February 2007

Raph Koster: Powerlevelling Is Good For You!

Worth a read.

The reason we react negatively to power-levelling is once again the hang-up over whether or not someone “earned” their “position.” And I am increasingly unsure that the very notions of “earning” “position” make a damn bit of sense in these games.

Especially don’t miss the comments. Lots of back and forth, and I agree with almost everyone. Doublethink!

No, He Really Is Just Happy To See You

From Wagner James Au’s latest attempt at arguing that Second Life isn’t all about the sex0r (emphasis mine):

Take the center stage of the very popular Barbie Club, for example. Were you to count the sexual content in this most adult of places, only the dancers’ costumes, their sensual animations, and their avatar genital attachments would qualify. (And that is stretching the definition, and assuming that wearing genitals is only for sexual expression.)

Mr. Au lives in a very wonderful, strange world. I wish I could visit, but when I tried I couldn’t figure out the interface.

It’s True

Jeff Freeman has more users than Second Life, and it’s all the fault of those credulous bloggers for not checking on Tobold’s figures.

It must be true, he has charts.

Freeman also links to the mainstream media blamestorming bloggers for not holding Second Life’s numbers up to scrutiny. Speaking for all bloggers who have been totally credulous about Second Life, I’m sorry about that, but we’ve been sort of busy with figuring out Enron’s books, and we still have Halliburton to hit. Oh, and solving the whole Middle East thing, getting middle-aged women in New York dates, understanding the divine mystery of God, and… uh… hm, what else were we responsible for? Oh yeah, mainstream media oversight. REALLY FALLING DOWN ON THE JOB HERE, sorry. Been busy with computer games. We’ll do better.

Apocalypse Then

As found on a SomethingAwful.com forum thread, and courtesy of YouTube, this is in its entirety, “The War Game”.

The War Game” is a British mock documentary from 1965 that was never shown on television at the time because it was deemed too horrifying. It describes in loving detail the impact of a nuclear strike on a completely unprepared UK. Since it wasn’t aired until 20 years after its filming, it’s somewhat hard to find, so I suspect for most of you this will be the first time you’ve seen it. More modern films that have followed such as The Day After, Testament, Threads and the recent Children of Men all borrow liberally from this movie, though The War Game is far more intense than any of these. For those of us that grew up in the 70s and 80s, this was our future.

Below the cut, the hour-long “The War Game”, in five parts. You may want to see something lighthearted afterwards. I recommend Shrek.

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How I Lost The Peace, Possibly Under The Couch: A “Peacemaker” Review

An interesting game was released today to the public.

The goal of the player as the leader is to establish a stable resolution to the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict and win the Nobel Prize before his or her term in office ends. The difficulty level can range from calm to violent.

Any resemblance to Hidden Agenda, up to now the penultimate simulation of politics, is no doubt very non-coincidental. The player picks a side (Israeli or Palestinian) and lists their views on the ongoing crisis. The game is designed to teach people some of the issues facing each side, mostly involving bullets flying into things. So how well did it do?

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