Tolkien – Middle Earth Meets Middle England

[…] Tolkien’s most important contribution by far […] was his construction of a systematic secondary world. There had been plenty of invented worlds in fantasy before, but they were vague and ad hoc, defined moment to moment by the needs of the story. Tolkien reversed that. He started with the world, plotted it obsessively, delineating its history, geography and mythology before writing the stories. He introduced an extraordinary element of rigour to the genre.

China Miéville – Tolkien – Middle Earth Meets Middle England

Storytelling Part 1: Change of Storytelling on Vimeo

Thoughts about the presence and future of storytelling from several media scholars from around the world. It’s the first one in a series by ith storytelling.

Principles of Virtual Sensation

What is the “feel” of a game? Every gamer knows it and can easily recall the sensation, the kinesthetic feeling, of controlling some virtual avatar or agent. It’s what causes you to lean left and right as you play, swinging your controller wildly as you try to get Mario to move just a little faster. It’s the feeling of masterfully controlling some object outside your body, making it an extension of your will and instinct. This “virtual sensation” is in many ways the essence of videogames, one of the most compelling, captivating, and interesting emergent properties of human-computer interaction.

Steve Swink – Principles of Virtual Sensation.

James Wolcott on Reality Television

The influence of Reality TV has been insidious, pervasive. It has ruined television, and by ruining television it has ruined America. Maybe America was already ruined, but if so, it’s now even more ruined. Let us itemize the crop damage.

James Wolcott – I’m a Culture Critic … Get Me Out of Here!

One Book, Many Readings

[R]ather than being a definition retrieval system or associative datastore, their interactive function is to create a gameworld for the reader. This is part of the wonder of these books – they took a pre-existing set of interface conventions designed for utilitarian search tasks and mapped a new activity onto it. They were effectively a new kind of software application for the oldest information-display platform we have.

Christian Swinehart – One Book, Many Readings

Science Fiction in Romania up to 1990

Science Fiction in Romania up to 1990

Romania has had a long history of science fiction from the end of the 19th century. This article summarises the highlights up to 1990

„Why So Socialist?“: Unmasking the Joker

[T]here’s a very real chance that the Obama/Joker image is in itself meaningless. This is not to say, however, that the context is meaningless, or that the image is worthless. Quite the contrary, in fact – just because we can’t affix objective meaning to a given cultural artifact doesn’t mean there is nothing to learn.

Whitney Phillips – Unmasking the Joker

A plan for the movements of Hulot and the camera down the escalator and among the cubicles in Play Time


A plan for the movements of Hulot and the camera down the escalator and among the cubicles in Play Time. Via Observations on film art and FILM ART : Where in the world is M. Hulot?

Ian Bogost – Media Studies and Realism

[T]he horizontal symmetry apparent in many Atari VCS games could be attributed to trends in the history of art or as a reference to the bilateral symmetry native to earthly animals. But such a response would fail to take into account the fact that the production of symmetry on the device is a convenience afforded by its hardware design, which provides memory-mapped registers capable of storing 20 bits of data for a screen-worth of low-res background graphics 40 bits wide. Doubling or mirroring the left half of the screen involves a single assembly instruction that flips a bit on another register. That convenience was further inspired by the way people conceived of videogames at the time. In this case, the relationship between design, material constraing, and individual expression is complex, irreducible to appeals to any one factor alone. The 20 bits of storage in registers PF0, PF1, and PF2 do not determine the aesthetics of a game like Combat, nor are they simple constructions of social practices.

Ian Bogost – Media Studies and Realism.