Gaming Session: Minecraft, March 26, 2015



Minecraft this week: Thursday, March 26th at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT.  Usual server, voice chat over Skype.

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Symposium: Controlling or Controlled?, March 5, 2015

All controllersThis month, let’s take a different approach to talking about video games. Instead of what we see or feel, let’s take some time to discuss touching, tapping, swiping, pressing buttons, and moving toggles, and how our experiences with them shape our understanding of the games themselves. It’s time to talk about controllers and interfaces: do we control them or do they control us?

Based primarily around the ideas from distributed cognition and activity theory of how information is embedded within systems and not purely part of an individual, let’s discuss how controllers situate us, what they afford us and how they, in turn, constrain us in different ways.

Does holding a Wiimote affect how you think about a game? How about a plastic guitar like those found in connection to the Rock Band and Rocksmith games? What is the difference between a joystick and a keyboard? In what ways do we understand our context through controllers?

Join us, as always, via Skype starting at 9:30pm EST / 6:30pm PST to discuss these questions, ideas, and your own anecdotes around controllers influencing behavior in different ways.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, February 26, 2015


Minecraft this week; the usual server, voice chat over Skype, 9:30pm EST / 6:30pm PST.

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Symposium: Hoplite, February 5, 2015


In this month’s Symposium, we’re going to discuss the iOS/Android game Hoplite. I’d like to link it to our prior discussion of FTL and our discussion last month of Mark of the Ninja: like the former, it’s a roguelike, but it allows for a relatively large control of your build, similar to the latter. And it brings other interesting things to the table: it has puzzle game aspects, and, judging from Frank Lantz, supports a decent amount of reading ahead in the later levels.

If you’re new to the game I highly recommend Darius Kazemi’s tips.

We’ll meet this Thursday at 9:30pm EST / 6:30pm PST, voice chat over Skype.

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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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