Objects in Theory and Practice

Thoughts on the Object-Oriented Empiricist

Via Bryant, I just discovered the blog Struggles with Philosophy. I’m not sure who the author is, but as Levi points out, discussion there has recently taken up Object-Oriented Ontology. Here’s an excerpt from the latest salvo. At one level I want to differentiate between the theory (or philosophy) of OOP and the praxis of OOP, which will be designated… read more

A Theory of Cuteness

Graham Harman and a Tiny Horse

Today John Sharp showed me this insanely cute dwarf miniature horse, named Koda. He’s about as big as a cat, so noticeably smaller than a normal miniature horse because he is, well, a dwarf. Click for a bigger image, or see more pics here. One of my favorite sidetrips in Graham Harman’s Guerilla Metaphysics (back in print soon) is his… read more

The Value of Theory in Digital Media Studies

A "debate" between myself and Jay Bolter

This past week, renowned new media scholar and colleague Jay Bolter and I staged a debate on theory in the study of digital media. Here’s how we described it: The Digital Media program in LCC is described on its website as follows: “The Georgia Tech Digital Media Ph.D. provides both the theoretical and the practical foundation for careers as digital… read more

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Persuasive Games

The game studio I co-founded. We make games about social and political issues.

Persuasive Games designs, builds, and distributes videogames for persuasion, instruction, and activism I do professional game development and game design consulting at Persuasive Games. I co-founded the studio in 2003 with Gerard LaFond. Persuasive Games created the first official US Presidential Election game for Howard Dean in 2003. Since then, we’ve created games for political campaigns, advertisers, educators, and corporations,… read more

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Google Car for Sale: Slightly Underequipped

Google will have to contend with the West's unique understanding of cuteness for its autonomous car to be accepted.

The Google Car prototype sure is cute. And as Megan Garber already explained on these pages, it’s cute because it hopes to convey familiarity and comfort while eschewing “creepiness,” that scourge of technology that arises when it seems out of place, over the line. Garber rightly connects the Google Car’s cuteness to Japanese kawaii culture. Japanese cuteness produces a sense of protection and innocence that appeals… 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

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Object Lessons

An essay and book series about the hidden lives of ordinary things

Object Lessons is a series of concise, affordable, beautifully designed books and of smart, short essays based around singular objects and the lessons they hold. Books are published and distributed worldwide by Bloomsbury, and essays are published at The Atlantic. You can also keep up with Object Lessons on Twitter and on Facebook. At around 25,000 words, each book starts… read more

Announcing Object Lessons

An essay and book series on the hidden lives of things

Earlier this week we launched Object Lessons, an essay and book series on the hidden lives of ordinary objects, published by The Atlantic and Bloomsbury and edited by me and Chris Schaberg. We’ve been working on getting this going for months, and I’m excited to finally be able to unleash it on you. Here’s how it works: Object Lessons invites… read more

Google Zombie: The Glass Wearers of Tomorrow

The best metaphor for Google Glass? Not jerks or junkies, but the living dead.

Since the unveiling of Google Glass, the tech giant’s new wearable computing device, a common nickname for its wearers has arisen among skeptics and critics: Glassholes. It’s a charming portmanteau that satisfies an immediate desire to shun this weird new contraption. And the term fits, to some extent. As a strangely popular trend in books on assholes has helped us… 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