January 31, 2006

Boucoup Freeware Stickman Action

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 7:56 pm

Raigan Burns, one half of the N team whom we briefly met at Slamdance, sends us this list of freeware games he recommends, culled from looking at hundreds of freeware titles. Several of the stickman titles in the list were inspiration for N, which won the Audience award at both IGF05 and Slamdance06. Enjoy, in no particular order:

Seiklus: abstract stickman adventure game

Puchi: another tiny stickman game, this was a huge inspiration for N, super-fun puzzle/platforming

Frontline: yet more unclassifiable and addictive stickman action

Contribute to AI Standards

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:32 pm

The IGDA’s AI Interface Standards Committee is recruiting new members, from both industry and academia. See the call for applications below, open until February 20:

January 28, 2006

Slamdance Awards Night

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 3:18 pm

Facade SurprisedThe awards ceremony at Slamdance was a great party: three bands + liberal quantities of tequila = fun. Red Bull and Corazon were official sponsors of the Guerilla Game Competition, so the drill through the whole competition was all the free Red Bull you could drink all day, and all the free tequila you could drink all night. I unfortunately had a nasty cold the first couple of days of the competition, and so was having to take it very easy. But by the last night I was back in fighting trim. Andrew, who has more important things than game competitions going on in his life, was able to fly in for the last day, so we were at the awards ceremony together. An hour or two into the party, the organizers Sam and Carolyn took the stage and started announcing the awards.

January 26, 2006

ACM Video Game Symposium

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:56 pm

Sandbox, the first ACM Video Game Symposium, will be held this summer, July 29 and 30, in Boston MA, USA (collocated with SIGGRAPH 06). This is the first ACM-sponsored conference on video games; rumor has it that it may eventually spawn into its own ACM games SIG, with its own conference, etc. In addition to the papers, the Hot Games session will preview previously unreleased titles from major game companies as well as indie developers. The call for participation encourages a broad range of submissions, ranging from technical papers to humanistic game studies, from game design to analyses of the economics and business of games. Long papers are due May 1, Hot Game demos are due July 1. Read on for the full CFP.

Electronic Literature Collection Deadline Nears

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 5:11 pm

The Electronic Literature Collection will bundle together all sorts of readable digital work: animated, interactive, hyper, cyber, and on and on. Works are sought for the first volume, but only until the deadline next Tuesday, January 31. See the call for works for details!

January 25, 2006

In Yo Façade: Slamdance Winner Announced

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 5:10 pm

This just in . . . I’ve heard like none of the details, but Holy Toledo! Façade body-slammed the competition and took first place at the Slamdance Festival. Congrats to Michael and Andrew, and I look forward to the footage of you guys in your tights and Mexican wresting masks.

Mary Ann Buckles Update

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 3:53 pm

The San Diego paper has an aritcle, “Accidental traveler in a brave new world,” about Mary Ann Buckles, the first to undertake a serious, involved study of interactive fiction or any sort of computer game: “Interactive Fiction: the Computer Storygame ‘Adventure.'” As a New York Times story and Gonzalo Frasca’s Ludology.org noted a while back, Buckles seems to have been broken from academia by interactions with her committee and the PhD process, but to have kneaded herself into a career she’s enjoying – as a massage therapist.

Free Space Comix Revenant

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:02 pm

Brian Kim Stefans’s blog Free Space Comix has returned to the Web as Free Space Comix III, now WordPressified and served up one letter at a time. (It arrives in one’s browser window so quickly, however, that it looks like you’re getting it a page at a time.) For a thorough grounding, you can check out the first incarnation of the blog, the 2002-2004 Free Space Comix, and the 2004-2006 Free Space Comix II. From these sites, and from behind the arras (Brian’s site), a bevy of intriguing texts, poems, and online artworks will be revealed – and nowadays, syllabi, too, since Brian’s teaching and completing his MFA in creative writing at Brown.

Writing in Digital Environments

Here are some folks who think about “digital writing” in somewhat different terms than we usually do at GTxA. The Writing in Digital Environments Research Center has just announced the First WIDE Conference, “Writing : : Digital Knowledge,” to be held April 6th and 7th, 2006, at the James B. Henry Center of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. The information here is from their announcement email.

January 23, 2006

Hello from Slamdance

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:13 pm

Slamdance bannerI’ve been here at Slamdance for the last couple of days exhibiting Façade. Andrew flies in later today. It’s a cool venue, though, echoing Ian’s post, we’re not getting as much foot traffic I’d like. Façade would be particularly suited for the non-gamer indy-movie-loving audience who descend on Park City for Sundance and Slamdance. In conversations in bars and restaurants, it’s fun introducing random festival goers to the concept of indy games. After describing Façade, a common reaction is to say “Oh, I’ll have to send my kids by the game lounge” – funny given the subject matter. I of course take great pains to explain that, as an art form, games can be aimed at adults as well as children, and that in fact Façade was not designed for children. (On a related note, Façade, which was supposed to be included on Moondance Games IGF compilation CD, was excluded at the last minute because having it in the compilation would have required ESRB “Strong Language” and “Alcohol Reference” descriptors which none of the other games required – not kid’s stuff indeed. Our next game will have to involve killing things so that we can get an E rating.).

