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  Onward and Upward  
Posted 2008-09-03 by Tony Walsh
I've been blogging for 9 years this month. Well, maybe 8 considering I haven't posted much since my baby arrived. She's a year old now, and her blog has withered as well.

Here's the deal: I'm not likely going to be posting at Clickable Culture any more. Instead, I'll be moving the conversation to the Phantom Compass blog, where I'll be talking less about myself, and more about the kinds of things my game-making company is up to and interested in. On the plus side, you'll get less navel-gazing meandering. On the minus side, you'll get less navel-gazing meandering.

Hey, if it's meandering you want, I do it 140 characters at a time on Twitter.

Longer-term, I'll be migrating on-topic entries and articles from Clickable Culture over to the Phantom Compass blog, but plan to keep the rest of the Clickable Culture content right where it is. Comments will be locked on the older material eventually.

Thanks for your patronage over the years, I'm not dead, I'm just running a company :)
  Where Is Dr. Horrible’s Blog?  
Posted 2008-06-26 by Tony Walsh
Joss Whedon's latest side-project appears to be a made-for-the-internet musical romp about "a low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to." It's called Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. I just learned about it today.

Note: the official site does not actually contain a blog.

Disappointing! Inexplicable! Bam! Pow! Joss, I realize you've got zillions of rabid fans ready to lap this thing up, but how cool would it be to pave the way to a blog-related video series with, you know, an actual blog? Maybe there is a blog, and I just can't find it. I'm thinking of an in-fiction blog here, not the behind-the-scenes sort of thing. Let's get a glimpse of this latest Whedon universe from the first-person view of Dr. Horrible. Joss, if budget is an issue, I'm sure we can work something out.
  Someone Spent Twenty-Five Bucks On This Post  
Posted 2008-03-04 by Tony Walsh
Some poor bastard paid twenty-five bucks to send me a very nicely-produced clue-package for an Alternate Reality Game, presuming I have time to unravel a ball of yarn. Guess what: I don't. Lucky for you, Despoiler already did. I got the exact same package*, so just hop on over there to view the contents.

Dear Mystery-Package Sender,
You missed on three counts.
1) I'm busy running my own company, and don't have time to play your game.
2) I don't pick up my mail as regularly as you imagine I might.
3) I don't publish a news outlet for ARG-related matters. These days, I barely publish at all. So I'm not exactly worth approaching.

Additionally, I got an email from the makers of the game yesterday that almost ended up in my Spam folder, and was ultimately a wasted effort. I didn't care to rummage through the email contents. There's a link to a video there. I didn't check it out.

Clearly, Mystery-Package Sender is shooting in the dark--I wonder who else might have been targeted. Despite my indifference to their game, they still got free buzz out of me. Twenty-five bucks well spent, I guess.

* Update: Ok, looks like my photos aren't the same. All the more tragic I don't have time to scan and post them.
  Clickable Comments:  Logins Temporarily Broken  
Posted 2008-02-09 by Tony Walsh
One of my readers kindly pointed out that logins aren't working on Clickable Culture--both new and old accounts are affected. I am working on a fix, and will post an update once things are back on track. My apologies to those who've attempted to leave comments lately--the system's behaving badly.

[Update: Logins are restored. You must have cookies enabled for the system to work as expected.]
  Captain Of A Rocket-Ship  
Posted 2008-01-22 by Tony Walsh
For the past 14 years, I've been freelancing under my own name, but in 2008, I've become the founder and first employee of Phantom Compass, an interactive development studio involved in both pre-production service-work and end-to-end internal product development. I'm already involved in one collaboration and one co-production in the proposal stages.

In only 10 weeks I've gained a new understanding of and respect for the challenges new media producers here in Canada face--certainly I see my clients in a new light, and now that I'm involved in producing my own IP, a host of previously-unexplored aspects of business development have come to light. As owner of my own studio, I'm now eligible for a variety of Canadian funding programs, tax credits, and other boosters. Most importantly, I'm running my own ship and can initiate my own large-scale projects. I will be opening up all available communications channels next month and reaching out to friends, associates, and strangers to see what opportunities might be on the horizon. Talk to you then.

So, how does all of this affect Clickable Culture, a blog I've been hammering at since 1999? Realistically, the number of posts here is likely to decrease (which is why it's a good idea to subscribe to the feed). Clickable Culture will now serve as the public-facing research blog of Phantom Compass, which probably means less articles and more short-form thoughtbubbles. Phantom Compass will soon have its own blog, which will be a bit drier than Clickable Culture, a blog I like to think of as shot from the hip. Pow!
  Limited Response To ‘Numb3rs’ ARG Episode?  
Posted 2007-11-13 by Tony Walsh
An episode of the CBS TV show Numb3rs last week, which depicted a sort of Alternate Reality Game, has received fairly good reviews from a few key sources. Steve Peters (42 Entertainment) wrote that the episode was "great fun to watch," noting the game genre's mention in mainstream entertainment was a historic first. Raph Koster (Areae) grumbled that the game portrayed in the show looked more intriguing than real ones, but conceded that the show writers "got surprisingly more right than [...] wrong." The genre's top news source, ARGNet, reported that the show received "generally positive reactions" and pointed out that an actual (non-televised) ARG seems to have been launched in support of Numb3rs and the CBS suite of web sites.

Aside from a handful gaming insiders and TV sites, my impression (based on a cursory web search today) is that the Numb3rs ARG episode doesn't seem to have generated widespread discussion. Perhaps this will begin to change, given ARGNet's discovery that an ARG-like game in support of the show is unfolding. CBS has been creeping into cross-media territory lately, investing in metaverse developers The Electric Sheep Company last February, and producing a recent episode of CSI:NY crossing over into the virtual world Second Life. The success of that crossover seems tame at best--with the show's presence in Second Life trimmed down by a reported 93% barely a week after launch.
  ‘LivePlanet’ Dies In ‘Second Life,’ ‘Warcraft’  
Posted 2007-10-29 by Tony Walsh
As I predicted, a pair of news sites launched by LivePlanet to report on social world Second Life and game world World of Warcraft failed to live up to expectations.

Neither Grid World News, which aimed to be "the premier media outlet for Second Life," and Azeroth World News, which boasted it would "exclusively report all the news within the [Warcraft] universe," have been updated since the beginning of October, after having been announced a few months earlier. Judging by the site archives, activity was most frequent in the summer of 2007, when the projects were announced. Contributions seem to have dwindled significantly since then, with next to no obvious input (in the form of blog comments) from either Second Life users or Warcraft players.

Continue reading: ‘LivePlanet’ Dies In ‘Second Life,’ ‘Warcraft’
  Happy Blogiversary To Me:  8 Years!  
Posted 2007-09-09 by Tony Walsh
I started blogging in 1999 with a personal journal called "Bites," which soon morphed into more of a technology/culture journal--ultimately becoming the Clickable Culture blog you're reading today.

Skimming through past entries, I found the first date with my wife (we were meant to play Frogger on her Atari 2600), a worried post about the Y2K bug, and a startled reaction to the 9/11/2001 tragedy. Things got a lot less personal from around 2002 onwards, when I started writing a lot more about technology-specific issues (such as the perennial bloggers vs. journalists debate). I started blogging regularly about Second Life in 2004, the year that my virtual-world and games writing really ramped up. Today, it's mostly virtual worlds, video games, and how these ripple through our culture.

I'm looking forward to another 8 years of acidic commentary and assorted windbaggery. Thanks for tuning in.
  links for 2007-08-28  
Posted 2007-08-28 by Tony Walsh
  links for 2007-08-16  
Posted 2007-08-16 by Tony Walsh
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