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Posts tagged Games

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...

House first sale doctrine hearing: My points of view
June 4, 2014 | 2:49 pm

Well, that was quite a few articles. I hope you at least read my summaries, and they didn’t put you to sleep. I was impressed by the breadth of viewpoints represented in that sample of testimony. We heard from a major publisher, a company and an interest group lobbying for digital resale, a graphic artist, a media executive, a major library, and more. They all had their own unique viewpoints, and reading all of them really gave me a new appreciation for how complicated first sale is—not just the proposed digital type, but the ordinary physical media type we all...

Story Cards tablet CCG gamifies reading for K-12 students
March 12, 2014 | 2:58 pm

storycardsHere's an intriguing game I just learned about. Educational publisher Amplify, makers of the Amplify Android tablet we covered last year, has come up with a way to gamify classic literature, in the hopes of getting students interested in reading it. Story Cards is a turn-based character-driven CCG. Players unlock character cards with specific abilities by reading the books they come from, and can gain bonuses by answering trivia questions related to the books in question. The game supports both single-player and multi-player modes. Students can build their own decks and compete with the game or each other. The...

GenCon 2013 Interview: Phil Reed, COO of Steve Jackson Games
October 6, 2013 | 5:00 pm

GEDC1300I last spoke to Phil Reed, COO of Steve Jackson Games, at GenCon in 2011. We discussed e23, Steve Jackson Games’s DRM-free PDF e-book store, which had expanded far beyond its original intended goals of just republishing out-of-print stuff to publishing in-print stuff at the same time as or even before it came out in print. I caught up with him again at GenCon 2013 for another brief interview. We touched on e23’s ongoing success, but Reed had more to say on the subject of Kickstarters—something that was on the minds of a number of other writers and industry...

German advocacy group sues for consumers’ right to resell Steam games
July 20, 2013 | 10:50 am

Here’s yet another attempt to retrofit first sale rights onto digital media. I’m not sure what the German term for “first sale” is, but Cinema Blend reports that the German organization VZBV has been working hard in the German courts to force Valve to support it for the computer games it sells via Steam, allowing resale or trading of previously purchased digital titles. The VZBV (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V., or Federation of German Consumer Organizations) is a non-governmental body that acts as an umbrella organization for 41 German consumer advocacy groups. It filed a cease-and-desist against Valve’s subscriber agreement last...

Why computer games aren’t like novels — but should interest novelists anyway
July 15, 2013 | 9:10 am

computer gamesFollowing on from my recent response to Damien Walter's critique of interactive principles applied to traditional writing, here's a fascinating—and arguably much better written—manifesto from former games journalist and now game developer Tom Francis, on what he is trying to do in building a game, and why and how. As David Gaughran, whose tweet tipped me off to it, said, it has "some good advice for storytellers in general." See if you agree. Firstly, Francis rejects the cinematic approach: "You can make a movie where people have to press the right buttons to see the next scene, but it’s hard, expensive, and spectacularly missing the point. These things count as...

Guardian interactive e-book video game writing critique misfires
July 13, 2013 | 4:38 pm

Britain's The Guardian has just run another generic anti-tech critique of modern technophilia and the push for interactive storytelling, this time from columnist Damien Walter. He takes issue with the predictions that "traditional fiction will be superannuated by new technology," proclaiming: "Novels remain the best interactive media." Walter feels that some generic "we" has been led sadly astray by tech hype to desert "those fusty old book things and their tiresome words" in favor of "interactive multimedia experiences." This slightly skips over the fact that the quintessential tech product which really transformed publishing, writing, and the world of books, was not...

Why We Need Off-Line Media
July 8, 2013 | 11:17 am

mediaGigaOM's Lauren Hockenson has a great response to the recent gaming headlines about SimCity, Xbox One and the concept of the always-on console. Reading her arguments about why gamers need to sometimes be off-line, it struck me—as it often does with gaming-themed articles—how true these points are for all media. I know Amazon probably sees a future where all your media is in the cloud (and preferably a cloud you access through them), but it doesn't always work that way. People don't always have a perfect Internet connection. Companies don't always stay around forever to provide the cloud they promise. It's...

Does Apple’s rejection of political games constitute a monopoly?
June 24, 2013 | 3:55 am

rottenE-books are one form of new media commonly associated with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, but another—arguably, one more unique to them—is video games. But politically topical games have always been a hot button issue with Apple’s iOS app store, which is prone to reject them on the slightest flimsy excuse. Polygon has an interesting feature covering the difficulties of some such studios to get their games approved. While I would quibble a bit with Polygon’s terminology referring to politically-topical games as “serious” games—as if non-political games can’t have serious stories—I would tend to agree with its point...

Xbox One Update: Microsoft Backs Down!
June 20, 2013 | 5:17 pm

Xbox OneI wrote earlier this month about the upcoming Xbox One from Microsoft, the successor to the company's popular Xbox console. Its release was controversial because it was to come built-in with some of the most onerous DRM features I'd ever seen: an 'always on' connection that required you to 'phone home' to Microsoft every 24 hours in order to keep playing your games, and restrictions on loaning or borrowing games. The Toronto Star, however, is reporting that after two weeks of complaints by online gamers, Microsoft has cavedand removed the most onerous of the restrictions: "An internet connection will not be required to play offline...

The Gamification of Books: Good Idea, or Bad?
February 26, 2013 | 11:00 am

Gamification badges There was an interesting article in yesterday's Morning Links about the 'gamification' of books. I had first heard this term in response to the Reading Life feature on the Kobo platform, which awards you 'badges' for such activities as reading at a certain time in the day, reading a certain number of books, using a dictionary or bookmark feature, and so on. But this article was coming at it from a different aspect: using the 'concept of game mechanics' to 'pull the reader through a book.' Jeremy Greenfield of Digital Book World, the article's author, suggests applying these strategies to children's...

Can smartphone game Tip or Skip entice ‘showroomers’ to buy goods in physical locations?
July 31, 2012 | 7:34 pm

tip or skip“Showrooming.” While I can’t say I’d heard the specific term before, it’s easy to understand what it’s talking about—the practice of using a physical store as a “showroom” where you can examine something and then go buy it online. This is one of the trends many pro-agency pricing comment submitters noted in their comments to the DoJ, though in the DoJ’s response it was largely referred to as “free-riding.” As I mentioned the other day, a lot of people do “showrooming” in bookstores with their Kindles. However, it’s also long been a popular activity on smartphones for general-purpose...