...
July 24, 2009
The Metaphysics Videogame
Part 1: Why a Videogame?
A brief history. Back in the late summer of 2006, a few months after the publication of Unit Operations, I exchanged a few emails with Graham Harman, whose book Tool-Being I had cited in the early pages of mine. We talked about a few things, including Leibniz, Badiou, Heidegger, Meillassoux, ...
July 22, 2009
Media Studies and Realism
A response to Levi Bryant
In a lengthy comment on my pragmatic speculative realism post, philosopher Levi Bryant asks what issues in technology and media studies prompted my interest in object-oriented ontology. I'd like to try to answer the question for the benefit of readers finding their way here from sources in philosophy rather than ...
July 20, 2009
Object-Oriented Bossa Nova
The Things in The Waters of March
Earlier I mentioned my interest in creative artifacts that do speculative realist work, as well as my tempered fondness for the lurid lists of objects that litter Graham Harman's work. The other day another example fell into my lap as I was listening to the Seriously Sinatra channel on satellite ...
July 16, 2009
Object-Oriented P*
Philosophers vs. Programmers!
After my post of yesterday, Graham Harman made a few helpful observations about the term "object-oriented philosophy." First Harman observed that the "parallels seem plenty apt," that "terms can be borrowed freely across disciplines with slight changes of meaning" that "plenty of other names can be used," and that "it ...
July 15, 2009
Pragmatic Speculative Realism
A stake in the ground
Even though we didn't really talk much about philosophy, after visiting Graham Harman in Cairo two weeks ago, I was reenergized to think about philosophy in general and speculative realism in particular. In the short time since, a number of friendly bonfires have flared up around the web, most of ...
July 14, 2009
A New Yorker in Paris
Versailles Graffito
A little Bastille Day gift can be found below: a graffito found etched onto a map of the grounds at the Palace of Versailles, reading "I ♥ NY." It's emblazoned onto one end of the Grand Canal. During the reign of Louis XIV, gilded gondolas would have sailed here. I ...
July 11, 2009
Engineering the Closet
How personal manufacture fixed my wardrobe woes
Like many homes in what we locals call "in-town" Atlanta, mine is an older one, built over half a century ago. There are many charms and challenges that come with owning an older home, but it's the unexpected trials that prove the most onerous. One of the unusual features of ...
July 7, 2009
United Breaks Guitars
A music video complaint letter
Given my propensity for relatively outlandish, time-consuming, and complex corporate complaints (see Lucifer Notes and Disaffected, for example), I can only say that I am awed and humbled by this music video complaint letter by Dave Carroll and his band. You can read the full story here, but you'll enjoy ...
July 6, 2009
Digital Objects
Speculative Realism and Digital Media
Last week I had the opportunity to visit in Cairo with philosopher Graham Harman, someone whose work I've known and admired for some time now. It was nice to meet him in person for the first time, not to mention having a local guide for getting around this enormous, insane ...
July 3, 2009
New Guru Meditation Update Available
Adds new sound settings, high score reset
Apple has just approved, finally, my latest update to the iPhone version of Guru Meditation (to 1.2). Here are the list of updates as they appear on the iTunes App Store: Added a Sound Mode setting. Options are Requires Quiet, which is the standard mode, Microphone Disabled, which allows the ...
July 1, 2009
Letter of Inquiry Template
With apologies to my journalist friends
Dear Expert, I am a journalist writing for Publication, a newspaper/ magazine/ website serving a Major Market or Niche Audience. I am working on a story about Your Area of Expertise, although I'll admit don't know much about it. I wonder: instead of doing research myself on the story I ...
June 26, 2009
Two Notes on Existential Angst
First, behold the lovely picture my daughter (age 7) gave me today. It's nice to see that existential angst runs in the family. Second, behold how the Mac OS X built-in thesaurus handles "existentialism." Apt, isn't it? ...
June 22, 2009
Can't Continue Error
Apple Rejects Commodore 64 iPhone App
iPhone developer Manomio has created a slick, feature-packed Commodore 64 emulator for iPhone. The emulator and the five games it ships with are legally licensed. After a year of development, they submitted the program to Apple, who rejected it, citing the following SDK agreement clause: We've reviewed C64 1.0 and ...
June 18, 2009
Blogging Stops Unplanned Pregnancy
The joy of the bad analogy
Today I read Social Media Trader's article How to commit social media suicide. It included the following tidbit in a section about avoid making the same mistakes again and again when targeting social media for web traffic. When I got my girlfriend pregnant, her dad clearly saw I was distraught ...
June 12, 2009
Cascading Failure
The Unseen Power of Google's Malware Detection
I often worry about the consequences of what Siva Vaidhyanathan calls Googlization, the way Google is changing and disrupting the creation and dissemination of ideas. I've resisted using Google services like Gmail and Google Docs, despite their popularity and, in some cases, their convenience. I've mostly been disinterested in allowing ...
