May 29, 2009

New Poem: “Served Cold”

from Post Position
by @ 12:43 pm

A dish for today: “Served Cold,” in the traditions of concrete poetry, search engine poetry, and poetry featuring incorrect but widely-used spellings of names.

Inspirational Examples

from tiltfactor
by @ 12:56 am

Heads up from Frank Lantz at Games for Change 2009 for some inspirational examples of games helping us understand social change. Check out the blog Overcoming Bias, by economist Robin Hanson;  Intuition Games’ Gray game, which has players attempt to get players in a mob to switch sides; the phenomenon of “Kidney Chains,” where nonsimultaneous altruistic organ donations, if organized, can occur in optimally useful networks. Lantz talked about the practice of Min – Maxing in games, and the kidney chain is a game-like optimal solution to solving a social issue (there are 60,000 people waiting for kidney transplants at a given time). Finally he discussed optimal social solutions: complexity theorist Bruce Sawhill has noted,  “You no longer want to find the best solution — you want to be living in a space of good solutions, so when the problem changes, you’re still there.”

May 28, 2009

Join us for Come Out + Play, NYC June 12-14

from tiltfactor
by @ 10:07 pm
massively multiplayer mushu by Tiltfactor

massively multiplayer mushu by Tiltfactor

June 12-14, 2009 join us to play two Tiltfactor urban games at the Come Out & Play Festival! The festival will transform New York City once again into an urban playground!

Opening on Saturday June 13 at 4 PM at the Festival HQ at the The Tank (354 W 45th St. between 8th/9th Aves)– Photopolis! Team up with players from New York, Beijing, and Shanghai for a cross-continental photography challenge.

On Sunday June 14 at 11 AM, start playing Massively Multiplayer Mushu! Talk to strangers, find clues, and fetch ingredients for a secret collective food festival!

May 22, 2009

Microchip Movers and Shakers

from Post Position
by @ 6:58 am

“25 Microchips That Shook the World,” an article by Brian R. Santo that was published this month in IEEE Spectrum, is a fascinating look at important hardware components and their historical influence – a look within various hardware platforms.

May 21, 2009

Well Played

from Post Position
by @ 12:40 pm

Well Played 1.0: Video Game, Value and Meaning is now out from ETC Press. It’s available in print from and has been offered to the creative commons and can be downloaded as a PDF or read on the Web.

My contribution is “Portal of Ivory, Passage of Horn,” an article comparing two of the top games of 2007. Thanks to everyone who discussed this comparison with me at Grand Text Auto when I first blogged about this pair of games. My article is, I think, both more extensive and more focused than what I originally wrote, and I hope it helps to advance the discussion of video games.

May 17, 2009

Last Day Dream

from Post Position
by @ 8:57 pm

Last Day Dream

Here’s a beautiful 42-second video: Last Day Dream by music video director Chris Milk.

May 12, 2009

Blog-Based Peer Review: Four Surprises

Last year we undertook an experiment here: simultaneously sending the manuscript for Expressive Processing out for traditional, press-solicited peer review and posting the same manuscript, in sections, as part of the daily flow of posts on Grand Text Auto. As far as I know, it became the first experiment in what I call “blog-based peer review.”

Over the last year I’ve been finishing up Expressive Processing: using comments from the blog-based and press-solicited reviews to revise the manuscript, completing a few additional chapters, participating in the layout and proof processes, and so on. I’m happy to say the book has now entered the final stages of production and will be out this summer (let me know if you’d be interested in writing an online or paper-based review).

One of my last pieces of writing for the book was an afterword, bringing together my conclusions about the blog-based peer review process. I’m publishing it here, on GTxA, both to acknowledge the community here and as a final opportunity to close the loop. I expect this to be the last GTxA post to use CommentPress — so take the opportunity to comment paragraph-by-paragraph if it strikes your fancy. (more...)

May 10, 2009

My New Blog

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 9:05 pm

I have a new blog: Post Position. Here’s my welcome post.

May 7, 2009

1st International Conference on Computational Creativity

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 9:34 pm

ICCC X, the First International Conference on Computational Creativity, will be taking place January 7-9 in Lisbon. The X, I believe, indicates the decade of workshops and symposia leading up to this conference. Here’s the scoop:

Although it seems clear that creativity plays an important role in developing intelligent computational systems, it is less clear how to model, simulate, or evaluate creativity in such systems. In other words, it is often easier to recognize the presence and effect of creativity than to describe or prescribe it.

