Thursday, November 22, 2007

Games as art tools

As I might have said before, the use of games art artistic tools is something I would like to investigate on a deeper level (PhD?). Meanwhile, I´ve found that Flavio Escribano, from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid has produced a very complete, thoughtful and polished publication on the subject. If you can understand Spanish, you should check it out.

(Via Mushroom Coorporation)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Poll - Have you ever started something in real life because of a game?

Weekly poll (you might need to access the original post in order to access the flash poll).

Feel free to post information about your own experience on the comments section.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Will Wright on Games and Imagination

While researching for my presentation, I found out that has a great article entitled "Dream Machine", by Will Wright, where makes a very similar point to the one I intend to.

I'll probably come back to it later next week. For now, here is a passage from it. There are gome good things that should be referenced later.

"Like the toys of our youth, modern videogames rely on the player's active involvement. We're invited to create and interact with elaborately simulated worlds, characters, and story lines. Games aren't just fantasy worlds to explore; they actually amplify our powers of imagination.

Think of it this way: Most technologies can be seen as an enhancement of some part of our bodies (car/legs, house/skin, TV/senses). From the start, computers have been understood as an extension of the human brain; the first computers were referred to as mechanical brains and analytical engines. We saw their primary value as automated number crunchers that far exceeded our own meager abilities."

Even the McLuhan analogy is there. I need more tricks :)

Anyway, I think my research is coming out fine. Most of it was already done, and it feels more like putting the pieces together with some coherence. Although all I have is a loose structure, I am already moving from "how can I make it last 15 minutes" to "how can I make it fit 15 minutes". I hope I don't get lost.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Google Gadgets as game platform

I don´t know how many iGoogle users there are (a lot, I guess), but since Google has been trying to attract and support google gadget developers, I was wondering if this couldn't be a very interesting game platform.

I haven´t really researched the dev guide, but I have no doubt that some original games could be made, taking advantage of iGoogle´s user base and structure.

The idea of browser-accessible, script-embedded games and activities is very attractive. Metaplace seems to be a much stronger player in that area. In fact, Metaplace seems to be so ahead (hum... Metaplace Google Gadget!), that maybe Google Gadget Games should embrace alternative features, such as text games, parallel gaming, etc.

Of course, there are several successful GG games, such as Sudoku, Chess, Tetris, etc. But I´m willing to bet that something new could come out of it. It could be an interesting niche, anyway.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Endless Forest

I have no idea how could I overlook it for so long: The Endless Forestis a (non)game from Tale of Tales that is not only highly original (just check out their list of game verbs!), but also beatiful.

From their website:
"The Endless Forest is a multiplayer online game and social screensaver, a virtual place where you can play with your friends. When your computer goes to sleep you appear as a deer in this magical place. There are no goals to achieve or rules to follow. Just run through the forest and see what happens. (Emphasis mine)"

(What about my emphasis?)
When your computer... Endless Forest is a screensaver - which is a brilliant idea, I think.
There are no goals to achieve... See? It is a nongame, I was not pushing too far.

More from their website:
"You are a deer. So are the other players. You meet each other in an endless forest on the internet. The setting is idyllic, the atmosphere peaceful. You communicate with one another through sounds and body language."

This could be very interesting. And I wonder if it wouldn't work even better within a goal-driven context.

Well, for those who are interested, here's the download page.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Digital Games as Creative Tools - submission accepted

That abstract I posted here sometime ago was accepted, and now I have to prepare a 15 min. lecture about it. So here is a list of things I want to remember during the presentation (please, feel free to contribute)

Magic circle and wider view of the impotance of play(Huizinga), possible interventions using games, simulation as training and evaluation tools, "between fictional worlds and real rules" (Juul), technologies of information (Levy), "learning semiotic domains" and "the insider principal" (Gee), videogames of the oppressed (Frasca), freedom of play, open-ended worlds, confronting challenges, free from oneself by binding to another (Sutton-Smith), a place to interrogate (Mcluhan). the Sims, elektroplankton, mods, the movies, second life, etc.

(here's the abstract, by the way):
Digital Games as Creative Tools

Chico Queiroz

Within the debate on the role of imagination and the imaginary in design theory and practice, there is a correlate issue that should be addressed. An issue within the scope of that debate, but that subverts the original perspective: the role of design in imaginary and creative practices. The objective of this analysis is to identify and discuss aspects and features that enable virtual ludic environments, such as electronic games, as catalysts for imaginative and creative processes. In order to investigate such connections, both terms that incorporate the definition of our subject must be taken in consideration: The ludic qualities, or sense of play, that makes them games, and also the elements that differentiate them as virtual, system-based, electronic. Digital tools have been used for all kinds of purposes. They are routinely used as extensions of our memories, via databases and storage spaces, and our senses, through the use of communication devices such as webcams. What is being proposed here is an investigation on how new technologies, more specifically video games, can function as extensions of our imagination and creativity - and how playfulness, inherent to such cultural artifacts, could relate to this technology, lending and borrowing qualities capable of amplifying their potentials, resulting in a successful and powerful combination that insufflates the creative process. This analysis takes in consideration perspectives presented by contemporary game and new media studies, and also by studies on traditional games and play.

DS - natural nongame platform

It's amazing how many simulators, training and freeplay games are released for Nintendo DS every month. Some of them:

  • Flash Focus: Vision Training
  • Imagine: Fashion Designer
  • Anti-stress game by Mindhabits
  • Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day
  • Hannah Montana: Music Jam
  • Facial Training game

    etc, etc.

    I have mentioned that before, but I believe some of the reasons for that are:
    a) Portability and Individuality - an independent system that you don't have to plug into anything else and that can be played discreetly anywhere.
    b) Price - much cheaper than a next-gen console.
    c) Dual screen featuring a touch screen - more screen space for instructions and buttons that can be accessed using the stylus equals less need for memorized control schemes.

    Am I forgetting anything?
  • Copyright, Chico Queiroz