Grand Text Auto

October 31, 2006

Will Wright in The New Yorker

by andrew @ 5:40 pm

Continuing the recent trend of feature articles about games and game designers in highbrow magazines (1 2 3), Will Wright is profiled in The New Yorker by one the magazine’s tech-friendly writers, John Seabrook, and accompanied by a sweet illustration by Istvan Banyai (one of my favorite contemporary illustrators).

While the material on Spore, E3, etc. will be very familiar to GTxA readers, the piece does delve into Will’s background and personal life more than anything else I’ve read on him.

(Also there’s a new short piece on serious games in The Utne Reader.)

October 30, 2006

Snapshots from Autostart

by nick @ 12:24 am


Our featured readers ready for the discussion after the reading: Stuart Moulthrop, Aya Karpinska, Aaron Reed, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, and Mary Flanagan. The piece “Talking Cure,” by Noah and others, was the last one presented and can be seen on the flat panel in the upper left. (more…)

October 28, 2006

Electronic Literature Collection, Volume One Released

by scott @ 10:35 am
ELC v1

The Electronic Literature Organization has released the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume One. The Collection, edited by N. Katherine Hayles, Nick Montfort, Scott Rettberg, and Stephanie Strickland, is an anthology of 60 eclectic works of electronic literature, published simultaneously on CD-ROM and on the web at collection.eliterature.org. Another compelling aspect of the project is that it is being published by the Electronic Literature Organization under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5), so readers are free to copy and share any of the works included, or for instance to install the collection on every computer in a school’s computer lab, without paying any licensing fees. The Collection will be free for individuals.

The 60 works included in the Electronic Literature Collection present a broad overview of the field of electronic literature, including selected works in new media forms such as hypertext fiction, kinetic poetry, generative and combinatory forms, network writing, codework, 3D, and narrative animations. Contributors include authors and artists from the USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and Australia. Each work is framed with brief editorial and author descriptions, and tagged with descriptive keywords. The CD-ROM of the Collection runs on both Macintosh and Windows platforms and is published in a case appropriate for library processing, marking, and distribution. Free copies of the CD-ROM can be requested from The Electronic Literature Organization.

The Collection will also be included with N. Katherine Hayles’ forthcoming book, Electronic Literature: Teaching, Interpreting, Playing (Notre Dame University Press, 2007).

The Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1999 to promote and facilitate the writing, publishing, and reading of electronic literature. Since its formation, the Electronic Literature Organization has worked to assist writers and publishers in bringing their literary works to a wider, global readership and to provide them with the infrastructure necessary to reach each other. The Electronic Literature Organization is a national organization based at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH).

October 27, 2006

Autostart

by mary @ 3:49 pm

What better time to post about Autostart than from an electronic writing ‘jam’ at the Kelly writers’ house at UPenn? Its been a fun two days here. Yesterday was filled with compelling (more…)

October 25, 2006

AUTOSTART Begins

by nick @ 10:35 am
AU7OST^RT

The full announcement and Web site with participant bios are already up, but here’s a quick run-down of what’s coming up at the Writers House:

The festival is in Philadelphia, PA, at 3805 Locust Walk on the Penn campus. We’re celebrating the release of the Electronic Literature Collection volume 1, which is being published on CD-ROM and the Web. AUTOSTART attendees will get a copy of the CD edition.

The big events are the discussion (1-2:30pm) and the reading (5:30-7:30pm) on Thursday. There’s an open house between these to allow people to drop in for discussion with festival participants, to see the ELC vol 1, and to take tours of it given by me and Stephanie Strickland.

Two RSVP-only events are the Wet Digit workshop for digital media newcomers (Thursday 4-5:30pm) and the Electronic Writing Jam (Friday 1-4pm). Register for these now if you’re hoping to attend: wh@writing.upenn.edu. There’s also a tour of the Slought Foundation Friday morning.

I’ll write up the basics of what happens at the festival as best I can. Noah and Mary will be there in their own bodies, and Scott will appear via videoconference at the E-Writing Jam. I hope to see at least a few Grand Text Auto folks out there - please say hi to me (and Noah, and Mary) if you do make it by!

Façade at Stumptown Comics Fest

by andrew @ 9:53 am

Join me at this weekend’s Stumptown Comics Festival, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. I’ll probably have the only interactive exhibit there, besides the hundred or more comic artists themselves ;-)

I thought I’d bring Façade there, since its dramatic content and visual style were heavily inspired by Adrian Tomine’s Optic Nerve and Daniel Clowes’ Eightball, and comics folks might dig it. Check out this Lichtenstein, anything look familiar?

Also I’m looking for an illustrator for a poster to visualize and promote The Party. Right now I’ve got my eye on the work of Portland’s Colleen Coover, which is fabulous, but who knows who else I’ll meet.

