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  NOTES- ‘Designing for Global and Local Social Play  
 
 
Posted 2006-03-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Designing for Global and Local Social Play
Room 16AB
Saturday, March 11th 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Why I chose to attend this panel: Because panelist Jane McGonigal is an alternate reality game pioneer with amazing ideas, and I've done game design work in this space, so I'm hoping some of her genius will wear off on me.

As it turned out, Jane McGonigal was sick and not able to show up. Blast! I was really looking forward to meeting her in person. Notes follow.

Continue reading: NOTES- ‘Designing for Global and Local Social Play
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Latchkey Project’:  This is Not a Game  
 
 
Posted 2006-01-03 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Jane McGonigal wrote in with additional detail about her latest co-production, The Latchkey Project. As revealed last week, the project involves wearable vintage keys and handmade clues--while McGonigal is best known for her work on alternate reality games, The Latchkey Project doesn't have much of a game-like structure, but does have the potential for play. "We are not creating the adventure," writes McGonigal. "The wearer of the key creates his or her own adventure, by approaching the world with a secret mission that is, ultimately, possible to solve."

More information on the project has just been released in the form of FAQs.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Camera-Based Play Has Roots  
 
 
Posted 2005-12-21 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Sony's EyeToy camera might be the best-known way to project one's image interactively into gamespace, but it's not the only one, and certainly not new technology. FeedTank's collection of digital artists use a similar system "to create playful interactive spectacles" such as Full Body Games and the TransPose audiovisual instrument. FeedTank says it's using "new technology," and maybe that's technically true, but Vincent John Vincent's MANDALA camera-based Virtual Reality system predates Sony's and FeedTank's efforts by at least a dozen years. Based on a visual comparison of Vincent's and FeedTank's systems (below), I'd say MANDALA was about 15 years ahead of its time.

Continue reading: Camera-Based Play Has Roots
 
     
 
   
 
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  RFID LARP OK?  
 
 
Posted 2005-12-09 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Live-Action Role-Playing is definitely near the bottom of the nerd-barrel, perhaps floating only slightly higher than Fur-Suits. But swap LARPing's foam swords and fantasy characters for high-tech wristbands and hackers, and suddenly Live-Action Role-Play is for the cool-kids.

Weblog We Make Money Not Art explains how Spain's Differend Games has used RFID technology and a three-story fun-house to raise location-based role-playing gaming to the level of laser-tag. The game, called Négone, involves escaping from a secure facility: "...each player has a wrist console displaying your score, your character's health and tools obtained in the game...the adrenaline pumps hard as you explore the space - shooting down slides, climbing ladders or diving into a pit of small plastic balls. Every time you see a screen, you place your wrist console beneath it. This activates your helper, one of four pre-recorded characters from a hackers' group."

And if plastic balls aren't enough fun for you, by the end of 2007 the game will reportedly include robots. Hopefully one of the robots will malfunction, resulting in a hilarious real-life killing-spree. Only a real LARPer could possibly survive that.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Last Call’ Broadens ARG Appeal  
 
 
Posted 2005-12-02 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Alternate Reality Game maker 42 Entertainment recently wrapped up their promotion for Activision's new video game Gun. Players across America engaged in 42's "Last Call Poker," involving online and live graveyard shenanigans over an 8-week period, and generating oodles of buzz--although I'm not sure how sales of Gun were affected. At a recent Canadian Xbox 360 preview, an Activision PR rep shilling Gun had no idea what an Alternate Reality Game was.

The masterminds behind Last Call Poker recently participated in a post-mortem discussion with fans. While plenty was discussed, I was most interested in how 42 Entertainment is looking at broadening definitions of the ARG genre. I'm pleased to see this push, as it increases the chances of mainstream acceptance of the genre, and the possibility that ARGs will become a gaming fixture rather than a fad.

