September 28, 2009

Nordic Digital Culture Network Launched

from Scott Rettberg
by @ 1:31 am

Nordic Digital Culture Netwrok I’m pleased to announce the launch of the Nordic Digital Culture Network, a Nordplus Higher Education network which we have been working to develop for the past year. Linking together digital culture programs from the Nordic and Baltic region, the Digital Culture Network facilitates curriculum development, student and faculty exchanges, and innovative teaching ideas and best practices. Students studying in the programs in the network will benefit from increased student and teacher mobility and enhanced opportunities for study. All the programs in the network — the University of Bergen in Norway, Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden, IT University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland — are leaders in the field of digital culture in their respective countries. Network participants will facilitate student and faculty exchange ranging from express visits to semester or yearlong exchanges, joint programs and master’s degrees. We are launching network activities this activities this fall and spring with faculty exchanges between the institutions, and will add programs, such as student exchanges and a summer school for digital culture, in coming years. I also encourage students from other countries in Europe, North America, and elsewhere to explore the exchange and M.A. program opportunities detailed on the site. For instance, both Bergen and Jyväskylä welcome applications to our M.A. programs in digital culture from well qualified international students. While international students are responsible for their own living expenses, they are not required to pay tuition.

September 25, 2009

NEH cooking along

from tiltfactor
by @ 10:05 am

Mary Flanagan is in Washington D.C. at the National Endowment for the Humanities Project Director meeting. Interesting discussions emerged on the ideas about digital commons.

We will have a large meeting soon with our team, technical designer, and advisory board to officially launch the project, but we have neat new project sketches by Zara Downs, Tiltfactor designer, emerging.

September 22, 2009

Stunning Monkey Island/Crysis Mashup

Fantastic Monkey Island 2 render in Crysis.

If anyone is yet to be convinced on the power of a great portfolio, I bet the creator, Hannes Appel, can look forward to an inbox stuffed with job offers in the coming weeks.

[Via Offworld, .tiff]

The Cycle Completes: Game Studies Scholars in Games

Ian Bogost

“Hello, my name is Ian Bogost” (press Click to Play in the top right).

I’m glad there’s no English translation of the web site, I like not knowing why he’s there. It’s like when you see Matt Damon on Japanese commercials, and you have no idea what he’s selling.

Ian Bogost = Matt Damon. You heard it here first.

September 18, 2009

The Magic of Magic


Recognize this? Of course you do.

I started playing Magic: The Gathering when I was in 5th grade.  Like all things from that age, it was a fad, and quickly faded behind the next hot toy.  However, I have been amazed with the frequent resurgence of the game in my life.  Multiple times, I have witnessed people with little in common admit that they were fans of the game, usually reluctantly or in jest, only to see enthusiasm snowball until a community has formed around the game, happily dishing out large sums of money for the latest cards.

September 17, 2009

Reverse Engineering the Brain and the ELIZA Effect: Is Believability Ethical?


Pet Society, Tamagotchi, Milo

Over winter break this past year, I went to a conference in Chicago for Graduate and Faculty Christians. I found myself having to choose between the Engineering track and the Math track (I went with Engineering). At the conference were some well known researchers, such as Fred Brooks and Francis Collins.  It seemed, to me (at least), that this conference would be quite the unique experience (…and I can now say that I’ve sung hymns with a room full of engineers). I mean, how often do we encounter a large gathering of the intersection between Christians and Professors? … I digress; however, within the community of Christian “intellectuals,” there were some interesting presentations on non-religious research. In particular, was a talk titled, “Discerning Technology or Hippocratic Engineering.”

Tenure Track Position: Assistant Professor of Visual Arts

from Post Position
by @ 9:45 am

My colleagues in the Visual Art Program are looking for an artist (and particularly inviting new media artists) to join the faculty and teach in the program. MIT, of course, offers the opportunity for artists to work in a diverse and high-powered technical context, but the campus also has incredible arts dimension. A nicely-formatted announcement is on the Web and available in PDF. Here’s the text of it:

September 15, 2009

Tenured Faculty Position in Comparative Media Studies

from Post Position
by @ 1:43 pm

I’m delighted to announce that MIT’s CMS program, where I’ve done much of my teaching and advising, is hiring:

MIT’s Program in Comparative Media Studies seeks applications for a tenured position beginning in September 2010. A PhD and an extensive record of publication, research activity and leadership are expected. We encourage applicants from a wide array of disciplinary backgrounds. The successful candidate will teach and guide research in one or more of the Program’s dimensions of comparativity (historical, methodological, cultural) across media forms. Expertise in the cultural and social implications of established media forms (film, television, audio and visual cultures, print) is as important as scholarship in one or more emerging areas such as games, social media, new media literacies, participatory culture, software studies, IPTV, and transmedia storytelling.

September 12, 2009

tiltfactor 2009-09-12 20:11:37

from tiltfactor
by @ 8:11 pm

Google book search, on track to become the world’s largest digital library, is discussed in this important Chronicle article. This is an important discussion about rights, access, searching, and metadata. The article points to the mislableling of metadata and other issues in searching Google books.

