best when viewed in low light


Pass It On

More links from the weirdos I know:

The latest stats on virtual world gaming

Some guy's hunch about the false promise of a Google 3D social networking environment

Ah, the great divide of virtual/real property (arguably, a virtual reality in itself)

Raph's strategy for distinguishing between the two

Is this what they mean by convergence? [Hope not]

Games are good for girls!

Virtual museums to stratify your virtual appreciation for virtual art

Fat camp for gamers

Check it out! We can make games crazier than we are!

I love mainstream media articles about gaming, it's so romantic. Here's one on Liverpool in SL - because who wants to go to Liverpool for real? [jk]

A few words on evolutionary psychology: genetic shopping? a mother's love is altruistic?

Video from TED: Dan Dennett talks universal memes

And a little "whoa!"


And the Kitchen Sink

From Typewriter Tackleberry: A world for those people who make friends online, and want to live there. [Crazies]

From Greg Lastowka, through the Castronova: Games for gamers that don't care about winning, they just want to party!
[Telegram, USA Today, meet Metaplace]

From Fzizzle: A PhWiiiii!
[Finally! Something to do with the rest of my life!]


I'm Stuffed!

While I was in a tryptophan-induced stupor (which I can't think of without reference to The Merv Griffin Show episode of Seinfeld), a bunch of stuff happened.

Here's the summary:

A spinning woman can tell which side of your brain you're using.

Everquest: Best game ever, or just can't get over it?

If you can't, at least there's a cure for your addiction.

Don't worry, at least our brains can tell the difference between "real life" and "a game".


Game Idea For The Day


"Fuck better than ever"

A virtual world fantasy-reality simulation, for use with teledildonics.


That's Convergence

Maybe Jenkins is right about "convergence". Since I haven't absorbed more than what one acquires on the average skim, then he might be saying a lot of good stuff.

But when media people talk about convergence, they usually mean shit like character profiles from a TV show on their network website, or click-to-interact DVD special features. Rarely are they so relevant as Lucas's Star Wars: Clone Wars series, or the famed ARG for the film "AI".

Rarely do we see platform convergence in media that's consumer demanded, rather than Marketing Department-generated. Here's a good example.


Virtually Arresting

This is the moment. Remember it well.

The first instance of a person being arrested for a civil crime conducted entirely within a virtual world.

This is the enforcement of property rights in a virtual world space.

Property rights which are, in themselves, virtual. Ha.

Efficient Cloning Coming Soon

The interests and authority of the almighty Science has culminated in the greatest example of human naivete.

We're going to make clones!

And not just inefficient clones from human embryos.

We're going all the way. where?


Inside The Matrix

Look closely.
That's Ted right there in the suit, looking like the 4th member of the bumbling nihilist kidnappers in Big Lebowski.

Here's the article. (En francais.)


Smack Those Bitches Up

First, fake blond is fake blond, and if the fashion police doesn't stop all you black-haired wannabes for that, they need to reassess their priorities.

In a hundred years from now, will Iran have benefited from an image-obsessed, materialistic, "individualistic" Western fashion culture? Not so sure.

I don't, by any means, champion the restriction of self-expression in any way, but I can understand the goals of the spiritual and social leaders in Iran. Let's just say, though I don't support the method, I think they have a point.

NO ONE needs to spend as much money as we do on our appearance. In fact, in this obsession with our bodies as the sign-post for all that we are, we have subverted many real attempts to express that which is truly unique and worthwhile in each of us.

There are plenty of feminists who decry the image-obsession of Western culture. But they do have other ways to draw attention to their individuality and ideas.

I would still interpret this as evidence of an anachronistic mentality running scared. Keep running.

Gaming Game Economics

There's a lot of talk around the SWI cooler about incentivizing gaming fun through the economic system. Great idea!

(It'd be awesome if RL economists were thinking like that, btw.)

There are a lot of unforseen problems, because it's almost impossible to project some factor for the desirability of a particular in-game tool/toy.

That, and they rarely do the math.

Damion Schubert has an excellent and straightforward example of what NOT to do to your players. (In language for all us non-economists.)


Choice Is Not An Illusion

But the illusion of choice is the best tool of control ever used by man.

In honor of The (Noble) Lie (not this one, this one) I've decided to found the Don't Vote campaign.

As a side note: I just checked the availability of the URL "" - see the redirection for yourself; and as a perfect complement, check the price of the closest alternatives.

