Stuff about TV or movies.

Jun 062013

In the wake of Indie Game: The Movie, I was asked on Quora about other works that are descriptive of gamer culture, suitable for someone who doesn’t play games, isn’t trying to learn how to make them, but rather is interested in learning about gamer culture.

Something that presents the human side, rather than the technical, and doesn’t assume a lot of prior knowledge. As many of you know, portrayals of the gaming hobby in the mass media have often been rather sensationalistic or inaccurate.

So here’s a quick list of ones that I have enjoyed and recommend for this purpose. It’s not in any particular order. I avoided “business books” that are more about how a company was built, in favor of ones that tell human stories.

In terms of being interested  in gaming culture, and game development culture, but not in “how-to” books, I would recommend: Continue reading »

MiscWatchingPics from Anime LA

 Posted by (Visited 11465 times)  Misc, Watching  Tagged with: , ,
Jan 082012

Here is an assortment of pictures from yesterday at Anime LA. I spent the day there shepherding a gaggle of teen girls who were all doing Homestuck cosplay.

If you watch my Twitter feed, you have already seen these. The one of Darth Vader as #1 dad went a tiny bit viral. There are also a TARDIS, a bunch of candids as people try to eat hamburgers while in costume, a
walking rage comic that was my favorite costume of the show, and of course, there is an arrow to the knee.

Continue reading »

ArtGame talkMiscPlaying with the iPad

 Posted by (Visited 12654 times)  Art, Game talk, Misc, Music, Reading, Watching  Tagged with:
Jul 182010

I have an iPad, as of about a week ago. I have now had the chance to try it out on a trip, as well as general home use, and I think this sort of form factor is probably the future of computing for most folks. It’s clearly early days still for slates like this, but you can see the path from here, and it is an interesting one, with variations depending on who needs to use the tablet. In the meantime, with some trickery, it can do most of what I would need to replace a laptop. Basically, I am now carrying it everywhere, and on my trip I booted up my laptop exactly once, and it was to create and display a presentation — I didn’t have a VGA adapter yet, so I couldn’t project from the iPad.

I have already spent over $100 on apps for it, and thought I would share some of my thoughts. I tend to favor free and cheap apps, actually, so the below is me trying to be a skinflint and failing!

Continue reading »

May 172010

Long ago I asked (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) whether American Idol was an MMO.

Today, I see that NBC is working on turning their entire TV schedule into a massively multiplayer social game.

Q: What is Fan It?
A: Fan It is’s affinity program where members are awarded points for participation and interaction. Members can choose to redeem these points for a variety of rewards and/or experiences.

Q: How do I earn points?
A: There are two different ways to earn points: events and challenges. Events are the activities you do on the site and on the social networks you’ve linked to every day, such as leaving comments, watching videos, playing games, posting links or updating your status. Challenges require you to perform specific events within a specific amount of time and are typically worth more points. Click here for more information on how to earn points.

— Fan It | Social Networking: Photos, Videos, Blogs | myNBC.

Of course, this has as much to do with traditional community management and traditional rewards points programs as with games. But note the prominent leaderboards, the featured members area on the home page, the badge system…

As with most social games, there’s an underlying viral agenda here, of course. But also as with social games, the marriage of fictional worlds that users care about with game mechanics and transparent sharing could be very powerful.

Now excuse me, I need to figure out what I need to do to get a Chuck badge…

WatchingOh, Avatar

 Posted by (Visited 9344 times)  Watching  Tagged with:
Jan 102010

So, I finally got around to watching Avatar yesterday. In 2d, not 3d, as it happens.

I enjoyed it a lot. It was fun, and yes, it even left me thinking. But it left me thinking in probably not the way that the filmmakers intended, because the core problem with it and the reason, I think, why so many people have a hard time with it, is because it is a great entertainment that is intellectually dishonest.

Spoilers below.

Continue reading »

Nov 172009

I first met Jesse at an event at MIT, where we had a mutual fanboy moment. Now every time his name pops up on a TV screen I get to point it out to the kids. He’s a big thinker on transmedia — the ways in which stories can cross between many media and be “read” at different levels. And today, he’s going cross-media again, with a live chat and Q&A at the Metaplace Stage today at 2pm Pacific. I’ll have it embedded here.

Where: TheStage

When: November 17

Duration: 2:00pm – 3:00pm PST

Jesse Alexander is a former co-executive producer and a writer for the show Heroes. Alexander joined the crew immediately after the pilot and has served as co-executive producer on the first three seasons. In addition to his work on the episodes of Heroes, Jesse also wrote several graphic novels, and worked on the story for the webisode The Recruit.

Jesse previously served as an executive producer and writer on Alias and as a co-executive producer on Lost. He co-wrote the screenplay for the film Eight Legged Freaks. Jesse also helped develop videogames for Alias and Apocalypse. In May 2009 NBC announced that their fall lineup would include a new series, Day One, in which Jesse serves as an executive producer and writer.

(Information from the Heroes Wiki)

Jesse will be holding a Q&A session in Metaplace! You don’t want to miss this!

via Metaplace – Event Details.

Game talkWatchingRolighetsteorin: a theory of fun

 Posted by (Visited 9115 times)  Game talk, Watching  Tagged with:
Oct 022009

I have search alerts set up on a variety of sites for “theory of fun.” Today this little gem popped up: Rolighetsteorin. It translates as “theory of fun for safety” according to Google, and it appears to be a Volkswagen campaign in Sweden that is trying to use fun for social improvement.

This page is dedicated to the idea that something as simple as happiness is the absolute easiest way to get people to change. That it does not need to be more difficult than to make things a bit more fun to have to change for the better. Which does not matter as long as there is improvement. For yourself, the environment or whatever you want.

An example of what they mean: getting dramatically more people to take the stairs instead of the escalator (which of course, provides more cardiovascular benefit).

It is fun to see the expressions on people’s faces as they puzzle out why the stairs (or the garbage can that makes a whistling cartoon “falling from a great height” sound when you toss trash in it) are there. The stats seem to bear out that there is an effect.

I would posit that the trash can would have diminishing returns compared to the stairs, because the stairs have expressive potential and are more of a toy; the trash can will get old since there is only one input and one output.

WatchingWritingAsteroids, the movie

 Posted by (Visited 5822 times)  Watching, Writing
Jul 022009

Apparently, Candyland, Battleship, and Asteroids were optioned for movies. To my surprise, everyone focuses on Asteroids. “How can they make a movie of that??” People keep saying this but they’re wrong!

A motley crowd of ethnically diverse people thrown together by circumstance are traveling in a hermetically sealed spaceship with an incredibly valuable cargo. Inside it is dark, and sweaty, and clangy. The cargo must reach Earth before everyone there dies of the mysterious alien plague. The clock is ticking. Then — SABOTAGE! The ship falls out of hyperspace in the midst of a huge asteroid field, full of giant tumbling mountains, with deep dark crevices and deadly pockets of methane gas that spout forth in majestic geysers. They must jet and shoot to stay alive, and find fuel to get them back out. The ominous alien ships are circling, just waiting for them to make a mistake, and unbeknowst to them, one of the crew on board is a traitor to the human race…

Battleship, now, that movie will suck. 🙂