Clickable Culture   Official Research Blog of Phantom Compass
  Entries tagged "" at  
  Subscribe to this tag: RSS 2.0 ATOM 1.0  
  Recent Snippets of Sexism, Racism, Homophobia in Gaming  
Posted 2007-02-22 by Tony Walsh
A handful of stories related to society and gaming have caught my eye this week, punctuated by an event which occurred in a Storytelling in Games class I taught yesterday. I was showing the students some cutscenes from the recently-released Xbox 360 title Crackdown--one scene described a scantily-clad female villain as "hot" and "dirty." The males in the class chuckled uncomfortably while the sole female student in the class was understandably nonplussed. I pointed out that none of the male characters I'd seen in the game were described in the context of their sexuality. I felt embarrassed not only personally, but for the mainstream games industry, which seems to be slower to evolve socially than society has evolved in its capacity to thoughtfully criticize games--consider this a theme when reviewing the following recent excerpts:

Richard O. Jones, "Psychologists agree that if your race is always the thief or killer, then after a while you start to think that's how you should be, or you think that's how your people are... the games that are being designed unconsciously include the biases, opinions and reflections of their creators. And obviously, whites see Blacks and Latinos as criminals and gradually that's how our children see themselves and behave according."

tiny dancer,, commenting on Jones' article (quoted above): "It wasn't a questionable article because Jones is wrong, it's questionable because he used only one example (when there are dozens). The recent Crackdown prison-reality-check themed commercials have had me thinking about this issue, because they seem very strongly biased in favor of promoting racial stereotypes."

Continue reading: Recent Snippets of Sexism, Racism, Homophobia in Gaming
  Linden Lab ‘Contingency Measures’: Reaction Roundup  
Posted 2007-02-19 by Tony Walsh
This weekend, Linden Lab announced a contingency measure aimed at reducing virtual world service interruptions by locking out non-paying users of Second Life during peak usage periods. I recently described my dissatisfaction with the plan--one of the main reasons being that it precludes business-friendly "try before you buy" scenarios by barring new users and those who haven't yet decided to pay Linden Lab for services. Both at and The Second Life Herald also expressed discontent. Today I've happened across a few alternate viewpoints worth responding to.

Metaverse content-creator Lordfly Digeridoo isn't happy with those who've complained about Linden Lab's inability to solve congestion on Second Life's grid, but who also aren't happy with the company's contingency measures. The way Digeridoo sees it, Linden Lab's limiting of freeloaders is long overdue: "If you ran a restaurant, and it suddenly became insanely popular because of it’s chili recipe, and you gave out free samples, but the free samplers just hung around in the dining area for hours on end while paying customers can’t sit down to eat, would you keep the freeloaders there? Or would you shoo them out to let people with actual money to come in, even if just temporarily?" In Digeridoo's example, there's really only one sensible choice. I feel that what he's missing is that the people lining up for free chili weren't aware that they were getting "samples" at all. They were invited by the restaurant to enjoy as much free chili as they could eat, as well as create their own delicious meals, under a banner that read "Your Restaurant. Your Imagination." Suddenly locking out invited guests with a sign reading "Access Restricted" isn't just an unfriendly move, it's an unexpected one.

Continue reading: Linden Lab ‘Contingency Measures’: Reaction Roundup
  What’s the Truth About the Sex Industry in ‘Second Life’?  
Posted 2007-02-08 by Tony Walsh
At last year's South by Southwest conference, Reuben Steiger (then of Linden Lab, and now of Millions of Us) spoke as part of a panel entitled "How to Be a Virtual World Entrepreneur," where he revealed that roughly 30% of what goes on in Second Life is comprised of "naughty economy" transactions.

Today, prominent Second Life blogger James Au posted a "Sexual Census of Second Life," where he first says "it's never been clear how that [30%] figure was arrived at," and then goes on to say the 30% figure is "just about the strangest claim in the world." Instead of 30%, he guesses wildly, it's "maybe much less" than 5%. Later, he goes after a critic, imagining that "30% of commerce in Second Life is sexual is totally far-fetched." Yeah. Except that it's totally not far fetched at all.

At. All.

