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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Gaming Session: Minecraft, June 23, 2016


We’re doing Minecraft a week early this month (and we’ll be skipping the July Symposium entirely): Thursday, June 23 at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT.

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Symposium: Alien Isolation, June 2, 2016


In this month’s Symposium, we’ll be talking about Alien: Isolation.  I’ll be leading the discussion; my main area of interest is how the smaller scale of the game leads to increased focus, and how that interacts with the game’s stealth mechanics.

We’ll be meeting on Thursday, June 2 at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT; voice chat over Skype.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, May 26, 2016

top view down four layers

It’s Minecraft time: Thursday, May 26 at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT!


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Symposium: Disgaea, May 5, 2016


This month’s Symposium, hosted by Pat Holleman, is on the Disgaea series.  Quoting Pat:

The Role Playing Game was the product of two designers who started from very different places, in terms of design. Dave Arneson had been playing a variant of Diplomacy with his friends, but found that the game needed clearer structure. Gary Gygax had created a set of character skills which could be thoroughly represented as the result of fixed attributes and chance. Their combined ideas led to the form which we know today. The interesting thing is that the two influences on the product would come to define so much of the RPG legacy. Although it is a slight simplification, we can see Arneson’s influence as the Dionysian strain in RPGs, and Gygax’s influence as the Apollonian. Because their combined masterwork, Dungeons & Dragons, was so artistically complete, most of the RPGs in its wake had to focus on either the Apollonian or Dionysian aspects of the RPG in order to create a unique product.

Disgaea is one of the most Apollonian (Gygaxian?) RPGs ever created. Nearly everything in the game is represented by a numerical system which can be directly altered by the player. There are statistical systems embedded in statistical systems which allow for hundreds of hours of content, but relatively little in the way of dynamic character development or choices in the plot. This week we’re going to discuss the implications of such a numbers-heavy RPG, and how it compares to the more plot-and-character-driven RPGs and adventures which are the usual fare of VGHVI.

We’ll be meeting this Thursday, May 5th at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT; talk to you then!

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