a journal of play.

Month: March, 2012

Miniatures: Control & the Self

This essay originally appeared as a guest article at The Ontological Geek. “The term miniatures refers to entities that players can fully or partially control, but which do not, in themselves, represent the player. Examples of miniatures would be units of cavalry in Medieval II: Total War (Creative Assembly, 2006), the workers in Age of […]

On Ruining Dear Esther

This critical essay originally appeared at Oh No! Video Games! N.B. In the course of this article, I will ruthlessly spoil Dear Esther, certainly for those who have not experienced it, and in all possibility for some who have. The haunting landscape of Dear Esther “There’s nothing better to do here than indulge in contradictions,” […]

Documenting Play

Here’s a collection of photos I’ve taken recently of people playing around ITU, including some fierce sessions of J.S. Joust, Nordic Game Jam and some matches in the GameLab. You might as well use Flickr’s full screen slideshow. Press play on the sweet jam I provided to further your viewing pleasure.  

Play, Carnival, Spectacle:

A few quotes I gathered today that resonate. “Festival only makes sense when its brilliance lights up the sad hinterland of everyday dullness, and when it uses up, in one single moment, all it has patiently and soberly accumulated.” —Henri Lefebrve, Quotidienne 2 “It should not be forgotten that worse than the cheat is the […]

Is Emergence a Metaphysical Property?

Yesterday, for Digital Game Theory, we had an excellent guest lecture by Espen Aarseth, the very fellow that fired the starting pistol that began the academic race1 commonly referred to as Game Studies.  The topic was “emergence,” and with a reading list consisting of Jesper Juul’s 2002 framework of opposition between progress and emergence in […]

Radical Minsky?

I had never read all of Marvin Minsky’s seminal essay “Telepresence,” nor had it really sunk in that its venue was venerable sci-fi mag Omni.1 I was surprised to say the least to read his radical conclusion, shortly after considering telepresence’s possibility for increasing alienation: Finally, in a strange sense, the question of “technological unemployment” […]

Uncanny Telepresence

A video demonstrating Minecraft’s “Quake Pro” Field of View (FOV). Over the last few weeks, I’ve experienced a strange phenomena I propose identifying as “uncanny telepresence.”  If Marvin Minsky’s telepresence is the experience of “being there,” uncanny telepresence is the experience of “not quite being there.”  It designates cognitive dissonance experienced by the player due to […]