Now, we do not have a reliable indication this year (that I am aware of) of the level of sexually-based transactions. Nor are we likely to, as Linden Lab is surely terrified of revealing just how much porn its residents are into. But if I had to make a wild guess, I'd say it's the same percentage as last year. Thirty. Not frikkin' five.
  Anshe Chung Courts ‘Streisand Effect’  
Posted 2007-01-05 by Tony Walsh
Anshe Chung Courts ‘Streisand Effect’
Avatar Anshe Chung gets griefed.
Reuters reports that Anshe Chung Studios is attempting to use copyright-infringement notices to control how founder Anshe Chung is portrayed in the media. Last month, a live interview with Chung, conducted by CNET's Daniel Terdiman, was marred by a penis-bomb attack. Since then, articles, videos and pictures of the event have been posted by a variety of outlets and individuals. Acording to Adam Reuters, YouTube has since removed a video of the attack after being issued a takedown notice (likely without looking into the matter), while blog BoingBoing and the website of the Sydney Morning Herald have also been issued an informal takedown notices for running pictures of the event.

Reuters reprinted one such takedown notice as follows: "Unfortunately I have to point out to you that you, most likely by accident, posted an image that contains artwork copyrighted by my wife Ailin Graef and by Anshe Chung Studios, Ltd. and without obtaining our permission to do so. … We can not authorize the use of this image and the replication of the artwork and textures of the Anshe Chung avatar in this context." Embedded avatar Adam Reuters considers the ramifications of the situation, finding that "Anshe Chung Studio's claim could call into question the ownership of hundreds of thousands of photos taken within Second Life..."

Continue reading: Anshe Chung Courts ‘Streisand Effect’
  ‘Second Life’ Through a Hype-Cycle Lens  
Posted 2007-01-01 by Tony Walsh
Kevin Dugan of the Strategic Public Relations blog considers Second Life's position on Gartner's Hype Cycle, finding that the virtual world is sliding down the slope of "Inflated Expectations" towards the dreaded "Trough of Disillusionment." Linda Zimmer of the Business Communicators of Second Life blog mulls the matter over, ultimately agreeing with Dugan. Both viewpoints--each from a relative newcomer to Second Life--are worth reading, and mark what I consider to be reactions to the second Hype Cycle for the virtual world platform. I've been a "resident" of Second Life since 2004 and feel I've seen a complete first-round cycle run its course while a second wave runs its course.

Continue reading: ‘Second Life’ Through a Hype-Cycle Lens
  Gone Ice-Fishin’  
Posted 2006-12-23 by Tony Walsh
Happy Holidays, folks. I'm offline for about 6 days, starting now...
  Tech Digest:  ‘Justin Bovington Was Not Misquoted’  
Posted 2006-12-13 by Tony Walsh
At issue: Whether or not Justin Bovington of metaversal branding agency Rivers Run Red said "'We did a block party with Reebok, and it was the first time we saw black avatars coming into Second Life." The quote appeared in a Tech Digest article on Bovington's Second Life efforts. I re-published the quote in a post about Bovington's alleged statements.

Bovington says he was misquoted by Tech Digest, and "doubly misquoted" by Clickable Culture. The author of the Tech Digest article, Stuart Dredge, stands by the accuracy of the quote.

Someone is not being entirely truthful here, and I am stuck in the middle. My position has been to update the relevant posts to reflect each party's position. However, this has been a pain in the ass for me, and possibly for my readers as well. It's also brought a lot more attention to Bovington's disputed quote than he would probably like. This situation could have been handled better from a public relations standpoint, methinks.
  Linden Lab Mutes Noted Agitator… Again  
Posted 2006-12-08 by Tony Walsh
Another year, another muzzle placed on infamous Second Life celebrity Prokofy Neva by the virtual world's owner-operator Linden Lab.

Last year, Neva was banned from participation in the official Second Life discussion boards after stirring controversy by engaging in persistent, passionate criticism of Linden Lab and various Second Life residents, particularly those Neva considered part of a "Feted Inner Core." Following Neva's gag-order, the company widened its ban policy to include all official Second Life venues, including not only the web-based discussion boards but the virtual world itself. Although Neva was allowed to remain in-world, future crimes such as "intention to incite anger" could result in an avatar's deletion from the virtual universe.

Neva was informed yesterday by a Linden arbiter that he is no longer allowed to post comments on the company's official blog. No reasons were given (although the company's position is that it can get rid of someone for "any" or "no" reason), but Neva suspects he was muzzled due to his pointed questions about sensitive and complex Second Life technical issues as well as his criticism of Linden policy related to the controversial CopyBot software. Last month, Jauani Wu, another notable pot-stirring resident, was suspended for 4 weeks for stimulating a similar level of controversy on the Second Life forum. Excising known figures from Second Life's collection of verbally-combative residents might relieve Linden Lab of some pain short-term, but ultimately hurts the company in its capacity as government and god of the virtual world. Silencing controversy works in official channels, but there are plenty of unofficial blogs and other discussion venues available--so why bother wounding what you can't kill?