Also, while I’m at it, I’ll ask you to contribute a vote for you favorite game over at the Game Shadow’s Innovation Awards. Right now the People’s Choice award is being dominated by Illegal Danish - Super Snacks. (I once made a short film called Knish of Death, so I’m sympathetic.)

I do hope to soon write that Part 2 post on design issues as I promised; I’ve been consumed the past few weeks with tending my very sick cat.

Observatory for Digital Narrative

by noah @ 2:39 am

October 31st is the deadline for submissions to a digital narrative panel, co-sponsored by GTxA compatriots Writer Response Theory, at the “3rd Online Congresss of the Observatory for Cybersociety.” Full papers are required, and 10-32 pages is the normal range, though the length restrictions are flexible. More details follow. (more…)

October 23, 2006

e and eyeToy

by noah @ 11:47 am

My contribution to the Tate’s e and eye project has just gone live: “e and eyeToy.” Where else can you get Myron Krueger, Camille Utterback, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, EyeToy: Play and much more all bundled into one short essay?

Also, if you’ve called for an “e and eye” reservation, but found them all full, I’ve been told that the Tate has now expanded the number of available reservations. The next event is tonight, after which there’s one on the 30th of October and the series concludes on the 13th of November.

October 22, 2006

Dash Ornament Speaks

by nick @ 6:07 pm

Rot Rox, a Dashboard widget iDream Interactive’s Rot Rox, which “simulates a human friend,” is claimed to be the first Apple OS X Dashboard widget “with Personality.” You might find higher-quality friends and better conversationalists by joining a cult, but this is a slick and telling piece of work. It runs on a proprietary, underpowered, new, and trendy platform (the Dashboard); incorporates about the level of verbal skill that Eliza did 40 years ago, but without the clever framework of a therapeutic session; and integrates standard Mac voices and an eye-follow-mouse gimmick. My opinion of the bot may be artificially deflated, because it is supposed to do something clever with iTunes, which I don’t use - perhaps there’s a great gimmick there. Of course, I wanted a better conversation and a more amusing framework for this interaction. I’m not sure exactly how to break the ice in the “there’s a metal man on your dashboard” situation. As the digital equivalent of a stress ball or other corporate toy, though, there’s no point in being disappointed about this empty robot-suit. It’s a good thing that people are continuing the march of bots and virtual characters into new niches of the digital world.

October 21, 2006

Instrumental Texts and Texas Instruments

by nick @ 1:27 pm

Those who can’t make it all the way from Texas to Philadelphia for AUTOSTART next week can still catch a grand several days of electronic media art…

Texelectronica

.::::: TEXELECTRONICA ‘06 :::::.
International Forum, Exhibition & Performance-Series featuring
Electronic Media Art & Music (Dallas/Ft Worth, Texas, USA)

–Theme: SPIN: SOCIETY, PERSONA, INTERACTIVITY & NETWORKS–

* 3-Day Forum: Fort Worth Modern Art Museum, Oct. 27-29
Free for the public with a suggested donation of $15 for 5
sessions, or $5 per session.
* Kickoff event Thursday night Oct. 26th starting at 7pm
* Nightly Exhibitions & Performances: DFW area art spaces

Full schedule at http://www.texelectronica.com

October 18, 2006

Oystrygods Gaggin Oil God

by nick @ 10:28 am

Ian Bogost announces his and Persuasive Games’ new Arcade Wire game, Oil God.

Wrath + Balance of Power = Oil God

You are an Oil God! Wreak havoc on the world’s oil supplies by unleashing war and disaster. Bend governments and economies to your will to alter trade practices. Your goal? Double consumer gasoline prices in five years using whatever means necessary: start wars, overthrow leaders, spawn natural disasters ? even beckon the assistance of extra-terrestrial overlords. The game explores the relationship between gas prices, geopolitics, and oil profits.

Rumor has it that Ian’s original game idea, Crack God, was deemed too controversial and not newsworthy enough by his editor.

October 17, 2006

UCI Game Workshop

by noah @ 12:28 pm

Michael and Noah are at a A Multi-Discipinary Approach to Computer Games at UC Irvine. We’re trading off coverage (and remember that we’re just reporting it as we hear it — don’t quote the speakers without hearing it from them). Today’s speakers come from backgrounds ranging from CSCW (Bonnie Nardi, “Liminoid Play in World of Warcraft”) to computer graphics (Bill Tomlinson, “A Technique for Improving Cross-device Graphics and Animation for Multi-Device Games”) to AI (Michael’s “Towards Game Generation”) to game design (Tracy Fullerton’s “Process of Discovery: The Night Journey Project as Game/Art Research”).

