Here’s my presentation from the Internet Researchers conference. The conference was pretty good. Enjoyed the panels. Got some good questions. next year is in Sweden so I probably won’t be attending but 2011 is in Seattle so I hope to attend that one.
So this guy’s girlfriend is so dumb she doesn’t notice the guy pushing buttons on the controller or that certain scenes keep happening over and over when he dies? Or are they saying that Uncharted 2 is full of long cut scenes? It is nice to see Sony stretching out and advertising games to new markets like straight white men… (seriously though who is this commercial for? Any guy watching it who might be remotely interested would already be interested in the PS3. Maybe it is just to generate general brand awareness?)
It isn’t much of a secret that I’m a fan of bad movies and one of the more infamous companies that make bad movies is The Asylum. They are the producers of a lot of films such as 18 Year Old Virgin, The Day the Earth Stopped, Snakes on a Train, The Terminators, and Transmorphers. As these examples show, The Asylym’s gimmick is that they think of a title that is similar to an upcoming film, make a film as quickly as possible, and get it into the video stores to piggy back on the original film.
Well, it seems like a videogame company has seen how easy it is for The Asylum to make money and has started making their own knockoffs. I was listening to the idle Thumbs podcast when one of the hosts mentioned Gameloft‘s “awesome” iphone games. Not having an iphone I can’t say if the phones are any good or not but I can’t help but think that they would be just as good as The Asylum’s films with titles like: Dungeon Hunter which I’m sure is nothing like Diablo,
Blades of Fury which looks nothing like Tekken,
Modern Combat: Sandstorm which looks nothing like Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat,
Gangstar: West Coast Hustle which has no similarities to GTA: San Andreas,
and I’m sure that the fact that Guitar Rock Tour has a title so similar to Guitar Hero and Rock Band is just coincidental.
Please tell me I’m not the only one hoping that Gameloft and The Asylum will hook up so we can get some games based on The Asylum’s films. That would be incredible.
In the world of videogame studies there has been a lot written about Wow and MUDs and MOOs and fairly little written about FPS players so I’ve looked at the MMORPG stuff to see where it is similar to or different from my research interests.
I was listening to the latest episode of the podcast, A Life Well Wasted the other day and it got me thinking. If you don’t know, A Life Well Wasted is kind of like the This American Life of videogame podcasts. It is really good even if it doesn’t come out as often as I would like.
The latest episode is “Artists, Fans, & Engineers” has some great interviews with cosplayers and fanfic authors. Felicia Day’s work on The Guild has also been getting a lot of attention and in particular her song “Do You Want to Date My Avatar.”
Back in the 90s I participated in a comic book APA and did a little bit of comic book fanfic and I’ve read Henry Jenkins so I am familiar with fandom. I’ve never played WoW but I have played a little bit of City of Heroes, Lord of the Rings Online and I’m currently playing the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons Online. Through none of this experience, however, have I done much team questing and never joined a guild. My experiences with anime, manga, and jrpgs is also pretty limited. I’ve seen a few anime shows (I grew up with Robotech), I’ve read Lone Wolf and Cub, and I’ve played Final Fantasy 7 and part of 8. However, when it comes to a lot of these less popular jrpgs I am clueless.
I got to say, this kind of cosplay and fanfic just doesn’t happen in First-Person Shooters. Sure, there is some but it just isn’t at the level it is among the mmorpg and jrpg players. There are certainly reasons for this, more story, a different perspective so you can see your character and character customization, and so on. But because of this they really seem to attract different kinds of people. There is overlap of course but the hardcore mmorpg and jrpg players don’t tend to be hardcore fps players and vice-versa.
I think that perhaps we really need to stop thinking about “videogames” as a monolithic thing and about “gamers” as belonging to a single monolithic group. Just as figure skating fans and hockey fans don’t tend to be the same people despite the superficial similarities of the two, neither are mmorpg, jrpg, and fps players (there’s some gendered aspects to those sports and I don’t think it is a coincidence that female mmorpg and jrpg players are much more common than female fps players. However, that is a matter for another post at another time.).
I guess what I’m saying is that videogames aren’t the same and neither are the players.