Continue reading: ‘Last Call’ Broadens ARG Appeal
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘ReGenesis’ ARG Gets Second Season  
 
 
Posted 2005-11-17 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I'm pleased to be able to announce that the ReGenesis science/adventure TV show and "Extended Reality" (read: Alternate Reality) game will extended for a second season, seeing the reprisal of roles across the board. Shaftesbury Films will be again be producing the award-winning TV series airing on The Movie Network and Movie Central in March 2006, while Xenophile Media will again be producing a bigger, bolder edition of the Alternate Reality Game component. I have again joined the outstanding Xenophile team as Game Designer on the project, and I look forward to exploring and pushing the edges of the ARG genre further than before.

The first season of the show has re-aired on the Global TV network here in Canada, and those registered for the ReGenesis Extended Reality game this time around are eligible to win a spot in an episode airing in the second season. Winners, I am told, will be able to visit the set where season two is now shooting.

I won't be able to write about or discuss the specifics of the ARG component until the such information is released publicly, and there won't be any clues or other game play available here. For breaking ReGenesis news, it's best to keep tabs on the official site.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Silent Hill’ Movie Production Photos  
 
 
Posted 2005-11-02 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Yahoo! has posted a bloody handful of production photos from the upcoming movie adaptation of the Silent Hill horror game series. If you've spent even a few hours in the netherworlds of the video game, you'll recognize the fact that the photos capture the look of the game series perfectly. Seriously, I can't imagine a better rendition than what I see in the pics. We know now that the film at least looks great, and the writing seems very promising as well. If the actors are even slightly better at delivering lines than the characters in the video game, then we're really on to something here.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Real and Virtual Advertars  
 
 
Posted 2005-11-02 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
A strange event transpired on Chicago public transit last month involving a live marketer attracting public attention to a particular mobile phone service. From an eye-witness: "...an eye-catching gent gets on the train, cell phone pressed to his ear. He wears gray pants, a blue zippered hoodie, and a black backpack. There is a large white logo on the left breast of the hoodie, and a smaller one on his backpack. Aaaand...his face is painted blue... He's yapping away on his cell phone [in a spicy conversation]... as he contrives to turn completely around in the unoccupied doorway, I can finally read his logos: 'Talk Until You're Blue in the Face, with U.S. Cellular.'"

I consider this live marketer to be an avatar, in the sense that he is the physical agent of a controlling entity (U.S. Cellular or its marketing agency), but also in the sense of a virtual world avatar, which are non-intelligent, computer-generated characters controlled or supervised by human users. The virtual world of Second Life may soon see some of its avatars used as a marketing tactic. David Fleck, VP of Marketing for Second Life's maker Linden Lab said recently that he is open to using avatars as advertisements (I'll dub these "advertars"). 3D chatspace IMVU is open for the same kind of business. The Chicago transit advertar strikes me as exactly the kind of creature virtual-world residents might be dealing with in their cyberspace playground. Of course, in virtual space, there are fewer physical limitations, so if anything, virtual advertars are going to be more invasive than real ones.
 
     
 
   
 
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  $100k Virtual Space Station Owner to Open Nightclub  
 
 
Posted 2005-11-02 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
In late October, 2005, a resident of the virtual game world of Project Entropia paid $100k USD for a space station in the game. It turns out that the purchaser, Jon "Neverdie" Jacobs, isn't crazy but brilliant. The BBC reports that not only was Jacobs an in-game celebrity prior to the purchase, but that he's planning on using his virtual world investment (and, I would guess, leverage his "star" power) to start a nightclub bridging cyberspace and reality. Jacobs is reportedly in talks with some of the world's "biggest DJs" about performing live inside the virtual nightclub, where he hopes the real-world entertainment industry will be able to reach gamers. Still, $100k seems like a hell of a gamble for that kind of venture.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Toronto of the Living Dead  
 
 
Posted 2005-10-18 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Canada's richest and stuffiest city will soon be crawling with brain-hungry zombies. The Toronto Zombiewalk begins at 2pm on Sunday, October 23, 2005, on the western edge of Riverdale Park, and shambles across town to Dundas and Yonge. The destination spot is the home of one of Toronto's busiest shopping districts, arguably frequented daily by real-life zombies. Ironically, most of the Toronto zombies are likely to be dressed better than the city's homeless population.

I intend to snap some pics, if possible.
 
     
 
   
 
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5224 comments
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ 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?


...you 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


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