The purpose of this conference is to facilitate the exchange of ideas on the topic of computational creativity in a cross-disciplinary setting.

Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives

Third Person Cover

Pat Harrigan and I are pleased to announce the publication of the final volume in our POV series: Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives. Following the first two volumes (First Person and Second Person) this project broadens our scope yet again. While the first volume was mostly (though not exclusively) focused on computer games and electronic literature, and the second injected tabletop gaming, performance-oriented play, and other kinds of systems that create meaning through play, this new volume greatly increases the range of narrative forms considered, while continuing to keep our previous concerns in play.

Given this, it’s probably no surprise that this is the biggest volume yet (more than 400 pages, though not, as the catalog currently states, more than 600). We continue to include the voices of practitioners and critics — for example, both Rafael Alvarez, who wrote for The Wire, and critic Jason Mittell reading The Wire‘s structure in game-like terms. We also continue to bring together popular arts (e.g., The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Watchmen, and Doctor Who) with experiments that will only be directly experienced by a select audience (e.g., Tamiko Thiel’s culture-crossing VR installations and Richard Grossman’s three-million-word, four-thousand-volume novel). And we also continue to connect the present and past, bringing in writing on vast narratives ranging from the early female superhero Miss Fury to Thomas Mann’s masterwork Joseph and His Brothers.

But shifting the focus to vast narrative also, of course, introduces discontinuities with the previous volumes.

May 6, 2009

Games and Social Change Podcast

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:19 pm

There is a new podcast interview featuring yours truly, Mary Flanagan, along with Suzanne Seggerman about games for change at the Brainy Gamer. Everyone’s preparing for the Games for Change festival in NYC — just a few weeks away! Read more at

Today I Die

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 8:18 am

Daniel Benmergui of “Storyteller” and “I wish I were the Moon” fame has a beautiful new piece out, one that is a poem as well as a game: “Today I Die.” Announcement of release here.

But Our Princess is in Another Cloud

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 7:52 am

MAYA Design’s whitepaper “The Wrong Could” by Peter Lucas, Joseph Ballay, and Ralph Lombreglia contains the best cloud-computing metaphors yet, ones that are incisive as well as amusing:

Today’s so-called cloud isn’t really a cloud at all. It’s a bunch of corporate dirigibles painted to look like clouds. You can tell they’re fake because they all have logos on them. Real clouds don’t have logos.

May 5, 2009

Video Game Exhibit at the Boston Cyberarts Festival

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 2:04 pm

Here’s what the Boston Cyberarts Festival exhibit at 1305 Boylston Street, which offered visitors the opportunity to play several Atari VCS games along with Tempest 2000 (Jaguar), Rez (Dreamcast), and Bit.Trip Beat (Wii), looked like:

vg_exhibit George Fifield, Andrew Y Ames, Nick Montfort

The last photo shows George Fifield (director of the Boston Cyberarts Festival), Andrew Y Ames, and Nick Montfort (caught by the camera in his weekend attire).

May 4, 2009

The Death of General Purpose Computing

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 5:06 pm

Today Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law School and Co-Founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, spoke at Dartmouth on “Civic Technologies and the Future of the Internet.” Zittrain first defined the term “civic technologies” to mean those technologies that rise and fall and depend on participation.

Zittrain spoke first on Internet history: the development of the Arpanet –> Internet, he noted, was inherently playful and had an exhilarating sense of freedom and respect among users. The financial constraints for the development of the Internet significantly influenced — helpfully so — its design. Courtesy in networks, from access to attitude, as well as the the lack of business plans made this endeavor revolve around free information in the first place. Costs were low in production, and fees were not expected to be recouped through the use of the system (no sales, for example, were planned to support the infrastructure).

May 2, 2009

Let’s Hand It to Processing Time

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 8:41 pm

No, people weren’t ticked off – we had a great event full of Processing programming today at MIT, at Processing Time, part of the Boston Cyberarts Festival. Update: Screenshot of the winning program from the MIT News Office.

Processing Time teams

Processing Time work

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