Readings at Penn: Glazier & Carpenter, Moulthrop

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:58 am

Attention Philadelphians and those nearby! The MACHINE reading series at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House, co-sponsored by the Electronic Literature Organization, will soon feature:

On February 15: Loss Pequeño Glazier (University of Buffalo, author of Digital Poetics: The Making of E-Poetries, numerous digital works, and Anatman, Pumpkin Seed, Algorithm) joins Penn’s own Jim Carpenter (creator of the Electronic Text Composition system) to take the Writers House to the limits of computing and poetry. The program will be hosted by poet and critic Charles Bernstein (With Strings, My Way: Speeches and Poems, Republics of Reality: 1975-1995, Dark City). This “Constructing Poets” program is co-sponsored by the Penn Creative Writing Program.

January 20, 2006

ISEA 2006 Deadline Looms

January 30th is the deadline for proposals to the ISEA 2006 Symposium. ISEA is the International Symposium on Electronic Art — the big gathering that took most of GTxA to Scandinavia in 2004 (where we raised a toast and took notes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7). This year the ISEA 2006 Festival and Symposium will take place in San Jose, California from August 5th through 13th. The Symposium will include papers, artist presentations, and posters on the themes of Transvergence, Interactive City, Community Domain, and Pacific Rim. This year’s co-chairs are the extremely savvy Steve Dietz and Joel Slayton — so expect a great event, and get those proposals done in the next 10 days!

January 19, 2006

In the White Room without Black Curtains

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 5:43 pm
Some buttons from White Chamber
A simple and elegant computer interface being used to simulate an inscrutable computer interface, in White Chamber.

This post is dedicated to the escapers, and those who want to be escapers. Perhaps you remember Toshimitsu Takagi’s Crimson Room (Grand Text Auto post & discussion). By now the game has established itself well enough to be briefly glossed in Wikipedia, everyone’s favorite the free encyclopedia. And the master of one-room Flash has since released Viridian Room. Now – well, I’m a few weeks late with this revelation, but anyway – he’s also completed White Chamber.

The News and Interactive Fiction

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:46 am

I shall lend credence to Jeremy Douglass’s characterization of Grand Text Auto as being a source of “breaking news and events” in interactive fiction – a characterization seen in his recent Writer Response Theory post on interactive fiction news resources.

The first breaking news item is Jeremy’s even more recent discussion of how interactive fiction tends to be characterized in news stories, which includes a proposed generation system for news stories about IF. For a very different take on interactive fiction and the news, check out the transcript from Iraqi Invasion: A Text Misadventure, provided by Defective Yeti.

January 18, 2006

Editorial Exegesis on Slashdot

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 2:35 pm

Here people might not properly capitalize a proper noun. They might transpose letters in ‘thier’. They might use jargon that isn’t in oxford. And all of that is OK with me.

Whether or not you’re a textual scholar, you may have wondered what the editorial values are on the three-leet site Slashdot, and what principles and practices apply to posting “stories” there. If so, you’ll be interested in a lengthy, recent post that tells the whole story and also offers a Goldilocks theory of story length and a sort of rhetoric of hyper-linking. There is some very fascinating conversation afterwards, too: “The process of reading is pipelined. Humans can scan through text very quickly because while the eye is scanning one word you’re parsing the sentence from a few words before and thinking about the meaning of what came before that. When you hit a grammatical or spelling error you cause a pipeline stall.”

January 17, 2006

Computational Aesthetics Workshop at AAAI

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:48 pm

                Computational Aesthetics:

         AAAI 2006, Boston, July 16 or 17, 2006



                  *         *         * 

Our aesthetic agency for beauty and emotion is one of the most 
celebrated bastions of humanity.  If machines could understand and 
affect our perceptions of beauty and happiness, they could touch 
people's lives in fantastic new ways. Drawing variously from work in 
diverse fields such as psychology, cognitive science, and philosophy,
recent applications of artificial intelligence have begun their foray
into the computation of, inter alia, art, music, poetry, and affect. 
Both the theory and praxis of aesthetics by computational means are 
seeing rapid advances, and the time is ripe for thematic integration.
Hence, this workshop will bring together AI theorists and 
practitioners across various realms in study and celebration of its 

January 16, 2006

Disaffected! Released

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 10:15 pm

Ian Bogost and Persuasive Games have just released Disaffected! for Windows and Mac. The game, mentioned earlier on here, is a parodical critique of working life at FedEx Kinko’s and a Slamdance finalist. The whole Persuasive Games site has gotten an upgade, too, with a new page that showcase their games. Also, see Ian’s post on Water Cooler Games about the release of Disaffected!