Spreading the disciplinary umbrella further, the first speaker is Walt Scacchi discussing “Computer Gaming as a Social Movement.” (more…)

October 15, 2006

Deadline tomorrow for Philosophy of Computer Games

by noah @ 8:04 pm

If you want to spend a few days of gloomy January in beautiful Italy, and you are interested in how current research on computer games calls for clarification of philosophical issues, then hopefully you have an abstract ready to go (or nearly so). The deadline for “The Philosophy of Computer Games” — to be held in Modena/Reggio Emilia, Italy, on January 25-27, 2007 — is tomorrow, October 16. Details follow. (more…)

October 13, 2006

We Don’t Expect the NEA to Fund Your Robot

by nick @ 9:23 am

A new group of digital maquettes for “america jesus tOrture,” Joseph Nechvatal’s recent series of paintings, is now online. Nechavatal’s paitings are acrylic on canvas, created with digital assisstance and, in this case, incorporate images from the Abu Graib photographs. Images of some of his other computer-robotic assisted paitings have been published in Drunken Boat. More can be seen on Nechvatal’s site.

October 11, 2006

Girls and Kenny on WoW

by mary @ 1:51 am

According to “Game News”‘ report on the Nielsen Entertainment’s third annual Active Gamer Benchmark Study (released 2 days ago),
(more…)

October 9, 2006

Games, Computer Science Education, Avast!

by nick @ 9:57 pm

Hey, there’s a conference on a cruise ship. This sounds really good, but given my schedule, I’m holding out for a conference held on this cruise ship.

Call for Papers
Microsoft Academic Days on Game Development in Computer Science Education
February 22 - 25, 2007
Aboard the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship
Submission Deadline: November 5, 2006

The Microsoft Academic Days on Game Development in Computer Science
Education is seeking high quality unpublished original work on the
use of Game Development in Computer Science Education. For an html
version of the Call for Papers, see http://www.msadgd07.net/.

Objectionable Sculptural Object

by nick @ 3:23 pm

Sorry to repurpose the more boingable blogs, but it has become nececssary to inform you about an object. There are no reports of arrests due to Suspicious Looking Device, but maybe they’ve been hushed up. I thought this was already about as suspicious-looking as it could get - this other one might spur some people to activate their screaming phones. Be sure to check out the other bricolage from Junkfunnel Labs.

October 5, 2006

Façade Crosses Pages of Atlantic

by nick @ 6:09 pm

Facade in the AtlanticAs subscribers to The Atlantic Monthly may have already noticed, there’s a story in the November issue, mentioned right there on the cover and called “Sex, Lies, and Video Games.” It’s a detailed, seven-page article about Façade, with shots of Grace and Trip. There are quotes from Will Wright and from an anonymous video game executive who explains that people like to “blow shit up.”

Jonathan Rauch wrote the piece and really managed to make a great case for how video gaming (and creative computing) can transcend its current licensed, hyperviolent state. He also gave a good account of Façade that is accurate without being overwhelming in its technical details. Gripping journalism is often built on oppositions and conflicts; here, the conflict is Andrew and Michael vs. the conventional world of videogaming, which, I think, is not a fabricated opposition. (more…)

[giantJoystick] moves

by mary @ 1:47 pm

Hi All, for those in London for the London Games Festival, the [giantJoystick] is front and centre –check it out! The LGF is a week-long celebration & offers a series of events across multiple locations showcasing the ‘hottest’ games, seminars and people helping to shape the UK gaming industry. The World Series event @ LGF is hosting a lounge for viewing the staged tournaments & features the [gJ].

October 3, 2006

Grand Theft Index

by nick @ 3:35 pm

The meatblog Harper’s Magazine had a great roundtable last month entitled “Grand Theft Education” (Grand Title Auto!) and featuring Steven Johnson and Raph Koster as representatives of everything-fun-is-good-for-you cyberspace. The conversation was great, and Johnson and Koster both made a good case for games, of the sort one wouldn’t have seen - even in progressive serials such as this one - a decade ago. My favorite part was Jane Avrich’s description of dressing up like a Puritan schoolteacher, requiring her students to call her “Mistress Jane,” and providing disobedient students with “public humiliation.” Which does make blowing away zombies seem totally normal.

Unfortunately, not only is the piece not online - my snail arrived very late with the September Harper’s. I’m so late mentioning this that you can’t even rush to grab this issue from newsstands, as you no doubt readily would do at my merest gesture. Here’s a post with some snippets from the forum, though. And, I’ll link to something from Harper’s that is online: “First-Person Shooters,” excerpts from more than 900 pages of documents seized at the Columbine High School killers’ homes.

