ADM : Heinz :: Facebook : Zynga

GDC Social Game Debate

Now that I’m back from the Game Developers Conference, I’ll post some summaries of my talks. Let’s start with the Are social games legitimate? debate, which moderator Margaret Robertson quickly transformed into an “Are social games evil?” debate. I was clearly the only real detractor on the panel, and I’m happy to be able to adequately summarize my position with… read more

Ian became a fan of Marshall McLuhan on Facebook and suggested you become a fan too.

In Facebook and Philosophy: What's on Your Mind?, edited by D.E. Wittkower

In Facebook and Philosophy I received two degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, but Facebook won’t let me join the UCLA network. A Facebook network is an organizational category that allows my profile to come up when someone searches or browses in a particular group. At different stages in the life of the service, networks have been organized… read more

A Professor’s Impressions of Facebook

Musings after several months of use, as I prepare to start the semester

This spring, I created an account on Facebook. I’m a web 2.0 cynic (and a cynic in general), so this surprised some of my friends and colleagues. But I was encouraged by so many of them, I wanted to give it a try. For example, Ian McCarthy just wanted an easier way to share pictures with me without having to… read more

Yurika Miki (R) and her mother Yoshiko take photos of raw beef liver sashimi before eating them at a restaurant in Tokyo June 28, 2012. While Japan has a reputation as the home of sushi and sashimi, one item is about to be taken off the menu as Japan's government looks to ban the popular dish of raw liver in sashimi style. The dish, which consists of raw beef liver sliced up into bite sized chunks and then served with onions and sauce had become a popular dish across the country. Picture taken June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS FOOD SOCIETY) - RTR34CQ5

Offloading Affective Labor to Customers

Companies once asked only their employees to feign heartfelt devotion to their products. Now their customers are expected to do so too.

Dining recently with friends, everything looked the way it always does. The menu boasted appealing but ordinary fare—antipasti and starters, wood-fired pizzas, freshly-made pastas, meaty mains. I noticed that a handful of the menu items were printed in red, and I asked the server why. “These are our signature dishes,” he explained. “They’re the ones that are most shared on… read more

A man dressed as Father Christmas and children look at a computer screen at a special Christmas post office in the village of Himmelpfort (Heaven's Gate), north of Berlin November 10, 2011. The post office in the village of Himmelpfort opened on Thursday with a special Christmas service, replying to mails addressed to Santa Claus that were sent by children from all over the world. Some 20,000 letters already arrived at the post office and organisers expect to receive some 280,000 letters and wish lists from children writing in 17 languages.  REUTERS/Thomas Peter (GERMANY - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY) - RTR2TTX2

Stop Rebranding Months as Causes

A “Devember” for coding is the latest and most ridiculous of commemorative months.

In his 1996 book Infinite Jest, the late American writer David Foster Wallace imagined a near future in which corporations could sponsor the calendar. Instead of counting up from the birth of Christ, the Organization of North American Nations (O.N.A.N.) develops a “revenue enhancing subsidized time.” Year of the Whopper. Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland. Year of the… read more

gamelife

In the Habit

A Review of Michael W. Clune's Gamelife

I am on an airplane reading Michael W. Clune’s Gamelife, a memoir about growing up playing computer games in the 1980s. I’ve just finished eating the smoked salmon and kiwi on the “fruit plate” I was offered by the flight attendant but had initially declined. Just like I had declined to review Gamelife for this publication, initially. For reasons, too. Michael… read more

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Don’t Hate the Phone Call, Hate the Phone

Our telephone habits have changed, but so have the infrastructure and design of the handset.

One of the ironies of modern life is that everyone is glued to their phones, but nobody uses them as phones anymore. Not by choice, anyway. Phone calls—you know, where you put the thing up to your ear and speak to someone in real time—are becoming relics of a bygone era, the “phone” part of a smartphone turning vestigial as… read more

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The Internet of Things You Don’t Really Need

Smart devices turn every industry into the computer industry, and dupe consumers into thinking their lives are better for it in the process.

Atlanta turns yellow for two weeks in April. Streets, driveways, terraces, cars—everything cakes with pollen. It’s the trees that cause the worst of it. Pine, oak, sweet gum, sycamore, mulberry, hackberry, birch, willow. Prolific itching, sneezing, and car-washing ensue. Grilling season officially begins when the pollen subsides. This year’s was particularly grievous, and perhaps that’s why I was so eager… read more

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A Master Key to the Ultimate Dumb Device

The future of the iPhone could be a way of tethering people to Apple products even when they don't want them anymore.

Lock-in. That's what we call it when you're dependent on a specific vendor for particular services. When you buy a single-serving coffee machine boasting convenient, mess-free coffee inserts, like Keurig K-Cup or Nespresso, you're bound to its brand of coffee pods. When you purchase digital music on iTunes, proprietary formats and digital rights management (DRM) make it difficult to listen… read more

Steroid Slugger

Steroid Slugger

An unpublished 2007 New York Times newsgame

In 2007, my studio Persuasive Games embarked on a series of newsgames published by the New York Times. It was Kind Of A Big Deal At The Time, because it was the first real attempt for a major newspaper to publish videogames as news content (rather than as puzzles). We completed two games, Food Import Folly, about the effects of reduced… read more