September 11, 2009

I’m Glad I’m Not the Only One Who Does This

from Post Position
by @ 2:21 pm

September 10, 2009

Science and Humanities Unite!

from tiltfactor
by @ 1:27 pm

There is a nifty new study by cultural anthropologist Jamie Tehrani at Durham University which looks at the evolution and transmission of traditional folktales around the world. His research team used biological mapping techniques that are used to make “the tree of life” project, which shows how organisms evolve from shared ancestors. Using scientific techniques outside of scientific domains is on the mind for Tiltfactor researchers as we relate games to other intellectual domains. The London Telegraph has a good summary of the work.

September 9, 2009

Interactive Fiction Suggestions, Fall 2009

from Post Position
by @ 9:29 pm

People who are interested in interactive fiction but who haven’t played much or any of it ask me for suggestions from time to time — not as often as I’d like, of course, but, luckily, once in a while. I’ve had a page of recommendations up on my site since 2005. The games on that list remain good ones, but I’m now updating those recommendations to take into account games from recent years, and, I’m posting the new ones here. Note that many of the people who ask me about IF are of a literary bent, as am I, and my suggestions reflect that.

September 8, 2009

Purple Blurb – Digital Writing, Fall 2009

from Post Position
by @ 2:17 pm

Once again, Purple Blurb offers readings and presentations on digital writing by practitioners of digital writing. All events are at MIT in room 14E-310, Mondays at 6pm. All events are free and open to the public. The Purple Blurb series is supported by the Angus N. MacDonald fund and Writing and Humanistic Studies.

Noah Wardrip-Fruin.

September 14 — Noah Wardrip-Fruin is author of Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies (MIT Press, 2009), co-creator of Screen (among other works of digital writing), and assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“The Most Important Video Game Yet Made” – The Beatles: Rock Band, Debated


First, if you haven’t heard about it, come tomorrow (9-9-09), The Beatles: Rock Band is released.  In preparation for its receptions, the game has instigated a lively inter-generational debate.  The lines are not so clearly drawn as to which communities or generations rest on which side, which makes it quite a unique situation.


September 7, 2009

Comics Are Great when Your Life Sucks

from Post Position
by @ 9:55 pm

Comics are written by people whose lives suck, for people whose lives suck. Obviously, that’s not entirely true. Alternative comics do seem to be highly in touch with the lameness of life, though, whether they’re chronicling lynchings in the American South, exploring the emotional suffering of outcasts, or taking us through people’s decisions and indecision.

Since this blog is about digital media sorts of things as well as “other stuff [I] like,” I thought I’d note and briefly comment on a few graphic novels that I’ve read recently, even if nothing here feeds directly into computer conversations.

Games corrupt the youth and cure the old

The front page of Lakeland, Florida’s The Ledger for November 10, 1982 has a remarkable juxtaposition of Associated Press articles about the effects of videogames.

A short blurb about a nursing home experimenting with Ms. Pac-Man explains that it helps residents “develop their motor skills”, as well as aiming at a loftier goal: “encourage creativeness, inventiveness, decision-making … and strengthen self-confidence”. It’s accompanied by an excellent photograph of three elderly nursing-home residents crowded around a cocktail-style Ms. Pac-Man cabinet.

September 5, 2009

It’s The Bat!

Batman and the Joker

Batman and the Joker

We can talk about the production values, the voice actors, the longevity, the setting, maybe we could talk about some procedural logic or game studies du jour operational logic, but all there really is to say is that Batman: Arkham Asylum is a fantastic game. The reason why: you get to be Batman. Crazy, no?

September 3, 2009

A Tiny Poetry Generator with Blinkenlights

from Post Position
by @ 12:31 pm

ppg256-4 on a shelf

[As I wrote on] My latest Perl Poetry Generator in 256 Characters, ppg256-4, is my first one created specifically for a gallery setting. Although shown here in my office, it’s now on display at the Axiom Gallery for New and Experimental Media in Boston in the show Pulling Back the Curtain, which runs through September 27.

Since 2007, I have been developing Perl poetry generators that are 256 characters long. These programs constitute the ppg256 series. They are simply 256 characters of Perl code; they use no external data sources, online or local, and they do not make use of any special libraries or invoke any other programs. Here’s the code for ppg256-4:

September 1, 2009

1/2 of GTxA Gather at DiGRA 2009

from tiltfactor
by @ 8:50 am

nullMichael Mateas, Noah Wardrip Fruin, and Mary Flanagan, half of the art-theory collaboration Grand Text Auto, gathered at the Digital Games Research Association’s 2009 Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory in Uxbridge, UK. Mateas is speaking on “Operational Logics,” Wardrip Fruin’s paper is “Agency Reconsidered,” and Flanagan is presenting the co-written paper, “Anxiety, Openness and Activist Games: A Case Study for Critical Play,” and speaking in an interactive workshop called ““Some Assembly Required”: Starting and Growing a Game Lab.” In between these presentations, both of Flanagan’s more recent books (Critical Play and re:SKIN), and Wardrip Fruin’s Expressive Processing are available in the MIT bookshop on site!

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