Let’s Try This Symposium Again, October 13th: Super Mario Maker and The Beginner’s Guide

A Skype outage sabotaged our attempt to have this discussion last week, so let’s take another swing at it on Thursday.

Here are the notes for the original discussion:

Symposium, October 6th: Super Mario Maker and The Beginner’s Guide

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Symposium, October 6th: Super Mario Maker and The Beginner’s Guide


In our last symposium, our examination of play through virtual reality interrogated a viewpoint that is so player-centered that we had to come up with a new aphorism (metaphoric presence) to attempt to describe the player’s role as a disruptive intersection between the gamespace and The Real.

For this week, however, we use the one year anniversary of The Beginner’s Guide as an excuse to pull the camera so far away from the player that the author’s hand is fully in our view. (Or is it?) In both Super Mario Maker and The Beginner’s Guide, an author has a direct and explicit role to play in the game, both as creator and recipient, performer and audience, tourist and guide.

Can the act of creation qualify as play? Do the author and player share a gamespace or do their respective gamespaces intersect and even compete? How does authorial quotation fit into our definition of mimesis? Does Super Mario Maker’s confined presentation of its creation toolset mutate the role of the player/author into something different?

As always, we’ll meet to discuss these question and more on Thursday, October 6th at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT on voice chat over Skype.

Supplemental material to this discussion:

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, September 29, 2016


Minecraft this Thursday: 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT.

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Symposium: Virtual Reality, 1 September 2016


Now that the commercial release of several VR platforms has arguably made virtual reality a market and/or cultural force, it seems like we might spend an enjoyable hour talking about whether there’s anything new here where immersion is concerned. My hypothesis, after putting my Oculus Rift through its paces: no and yes.No: the Iliad is just as immersive as DiRT: Rally VR or ADR1FT, or maybe more interestingly Minecraft played in virtual reality, when it comes to identification with rulesets. Yes: something about how our brains can be tricked into accepting what we see in the VR headset as “real” seems to me to enchant and lure despite the clunkiness of much of the current state of the VR art.

Conversation via Skype starts at 9:30 Eastern/6:30 Pacific!

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, August 25, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 8.47.59 AM

Minecraft this Thursday: 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT.

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Symposium: World of Warcraft, August 4, 2016

World of Warcraft Logo

With over a decade of on-going development and an active player-base in the millions, World of Warcraft stands as one of the most renowned MMORPGs ever. However, for as vast as the game as become through multiple expansions, at its root is a process which is highly dependent on its users for interface improvements.

Assimilating player-created modifications and UI changes through patches and updates, the designers and programmers behind WoW are in a constant ‘red queen race‘ with players seeking to optimize and improve their virtual lives and seeing those improvements incorporated into the mechanics and visual metaphors of the game itself.

We’ll be meeting on Thursday, August 4 at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT with voice chat over Skype to discuss the gaming behemoth that is WoW and how its interfaces, users, and the collision between the two have influenced its own evolution and that of its sisters and cousins games within the MMORPG genre.

Additional Readings:

A Study of User Interface Modifications in World of Warcraft

Co-Creative Interface Development in MMORPGs: The Case of World of Warcraft Add-ons

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, July 28, 2016


Minecraft this week! Thursday, July 28 at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT.

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