June 4, 2009
Guru Meditation Trivia Contest Answers
I'm sure you've been biting your nails in anticipation
A week ago or so, I mentioned a trivia contest I was running on the Touch Arcade forums, with correct answers winning Guru Meditation redemption codes or a signed copy of Racing the Beam. I've given away all the codes and the book, so now it's time to share the ...
June 2, 2009
Every Computer Animated Film Ever
A universal plot summary, summer 2009 edition
It's time to test my theory of computer animated film plots against the latest examples of that form, DreamWorks' Monsters vs. Aliens and Pixar's Up. In case you are too lazy to click through, here's the theory again in its entirety: After the worst of a long series of well-meaning ...
June 1, 2009
Guru Meditation at E3
For those attending E3, my game Guru Meditation will be shown at the IndieCade exhibit, which can be found in South Hall, booth #652. Unfortunately I won't be there to see reactions to it. If you do, please let me know about them! ...
June 1, 2009
New Review of Racing the Beam
In Digital Culture & Education
Thomas Apperley has written a new review of Racing the Beam in the new open-access peer-reviewed journal Digital Culture & Education. Nick and I are delighted to see a review of our book in the inaugural issue. I was likely delighted to see Apperley trace the steps toward the platform ...
May 24, 2009
Guru Meditation Trivia Contest
Win copies of Guru Meditation, Racing the Beam
The nice folks over at Touch Arcade invited me to drop in and discuss my game Guru Meditation on their forum. To spur conversation, I decided to run a little trivia contest. I figured I'd point the rest of you to it. Here's how it works: the first person to ...
May 19, 2009
Teaching Computing with... Computers?
The NSF Prefers Strings, Crayons
After an unintentional hiatus, last week I resumed following Georgia Tech CS colleague Mark Guzdial's Amazon blog. His latest salvo is a thought-provoking piece called Using computing to teach computing (Hint: Don't use the "P" word). The post centers around a question Mark posed to Jeannette Wing, Director of the ...
May 18, 2009
Guru Meditation Released
Om for Atari and iPhone
After two years of off and on development, I've just released my relaxation game Guru Meditation, simultaneously for Atari VCS and iPhone. The game is a re-imagining of and homage to old Amiga lore, an exploration of what a game that legitimately deals with inactivity would feel like, and (through ...
May 13, 2009
Positions, Post and Permanent
Notes on Nick Montfort
Two quick notes relating to friend and Racing the Beam coauthor Nick Montfort. First, he has a new blog, Post Position, which already boasts a number of insightful posts on games, IF, constraint, and other topics that will probably interest you if you are reading my site. Second, as Nick ...
May 12, 2009
Quarantine, Surgical Masks, and Biohazard Suits
The Insane Japanese Response to Swine Flu
A week ago, I wrote about the irrationality surrounding so-called swine flu, in the context of Killer Flu, a videogame Persuasive Games created about seasonal and pandemic flu. This week, I received an unexpected email from the organizers of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference, which is scheduled ...
May 6, 2009
Pink, Puzzles, and Piano bars
Apple's Idea of Mother's Day
Thanks to a direct email advertisement, I had the opportunity this week to behold Apple's idea of what mothers like. You can see it below: Just in case you can't see it clearly, Apple manages to pull out every mom stereotype they could connect to their products. Moms like pink, ...
May 4, 2009
Top Ten Reasons I Returned My Kindle
This week has witnessed much talk about Amazon's possible release of a new, larger Kindle eReader designed for newspapers and textbooks, culminating in an article in the New York Times that claims confirmation of such an impending announcement. That's on top of talk from magazine publisher Hearst's announcement that it ...
May 2, 2009
A New "Platform" for Games Research
Henry Jenkins interviews us
Henry Jenkins recently interviewed Nick Montfort and me about Racing the Beam and the Platform Studies series. The two part interview is online now at Henry's site: A New "Platform" for Games Research?: An Interview with Ian Bogost and Nick Montfort (Part One) A New "Platform" for Games Research?: An ...
April 22, 2009
Texture, Bleed, Afterimage
CRT Emulation for the Atari VCS
This spring, I had the pleasure of advising a Georgia Tech Computer Science capstone group. The capstone is a requirement for the degree that is meant to draw on all aspects of the students' experience in the program. Each project requires an advisor and a customer. In my case, I ...
April 13, 2009
A Recursive Hack
Production Hacks in Racing the Beam
I like that someone noticed this: (I also enjoyed that the book [Racing the Beam] itself is a nice recursive hack. Its (fairly cheap) printing process didn't allow reproducing the detailed color photos of the games needed for reference. So they printed them on the inside of the dust jacket ...
April 9, 2009
Atari VCS Programming in Xcode, Revisited
I've finally updated my Xcode Tools for Atari VCS Development, such that syntax coloring works in Xcode 3.1. Apple keeps changing the specifications for it, so every version I have to figure out how it works again and retool. This is just a pointer post for those of you who ...