Le plus important Festival International de Poésie Numérique

by nick @ 3:14 pm

Submissions are sought for E-Poetry 2007, Paris, organized by:

Loss Glazier (EPC, University SUNY Buffalo)
Philippe Bootz (Paragraphe, University Paris8)
Jean Clément (Paragraphe, University Paris8)
Patrick Burgaud (MOTS-VOIR)
Alexandre Gherban (MOTS-VOIR)

CFP: Symposium on Virtual Creatures

by andrew @ 1:35 pm

Call for Papers
The reign of Catz and Dogz?
The role of virtual creatures in a computerised society

A one day symposium at AISB’07 to be held at Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 2-5 April 2007

(more…)

Main Screen Turn Tron

by nick @ 2:21 am

Prompted in part by Adam Cadre’s second article on Tron, and in part because I wanted to illutrate where Rez comes from, I recently saw Tron again. Adam has already said many interesting things about the movie and our current cultural moment in his lavishly illustrated post, but I thought of a few comments to make:

  • Tron is almost entirely black with some blue and red lines. The red and blue lines glow brilliantly, making the black even blacker. Tron may have the largest share of cinematic darkness ever. The Maltese Falcon and Lost Highway look like “It’s a Small World” compared to Tron.

(more…)

October 2, 2006

AUTOSTART Oct 26 & 27 in Philly

by nick @ 5:34 pm

AUTOSTART

.:  .. . :. .      =.:     .: . :=     : ..  .:     .     . . . . . .  .
.=..  =   : . :.:  .:. ... = =  : =.:.=.= ...  ..  ..   . =.  ...   .
.=.##:.:..:..#:=##:..:##.#.:##=:=#==.#.##=#==:.=...##.::.::.##=.:..#:.#
#..#=:..:##=.:.#.:#..:#:#=.                  ###..=#:#:.==...#.=:=...:=:
:=...==..:=..::#..===:=.#.     AU7OST^RT      ::.:.#.:..=#:==#=##:...#:=
:.#==.=#:.=##...=.:=#:...::                  =.##.:..:=.=:=#..=#===#....
.=.#.:.=.=#:.=.#=...:#..#=.#:#:.#:==...=.=...#.:=.:=:....#...=#.:..:...:
.=..  =   : . :.:  .:. ... = =  : =.:.=.= ...  ..  ..   . =.  ...   .
:=     : :   =.=..   ==     .     .     = :  =   . . ...    .   :  .   :
:.. =  .=  ..: d1scuss1on - open house - workshop - read1ng - tour - jam
:
.
:    AUTOSTART - A Festival of Digital Literature
:
.    Kelly Writers House, October 26 & 27
:    Celebrating the Electronic Literature Collection, volume 1
:    MACHINE series # Electronic Literature Organization

:     http://writing.upenn.edu/wh/autostart.html

:
:=:#=:.#=::==.=....:...>  Charles Bernstein
.#.=..=:#.=::===...:.:.>  Jim Carpenter
::.=.==...::==:.=#:...#>  Mary Flanagan
:#.:...:.:=#..=.=.=:==:>  N. Katherine Hayles
:.=#:.===.:.:::.=..#..=>  Daniel C. Howe
:=#:::=:.#:=.=.=....=..>  Aya Karpinska
..:.==#==::#==:......:.>  Aaron Levy
:#=.=..:..=.::=::#..==.>  Marjorie Luesebrink
::=:=:...:=..#.==#.=.:.>  Nick Montfort
.....:==::.=.#:.=.==#.:>  Stuart Moulthrop
:=...=#:...:::=#===..:.>  Jason Nelson
:#..=.==..:=.=..:#.=:::>  Jena Osman
:..=.=.=.=#:=:#.:...=::>  Bob Perelman
:::=..=:.===.:#:.=#....>  Aaron A. Reed
:....:.:.===#=.:=:#=..:>  Scott Rettberg
.==:.=...:..#.::=:.=.=#>  Ron Silliman
.=...:=#.=:..=:..#.==::>  Brian Kim Stefans
:#.::...=:.:.==.==:..#=>  Stephanie Strickland
...=..=#=::=.=..:.:=:.#>  Noah Wardrip-Fruin

(more…)

Deconstructing Networks

by mary @ 8:49 am

Digital artist Jonah Brucker-Cohen has a retrospective of sorts on exhibit in Montréal; the show, “Deconstructing Networks,” is a collection of projects which shift perceptions of network interaction and experience. Works in the exhibition include “Alerting Infrastructure!,” a website hit counter that destroys a building (in fact, the Oboro Gallery site is linked into this; visiting the Oboro exhibition announcement will contribute to the work in the gallery!); PoliceState, a fleet of radio-controlled police cars whose movements are dictated by “suspicious” keywords scanned on a local network;
Wifi-Hog, (more…)

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