crt-feat

A Television Simulator

CRT Emulation for the Atari VCS

One of the main themes of Racing the Beam is the strong affinity between the Atari VCS and the CRT television. The system was designed around the TV and it interfaces with that display in an unusual and specific way. In today’s world of huge, sharp LCD monitors, it’s hard to remember what a videogame image looked like on an… read more

lead_large-5

Shaka, When the Walls Fell

In one fascinating episode, Star Trek: The Next Generation traced the limits of human communication as we know it—and suggested a new, truer way of talking about the universe.

On stardate 45047.2, Jean-Luc Picard leads the crew of the Enterprise in pursuit of a transmission beacon from the El-Adrel system, where a Tamarian vessel has been broadcasting a mathematical signal for weeks. The aliens, also known as the Children of Tama, are an apparently peaceable and technologically advanced race with which the Federation nevertheless has failed to forge diplomatic relations.… read more

lead_large-3

What Do We Save When We Save the Internet?

We cannot champion Network Neutrality without admitting that the Internet is no Utopia.

Think about regret as if it were sin. Some regrets are mild, but acute. The regret associated with choosing the wrong supermarket checkout lane, or buying an outfit that you notice goes on sale the next week—these seem woeful. They chafe, but their pains are pin pricks that soon subside. These are venial regrets. Regret is more severe when it steeps… read more

Xbone

Xbox One and the endless, hopeless dream of convergence

from my Difficulty Switch column in Edge Magazine

The history of videogames is also the history of televisions. Not the shows, the stars, or the ready meals, but the equipment – the box in your living room. This connection is the most intimate yet unexamined one in our medium. The ‘video’ in ‘videogames’ isn’t just an affectation or a distinction: it refers to video technology, the recording and… read more

lead_large-2

The Future of Luxury: Avoiding People

Services like Silvercar, Uber, and pay-to-play airline VIP programs help keep the new aristocracy away from the rabble

When I power on my phone upon landing at LAX, a text message is already waiting for me: “Hi Ian, Silvercar here! We have your res at 1:00pm today. Let’s roll!” Silvercar rents a fleet of silver Audi A4s at airports in Austin, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. A slogan speaks plainly on the company’s behalf: “car rental that doesn’t… read more

bogost-2

Kinect 2 brings the era of physical interfaces for active play to a definitive end

from my Difficulty Switch column in Edge Magazine

Morning television is the freight train of fitness trends. These breakfast shows introduce families to lightweight takes on current events and fashions. The first morning show aired in 1952, and its audience was primarily stay-at-home mothers. While much has changed, US morning shows such as Today and Sunrise still sell traditionalism, including the latest health trends or fitness gizmos, topics… read more

Snowpocalypse_in_Atlanta_and_The-fd28d609944f61c9d4f14af540958d9a

Snowpocalypse in Atlanta and The Walking Dead

How media prepares us for havoc, even catastrophe

Maura Neill was stranded for eight hours in the gridlocked, apocalyptic aftermath of a modest snowstorm that crippled Atlanta this week. “It was like a scene from The Walking Dead,” she told USA Today, a reference to the comic-book-made-television-show-made-video-game set in northern Georgia, in which a zombie apocalypse overtakes, as far as we know, the world. The sentiment was repeated… read more

58b0e7375

Hyperemployment

or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User

In 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes famously argued that by the time a century had passed, developed societies would be able to replace work with leisure thanks to widespread wealth and surplus. “We shall do more things for ourselves than is usual with the rich to-day,” he wrote, “only too glad to have small duties and tasks and routines.” Eighty years… read more

Perpetual Adolescence

Gone Home: a videogame about releasing secrets

Originally published at the Los Angeles Review of Books Gone Home is a videogame about releasing secrets, the kind of secrets that you should have known all along. It is set in Oregon circa 1995, and it tells the story of an ordinary family. As the game starts, you find yourself on the porch of an old house. You are… 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