April 7, 2009
I can't hold my arms up
Jesper, the Videogame Chair
There I was, browsing through the Ikea catalog, when I came upon this remarkable chair. On first blush it looks like those ill-fated ergonomic chairs of the 1980s, but it's really just a bench at two heights. The user is meant to straddle the lower height and use the upper ...
April 1, 2009
Learning from Atari 2600
Coverage of my GDC Talk
Lots to catch up on as I return to the real world from Spring Break and GDC. In the meantime, you can read Dan Terdiman's coverage of my last GDC talk, Learning from the Atari 2600, over on CNet.com. Additionally, Amazon.com finally got Racing the Beam back in stock! ...
March 22, 2009
Game Developers Conference 2009
Where to find me this week
It's time again for the Game Developers Conference. Here's my speaking schedule for those of you who might be interested. Serious Games Summit. Monday-Tuesday, all day, Room 3007, Moscone West. I co-organized the summit with Ben Sawyer, which means you can blame us if the content isn't to your liking. ...
March 15, 2009
How Atari 2600's Crazy Hardware Changed Game Design
Wired's Chris Kohler on Racing the Beam
Chris Kohler, author of Power Up and games writer at Wired penned a nice piece on Racing the Beam for Wired's Game|Life blog. One of the ideas we discuss in the book that Kohler picks up on is the fact that the Atari was manufactured and supported until 1992, albeit ...
March 10, 2009
Racing the Beam in Slate
Michael Agger has written a nice piece in Slate about the Atari and Nick and my book Racing the Beam. The article does a great job characterizing the book and what we hoped to do with it. My favorite part comes at the end when Agger wonders aloud if a ...
March 9, 2009
Me and Miyamoto
You'd be completely shocked at the things we can convince people do with a vacuum cleaner.
Game trade news site Gamasutra ran a contest late last month to predict the future of games. Dubbed "Games of 2020," the contest asked entrants to "imagine what video games might be like in the year 2020." Winners would receive an all-access pass to the forthcoming Game Developers Conference. The ...
March 8, 2009
The Deep History of Video Games
The Atari in the Boston Globe
The Boston Globe today features an interview with Nick Montfort, my Racing the Beam co-author, about the Atari VCS and our new book. My favorite part of the interview is reproduced below: IDEAS: People ... are still creating 2600 cartridges? MONTFORT: At this point, it's sort of more like zines ...
February 27, 2009
Venture Brothers Does Atari
Two Digital Video Discs
Speaking of the Atari VCS, Georgia Tech colleague David Terraso pointed out to me that the cover art for the third season DVD release of The Venture Bros. is styled after an original Atari game box. (Venture Bros. is one of the animated shows in Adult Swim on Cartoon Network.) ...
February 26, 2009
A Hatchet Job on Me
The nice folks over at Hatchet Job had me on their podcast this week. You can listen to it on their website, or subscribe via iTunes. Topics covered include the Atari, games and activism, Karl Marx, ice cream, and. It'll be up to you to judge how my reputation emerged, ...
February 21, 2009
Boil Me Elmo
A product concept
Who wouldn't buy one, I ask you? Just imagine how the whistle would sound. ...
February 7, 2009
Bacon Tempts and Bastards Suffer
Two lovely menu items
From recent trips out to eat. First, new at IHOP, the "Bacon Temptation Omelette": New! Bacon Temptation Omelette Loaded with six strips of crispy bacon, a rich cheese sauce, Jack and Cheddar cheeses and diced tomatoes $8.59 But, perhaps you need something to wash it down? No problem. Enter the ...
February 3, 2009
Monetary Policy and the Atari
Yin and Yang on the MIT Podcast
What does the Federal Reserve have to do with the Atari VCS? They are both the subject of this month's MIT Press podcast. First, Stephen H. Axilrod talks about his book Inside the Fed: Monetary Policy and Its Management, Martin through Greenspan to Bernanke. Then I talk about my new ...
February 2, 2009
Hitchcock Barbie
"Do you happen to have a pair of birds that are... just friendly?"
There are lots of unusual plush toys and fancy resin dolls these days. Far more than there once were. First they were made for humor's sake -- the Albert Einstein and Shakespeare action figures. Then for education's sake -- the Presidents of the United States action figures. But now merchandising ...
January 23, 2009
Racing the Beam Now Shipping
(or, Buy My New Book)
Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System has been published and is now shipping from Amazon.com or your favorite bookseller. The book, which I wrote in collaboration with Nick Montfort, is about the relationship between the hardware design of the Atari VCS, some of the games that were ...
January 19, 2009
Bird Droppings and Silly Putty
The Hidden Uses of Newspapers
Given my ongoing research on games and journalism, along with the occasional publications of my games by news organizations, I often think about the fate of the newspaper. I'm talking about the print newspaper, that big, black and white thing one folds and unfolds and holds in front of one's ...
