[..] [G]ames are the aesthetic form of everyday objects. Of ordinary life. Take a ball and a field: you get soccer. Take property-based wealth and the Depression: you get Monopoly. Take patterns of four contiguous squares and gravity: you get Tetris. Take ray tracing and reverse it to track projectiles: you get Doom. Games show players the unseen uses of ordinary materials.
[…] The true accomplishment of What Remains of Edith Finch is that it invites players to abandon the dream of interactive storytelling at last. […] To dream of the Holodeck is just to dream a complicated dream of the novel. If there is a future of games, let alone a future in which they discover their potential as a defining medium of an era, it will be one in which games abandon the dream of becoming narrative media and pursue the one they are already so good at: taking the tidy, ordinary world apart and putting it back together again in surprising, ghastly new ways.
The latest paper shows that some more troubling implicit biases seen in human psychology experiments are also readily acquired by algorithms. […] The AI system was more likely to associate European American names with pleasant words such as “gift” or “happy”, while African American names were more commonly associated with unpleasant words.
These biases can have a profound impact on human behaviour. One previous study showed that an identical CV is 50% more likely to result in an interview invitation if the candidate’s name is European American than if it is African American. The latest results suggest that algorithms, unless explicitly programmed to address this, will be riddled with the same social prejudices.
Video game archaeology perhaps is the first example of a new New Archaeology, one that is post-material and post-human, one that not only intersects past and present, but that also uses the screen as the sole method of accessing new archaeological spaces. These spaces are made by people (or by machine) for other people to use, and are invested with creativity and examples of material culture. They are kinetic and also kinesthetic. They contain their own space-time. Each game is its own discrete entity, its own site. At the same time, each game exists in multiple, identical copies, circumventing the problem of the “unrepeatable experiment” of total excavation. They pose both classic and new questions to the archaeologist who operates in both the real and the virtual simultaneously using very real archaeological craft.
The graphics were simple and borderline abstract, but they were also an experience unlike anything most households had ever seen. The box art was meant to coalesce that excitement into something tangible. A static screenshot from the game couldn’t possibly relate how dynamic the experience was to a neophyte audience. The impressionistic nature of the 2600’s graphics also allowed for ample interpretation of what that experience would resemble.
Steve Jobs’s design philosophy was fascist more than it was exacting. The man was a not a demigod of design, but its dictator. He made things get made the way he wanted them made, and his users appreciated his definitiveness and lack of compromise. They mistook those conceits for virtues in the objects themselves.
Of course, rebooting can never truly wipe the slate clean. The slate is a palimpsest and contains all the traces and ghosts of previous incarnations. However, we can see (hypothetically) intertextuality and dialogism spiralling along a horizontal axis – the paradigmatic – and the story itself unfolding sequentially along a vertical axis which is the syntagm. Intertextuality may “destroy the linearity of the text,” as Laurent Jenny argues, but linearity is still preserved.
In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe. While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded. Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe. For example, elements of the EU are included in Star Wars Rebels. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s.
The difficulty of capturing ephemeral moments is felt deeply in video game archival work. „Preserving Virtual Worlds,“ a landmark paper and project in the field, uses the example of virtual candlelight vigils held in Asheron’s Call and Everquest after the September 11th attacks. One version of a single-player game can stay more or less the same over the years, but these moments were as fleeting as their real-world counterparts — and unlike those, there are no physical relics left behind. If EVE Online somehow manages to keep running into the next century, it won’t be the same game it was in 2013. Even going back 10 years is a struggle: in the early days, Ólafsson says, CCP had to overwrite older data to keep from running out of server space. Today, the company keeps a huge archive, of which MoMA currently has only a fragment.
The subject of comic-related-films (or film-related-comics) had understandably arisen and, when asked, I had ventured my honest opinion that I found something worrying about the fact that the superhero film audience was now almost entirely composed of adults, men and women in their thirties, forties and fifties who were eagerly lining up to watch characters and situations that had been expressly created to entertain the twelve year-old boys of fifty years ago. […] It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite ‘universes’ presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.
Every map tells a story, and writers yearning for new ways to tell stories are drawn to them. Walter Benjamin wrote of how he had “long, indeed for years, played with the idea of setting out the sphere of life—bios—graphically on a map.” Written when he was forty, “A Berlin Chronicle” resists a standard, linear biography and, instead, plots a map. Rather than a chronology, Benjamin creates a geography of Berlin; the relationships and events of the author’s life become map dots rather than plot points. A geographical map of Berlin converges with Benjamin’s personal map of the city, though Benjamin is still dependent on sentences and paragraphs.