This one goes out to all you Sunday afternoon conspiracy theorists, and others who believe that what They tell you isn't necessarily True (and by "true" I mean...)

It's just a game.


Games For Good

More proof that gaming is good for the world!

The World Food Program of the UN launched a vocabulary game in October that buys grains of rice for the people who need it.

It's called Free Rice.They've generated enough to feed 50,000 people for a day, or 1bn grains of rice. (In the amount of time I played - like, 30 seconds - I donated 150 grains of rice!)

This is just the beginning of what game interfaces/strategies can do for the world.

I'm still waiting for:
Love World - the game that teaches you how to fall in love
Peace World - the game that teaches world leaders how to use diplomacy and growth-oriented economics to resolve disputes in a multilateral political universe
Kid World - the game that teaches over-35s to relate to people under the age of 18, especially tools for exercising authority without manipulation, respecting the tastes and ideas of the youth; includes a Mentoring expansion pack
Poverty World - the game that teaches you how to live on less than $1 a day
Tolerance World - the game that teaches you how to cooperate with people who fiercely oppose all of your most deeply-held values
No(Wo)Mans World - the game where gender and sexual preferences are obsolete and roles are irrelevant


Against All Odds

Proof that the future of media is gaming. Even the UN is getting into it!I always wanted to be a refugee!

Women Bound

Democracy, so what?

Call it what you like. Cooperation is key.

Opening the door to individual empowerment and the potential of our species to anticipate and motivate change, however that looks, can only happen with everyone's participation.

So, enough with the male domination already!
(Phew! That didn't take long.)


You Say Slow Growth, I Say Recession

But a word is just a word, right? A recession by any other name would decrease the immense buying power of US consumers, the value of the currency, and the productivity of all industries.

I know I used to make fun of Alan Greenspan being a propped-up corpse like Weekend At Bernie's or Bob Barker, but now I miss the old cadaver.Bernanke doesn't inspire anything but skepticism, and a suspicion that the administration's propaganda machine created him in CGI and then spits out whatever bullshit necessary to make people spend on credit.

And that would be ok, if our fantasies of world domination were anything other than fantasies. Or inevitably transient.


Damion Schubert's Life of the Game

6 "Oh my God"s
3 "Holy shit!"s,
1 "No fucking way!!"
(within the first 5 minutes)
= Mega Hit Game

Damion's talk is called "The Zen of Online Game Design". (Here's the ppt) He's currently designing something Top Secret for Bioware

Since zen is an attempt to free oneself from concepts, and to see the world directly, how can that happen in contemporary (virtual) reality? (That's a whole other can o' worms.) But Damion's take is that enlightenment can only come through experience, meditation and understanding. Here's what he means...

Some kernels of wisdom:
Designers! Keep your heads in the game!
Loving an MMO can be a long term commitment, so evaluate the potential of your chosen partner like you would a human.
There are lots of reasons to leave, so don't make more!
Love your hard core - you want people emotionally, temporally, and financially invested. (Just not too hardcore.)
Your world is your culture. Be aware and be in control of it.
Find balance between the elements of Worldliness (realism, immersion), Gameyness (limitations, levels), and Community (competition, cooperation).

MMO Industry 3Rs:
Recruitment (of customers)
Reduction (of costs of services)

Some of my tangential thoughts:
Maybe we need to build in skills that people can apply in RL (and know it).
Maybe there's a way to ramp skills so that the "beginning" is not necessarily easy, and doesn't require feeling like such a n00b (without being too hard).

Here's more from Damion.


Imagination Over

Funny how two posts in one day can really be about the same exact thing!

Like this, followed by this:

Just Between Us

Awww. I love to see when world leaders find their political soulmate. Just like these two little peas.
How could they not get along? They're both spoiled princelings, motivated by extremist nationalism, and willing to oppress any and all who stand in the way of unencumbered phallic domination.



Sex Sells, But The Dollar Doesn't Buy It

Gisele is smarter than she looks. Or, rather, she's as smart as she looks.

She won't sell herself in dollars anymore because, really, who wants dollars when they won't even buy you a cup of coffee in Europe?

I think we should all make like Jim Rogers and sell out to the Chinese yuan. Don't worry, the Communists will take care of everything.

(Also, props to the BBC for the best way to sneak economics into your breakfast cereal.)

In the past...