January 11, 2009
Units and Objects
Two notes apropos of Graham Harman
Along with several others, contemporary philosopher Graham Harman has been instrumental in rekindling the thirsty brush of philosophy, igniting a new and exciting fire in this tired old field. It has become known as Speculative Realism. Harman's work has become tremendously influential in my recent thinking, despite my not (yet) ...
January 6, 2009
The Wheel. Reinvented.
The Onion Kebabs Apple
Satirical news source The Onion is funny every day (something that can't even be said for The Daily Show or The Colbert Report), but sometimes they manage to elevate deadpan to the sublime. Today's piece on the fictional announcement of the Apple Wheel is such a one. Apple Introduces Revolutionary ...
December 21, 2008
Elizabeth Bennet promises never to dance with Mr. Darcy.
Jane Austen on Facebook
In the vein of Hamlet in Facebook, here is Austenbook, a version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in Facebook News Feed format. Like Hamlet in Facebook, Austenbook is a hypothetical adaptation of literature for social media; it adds the look and feel of a newsfeed, but the latter's writing ...
December 18, 2008
Por Favor Manténgase Alejado de las Puertas
Fandom and Detritus
One of my gripes with Henry Jenkins's book Convergence Culture was its tendency to privilege pop cultural fan activity to other sorts of attention. Appealing though they may be, I wondered if Harry Potter and Survivor really sat at the pinnacle of human creativity in the way that the ...
November 24, 2008
Write-Only Publication
IGI Global and Other Vampire Presses
For those of you who have become cynical in the face of academic publishing, an enterprise sometimes accused of supporting itself in spite of rather than in support of the ideas contained in the books that are its product, I share with you the following email I received from IGI ...
November 21, 2008
"A naked kid and a freakishly tall man walk in a meadow"
Jason Rohrer in Esquire
Esquire just published Jason Fagone's profile of art game developer and friend Jason Rohrer. The piece is a part of that magazine's "Best and Brightest 2008" features, and it's a terrific portrait of a strange but earnest man whose work is surprising and important. I make a few brief appearances ...
November 16, 2008
Carrying On Over Carry-Ons
A Review of the Tom Bihn Checkpoint Flyer
For years now, it has been necessary to remove laptops from carry-on bags for inspection at airport security here in the States. The TSA imposes this requirement to insure a clear view of the internal components of some electronics. Scanning a laptop separately allows security personnel to insure that a ...
October 25, 2008
Credit Crisis Pumpkin
From this year's Fiscal Fright jack-o-lantern series
I present the next installment of this year's financially-themed jack-o-lanterns. First we had Mortgage Meltdown. Now I humbly offer Credit Crossbones. This one is a bit more subtle, perhaps, than the last. You get it though, right? ...
October 19, 2008
Mortgage Meltdown Pumpkin
From this year's Fiscal Fright jack-o-lantern series
Jack-o-lanterns are serious business in my house. Yet, I knew it was going to be hard to top last year's excellent Jack McCoy-o-Lantern. A political theme was possible, but it's been done, and I'm hardly the kind to print a template from a website. So, we settled on a different ...
October 15, 2008
Checkpoint Friendly
More TSA Brow-Furrowing
As a frequent traveler I pay close attention to the caprices of the Transportation Security Administration. Recently, the TSA has announced a program to support and encourage manufacturers' creation of "checkpoint friendly" laptop bags. The idea is this: if companies make bags that allow unobstructed x-ray views of the laptop ...
October 10, 2008
Play-Doh Palin
Sculptures from Meaningful Play
Greetings from the the Meaningful Play conference at MSU. This morning, Leigh Anne Cappello from Hasbro spoke about toy design. Hasbro brought packages of Play Doh for every table, and Leigh encouraged us to make things during the talk. So, I made a Play Doh Sarah Palin. It's not nearly ...
October 5, 2008
The Value of Theory in Digital Media Studies
A "debate" between myself and Jay Bolter
This past week, renowned new media scholar and colleague Jay Bolter and I staged a debate on theory in the study of digital media. Here's how we described it: The Digital Media program in LCC is described on its website as follows: “The Georgia Tech Digital Media Ph.D. provides both ...
September 24, 2008
Atari Book Update
Jacket Art, Title Announced
Nick Montfort and I are happy to share the cover art and a revised title for the book we wrote on the Atari Video Computer System (more about the book). The final title is Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System. "Racing the beam" is a way some VCS ...
September 3, 2008
I am a Joker
In the Drift Deck at Conflux 2008
No, literally. Julian Bleecker and Dawn Lozzi created the Drift Deck, an (analog) algorithmic puzzle game used to navigate city streets, inspired by the Situationist International. They'll be exhibiting and playing it at the Conflux 2008 Festival in New York next week, Sept 11-14. I was invited to pen a ...