An earlier story on Prokofy Neva's punishment was published by The Second Life Herald.
  Dear Business Communicators…  
Posted 2006-11-29 by Tony Walsh
Thank you for keeping me informed about your product, service, client and/or company. I really do appreciate it, even though I'm not likely to reply. I'm not even terribly likely to write about it here at Clickable Culture (today excepted). In case it seems like your business communications are dropping into a bottomless pit, here are the most likely reasons (subject to change at any time, and without notice):
  • You have no idea what I write about. I focus on the intersections of technology, culture, and business here (video games being one of my favourite products of said intersections). I'm less interested in news and more interested in the story behind the news. Nine times out of ten, whatever you're selling, I'm not buying.
  • You're talking but you're not saying anything. If it's not really news, and it's not really a story lead, and it's not really interesting or specific, then I don't want to hear about it.
  • Your communication raises more questions than it answers. Don't tease me, give me everything you've got--succinctly and accurately. If I have to ask for clarification or additional information, mostly I just won't bother.
  • You've sent me something I can't write about yet. Embargoes annoy me, sorry. I'm not likely to prepare a story in advance, just so I can post it the second an embargo is lifted. I'll leave that to the mainstream media.
  • Is it on the record or isn't it? I need to know specifically what parts of what you've communicated to me are for public consumption, and that includes whatever you've sent besides the press release. Ideally, I don't want to know anything that's off the record.
  • You seem to be passing yourself off as an anonymous tipster or are otherwise astroturfing. We're all adults here, please don't play make-believe. Tell me exactly who you are, who you represent or what your interest is, and why you are pinging me.
  • You're on the bandwagon. You're crowing about being the cutting edge, either ignoring or ignorant of the row of folks just like you who have piled on this week (or last month, or 3 years ago). I get tired of hearing about how company X is the first, best, or latest to do Y with Z technology. I'm interested in what actual value company X is bringing to people by doing Y with Z technology.
  • I'm highly cynical, jaded, crotchety, and ornery. I might discuss one or more aspects of your product, service, client and/or company that will make you unhappy. I might use framing or language you're not comfortable with. I appreciate you want to read stories that stay "on message," but those aren't necessarily the stories I write (unless my views and yours happen to match).

So, thanks again to all who have sent, keep sending, and intend to send me business communications and story leads. If there's anything more noteworthy than who does keep me posted, it's who should be, but doesn't.
  An Open Letter to The Internet  
Posted 2006-10-26 by Tony Walsh
Dear Internet,

I regret not being able to defend you more effectively on live television last night. As you know, we have been friends for over a decade, through feast and famine. I've appreciated how you've disrupted culture, politics, and business, and I've come to your defense in small ways over the years, but never took time to write a book or extensive magazine article on how excellent you truly are. Conversely, your detractors Andrew Keen and Steve Maich have written a book and extensive magazine article (respectively) on how awful they think you are. In hindsight, I should have realized it would be difficult defending you when the assumption from the outset is that you "suck." It's easier to tear something down than to build it up. Although I was able to respond to demands for proof of your awesomeness, I was a ultimately drowned out in the scrum.

You and I both know you live a dual life, Internet. While I celebrate your excellence, I simultaneously recognize how other people have misused your powers. You're not the problem, Internet. People are the problem. Some people use you as a tool for plagiarism, for deceitful purposes, or to inflate corporate value--but on the other hand, some use you to bust perverts, break news, or to make crazy money. You're a bit like a knife: Whether it stabs someone in the heart or slices a birthday cake, it cuts both ways. So do you, depending on how you are wielded. I understand your capacity for great good and for great ill, but I'm not sure why anyone would focus only on your bad side. Except maybe to sell books or magazines.

Respectfully yours,
Mr. Tony Walsh, Esq.
[ Detailed Search ]
Clickable Conversation
on 4159 entries

Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'

yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?

I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please

Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool

Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please

It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?

@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy? get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?

The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?

Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock

Clickable Culture Feeds:

RSS 2.0 ATOM 1.0 ALL



Clickable Culture
Copyright (c)1999-2007 in whole or in part Tony Walsh.

Trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments owned by the Poster. Shop as usual, and avoid panic buying.