I’ll never be MrBabyMan at this rate!
The summer is almost over. Actually I started teaching one class for Ivy Tech last week. IU doesn’t start until Monday.
This summer I moved, got a new car, and drafted out two chapters. I’m going to the Association of Internet Researchers Conference in October, and I’ve got an SCMS paper proposal to get out by Tuesday.
I think that’s a pretty busy summer.
I’m just about to turn in the first draft for chapter 2 of the dissertation. Here’s the unformatted works cited for it:
Ajana, Btihaj. “Disembodiment and Cyberspace: A Phenomenological Approach.” Electronic Journal of Sociology (2004). 16 Jul 2009
Ang, Ien. Watching Dallas: Soap Opera and the Melodramatic Imagination. Routledge, 1985.
Austin, Joe, and Michael Nevin Willard. “Generations of Youth: Youth Cultures and History in Twentieth-Century America.” Ed. Joe Austin & Michael Nevin Willard. New York: NYU Press, 1998. 1-20.
Bedford, Charles. “LAN Parties: it’s a scene, baby!.” loonygames 1998. 18 Aug 2009
Berger, Arthur Asa. “Eleven Ways of Looking at the Gulf War..” ETC.: A Review of General Semantics 51.2 (1994): 177-180.
Bird, Sharon R. “Welcome To The Men’s Club: Homosociality and the Maintenance of Hegemonic Masculinity.” Gender Society 10.2 (1996): 120-132.
Breckon, Nick. “Quake Live Open Beta Goes Live.” Shacknews 24 Feb 2009. 13 Jul 2009
Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay In Phenomenology and Feminist Theory.” The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. Ed. Amelia Jones. New York: Routledge, 2003. 392-402.
Clark, Andy. Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Connell, R. W, and James W Messerschmidt. “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept.” Gender Society 19.6 (2005): 829-859.
Connell, RW. Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics. Stanford University Press, 1987.
Coyle, Karen. “How Hard Can It Be?.” Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace. Ed. Lynn Cherny & Elizabeth Reba Weisse. Seal Press, 1996. 42–55.
Csordas, Thomas J. Embodiment and Experience: The Existential Ground of Culture and Self. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Dovey, Jon, and Helen W. Kennedy. Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media. Open University Press, 2006.
Foy, Laura. “In Search of Brothers In Arms: Earned In Blood Videos.” G4tv 12 Oct 2005. 23 Aug 2009
Friedman, Ted. “Civilization and Its Discontents: Simulation, Subjectivity, and Space.” On a Silver Platter: CD-ROMs and the Promises of a New Technology. Ed. Greg M. Smith. New York: NYU Press, 1999. 132-150.
Haraway, Donna. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.” Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991. 149-181.
—. “Cyborgs and Symbionts: Living Together in the New World Order.” The Cyborg Handbook. Ed. Chris Gray. London: Routledge, 1995. xi-xx.
Hayles, N. Katherine. “The Life Cycle of Cyborgs: Writing the Posthuman.” The Cyborg Handbook. Ed. Chris Gray. London: Routledge, 1995. 321-334.
Jeffords, Susan. Hard bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era. Rutgers Univ Pr, 1994.
Jenson, Jennifer, and de Castell Susan. “What “real” girls play: Dispelling the myths of virtual
equality.” San Antonio, TX, 2004.
Kimmel, Michael S. “Rethinking Masculinity: New Directions in Research.” Changing Men: New Directions in Research on Men and masculinity. Ed. Michael S. Kimmerl. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1987. 9-24.
Kunzru, Hari. “You Are Cyborg.” Wired Magazine 5.2 (1997).
Kushner, Davis. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2004.
Leder, Drew. The Absent Body. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.
Levy, Donald P. “Hegemonic Masculinity.” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Ed. George Ritzer. Blackwell Publishing, 2007. 22 Aug 2009
Lie, Merete. “Technology and Masculinity: The Case of the Computer.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 2.3 (1995): 379-394.
Lupton, Deborah. “The Embodied Computer/User.” The Cybercultures Reader. Ed. David Bell & Barbara M. Kennedy. New York: Routledge, 2000. 477-89.
