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  ‘Second Skin’ Documentary Debuts Friday  
Posted 2008-03-04 by Tony Walsh
Those of you in Austin, Texas this week for South by Southwest may be fortunate enough to take in the debut of Second Skin on Friday. I've been following the documentary about virtual worlds and the real people who inhabit them for some time, and can't wait to see the final film (having weaseled my way into its trailer). The makers of the film will be vlogging their Texan misadventures for your enjoyment, and have been keeping a production blog for millions of internet-years.

Here's when and where you can catch this potentially generation-defining documentary:

Friday March 7 - 9:00pm - Austin Convention Center Theater

Tuesday March 11 - 7:45pm - Austin Convention Center Theater

Thursday March 13 - 1:45pm - Austin Convention Center Theater

See you at the Convention Center!
  What Can Video Games Learn From Alternate Reality Games?  
Posted 2007-09-07 by Tony Walsh
What can the video game industry learn from Alternate Reality Games? Lots, I wager. And so I put together a SXSW panel proposal on the topic. The challenge now, aside from getting people to vote the panel into existence, is finding a particular kind of ARG expert (could be designers, producers, community leaders) who has an informed opinion about improving the way video games are made, distributed, marketed, and played. I've already sent a few notes out to the usual suspects, but I figured I'd cast a wider net by posting a call-out here. Never know who you're going to catch.

Drop me a line [tony at secretlair dot com] if you'd like to be added to the list of prospective panelists (looking for about 4 people on the panel), or if you have any specific questions about the panel thanks!
  Vote For These SXSW Panels  
Posted 2007-09-06 by Tony Walsh
I've got a few panel proposals brewing for South by Southwest 2008. If Alternate Reality Games, intriguing game documentaries, or homebrew on the Wii strike your fancy, don't just sign up and vote--get the word out!

Also check out panel proposals by Mark Wallace, Wagner James Au, Susan Wu and Justin Hall. There are 29 gaming-related panels proposed for next year, so make sure you help out by picking the ones you're interested in.

I've been on and/or organized panels at SXSW for the last 3 years, and am particularly pleased to be re-joining the conference's "Screenburn" gaming festival as an advisory board member in 2008. SXSW is a great place to meet people from different (sometimes wildly different) professional disciplines, and Austin is a friendly, fun city to spend time in. Looking forward to going again, hope to see you there.
  links for 2007-08-16  
Posted 2007-08-16 by Tony Walsh
  Mixed-Reality Magician Wins ‘Virtual NBC’ Talent Contest  
Posted 2007-06-15 by Tony Walsh
Mixed-Reality Magician Wins ‘Virtual NBC’ Talent Contest
Fish the Magish in Austin Texas, May 2007. Photo credit: Tony Walsh.
SLNN reports that a magician in the real and virtual world has won a million Linden Dollars (worth nearly $4000 USD) through slight-of-hand. Avatar Tuna Oddfellow reportedly cast a quite a spell over audiences of Virtual NBC's "Avatar's Got Talent" contest held in Second Life, and wins not only in-world currency, but a chance to appear on the real NBC TV show America's Got Talent.

I saw Oddfellow's real-world counterpart "Fish the Magish" perform live during South by Southwest earlier this year. He put on a really entertaining show, very much a "classic" magician if there is such a thing. While most real magicians don't reveal their secrets, avatar magicians are a little looser-lipped--Oddfellow told SLNN that his Second Life performance combines custom visual effects and scripts with gestural animations bought via in-world merchants or donated by friends. Pity I missed his virtual show, it would have been interesting to compare it to his real-world show.
  Notes: ‘The Imago Effect: Avatar Psychology’  
Posted 2007-03-13 by Tony Walsh
Following are my abbreviated notes from the SXSW lecture "The Imago Effect: Avatar Psychology" by Harvey Smith of Midway Games.

This might be the most impractical talk of the day, unless you're working on characters in a game, social media, etc. This talk is about player identity in a game. About the player/avatar relationship; why people make specific identity choices

- No one is in your head.
- The person next to you can't know you.
- you think of yourself in a certain way
- you have some vague sense of self

Continue reading: Notes: ‘The Imago Effect: Avatar Psychology’
  Notes: ‘Warren Spector Presentation: The Future of Storytelling’  
Posted 2007-03-12 by Tony Walsh
Following are my abbreviated notes for the SXSW lecture Warren Spector Presentation: The Future of Storytelling.

Spector talks about how this lecture is an improvement over the one he gave at GDC. The talk is not about the history of storytelling, or that everything is a narrative, or Joseph Campbell's Hero's Quest [Journey?], or whether or not games tell stories at all.

Continue reading: Notes: ‘Warren Spector Presentation: The Future of Storytelling’
  Notes: ‘Gamer’s Games: Microcontent and User Creation’  
Posted 2007-03-12 by Tony Walsh
Following are my abbreviated notes from the SXSW panel "Gamer's Games: Microcontent and User Creation."

Mark Wallace
Betsy Book Dir of Prod Mgmt, Makena Technologies
Raph Koster Pres, Areae Inc
Reuben Steiger CEO, Millions of Us
Corey Bridges,

Continue reading: Notes: ‘Gamer’s Games: Microcontent and User Creation’
  Notes: ‘Web 2.0 To Web 3D’  
Posted 2007-03-12 by Tony Walsh
Following are my abbreviated notes from the SXSW panel "Web 2.0 to Web 3D."

James Au

Robert Scoble
Robin Hunicke
Susan Wu

Continue reading: Notes: ‘Web 2.0 To Web 3D’
  And the Award Goes To…  
Posted 2007-03-12 by Tony Walsh
I'm pleased to report that the Fallen Alternate Reality Game won a SXSW Web Award last night in the Experimental category, a win not only for those involved (Xenophile Media, Matt Wolf, ABC Family) but for the genre at large. I was fortunate enough to have been involved in the project as a game designer and writer, joining over 100 other contractors and collaborators in a frenzied, globe-hopping enterprise. Rock on, extended team!
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