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Swing Copters: The Randomness of the Universe, Captured in Pixels

The creator of Flappy Bird is back with a game offering the sublime agony that comes with mastering a craft—and still failing.

Many of the highest-performing professional athletes are also the most superstitious. Serena Williams bounces the tennis ball five time before her first serve, twice before the second. Michael Jordan wore his University of North Carolina basketball shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform. Baseball hall of famer Wade Boggs bore a bounty of superstitions. Among them: He ate chicken before each… read more

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You Are Mountain

A strange video game from the Her animator bests Spike Jonze's film at depicting what a relationship with an alien really would be like.

Near the start of his relationship with a computer operating system in Spike Jonze’s Academy Award-winning film Her, Samantha the OS (Scarlett Johansson) helps Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) play a videogame. Called “Alien Child” by the filmmakers, the game seems familiar enough to be plausible to viewers, yet foreign enough to induce estrangement. The same could be said of the film’s high-waisted… read more

Proteus: A Trio of Artisanal Game Reviews

Three reviews as three lenses through which to approach and appreciate an unusual videogame.

Originally published at Gamasutra One: Nil Person Videogames are narcissistic. They are about you, even when they put you in someone else’s shoes. You are a space marine among hell spawn. You are a mafioso just released from prison. You are a bear with a bird in your backpack. You are a Tebowing Tim Tebow. We may think we play… read more

“Hundreds” Is the Haute Couture of Video Games

A new multi-touch puzzle game for the iPad and iPhone is about form, not function—and it's about to become a status symbol.

Some media exists for you to “consume”: to read, to watch, to play. Even though a book, television show, or video game isn’t destroyed by this encounter like a cheesesteak or a firework might be, the creative work is meant to be made a part of ourselves. To transform us in some way. But other forms of media don’t aspire… read more

Open, New, Experimental, Aspirational

The rhetoric of "The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age"

The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age is a new document authored and signed by twelve scholars, technologists, and entrepreneurs including Duke professor and author Cathy Davidson, organizational technologist John Seely Brown, and Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun. It’s been making the rounds among those of us interested in such topics, also receiving coverage at The… read more

Time, Relation, Ethics, Experience

Some responses to the Alien Phenomenology reading group

Following the discussion of chapter 1, Darius Kazemi has posted discussion notes for chapters 2 and 3 of Alien Phenomenology—Ontography and Metaphorism, respectively. I thought I’d make a few comments on the topics discussed there. Time Time is discussed as a particularly mind-bending topic in OOO. AP doesn’t offer a theory of time; the conversation chez Darius is about meanwhile… read more

The Bulldog and the Pegasus

Originally published as an opinion piece at Gamasutra In Greek mythology, Bellerophon is the hero who tamed the Pegasus. He used the winged horse as a mount to defeat the Chimaera, a monster with the heads of a lion, goat, and snake that breathed fire and devoured villagers. Bellerophon’s many heroic deeds were widely praised, and his subjects adored him.… read more

How to Do Things With Videogames

How to Do Things with Videogames

A fresh look at computer games as a mature mass medium with unlimited potential for cultural transformation.

This book is available in digital or physical format. Buy from Amazon In recent years, computer games have moved from the margins of popular culture to its center. Reviews of new games and profiles of game designers now regularly appear in the New York Times and the New Yorker, and sales figures for games are reported alongside those of books,… read more

How To Do Things With Videogames

Now Shipping!

My latest book, How To Do Things With Videogames is now shipping from Amazon.com in the US. For those of you in Europe, it’ll be a little while longer. And before you ask, a Kindle edition has been created and should show up Amazon any day now. The book is a little different from my others. It offers a tiny… read more

1,000,000 of Anything

On startups and small businesses

A recent article asks whether apps are just a feature, or if they are a business. Should individual creators or very small teams try to make a decent living from an app (a “lifestyle business”) or should they raise venture capital and expand (a “startup”). The article cites Buffer, an app for scheduling tweets (sigh), as an example of a… read more