Promogames, Another Kind of Advertising Game

Burger King's Xbox games revive a forgotten genre of advertising games. From my "Persuasive Games" column at Gamasutra.

Recently Burger King released three Xbox and Xbox 360 titles featuring the creepy King mascot that has graced the company’s advertising of late, as well as memorable former spokescreatures like the Subservient Chicken and Brooke Burke. The titles include Pocketbike Racer, a Mario Kart-style battle racer; Big Bumpin’, a collection of head-to-head bumper car games including races, battles, and hockey;… read more

Taste the Feeling 12

Things You Can’t Talk About in a Coca-Cola Ad

A “Profanity API” for a user-generated marketing campaign censors vulgarity, Pepsi, belching, and murder—but also Bill Cosby, capitalism, the Book of Genesis, and tacos.

When Daniel Joseph, a York University doctoral student studying labor and technology, found out about Coca-Cola’s GIF the Feeling promotion, he knew exactly what he wanted to make with it: a Coke-branded critique of capitalism. An accessory for Coke’s newly launched “Taste the Feeling” global ad campaign, GIF the Feeling is a website that allows visitors to fashion Coke ads by combining… 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

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The Car That Killed Glamour

Tesla and the end of the automobile as an object of desire

The Tesla Model S is a supercar without equal. Recently, the P85D trim broke the Consumer Reports rating system, earning a score of 103 out of 100. They rounded down to just 100, calling it “closest to perfect we've ever seen.” The Model S accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in under 3.5 seconds, via an electric motor that produces… read more

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Why Anything but Games Matters

On isolationism in game development; my Indiecade 2014 talk

A couple months ago, I was talking to a friend in technology media. “Sometimes I wonder why I’m in tech,” he started saying. He paused for a beat. “Then I think, at least I’m not in games.” He wasn’t even really talking about the Voldemortian “you-know-what” that was indeed the original impetus for our conversation. That’s just the latest example.… read more

What Is ‘Evil’ to Google?

Speculations on the company's contribution to moral philosophy

Last week, another distasteful use of your personal information by Google came to light: The company plans to attach your name and likeness to advertisements delivered across its products without your permission. As happens every time the search giant does something unseemly, Google's plan to turn its users into unwitting endorsers has inspired a new round of jabs at Google's… read more

Consumption and Naturalism in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing's Strange, Unresolved Conflict. Excerpted from Persuasive Games.

While some are learning about the peculiar pleasure of Animal Crossing thanks to the series’ latest release on Nintendo 3DS, the game has long charmed and puzzled players and critics. In recognition of this fact, in September 2013 Gamasutra re-published the excerpt below, from my 2007 book Persuasive Games. In the section presented here, I discuss Animal Crossing‘s first edition… read more

YMMV

Sympathy without sympathy

originally published at Medium “YMMV” (Your Mileage May Vary) is among the most mistakenly noble gestures of modern online life. It seems generous on first blush. In online forum talk in particular, YMMV is used to flag one’s opinion, and purportedly to recognize that others might have a different one. I found this diet really helpful, but YMMV. A kind… read more

Openwashing

On MLA Job Leaks

Today the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on MLA Job Leaks, an unauthorized, “rogue” website that is republishing the Modern Language Association (MLA) Job Information List (JIL). Currently university departments have to pay to list jobs, and job seekers have to be members of the MLA or the related Association of Departments of English (ADE) or the Association of Departments… read more

Academia Still Isn’t So Bad

On Terran Lane's "On Leaving Academia"

Over the last day or so, many of my Facebook friends have been posting UNM CS professor Terran Lane’s reflections on leaving academia for a job at Google. It’s worth a read, and raises some very valid points about the troubles with academia—pay, funding, job security, incentives, isolationism, work/life balance and so forth. But I also find the piece fairly… read more