Tuesday, December 06, 2011

ReBlog: Patanoir


Patanoir, Simon Christiansen's brilliantly clever IF piece, introduced me to the concept of pataphor—and by extension pataphysics, a concept of "physics beyond metaphysics" or "the science of imaginary solutions." Patanoir opens with the definition of a pataphor:

Pataphor (noun):

  1. An extended metaphor that creates its own context.

  2. That which occurs when a lizard's tail has grown so long it breaks off and grows a new lizard.

- Pablo Lopez 

This definition, and understanding of the concepts behind it, allow for interesting play between language, concepts, and the imaginary. If John controls a chain of events, feeling constricted and even suffocated by it, Mary might stumble in upon John's actual dead body, tragically choked to death by the chain.

Patanoir explores this idea through the lens of the protagonist, you, a private detective who has come off your medication against your doctor's advice. Anytime the text uses a simile and something is like something else, you can interact with the metaphorical object because, well, you're crazy.

>x baron
Thin, as though his skin had been draped over his skeleton with nothing in between. Dark blue eyes, like deep lakes carved into his face. His hair is grey.
> dive into lake
You dive. The surface of the lake approaches quickly, until it fills your entire field of vision. Then the cool water surrounds you.


This structure leads to interesting puzzles and creative solutions. While at first it seemed to make the puzzles too easy—most can be solved by examining everything in a room, with similes being huge flailing pointers toward clues—the character implication for these strategies became more interesting than the puzzles themselves. Sure, you can enter the room, skim the text and scan for the keyword "like," but such a reading suggests that you're more a part of the protagonists delusions than the reader's detached and objective reality, interesting implications for reader-protagonist identification.

Sent with Reeder

Hanli Geyser

Friday, September 09, 2011

ReBlog: Techland apologises for “feminist whore” code found in Dead Island

Things like this are a problem because they demonstrate a deep seated misogynism on the part of the company responsible. While I wish I could laugh it off and say their issues are their own problem and the game should be judged only as a final product the bitter taste it leaves won't just go away.
The games industry has struggled with issues of representation for many years, and a disturbing attitude towards women still remains. I hate having to define myself by my gender, I feel like I am still fighting battles that should have been dismissed in the 70s. But every time I visit a 'gaming' site filled with half naked women and 'hot-t lesbians' I am reminded that in this small subset of society those battles still need to be fought.
Then, whenever I feel progress is being made, something like this surfaces and I am reminded that it is not the attitude only of a few trolls but something systemic throughout the genre.
Sometimes I wonder why I bother...

Techland apologises for “feminist whore” code found in Dead Island:

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Reblog: Fallout: The Board Game Lets you Play Monopoly After the Apocalypse [Fallout]

From Kotako,Games of games in games:

Fallout: The Board Game Lets you Play Monopoly After the Apocalypse [Fallout]:

Click here to read <em>Fallout: The Board Game</em> Lets you Play Monopoly After the Apocalypse
This custom version of Monopoly, crafted by PinkAxolotl, really has to be seen to be believed. It's not like it's just a regular board with a few Fallout references made here and there. It's as Fallout-themed as it could possibly hope for. More »

Friday, August 05, 2011

Reblog: IGF 2010 Finalist Trauma Out on August 8th

I can't wait...

Article by Tim W
A release date for the gesture-based adventure game Trauma has been announced: the triple-nominated 2010 IGF finalist will be available to purchase for 5 Euros starting this August 8th. Windows, Mac and Linux users can try the game online for free at traumagame.com, and you can also buy Trauma from Steam (both Windows and Mac) on launch day.

We'll let you know the minute it's playable online, since the hosting server is unlikely to last for even a couple of hours once news about the demo going live breaks out. Buying the game is an option as well, and getting it direct from the developer means that you'll have a version that is completely DRM-free.

IndieGames.com - The Weblog

Friday, July 22, 2011

First person photographs

Some interesting “first person” photos. The first few are far more successful than the later ones, but it's interesting how the inclusion of a body part signals the first person perspective. While the viewer of a photograph is always aware that it is created through a first person point of view due to the very nature of the camera, in photography point of view is largely obscured, even effaced. Traditionally the role of the photographer as creative agent is masked. This is amplified by the frame and screen which, echoing painting and echoed in film, makes the photo seem removed, as if coming from an omniscient narrator. Some photographers do reinsert themselves into the frame through the inclusion of shadows and reflections. But here that experiential, embodied element is brought through by the fps convention of the fragmented limb. The 'first person' title alludes to both game and narrative techniques. All in all, one or two great images, and an interesting concept.

