Category: Uncategorized

One of the most

One of the most common arguments that those who are in favor of making laws restricting the sale of videogames (when not erroneously arguing that in the USA film ratings are governmentally enforced) is that the sale of pornography to minors is illegal, so why shouldn’t the sale of certain games be illegal?

Can anyone point me to a refernce on pornography laws in the USA? I’ve spend about half and hour searching online, Amazon, and the college library card catalog and I have yet to find anything that exaplins exactly what the pornography laws are in the USA. (The main problem is that any search tends to return logs of hits for child porn and internet porn laws. I want to know exactly what the laws about a kid buying Playboy are.) Anyone actually know what the law(s) are?

I’m starting to get

I’m starting to get worried that something might have happened to Jack Thompson.
First, in Louisiana a judge, refused to permit controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson to file an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the case over the legality over the anti-violent videogame law Thompson co-authored. We all assumed that Jack would immediately respond with his normal flurry of press released claiming that the videogame industry was so afraid of him that they had to bribe the judge to keep him off the case.
Now, an Indiana teenager has shot at people and killed one person. A teenager kills someone? If anything calls out for Jack’s attention it is that. And still nothing!
Maybe he’s too busy working on that fancy new website to notice these events. If Jack won’t think of the children by sending out inflammatory press releases who will?

Videogame syllabus update

I’ve decided that the answer to my quandry over how to set up my videogame syllabus is to begin with a couple days of ethnography stuff. I’m setting up the class is that each Friday will be a gaming day and that they will keep journals of their experiences and observations, therefore, it seems logical that they get some info on how to take good notes and what to think about before we actually start playing the games. I would share the calendar, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to just show it to people without making them sign into google’s calendar or use an rss reader. If anyone already does those or knows an easier way to let people see a google calendar, leave a message.

videogame syllabus notes

I working on a syllabus for a course on videogames and I’m messing around with some new tools. I am working on the syllabus using google’s online calendar and I”m writing this using writely. I just noticed that writely has a thing to post to blogs, so I figured I would try it out.

syllabus sections

  1. what is a game?
  2. videogame history
  3. videogame theory
  4. what is ethnography?

the problem is where does ethnography fit in within this? It must be taught early so to give the students a chance to get used to the notion. However, to alternate between the two will make the course seem less cohesive. So how to do it?
Perhaps there will be a way to insert a little bit of reading every day. but i don’t want to overdo the reading load. So how to do that?

What I’m playing…

I’m getting ready to write a paper about depictions of race — and in this case distinct species — in the Aliens vs. Predator videogames, so I’m replaying those. (except for the Jaguar version since I donn’t have an Atari Jaguar). I still think the first one is much better than the second one.

I also picked up Quake 4. I liked it. It was better than Doom 3. However, as lotsof others have pointed out, it is really linear with lots of locked doors that you have to unlock. Still, I liked it.

I got the dvd version of Quake 4 because it was the same price as the regualr version. It came with Quake 2 and the expansion packs for it. I’ve never played the the expansion packs, so I might install Quake 2 and find one of the source code mods and play through the expansion pack.

Re-Examining The Half-Life Story: A First Person-Shooter With A Good Plot?

The essay I got published in the Italian-language collection, Doom: The First Person Reader has been posted online in english at the Videoludica website.

It’s called, “Re-Examining The Half-Life Story: A First Person-Shooter With A Good Plot?”. I wrote it more than two years ago, so if I were to re-read it, I am sure I will be horribly embaraced by it. Therefore, I don’t think I’ll be re-reading it!

Since it was originally published in Italian, and I don’t read or speak Italian, I figured it would be a good place for a first publication. Chances are any potential job search committee here in the USA wouldn’t be able to read Italian either, so I could claim it was a brilliant article. On the off chance someone who might hire me actually could read Italian, I could just protest that the subtlties of my argument were lost in translation. It was a perfect plan! Of course I didn’t imagine that it would get posted online in English! Now my work has to stand on its own merits! Curses!

I will note that as far as I am able to tell, my essay is the only one that has been published on the site. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Either they started with the best essay or the worst. As to which it is, as all the math textbooks in college would say when they gave an example too tedious or too complicated to solve, “I leave that as an exercise for the reader…”

Henry Jenkins posts eight myths about video games a year ago and people finally pick up on it…

So the whole game blogging world is all a-buzz with Henry Jenkin’s . It was on Attack of the Show, digg (where it was even a dupe there), and slashdot not to mention billions of other places…

I finally got around to looking at the link and i swore I had read it before. Head over to and welcome to 2004… Maybe there is something to this whole fact checking stuff…

Speaking of old things, some long time readers may remember Arthur Asa Berger‘s Video Games: A Popular Culture Phenomenon and my lukewarm review of it. I was doing some research on early videogame advertising in the LA Times and guess what I should run across? A 1982 article by Berger called, “Pac-Man — Auto-Erotic Plaything?” I’m not sure what to make of it, if it is supposed to be funny or if it is serious. It does a vaguely Freudian take on videogames and contains such intersting sentences as: “This is, perhaps, an extreme statement, but the dynamics in videogames and masturbating are very similar” and “It has take something like 4 billion years for us to evolve from a simple sea creature to Pac-Man. Sometimes I wonder what evolution is all about.” Just plain weird…

Back and ready to kick some ass!

My computer is back in action. Here is the email I sent a collegue:

> SO I got windows to install completely. Guess what I did? Unplugged my
> MICROSOFT usb keyboard and plugged in my old Emacines PS/2 keyboard. stupid
> microsoft!
> i haven’t plugged the ubs keyboard back in yet to see if it will work now,
> but at least i got windows up and running again…

of course my friend, who shall remain nameless since I didn’t bother to ask him if I could post his email here, was very sympathetic:

Well, this is what you get for using some exotic, unsupported hardware. I mean, you don’t seriously expect Microsoft to know about every single piece of equipment ever produced, do you? I’d laugh my ass off if it wasn’t so tragic.

In other news, does anyone know where I can find a copy of the GTA pressconference that Hillary Clinton had? Or the open letter about the Sims that Jack Thompson sent out?

Since everyone else has had something to say about the hot coffee, I won’t really bother. I’ve been talking about videogame violence for years and I’m tired of it. I’m taking a break from all the hot Grand Theft Auto, jack thompson, “What about the children?” sex (even if it was consentual and not rape) and crap like that.

Running into the limitations of technology…

My main computer is out of action, hopefully temporarily. Of course it was working fine and then I decided I would try to dual boot linux. So I got that done, then screwed up one config in linux and it wouldn’t boot, so I eneded up trying to reininstall linux, which screwed up the grub bootloader, when ended up in me trying to reinstall windows except it keeps hanging. So no videogames for me for a while. oh well, that gives me time to catch up on my reading. .. except I can’t update my endnote bib because the I’ve got everything backed up on a second harddrive… inside the computer that won’t restart! grrrrrr…..