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Wed, 23 Nov 2005

New York Times Article on Game Design Programs

The New York Times has an article on game design programs. The article is the standard "isn't something new novel" type, but it does mention Georgia Tech's program among others and it quotes Tracy Fullerton who's done great work on the relationship of game simulation to documentary practices (she presented a paper on it at the first UF game studies conference). While the New York Times article isn't incredible, it's nice to see some familiar references and it might be helpful--given the New York Times' cultural currency--for anyone needing to defend game studies.

Tue, 22 Nov 2005

Review: GotGame's Bad Mojo Redux (2004)

Wow. This has to be one of the most disgusting games I've yet had the chance to play. If cockroaches, rats, and decomposing fish aren't your bag, then you'll want to pass on Bad Mojo. On the plus side, it's great if you're on a diet. (If you're really curious what this game looks like, check out my Bad Mojo Travel Guide, but be warned--don't do it if you're planning to eat anytime soon). So, beyond the gross out-graphics and sordid gameplay, is there anything here to attract academic interest? Definitely. This Joe Campbell/Kafka-inspired game is so deep and full of pathos that it's worth the occasional stomach rotation.

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Shedding Light on the Xbox 360

Gizmodo has posted a of reviews of the new Xbox 360 and its games. The consensus seems to be "Good, not great," and I expect Sony is gearing up to really put the smackdown on this box when it unleases the PS3. Seems like (no surprise), Microsoft has continued to blur the PC/game console lines with its 360. I'm frankly shocked that they didn't include a keyboard and mouse this time. Perhaps what's more interesting is the stripped down "MOM, YOU DIDN'T BUY THE RIGHT ONE!!" version they're selling for a hundred bucks less. It doesn't come with a harddrive, which means all legacy games won't run (which must suck for those who sell their old box to help defray the costs of the new one).

Mon, 21 Nov 2005

Rick James' Superfreak--NES 8-Bit Style

Okay, this is silly. Some guys have put together an entire album of pop covers performed on a NES. I love stuff like this! Here's the track listing:

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Sun, 20 Nov 2005

MP3 Player in an NES Controller

Yeah, it's geeky. But heck, wouldn't you like to have one? Some clever fellow has learned how to use an old NES controller as the chassis for his MP3 player. Now that's cool!

Fantasy Fashion League

A women's version of the fantasy sports leagues launched a little over two months ago and already thousands of women have formed leagues and started to play. Fantasy Fashion League supposedly plays much the same way as the baseball and football counterparts.

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posted by cathlena.   [1 comment]   [/main]  [permanent link]

Review: Quake 4

The newest entry in the Quake series hit my harddrive about a week ago just as a mountain of papers appeared on my queue. I still haven't finished grading these papers. I blame Quake 4. I don't have anything to say here about multiplayer, but the single-player campaign is worth checking out.

While perhaps a bit long and anti-climactic, and certainly not on the level of Half-Life 2, Quake 4 was far more enjoyable than Doom 3--though at times the games are similar enough that I felt as though I were playing a Doom 3 expansion pack. The blood and gore are only slightly reduced; this is not a game for the queasy. You're still going to see enough HR Giger-inspired scenery to make your stomach churn. Perhaps I have been sufficiently desensitized to this stuff by playing through Doom 3, but this game can be just as gross.

What's to like here, then? Why not just play Doom 3? Well, I'd say first and foremost, Quake 4 benefits from superior controls and speed. This game moves like a well-oiled machine, and when you're trying to pop distant targets with a rifle or pistol, that precision makes all the difference. At the third-highest difficulty setting, the game was challenging but never impossible (Looks like the difference is that the monsters can take more damage and move faster). Unlike Doom 3, where the answer was always to twirl around, shotgun blasting, Quake 4 asks for more strategy. I caught myself replaying tough rooms three to eight times to really get a favorable result. At any rate, Quake 4 is a fun game well worth the time it takes to beat. From a more intellectual perspective though, there's really nothing to see here--move on.

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Thu, 17 Nov 2005

SMS Literature

I just saw this article on a project to truncate classic literary texts to SMS messages. This is a really interesting source for anyone writing on l33t writing or on remediated texts. Plus, it's funny to think of the ending to Jane Eyre as "MadwyfSetsFyr2Haus." I can't wait to see how they describe Lady Macbeth.

Wed, 16 Nov 2005

Visual 2600 ROMs

If you haven't checked out distellamap, do so right now. It presents graphic maps of Atari 2600 game binaries disassembled into machine language, tracking JSR (Jump SubRoutines) and and other logical jumps with grey lines and graphic data with orange blocks. It's really a thing of beauty... um, if you've got a geek streak similar to mine, at least.

Perhaps most useful for the ludologist is the way that you really can determine how Q-Bert, for example, uses "a different sort of programming style" without knowing the first thing about Rockwell 6507 assembler yourself. A very useful and productive exercise for disassembling code, pun intended. That's right folks, this is one great way to 'read' a video game -- or any app.

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posted by rufwork.   [2 comments]   [/main]  [permanent link]

CFP: Video Games and the Alien / Other

Call for Papers: "The Alien/Other" Second Annual University of Florida Game Studies Conference.

Gainesville, FL April 7-8, 2006

The University of Florida's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce the 2006 UF Game Studies Conference: "Video Games and the Alien/Other," which will be held in Gainesville, Florida, on April 7-8 2006.

Guest Speaker: Lee Sheldon (writing credits include Agatha Christie: And then there were none [The Adventure Company], Uru: Ages beyond Myst [Cyan], The Riddle of Master Lu, and Dark Side of the Moon.)

This conference seeks to explore the figure of the Alien and the Other and the various ways it has been employed in video games. Since the original Space Invaders, video games have frequently construed difference as the site of conflict and conflict as the principle operation of the individual fighting alone against a hostile Universe. In this game, for example, the aliens which invade the earth are marked as Other by their bodies, and their hostility toward the earth is a foregone conclusion of their difference.

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posted by zach.   [0 comments]   [/news]  [permanent link]

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Academic Gamers, A group blog hosting semi-serious discussion of video games and video game criticism.

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Review: Quake 4 by mattbarton.exe
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