Cool First Person Photo Project: Andrea Di Gioia is a great photographer from Italy. Here is a set he's been working on of "first person" photos, but make sure you go check out the rest of his stuff a...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Reblog: Could You "Finish" World Of Warcraft Without Killing Anything? [Make Lore, Not War]

from Kotaku
Here's an exercise in patience: a World of Warcraft player has managed to reach the maximum level 85 without killing a single thing. For a game built around the idea of, well, killing things, that's quite the achievement! More »

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Game Design Lecturer appointed in Digital Arts

Vanity post: 
Here is an article about me published on the Wits School of Arts website in the news section of March 2011.
Written by Christo Doherty.
Photo Christo Doherty. 
Related post also on www.atjoburg.net

New Game Design Lecturer appointed in Digital Arts

Hanli Geyser has  been appointed as  the first Game Design Lecturer in Digital Arts.  As both an avid gamer and an academic researcher into popular cultural production, Hanli has the background necessary to develop the exciting new Games Design courses which will be launched by Digital Arts, in collaboration with the Wits School of Electrical Engineering,  in 2012.
Hanli’s research and teaching interests are diverse, spanning many areas of popular cultural production. She is primarily fascinated by the conjunction between visual arts and narrative texts found in video games, hypertext fiction, comic books and film.  She graduated with an MA in History of Art from Wits in 2008 with a dissertation entitled Surface Tension - Examining the implications of intentional disruption of the Photographic Surface.  . Extending her interest in disruptions to the surface into the digital realm her PhD, provisionally titled An Investigation of the Hyperlink as both Mark and Rupture on the Imagined Hypertextual Surface, focuses on the use of the hyperlink in visual arts. Areas of research in which she is actively involved include Interactive Narrative as well as Adaptation Studies.  Interactive narrative covers a vast range of practices that involve some degree of user participation to drive the narrative structure.  Her interest here is in both literary and visual story telling forms, and extends from ‘text adventures’ through hypertext fiction to video games.  In adaptation studies, the study of transition between media in narrative texts, she is primarily interested in the impact of medium on the narrative structure and the effect it generates.  Her investigation in this area has centered on transitions between comic, film, and video game formats.
Hanli has always been an avid gamer, actively playing a wide range of games.  Her enjoyment of games stems both from narrative satisfaction as well as a keen interest in ludology and game mechanics. She is currently writing a paper on the post-colonial representation of the African landscape in the popular commercial title Far cry 2 (2008).
While she plays many commercial titles (her current favourites include The Witcher, Fall Out, Machinarium, and Braid) she has a keen interest in games as a form of artistic expression.  She therefore actively engages with independent, experimental, and art games.
Hanli is an energetic researcher but she is also equally committed to her students and to teaching.  She is passionate about education as an ideal and there is nothing she enjoys more than being able to teach and engage with students. "

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reblog: Video game in your browser's location bar

Cory Doctorow at boingboing points to this amazing little game:

Video game in your browser's location bar:
Probably Corey's (sic. Should read Probably Interactive's) HTML 5 video-game 'URL Hunter' takes place entirely in the URL bar of your browser, in which you must chase down rogue 'a's with your mighty 'O' and clobber them with the spacebar. I keep running into croggling demos of HTML5's capabilities -- last week in Toronto, Mozilla.org's Brett Gaylor showed me a WebGL demo that left me with my jaw on the floor. It's going to be a cool couple of Web-years, most surely.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Reblog: Browser Game Pick: RIZK (Playerthree)

An truly fantastic game reflecting on the environmental impacts of resource gathering. Well worth a play.

Found thanks to IndiGames.com
Article below by Cassandra Khaw.
Back in the early nineties, long before the gaming industry became obsessed with sex and other drivel, edutainment-related material was everywhere. Sadly, only a handful were brilliant; the rest were mostly boring or, at times, borderline preachy. Granted, that's how my nine year old self remembers it - your mileage might vary. Thus, when I first heard of RIZK, a part of the Science Museum's three-year series entitled 'Climate Changing..', I was extremely skeptical about its production values. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
RIZK is, essentially, a 2D tower defense-like game that requires you to nurture and safeguard an alien plant that serves as your only means of escaping to the next level. In order to accomplish this, you'll have to carefully budget a somewhat meagre stash of coins in order to create your strangely ameobic-like minions. There isn't any violence in the game, though. Your enemies here are not hungry herbivores but indigenous vegetation that release spores capable of hurting your plant; your own critters won't do anything outside of generate protective shields of varying strength and range.
According to the press release that popped up in my mail today, RIZK's visual presentation is apparently greatly influenced by the sci-fi posters of the 50's and 60's and honestly, there's something quaintly charming about the game's looks. Most of the terrain is nothing but silhouettes framed against a stary, pastel-flooded sky. The placid outlook, however, bellies the surprisingly intricate gameplay; it rapidly becomes less a question of resource management and more a case of you attempting not to agitate the planet's residents too much.
It took a little while for the message to sink in but once it did, I was impressed with the work put into the game by its developers. RIZK, without sounding overtly 'in your face', rather neatly encapsulates the antagonistic relationship man's technological progress has with Mother Nature. I'm not going to explain exactly how it all works out simply because it'd detract from the message but I can assure you that it'd at least trigger a brief 'Huh' when the epiphany finally strikes.
Play the game now at the Science Museum's official website.

Reblog: Mateas on Agency

This post by HTLit points to a very interesting and helpful article by Michael Mateas. Isn't it fantastic how we find things?


Recent interest around Eastgate in the role of agency in narrative immersion has led me to a fascinating essay by Michael Mateas, co-author of Fa├žade. Using Aristotle’s theory of drama as a starting point, Mateas diagrams the role of agency in interactive drama, adding an additional model of choice and causation atop Aristotle’s diagram of narrative causation. This addition results in the proposition that “a player will experience agency when there is a balance between material and formal constraints.”Leaning heavily on previous work by Murray and others, the essay provides and interesting perspective for anyone interested in agency and its relation to interactive narrative."