August 28, 2008
Ophelia joined the group Maidens Who Don't Float
Hamlet on Facebook
Ian McCarthy just showed me I was happy to learn of Sarah Schmelling's version of Hamlet in Facebook newsfeed form. You can read it over at McSweeney's. Given my interest in Facebook and in adapting literature for the computer, I found it particularly nice to see how Schmelling's Hamlet made ...
August 9, 2008
Ordinary Olympians
Why athletic excellence alone cannot be appreciated
My sister-in-law Susannah is a world-class gymnast. Despite the fact that her event, tumbling, is much, much more atheletic and arresting than plain old artistic gymnastics, it didn't make the cut even for exhibition at the Beijing games. That may have something to do with China's weak performance in the ...
August 2, 2008
The Geek's Chihuahua
A Review of the iPhone
Despite attempts to maintain my geek cred, despite my propensity for gadgeteering, despite my favor for the cult of Apple, despite my lust for shiny things with microprocessors, I didn't get an iPhone when it first came out earlier this year. Indeed, I also didn't get one when the new ...
July 27, 2008
Videogames, circa 1920
Today Tristan (age 8) and I took a break from Wii Play to enjoy some NES Ice Hockey, thanks to a Wii Virtual Console download. After we were done playing, I asked him what he thought of the game. He liked it; it was simple and he successfully figured out ...
July 18, 2008
Learning from Amazon Associates
Referral reports and privacy, insight, surprise
Like many, I use the Amazon Associates affiliate marketing program when linking to books and some other products from my websites. It's a simple referal service. Users can create links and when readers on their websites follow those links and make purchases, Amazon pays a referral fee. There are lots ...
June 30, 2008
My Platform Studies Talk
from the Software Studies Workshop
I attended the Software Studies Workshop at UCSD back in May, where I gave a talk on platform studies, the subject of a new book series co-edited by Nick Montfort and me. The first title in the series will be our book on the Atari VCS. The UCSD crew has ...
June 27, 2008
Every Computer Animated Film Ever
A universal plot summary
After the worst of a long series of well-meaning but destructive deeds, an anthropomorphized creature protagonist is shunned by his community. He enters into a series of adventures in the pursuit of a seemingly impossible task to prove his worth. During this pursuit the protagonist meets a rival and, to ...
June 21, 2008
Introducing the Broccodevil
My experience with Make My Own Monster
I received a Make My Own Monster kit for Christmas last year. It's a service offered by the North American Bear Company, which has the distinction of having the worst shopping site I've seen in some time. Anyway, the Make My Own Monster concept is great: kids (of all ages, ...
June 9, 2008
Resisting the Membership Economy
Photography, Flickr, and Me
As regular readers may have noticed, I have an interest in photography. I've started a photography section on this website, where you can view some of the photographs I have taken. Right now I've added galleries for Objects, Places, and People, as well as a photo project I'm slowly working ...
June 6, 2008
Missing the Target
Why Facebook Ads are Stupid
From a business perspective, it was my impression that one of the great promises of Facebook and other social networking sites is that they can offer extremely selective ad targeting. Facebook users willingly provide large amounts of enormously specific information about themselves, from their age and location to their artistic ...
June 5, 2008
Twittering Rocks
A reprise of the central chapter of Ulysses, performed on Twitter
Last year, Ian McCarthy and I puppeted over 50 characters from the Wandering Rocks chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses on the microblogging platform Twitter. We're planning a reprise for this year, including much more notice than we gave in 2007 (Bloomsday is June 16). You might want to consult ...
May 28, 2008
Zimmer Base Ball and Cigars
115 years of sports game adaptation
I have an interest in game adaptation, something that we normally think of only as it relates to film-to-game licensing. In our forthcoming book on the Atari VCS, Nick Montfort and I also discuss another kind of videogame adaptation that was once its primary form: from arcade coin-ops to home ...
May 24, 2008
Three things I hate about Apple Mail
I use Apple Mail instead of competing products like Microsoft Entourage or Google Gmail. I don't use Entourage because I try not to use Microsoft products if I can help it, not just as conscientious objection but also because they are bloated. I refuse to use Gmail because I try ...
May 19, 2008
Safe to Collapse
Using the collapsible Elmar-M 50mm f/2.8 on the Leica M8
As I've discussed before, one of the main ideas behind the 35mm rangefinder camera was its small size and subsequent portability. Since their beginning 80 years ago, Leica cameras have often been coupled to collapsible lenses. The early production Leicas in the 20s and 30s were all designed for a ...
May 15, 2008
After the A-list
This website in The Industry Standard's Top 25 B-to-Z List Blogs
The Industry Standard has compiled a list of the top 25 "B-to-Z List Blogs"... you know, the ones that come after the A-list. It seems that this humble site was selected as one. Quoth the Standard: This videogame theorist and assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology waxes between ...