Will FedEx deliver a threatening legal letter to Persuasive Games? How will the high-concept Disaffected! fare against the AI juggernaut of Façade at Slamdance? What did Vaugn do with Thor’s package? What will happen when late-generation situationists take the game into FedEx Kinko’s and play, or invite employees to play with them? Stay tuned!

last call for writing on code!

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 3:06 am

esteemed community: I herewith establish the first and last semi-public call for submissions to my book project.

I am looking for people with interesting, well informed ideas on computer code for a book.

I’m editing a collection called _re:CODE_, the third in the series of theory and fiction volumes (reload 2002, reskin 2006 FORTHCOMING!! both with H. A. Booth). Doris Cacoilo is the assistant to the project. Like it might sound, re:CODE is about the social and cultural signifance of coding. The table of contents is quite full of great works already selected… but I think this may be an area of interest of to a few GTxA-ers, so in order to make sure we catch emerging thinkers, I wanted to shout-out.

January 15, 2006

Editors Seek Electronic Literature

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:52 pm

The Electronic Literature Collection 1 seeks submissions of readable digital media – literary works that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the computer. Hypertext, interactive fiction, e-mail novels, cybertext poems, games with literary dimensions, visual and animated literary pieces, performance texts, and on and on.

Electronic Literature Organization The deadline looms just two weeks from this posting – January 31! We welcome submissions of work from years past, though. For this first Collection, N. Katherine Hayles, Nick Montfort, Scott Rettberg, and Stephanie Strickland are the editorial collective. The Collection will be available on CD and online, and Creative Commons licensed so that students, teachers, and individuals can share and enjoy. See the call for works for details.

Programmer/Artist/Writer Seeks Writers

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:47 pm

Turbulence-commissioned artist and Rhizome director of technology Francis Hwang seeks writers for collaborative, improvisational fiction online. Should be comfortable with ongoing light commitment, technology. Stipend offered! See blog post for contact information and further details.

Dr. Seuss and Bill O’Reilly Meet Grace and Trip

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 3:25 pm

After a flurry of activity last year, Game-Brains.com took a brief hiatus over the past few months, but is now back with an improvised review of Façade that, among other things, channels the perspective of the right-wing news media:

January 14, 2006


from Grand Text Auto
by @ 10:03 am

M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online, specifically, has returned with issues #1 and #2 available again and part of the 2006 issue up. The magazine, with print and online dimensions, deals provocatively with art and includes writing from poets and critics as well as artists. Of particular interest to us here on Grand Text Auto: the second issue, from 2003, on collaborations. (Interestingly, the Summer 1961 issue #2 of Locus Solus, edited by by John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Harry Mathews, and James Schuyler, was about collaborations, also.) Issue #2 of M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online includes, for instance, an article by Michael Mazur about his collaborations with Robert Pinsky and Robert Townsend. And lots of other collaboratively-written articles about the topic, too.

OpenEnded Lingering

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 2:06 am

Marc Downie's dance pieceMy friend eugene sent me a link to an artificial.dk interview with Marc Downie — whom you interactive character enthusiasts may know as the person responsible, among other things, for the excellent realtime charcoal rendering of the MIT Media Lab’s virtual wolves. A little research reveals that Marc recently defended his PhD dissertation, “Choreographing the Extended Agent: Performance Graphics for Dance Theater”, and is now part of a collaborative group of artists called OpenEnded Group. The interview describes How long does the subject linger on the edge of the volume…, a dance piece with live interactive imagery, pictured here. Cool stuff.

January 13, 2006

Game Boy Wants to be Free?

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:12 pm

I recently acquired a Game Boy Micro, which I like a great deal. It’s pocket-sized, clear and ergonomic enough, rechargeable, and runs Game Boy Advance cartridges (from the stellar Wario Ware, Inc. to, via the magic of flash RAM, the homebrew games and demos that Brett Camper has discussed).

Modern-day gaming systems cause me to hesitate as I reach for my wallet, though, not only because of my retro tastes, but also because they’re so severely locked down. This is the case both from the “consumer” standpoint (as seen in region coding, which I believe Nintendo developed prior to the DVD) and of course from the developer’s standpoint.

January 10, 2006

Spoon Missing

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 9:30 pm

I got word of a very interesting-sounding, Rashomon-inspired, Queneau-inspired, RFID-enabled piece going up at the Beall Center in Irvine, California on January 18. It’s by Brian House (of Yellow Arrow) and Sue Huang, and is called 5 ’til 12:

The Beall Center becomes the site of a nonlinear narrative with Knifeandfork’s immersive installation, 5 ’til 12. The visitor is invited to watch four characters, on four monitors, as they recount the tragic circumstances of the exhibition’s opening night. The experience is unique for each visitor, as each story has most likely never been heard before… and won’t ever be heard again.

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