Martin, Randy. Performance as Political Act: The Embodied Self. New York: Bergin & Garvey, 1990.
Messner, Michael. “Boyhood, Organized Sports and the Construction of Masculinities.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 18.4 (1990): 416-444.
Pinckard, Jane. “Genderplay: Successes and Failures in Character Designs for Videogames.” Game Girl Advance 16 Apr 2003. 21 Aug 2009
“Release Information for Quake.” 13 Jul 2009
Schleiner, Anne-Marie. “About.” Velvet-Strike 20 Feb 2004. 21 Aug 2009
—. “Flamer Gallery.” Velvet-Strike 20 Feb 2004. 21 Aug 2009
—. “Sprays.” Velvet-Strike 20 Feb 2004. 21 Aug 2009
Stone, Allucquere Rosanne. “Will the Real Body Please Stand Up?: Boundary Stories About Virtual Cultures.” Cyberspace: First Steps. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991. 81-118.
Turque, Bill. “Erasing the Vietnam Nightmare.” Newsweek 4 Feb 1991: 67.
Wajcman, Judy. Feminism Confronts Technology. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr, 1991.
“Wolfenstein 3D.” 3D Realms. 18 Aug 2009
I usually don’t just post one link and be done with it but I’m not sure what else to write. I think this look at a rather “unique” mind says it all.
With some help from someone on the yahoo pipes message board (who did all the hard work. I’m not even 100% sure how the thing works to be honest because it uses regex and I don’t know anything about regular expressions) I was able to get a “beta” of my yahoo pipes delicious.com videogame theory ultimate rss mashup working. here’s a link to the page for it. It asks you to put in some terms but the default ones work fine. (If there are any i’m missing let me know.)
This came about from the fact that delicious (I still want to type del.icio.us) isn’t smart enough to search for synonyms. So if you search for things tagged “videogame” is won’t search for “videogames” or “games.” Additionally, just searching for “videogame” will turn up anything related to videogames which isn’t all that useful to my purposes. So what tag do you add? theory? academic?
So what the pipe does is runs all the combinations of one group of terms (in this case variations on the term “videogame”) with a second group of terms (in this case terms that people might use for videogame theory stuff). Because there are lots of sites that might be tagged with all the terms it also tried to filter out duplicates.
My next step is to take this basic pipe and also apply it to twitter and friendfeed searches with all the term combinations so that it will pick up any posts on those that might be of interest to videogame studies people.
I’ve been playing Cryostasis and wow it is pretty scary. Before it came out people were saying it was like Bioshock but I think it has a lot more in common with Penumbra: Overture. Like Penumbra: Overture, Cryostasis also takes place in a cold snow and ice-bound environment and while Cryostasis does have combat, it pretty well stinks and the majority of the game, like Overture, seems to be about figuring out what is happening and the scary environment.
I’ve also started playing an MMORPG that is in beta. Since it is in beta I’m not supposed to say anything about it which is weird since it isn’t really a “beta” but rather it is a big budget, MMO that is transitioning from a monthly subscription model to a free to play model. So although the game has been out a year or two and is based on a pen and paper rpg that started the whole pen and paper rpg genre I am not supposed to say anything about it. So I won’t. Except to comment that I’m amazed that it is also just like the only two other MMOs I’ve played, City of Heroes and Lord of the Rings Online. The combat is a little different but that’s about it. Since it is free I’ll probably play it every once in a while.
Finally, I’ve also been messing around with trying to use Yahoo Pipes to make a better way to keep track of any interesting sites people tag on delicious.com. Because delicious doesn’t really have a legitimate search, if you try “game” you will get something different than “games” for example. So I’m trying to use Pipes to aggregate as many variations on “videogame” and “theory” that seem useful. If anyone cares, here’s a link to the delicious videogame theory mashup pipe. I’m adding more delicious tags to it as I go so I suppose I should be cool and call it a “beta” (although the cool kids seem to have moved on to labeling thing as from their “labs” now rather than “beta.”). I don’t really know what I’m doing with programing the pipes so if anyone has a better method please let me know.