May 6, 2008
A Response to Roger Travis
who misconstrues my work and that of my colleagues
(1) I'm not going to bother to write a thorough prose response to your recent Escapist article Quibus Lusoribus Bono? Who is Game Studies Good For?, but only numbered objections and comments. Readers, you'll have to go read Travis's article before any of these will make sense. (2) Your article ...
April 30, 2008
CNN Headline T-Shirts
WTF?
I woke up this morning and went through my usual rounds of news. I was surprised to see little t-shirt icons next to some headlines on CNN.com It turns out CNN has a new service (a "beta" one, for effective Web 2.0 cred), CNN T-Shirts. You can order a t-shirt ...
April 27, 2008
Liberal Arts College vs. Research I University: Deathmatch
Ten principles for better academic career advisement
Jason Mittell, a media studies scholar at Middlebury College, recently wrote about his experience being a researcher at a liberal arts college. Mittell's offering points to and comments upon a related article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Kristen Ghodsee, who explained her path from UC Berkeley graduate student ...
April 20, 2008
Technical Evolution and Creative Constraint
The vices and virtues of selective color shift at high ISO in the Sigma DP1
One of the problems with digital SLRs is their large footprint. Not only the size and weight of the camera, but also that of the lens attached to it, especially for serious photographers interested in large apertures and high-quality glass. This is an issue that affects professionals and amateurs alike, ...
April 16, 2008
Tenure
The future lasts forever
This spring I was awarded tenure at the Georgia Institute of Technology and leveled-up to Associate Professor in the School of Literature Communication and Culture. As I tried to think about an appropriate way to announce this accomplishment to my readers here, the phrase that kept entering my head was ...
April 14, 2008
Me on All Things Considered
I got a barrage of text messages and emails and Facebook messages this afternoon, all telling me their senders were listening to me on NPR's All Things Considered. The segment isn't about me but rather about the broader topic of videogames and depth. The correspondent is Heather Chaplin, co-author of ...
March 28, 2008
Stuff White People Like
Straight Outa Canada
This week I was in Canada, which is the country immediately north of America ("the States" for the rest of you). I like to read the newspapers delivered to my hotel room when traveling, so I inhaled today's issue of the Globe and Mail, which is a national coverage paper ...
March 22, 2008
Private Eyes / They're Blogging You
... blogging you blogging you blogging you
Eric Marcoullier and I were tonight embroiled in a riveting, yet wistful conversation about 70s/80s pop duo Hall and Oates. After reviewing classics such as this music video for the #1 hit title track of the 1981 album Private Eyes, it occurred to me: Daryl Hall and John Oates look ...
March 20, 2008
Unbreakable
A structural defect? An object lesson?
Do they put "unbreakable" on it just to taunt people like me? Is it a complex marketing strategy to sell more combs? Is it an object lesson in temptation? (click for a bigger version) ...
March 16, 2008
Text of my GDC Education Summit Keynote
Following reflections on Georgia Tech president Wayne Clough's appointment to the Secretaryship of the Smithsonian
Today G. Wayne Clough, the president of Georgia Tech, announced his plans to step down as of mid-summer to take the top post at the Smithsonian Institute. The Smithsonian has been plagued by many problems in recent years, from major budget overruns to a crippling executive corruption scandal last year ...
March 7, 2008
Reading Online Sucks
Reflections on scholarly writing on the web
Or more subtly: reading online isn't the same as reading on paper, yet we continue to treat the web as a distribution tool rather than as a medium with its own material constraints, both suited and unsuited to certain kinds of content. I've been thinking about this recently after I ...
March 5, 2008
Finally, Smart Web 2.0 Critique
A special issue of the journal First Monday
The open-access online journal First Monday has just published a special issue devoted to critiques of Web 2.0. There have been few such attempts heretofore, the most well-known being fellow Colbert Report guest Andrew Keen's naive and poorly-argued book The Cult of the Amateur. Thankfully, the articles in First Monday's ...
February 1, 2008
Shoes, Laptops, Liquids, Blog
The Transportation Security Administration's new blog
As an airport obsessive, I was interested to learn that the TSA has a blog now. It's a curious thing. For example, they've gone to some significant lengths to humanize the bloggers: Hi, I'm Bob, and I started with the TSA in September 2002. ... I live in Southwest Ohio ...
January 24, 2008
Digital Download Hell
Why downloadables aren't more accessible than physical media
Recently, friend and colleague David Edery wrote a nice feature on Gamasutra about how to make trial versions of downloadable software sell more games. He has some good points, including observations about how a trial shouldn't just be the beginning of the game nor should it give away enough that ...
January 19, 2008
New Student Atari Games
Titles from Fall 2007 just added
Each fall, students in my LCC 2700 - Introduction to Computational Media make Atari VCS games. The students work in teams of three to create them. This term we had a large enrollment and thus a number of games -- 29 new ones, to be exact. There are some superb ...
