I.P. and the language of game development

The language that we use to discuss things also influences our ability to think about them because the frame of reference becomes inherently bound up in that language.   Locally, one of the main ways we talk about games, from the industry side at least, is bound up in the idea of original I.P. versus work for hire, with that discussion also spilling out into our audience.  You don’t have to dig far on tsumea to find a heated debate on the perceived merits of original I.P.

But film-makers, novellists, and musicians don’t talk about creating original I.P., so what makes us different?  I’d argue nothing – just the frames of reference we’ve built around the discussion.  Those other mediums might talk specifically about engaging audiences, but they also have their strong creative voices saying ‘make the sorts of things you want to see’.

Read moreI.P. and the language of game development

Play, not just games.

This is one of two posts I wrote for Invest Victoria’s gaming blog, reposted here because I think it gives some context to both the ‘social misfits’ post and also to my ongoing question of games & culture.

Beyond just the technical shift that digital games have brought us, there are also cultural, academic and experiential shifts taking place all around us as more and more people are exposed to games and game-like thinking into their teenage and adult years.

Obviously, digital games have benefited from the constant evolution of games and game technology. In a relatively short time, they have become one of, if not the, dominant media and entertainment forms in the world, and they have changed significantly. We’ve gone from Pong and Space War to cinematic 3D games like Mass Effect or Heavy Rain, and most recently, we’ve seen the emergence of a vibrant indie scene delivering personal visions like Braid, The Path, Crayon Physics, and Passage.

Read morePlay, not just games.

The need for Rockstars – Part 2

Following on from my post on why we need more rockstars locally, this link showed up in my Google Alert for Freeplay and reminded me that Kieron Gillen had said very much the same thing in 2005.

Rock Star is just used as short hand for fearless. It’s worth remembering that there’s all manner of Rock Star archetypes to follow. There’s Rockstars known for their piercing, caustic intelligence and puritanical rage as much as those who are just a byword for narcissistic excess. Some already do it – I had the rare pleasure of interviewing an independent developer who argued that the conservative critics were right: games /were/ murder simulations. However, since we live in a world where such power is centralized in Authority who regularly use it oppressively, it’s important that we’re able to train ourselves to resist them if required. Essentially, the videogame reinvented as a part of the revolutionaries toolkit alongside the trusty AK-47.

You can read the whole transcript of his talk here.

Proverbially dull, inarticulate, social misfits.

Earlier today, I watched the below video from The Wheeler Centre in which Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, discusses how digital and the internet is ‘rewiring our brains’.  I agree with much of what he says with regards to the ‘what’ of this rewiring and I don’t know enough about it to refute his predicted outcomes, but then, at around the 11:10 mark, Gideon Haigh makes a cheap joke that gamers are ‘proverbially dull, inarticulate, social misfits’ which garners a smattering of laughter from the audience.

Read moreProverbially dull, inarticulate, social misfits.

Some thoughts on games & culture – part 1

I’ve been asked to give a presentation on the cultural influence (although that’s not a perfect descriptor) of games in a few weeks and I thought I’d share my thinking on this (large) topic in a series of posts here, including the state of things, education, IP, how other mediums deal with their creative culture, the bleeding of games into other forms, and whatever else crosses my mind.

First up is to establish a bit of where we are, which was triggered by this post We’re not the clever country if we’re not a creative country on The Punch. It’s a look at the impact creative industries have on the economy, with a specific focus on games and the Interactive Skills Integration Scheme, and it got me thinking about a couple of things. In this post I want to look at some of the influences on our local industry in 2010 and the role of education.

Read moreSome thoughts on games & culture – part 1

Those who do not have imagination cannot imagine possibility.

Recently, the Australian Council for the Arts commissioned a number of pieces from four established performing arts organizations looking at the idea of artistic vibrancy.  Three of the four pieces – On Orchestra, on Theatre, and on Dance, dissected their own practices as mediums and institutions, beginning what is hopefully a longer term conversation and evolution.

The fourth, which you can read in full here, was by Richard Mills, the Artistic Director of West Australian Opera, and it attempts to explore the wider issue of heritage rather than focusing on his company’s practice.

Read moreThose who do not have imagination cannot imagine possibility.

Meanland: Reading in a time of Technology

There’s a good writeup of my talk on the Meanland site here, and they’ll be putting up video, but for those who can’t wait (or want a transcript of sorts), I thought I’d put up my slides & notes.

Click through the fold for the content.

Read moreMeanland: Reading in a time of Technology