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Why own media when you can rent the library?
April 30, 2015 | 2:51 pm

eatIs ownership of media passé? Over the last few years, I’ve noticed an interesting trend develop. It started with music, as “all-you-can-eat” services like Pandora and Spotify popped up to offer users a chance to listen to as much music as they wanted either free with advertising, or for a small monthly fee. Amazon, Google, and Apple soon followed suit. Then came video, as the holy trinity of Netflix, Hulu, and (again) Amazon launched streaming video services for television and movies. Next, it moved into e-books, with Oyster, Scribd, and, yes, Amazon launching services. (Amazon doesn’t seem...

Interactive graphic novel Midnight Rises by John Scalzi interacts with new mobile shooter game
February 5, 2015 | 6:07 pm

midnightrisesInteractive book apps may not yet have set the world on fire, but there is at least one place for them—as an adjunct to video games. On January 28, 2015, Industrial Toys LLC released Midnight Rises, an interactive graphic novel application for iOS. The e-comic serves as a prelude to Midnight Star, a mobile shooter game which Industrial Toys LLC released for iOS today. (Both applications are expected to come to Android “sometime soon.”) Midnight Rises was written by John Scalzi, with art by Mike Choi and music by Serj Tankian. The first chapter is free; the next two are 99...

For your Hugo consideration: Designers & Dragons
January 31, 2015 | 7:06 pm

Just a quick reminder: nominations for this year’s Hugo Awards are upon us, and if you signed up for last year’s (to get the entire Wheel of Time series that was included in the Hugo voter packet, for example) you’re eligible to nominate now. Nominations are open through March 10, and you can update and change your ballot as often as you like. And I’d just like to stump for a book that I feel is extremely worthy of consideration: the four-volume history of the role-playing game industry, Designers & Dragons, which was published via Kickstarter last year. Given...

GamerGate Zoe Quinn rape story self-published, pulled from Amazon
December 19, 2014 | 11:46 pm

ethicsgameI can’t say I ever expected to have an excuse to write about GamerGate here on TeleRead. The movement generally hasn’t had anything to do directly with e-books. Until now. TechCrunch carries the story of a 3,000 word e-book posted for sale on Amazon, in which five men rape a “controversial video game designer” named “Zada Quinby”—a very thinly-veiled Zoe Quinn, the game developer who has been the focus of many of GamerGate’s attacks. Lest there be any doubt, the book had “#GamerGape” (sic) in its title. The e-book has since been taken down, but the...

Blurred lines: Social media and news media feeding into each other
November 19, 2014 | 7:35 pm

On GigaOm, Matthew Ingram expresses fascination with the way that the news media and social media have collided and blurred the lines between each other, in the context of the recent Uber scandal. We’re increasingly seeing major news stories break and grow in social and new media—Twitter, Facebook, blogs—with the traditional media being relatively slow to catch on. Rather than issue press releases, public figures and companies are issuing quick responses via Twitter or Facebook. So is this a good thing or a bad thing? That depends a lot on your perspective. Obviously if you’re...

Disney sees big growth from mobile as gaming monetization options multiply
November 16, 2014 | 12:26 pm

disneycomic_thumb.pngDisney has announced new mobile gaming products in news that highlights just how profitable mobile gaming spinoffs have become for creative and media franchises. Quoted in GigaOm and elsewhere, Disney Interactive president James Pitaro claimed that Disney is now the world's sixth largest mobile gaming company, and looking at an over 50 percent rise in users since the same period last year, with players spending 75 percent more time on the games. Pitaro also claimed that the Disney mobile-based Club Penguin platform was the most popular virtual world for children, and that total usage hours of the Frozen Free Fall...

Writers and GamerGate
October 24, 2014 | 10:25 am

tropesvswomen_thumb.jpgAnyone not living under the same rock that many of its adherents crawled out from under will surely know by now about GamerGate, the supposed activist movement to defend traditional computer gaming standards and values, which has mushroomed into an umbrella grouping for all kinds of self-righteous victimhood, hate speech, intimidation, trolling, and even death threats. The whole thing started around a woman journalist, but writers have by and large been out of the front line on this story - until now. For one thing, Theodore Beale AKA Vox Day, a fairly notorious right-wing science fiction author, apparently thought he could use...

UK childrens’ storytelling app Story Box seeks Kickstarter support
September 9, 2014 | 12:25 pm

UK game designer Simon Keating, "a designer in the games industry for 20 years" and creator of "the characters and stories for Croc : Legend Of The Gobbos" as well as "a multitude of other titles" is seeking Kickstarter support for his new project Story Box, "a fully interactive 3D experience engine for kids and their grown ups," as the introduction explains. "Users can read, play and create fun 3D interactive stories and learning experiences" in the app, built for iOS and Android, "for children (ages 3+) and grown ups." The outline continues: "Children have the space to play, create and discover using...

Designers & Dragons vol. 3 now available to Kickstarter backers
August 28, 2014 | 10:54 pm

ddvol3A quick update on the Designers & Dragons Kickstarter, whose first volume I reviewed a few weeks ago. The second volume in the 4-volume series, covering the 1980s, has been available for a while to those (such as myself) who kicked in at least $15. Today, the ‘90s volume came out. The second and third volumes are PDF-only for now, since the EPUB and MOBI versions take time to craft, but they’re coming. The fourth volume will be released in a preliminary draft form without an index sometime before the Kickstarter completes. I haven’t had the chance to look...

Mobile game Ingress has implications straight out of science-fiction
August 26, 2014 | 7:11 pm

braceletSo, this past weekend I took part in my first ever “Anomaly,” a big local event for players of the Ingress game (which I wrote about for Answers here) by Niantic Labs, a subsidiary of Google. In these events, players in certain towns gather together and fight over specific virtual bits of real territory, needing to hold as much of it as they can at specific time points when the score is counted. It was a great deal of fun, and very involved. The Resistance (the faction I play) is very well-organized around these parts. We met at 10:30...

GenCon is this weekend; are you coming?
August 11, 2014 | 5:56 pm

20140508_171116_HDRGenCon is coming up this weekend, at the Indianapolis Convention Center (that kind of flat building at right, visible between those two red towers) here in scenic Indianapolis. Are any of our readers planning on attending? It would be cool to have the chance to meet some of you! I’m highly excited about it; this is the first time I’ll be attending as a resident rather than an out-of-towner. I can bicycle home at the end of the day rather than having to drive a rental car down to my brother’s house. I’m probably going to be around Thursday and...

Review: Designers & Dragons Vol. 1: The ‘70s
August 8, 2014 | 5:23 am

designdragon70s I’ve finished reading through the first volume of the RPG history from that Kickstarter I mentioned the other day, and I have to say that I’m very impressed. In fact, I plan on nominating it for the “Best Related Work” Hugo when the 2014 Hugo nominations come around. It’s just that good. As I explained in the last article, this history is split across four volumes, divided by decade. However, the decade only refers to the period in which the company was founded. The approach the book takes is to trace the history of each company from...

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