Gaming Session: Minecraft, January 29, 2015


Our first Minecraft session of the new year will be this Thursday! The usual server, voice chat over Skype, 6:30pm EST / 9:30pm PST.

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Symposium: Mark of the Ninja, January 8, 2015

mark of the ninjaPat Holleman is kicking off the new year with a Symposium on Mark of the Ninja.  Quoting Pat:

The most idiosyncratic feature of Mark of the Ninja is the way it displays information about the range of character senses. By showing at what range the enemies and players can detect noises, sounds and smells, the game allows the player to see the game through the designer’s eyes. This transparency eliminates a great deal of doubt, and obviates much of the process of getting a “feel” for the game’s mechanics. Does this make for smoother, more accessible games, or does it eliminate something essential to the learning process which makes action games so much fun?

We’ll meet on Thursday, January 8th at 9:30pm EST / 6:30pm PST, discussion will happen over Skype.  Talk to you then!



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Gaming Session: Minecraft, December 18, 2014

paintings-at-the-entranceMinecraft this week! (A week early because of Christmas.) Standard server, time is 9:30 pm EST / 6:30 pm PST, voice chat over Skype.


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Symposium, 4 December: League of Legends and other MOBAs

This Thursday, I want to talk about developments in MOBAs generally since the last time we talked about them, and in particular about the importance of “meta” to them as a sign of incipient professionalization–not only in the sense which has recently made the front page of the New York Times, that people play MOBAs for money, but also in the sense of the development of a culture of standards for expertise and virtuosity.

Back in August, I wrote a post on Play the Past that presented my initial thoughts on the matter. With any luck, I’ll have another one up on Wednesday, extending the discussion and giving what I hope are interesting examples.

We meet at the regular 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT over Skype.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, November 20th, 2014

looking-up-at-ice-chapel-ceilingWe’re doing Minecraft a week earlier than normal this month, because of Thanksgiving, so it will be on Thursday, November 20th. The usual server and time (9:30pm EST / 6:30pm PST), with voice chat over Skype, see you there!


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Symposium: November 6, Antichamber



This month, we play Antichamber (Steam), a game that, in many ways, subverts how we think about space within a game-world. By connecting different areas in non-obvious ways, Antichamber begins to prompts us to consider how a non-Euclidean world would work; one where some things might really be bigger on the inside than outside, or even attached back to its own beginning like a torus.

From this position of environmental interconnectivity, I want us also to begin to discuss how we might think about (dis)embodiment in first-person perspective games. That is, like many other games with this perspective, the on-screen avatar is exclusively a “gun” and a ‘body’ does not exist. However, we can easily bridge this ‘gap’ and navigate the strange spaces in the game. A ‘body’ is seemingly not needed for us to embody.

In other words, can/does a shift in projection (the illusion of depth and multiple dimensions rendered on a flat surface) help us to better understand perspective? How can a lack of a ‘body’ cause us think about bodies in these spaces? Does a change in interconnectivity of places cause us to ponder player materiality in games like this, or is there some ability of the first-person perspective that more easily inculcates us to a game’s symbolic order?

We meet at the regular 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT over Skype.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, October 30th, 2014


It’s Minecraft time! The standard server, voice chat over Skype, this Thursday at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT.

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