January 17, 2008
Dwelling Machines
Introduction to a symposium I organized at Georgia Tech
This past Monday the School of Literature Communication and Culture and the Wesley Center for New Media at Georgia Tech hosted a symposium I organized called Dwelling Machines. Here's the description, too small to read in the event poster above. This symposium asks whether and how technology might alter ...
January 10, 2008
Adventure Easter Egg Poster
A glossy, wall mountable version of the first videogame easter egg
Nick and I are putting the final touches on our Atari VCS book. Part of that process includes creating figures for the book. Nick had the great suggestion of creating black and white illustrations instead of screen shots, akin to the kind you used to find in technical books and ...
December 29, 2007
Troll Pimples
Or, why Arby's Cheesecake Poppers are seriously nasty
Being a fan of the limp, slightly wet roast beef sandwich, today I luncheoned at Arby's. In addition to the more savory offerings, they had a new dessert option (new to me, at least): Arby's Cheesecake Poppers. Behold: These are little deep-fried cheesecake bits served with a sweet raspberry sauce. ...
December 26, 2007
The Joy of Pie Vents
Canvases of crust
Every holiday when pies are baked and consumed, I try to make a new pie vent. Pie vents help steam escape from baking pies to avoid boiling over. Some even use ceramic pie birds for this purpose. I prefer the carving method. Here are this year's vents, featuring the Transformers' ...
December 25, 2007
Spartans and Staplers
Selections from my Christmas morning booty
It's Christmas morning, and I wonder how many other lucky souls can boast booty like mine. Below you'll find a part of my under-tree take: a large, talking Leonidas action figure as depicted in the film 300 stands in front of a genuine red Swingline stapler, wrapped not in paper ...
December 4, 2007
Here Comes Another Bubble
The charming perversity of using Web 2.0 to satirize Web 2.0
I'm only blogging it because, you know, the song told me to. ...
November 21, 2007
Snark, Meet Irony
How Boing Boing undermined its own argument against Amazon Kindle
There's been a strong and decidedly split reaction to Amazon's new Kindle eBook reader, which was released this week. As of today, Amazon reports that they have sold out of the device, so people are obviously buying it. But concern over its closed nature, including binding users to Amazon's ...
November 19, 2007
My Week at Kotaku
Links to my week of posts as guest editor
Last week I served as guest editor at popular games and game culture blog Kotaku All in all, I wrote 45 articles at Kotaku, which I've now linked below. I haven't even tried to read all the comments on those threads though. I had a great time doing it and ...
November 12, 2007
Guest Editing at Kotaku
for the week of November 12
Games uberblog Kotaku's managing editor Brian Crecente is on vacation in Australia, and he invited me to serve as a guest editor for this week. I'll be posting links to my daily stories here every day or so, or you can just sift through the archives on the site. My ...
October 29, 2007
Chumby and the Rhetoric of Openness
Small, cute, insidious
Note: Chumby representative Andrew "Bunnie" Huang has replied to this thread, and I have in turn replied to his response with more questions. I encourage you to read through all the comments for more detail. Finally, I should point out that I am not an attorney and nothing herein should ...
October 23, 2007
Jack McCoy-o-Lantern
Sam Waterston in pumpkin, on my stoop
We take our jack-o-lanterns very seriously at my house. It's a challenge of skill, wit, and patience. One year, for example, I had to make a Harry Potter Dark Mark. This year, Abbey got the idea for a Jack McCoy-o-Lantern. You know, featuring Sam Waterston. From Law & Order. Here ...
October 6, 2007
Videogames: Can They Be Important?
My plenary address at the Southern Interactive Entertainment & Game Expo
The following is the plenary address I gave today at the first SIEGE conference here in Atlanta on October 6, 2007. The title of the session was “Games: Can They Be Important?” My fellow plenary speakers were Ernest Adams and Daniel Greenberg.   Today it is possible to work though ...
September 17, 2007
Lucifer Notes
A letter of complaint to U Haul, roughly one decade old
Often I am a cynic, and sometimes I am a grouch. But no matter what glass I might find half-empty, I endeavor at least to do so with grace and with wit. While walking to dinner at the Games Learning Society conference this summer, Doug Thomas, Mia Consalvo, Alice Robison ...
September 11, 2007
Operating Systems Prohibit Film Still Fair Use
Built-in DVD players forbid screen captures with software constraint
Recently, I had the need to capture a still from a DVD a Persuasive Games client had sent over as guidelines for some game assets. I didn't want to rip the whole DVD, so I went to use the built-in screen capture facility in Apple OS X: the old standby ...
September 2, 2007
Atari Games Ahoy
Updated courses and Atari student games
In between sessions of Bioshock, this Labor Day weekend I've been updating this website. Of special note, I've added some of my courses over on the teaching section of the site. I haven't included every class I've ever taught, but rather the ones I thought would be most useful or ...
