Video Game Round Up #2

I did a previous round up on gaming, which covered some basics on gaming, criticisms of the activity, some funny stuff, games as art, some anthropological work, and games and learning.

Here’s another round up, where I have focused on more traditional social science/anthropological themes, as well as related articles and blogging about game design.


Sande Chen, Towards More Meaningful Games: A Multidisciplinary Approach
“how to ratchet up emotional intensity – through narrative design, visuals, and music – to create more meaningful games”

The Brainy Gamer, The Elusiveness of Meaning
“Ueda’s process begins with an image and grows from that place, informing the way the game plays, how it feels, and what it means… The meaning of the image is conveyed through a beautiful weave of gameplay and narrative.”

Kyle Stallock, Diablo Fans Petition Against III’s Artistic Direction
New game demo with brighter environments and more color creates a fan backlash: they want a visual style for Diable III “coherent with the universe it belongs to”. See the video report here

The Escapist, The Age of World Builders
“That’s when it really hit me: This wasn’t just some level in a game. This was my vacation home in a digital environment.”

Ian Bogost, The End of Gamers
Gaming matures as a medium, and takes myriad forms

Owen Good, Can a Game Be a Tearjerker?
A journalist asks, and online readers respond about their saddest gaming experiences.

The Brainy Gamer, Narrative Manifesto
Video games and delivering “genuinely interactive narrative experiences to the player”


Brent Ellison, Defining Dialogue Systems
Dialogue as interaction, and how to build that into a game

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US Presidential campaign wordpiles

What's on your mind?

What's on your mind?

The Boston Globe did a ‘Wordpile’ analysis of both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama’s websites and generated some fascinating graphics. Check out the original here. There’s lots one could say about these graphics — the Globe only highlights a few of the fascinating terms, and I’d want to try to chase down the context of a few that show up prominently because they look pretty ambiguous — but some factors stand out clear as day. The most obvious is that ‘Obama’ is the most mentioned word on both blogs. ‘Veeeery inturusting…’

The reason I bring this visual up though is that I found it a fascinating, graphically powerful way to present a basic qualitative-quantitative bit of research. Although I’m intrigued by research tools like nVivo and Atlas.ti, I sometimes wish that there were richer ways to present the data. This ‘Wordpile’ output is rich enough to put on a t-shirt! I’ll have to find some way to integrate it into my seminars on hybrid research methods.

And if anyone knows where I can lay my hands on the software or script to generate this sort of thing, please send along the link. A quick search didn’t give me anything, and I don’t want to sit in my office all Friday obsessing about this.