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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 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 ...
Historical Approaches to Digital Media
Graduate Seminar, Georgia Tech, Spring 2012
This seminar will focus on the historical and philosophical aspects of media and technology. In addition to the traditional historical approach to several media forms, we will focus specifically on a number of methods of the material history and analysis of media forms, the evolution of those media forms, and ...
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, ...
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) ...
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 ...
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 ...
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. ...
October 20, 2010
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 ...
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 ...
May 6, 2010
The Picnic Spoils the Rain
On "Heavy Rain" and interactive cinema. From my "Persuasive Games" column at Gamasutra.
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 ...
February 21, 2010
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?" ...
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 ...
Atari Hacks, Remakes, and Demakes
Special Topics in Game Design and Analysis, Spring 2010
In this intensive seminar, we will explore every aspect of the Atari VCS (2600), the most important early home videogame console. Based on a critical-technical practice Nick Montfort and I call platform studies, we will investigate the way the Atari VCS influenced games and game design through a thorough analysis ...
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 ...
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 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...