August 19, 2007
A Professor's Impressions of Facebook
Musings after several months of use, as I prepare to start the semester
This spring, I created an account on Facebook. I'm a web 2.0 cynic (and a cynic in general), so this surprised some of my friends and colleagues. But I was encouraged by so many of them, I wanted to give it a try. For example, Ian McCarthy just wanted an ...
August 10, 2007
My Appearance on The Colbert Report
A clip of my segment and some responses to common questions from friends and colleagues
I appeared as a guest on The Colbert Report on Tuesday August 7. A lot of my friends and colleagues have been asking the same questions, so I thought I'd try to cover them all in one place. First, if you haven't seen the interview, I've embedded it below. It ...
July 20, 2007
The Configurative Book
Reflections on making books that work more like software
A media studies colleague of mine from Middlebury College, Jason Mittell wrote a kind review of my last book, Unit Operations. As Jason points out, it's less a formal review than a reaction to a percieved flaw, focused through the lens on the future of academic scholarship. The flaw in ...
July 16, 2007
On the iPhone: The Anxiety of Openness
The openness of web applications demonstrates the real treachery of the iPhone's closed platform
This is the first in a series of short editorials on the iPhone, which I'll be writing occasionally. Now that the geekqueues of iDay have come and gone, perhaps we can start talking more seriously about the device without all the fanboy ardor. For some of us who have not ...
July 8, 2007
My new book has shipped
Persuasive Games, my book about games and rhetoric, is now available.
My new book, Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, is out and shipping from Amazon.com or your favorite bookseller. The book is about how videogames make arguments. I offer a theory of rhetoric for games, then I discuss a great many examples from commercial and non-commercial games, focusing on ...
July 4, 2007
Fatworld in Canada
Coverage of my studio's forthcoming game via the Canadian newswire
A story about Persuasive Games' forthcoming game Fatworld went out on the Canadian news wire today, appearing on the front page of a number of publications north of the border. You can read the full story in the Winnipeg Free Press, the Victoria Times Colonist, the Ottawa Citizen, or Canada.com. ...
June 28, 2007
Atari VCS Programming in Xcode
Software that makes it easier to make Atari games on your Mac
Download forMac OS X Leopard, Xcode 3.1 60 kb - Mac OS X 10.5 Download forMac OS X Leopard, Xcode 3.0 56 kb - Mac OS X 10.5 Download forMac OS X Tiger 69 kb - Mac OS X 10.4 Don't you wish programming Atari VCS games on OS ...
June 26, 2007
Experience Refreshing Moral Discomfort
Some of my work in the July 2007 issue of Wired Magazine
This month's Wired Magazine (July 2007, or 15.07 in Wired volume parlance) devoted their regular games feature to some of my recent work at Persuasive Games. The main subject of the story is Fatworld, a game we've been working on since Fall 2006 or so. It's a game about the ...
June 25, 2007
Intellivision Homebrew Contest
Texas Instruments engineer announces a competition on the venerable 1979 game platform
If you browse this site a bit, you'll see that I'm a big fan of the Atari VCS, a fervent enough one that I've programmed and written about the machine. Aaron Lanterman, a Georgia Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering colleague of mine, recently told me about Joe Zbiciak, a friend ...
June 22, 2007
Listen to Me on NPR
Talk of the Nation segment, "New Video Games Entertain and Educate"
Yesterday I was on NPR's Talk of the Nation, discussing games about political and social issues. Here's their blurb: Today's video games are moving beyond violence and sports. New games provide chances to play middle-east peacemaker or solve problems regarding immigration or food safety. Ian Bogost, creator of these games, ...
June 21, 2007
Points of Entry
New newsgame about immigration legislation
The New York Times has published this month's newsgame, which we created over at the studio. In Points of Entry, you can compete to award Green Cards under the Merit-Based Evaluation System included in legislation recently debated in Congress. The system, proposed in legislation sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy, outlined ...
June 20, 2007
Where in the World was Middle Earth?
A geography professor's hypothetical geomorphology of Middle Earth
Do you read Strange Maps? You should, if you're at all a map geek. It's a blog about curious cartography. It's really exactly the kind of site blogs seem to promise, regular musings on a subject so specific or arcane that another medium couldn't support regular publication. Thanks largely to ...
June 18, 2007
How to use the Leica M8 with Apple Aperture
Free software to make Aperture understand your M8, and to automate imports
Download for Mac OS X 152 kb - Mac OS X 10.4+ Apple Aperture is a digital photography post-production tool for Mac. Apple bills it as a professional-grade product on par with Final Cut for video or Logic Pro for audio. Digital camera technology advances quickly, espeically at the ...
June 16, 2007
Bloomsday on Twitter
A performance of Wandering Rocks on Twitter, and a commentary on both. Created with Ian McCarthy.
I do not like Twitter, the micro-blogging service that allows users to send short (SMS-sized) text-based updates that are displayed publicly and shared with friends social-network style. ...

 

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