December 20, 2006
The 17th issue of Vodaphone’s receiver just launched, with a great collection of articles on games and play. Editor Katja Hoffmann has gathered an eclectic group of authors from industry, journalism, academe, and the arts — from Matt Jones (Director of User-Experience Design for Nokia Design Multimedia) to Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn (Tale of Tales / Entropy8zuper!, as discussed earlier) to folks like Lev Manovich, Gonzalo Frasca, and yours truly.
My contribution — Three play effects: Eliza, Tale-Spin, and SimCity — is a preview of some of the ideas in the book I’m writing. Essentially, I begin by arguing that we can generalize the “Eliza effect” beyond computer characters, as the effect of any digital media system that initially appears much more complex on the surface than it is internally. Then I put the Eliza effect into a context not generally considered: that of play. The results point to two further play effects arising from the relationship of surface and internal process… before circling back around to issues of computer character design and implementation. (Comments welcome here or at the receiver discussion board.)