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  Virtual-World Mashups  
Posted 2006-05-29 by Tony Walsh
I've encountered several interesting virtual-world mashups lately. A mashup, which comic nerds know as a "crossover," is the media-equivalent of combining chocolate and peanut butter (or sardines and peanut butter).
  • Second Life meets Myst with aDen Ennui's "SL Myst." When Uru Live closed down, a number of refugees from that space ended up in Second Life and built Myst-themed areas. There are still a few Myst and Uru-themed groups in SL.
  • Second Life will meet World of Warcraft in Jerry Paffendorf's upcoming SLoW project: "A first attempt towards uniting both ends of the virtual world spectrum by providing a temporary bridge (or at least a window) between them."
  • And, on YouTube, World of Warcraft meets Guild Wars in an excellently-edited video mashup to the tune of MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This."
  Leeroy Jenkins Immortalized on WoW Playing Card  
Posted 2006-05-29 by Tony Walsh
Gabe of Penny Arcade stardom revealed artwork last week for a Leeroy Jenkins addition to the official World of Warcraft card game in production by Upper Deck.

Leeroy Jenkins, a player-character in World of Warcraft, rose to infamy thanks to a humorous video clip of his berserker fighting tactics, resulting in the demise of his raiding party. His battlecry "Leeeeeeroy Jenkins!" resounded across the internet, in cybercafes, and even in a downtown Toronto movie theatre. Such was his impact on gaming culture that Leeroy's name was used in a Jeopardy clue in 2005. It's pretty wild that he made it onto his own playing card.
  ‘Warcraft’ Live-Action Movie:  Will Anyone Care?  
Posted 2006-05-09 by Tony Walsh
A live-action movie based on the massively-successful 'Warcraft' series of games is in development, according to the series maker Blizzard Entertainment. Legendary Pictures has acquired the movie rights to the Blizzard's Warcraft universe. The California-based production company is a partner of Warner Bros. Pictures, and is reponsible for the superhero films Batman Begins (2005) and Superman Returns (to be released this summer). Future flicks include M. Night Shymalan's Lady in the Water, and Roland Emmerich's 10,000 B.C.

With millions of World of Warcraft players across the globe, I'm sure neither Blizzard nor Legendary Pictures can see how a Warcraft movie could be a financial failure. But I'm wondering if we're all just a little tired of Tolkeinesque big-screen battles involving elves, orcs, dwarves, and humans. Middle-Earth fatigue aside: Will World of Warcraft still be popular by the time the film is completed?
  User-Created Card Game in ‘Warcraft’ World  
Posted 2006-05-04 by Tony Walsh
User-Created Card Game in ‘Warcraft’ World
One creative German designer has created a card game playable within the massively multiplayer game World of Warcraft. Taking advantage of Warcraft's extensible "add-on" system, Andreas Jacobs puts forward an extension of the game's fiction. A Google translation of his concept reads: "In the depths of their pits and tunnels the dwarves an unusual pastime devised. They call it Andromasch, we call it Zwergenpoker." According to the spottily-translated rules of the game, each dwarf uses their own pack of cards, consisting of fire, air, water, and earth icons. Cards are drawn, arranged into hands, and played. The best hand wins.

Earlier this year, an entire package of game add-ons was released, containing re-creations of well-known board and arcade games. Zwergenpoker stands out from this crowd by virtue of its integration with the fiction of the larger game that enables it, even if the rules of the game are similar to real-life poker.
  MMORPG Doc Seeks Subjects  
Posted 2006-05-04 by Tony Walsh
Pure West Documentaries plans to shoot a documentary about massively-multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and the people who play them. The director of the pending film, Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza, is on the lookout for charismatic gamers with a willingness to share their unique experiences with the world.

Escoriaza told me via email that although ideal subjects should be located in the northeast U.S. (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Delaware), he is still interested in hearing from subjects outside this area with "absolutely amazing" stories. "The games we are most interested in covering are World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Project Entropia," he wrote, adding that in Second Life, Pure West is looking for "online entrepreneurs and people neck deep in the online mafia culture." The film's director can be reached by email via [juancarlos at purewestmedia dot com].

Continue reading: MMORPG Doc Seeks Subjects
  Azerothian World News  
Posted 2006-04-15 by Tony Walsh
Lately we've heard of a live-blogging effort from World of Warcraft's Blackwing Lair, and the addition of the lands of Azeroth to real-world locales covered by the Metroblogging group. Today, I bring you a machinima newscast (below) that straddles the border between in-game fiction and out-of-game commentary. It's a bit long, but has some amusing moments.

Continue reading: Azerothian World News
  ‘Warcraft’ World Gets Metroblogged  
Posted 2006-04-14 by Tony Walsh
Azeroth, the fictional environment of the massively-multiplayer game World of Warcraft, has been added to the ranks of real places such as Berlin, Dubai, Toronto, and Vienna by While Azeroth actually consists of two continents, and World of Warcraft is played by over six million worldwide, the Azerothian population at any given moment of the day is probably equivalent to that of a small city.

I'm a bit disappointed the Azeroth Metroblog doesn't treat the fictional world as if it were a real place. I was hoping to read reports filed by seasoned warriors, wise mages, and clever rogues from within the beseiged outpost of Tarren Mill, the ancient walls of Ironforge, or the tainted remnants of Gnomeregan. Instead of pushing the idea of location-based blogging beyond the limits of reality, we've got just another gamesblog jumping on the Warcraft bandwagon. Pity, that.
  Live-Blogger to Document ‘Warcraft’ Dungeon-Crawl  
Posted 2006-04-13 by Tony Walsh
Zach Brock of will be reporting live from Blackwing Lair in the World of Warcraft this Saturday. The embedded blogger will be following a multiplayer raid on the in-game lair, covering the "wacky antics and dragonslaying." While the effort is indeed valiant, I'm pretty sure Brock's efforts will be unintelligible to the uninitiated. I guess we'll have to wait until Saturday to find out. A subscription to the blog's feed is available through Feedburner.
  Enticing Headline Leads Nowhere, Film at Eleven  
Posted 2006-04-13 by Tony Walsh
The April 2006 Computer Gaming World article "Sounds of Silence - Sanitizing Expression in Brave New Worlds" is, in fact, about a long-dead controversy over public discussion of player sexuality in the game World of Warcraft. It's fine that the author's entire universe of brave new worlds apparently consists of just one game. It's just stupid to suggest far more than this in the headline.

Here are some stories at Clickable Culture relating to sanitizing expression in places other than World of Warcraft:
  Game Culture Circus Has Its Own Slideshow  
Posted 2006-03-22 by Tony Walsh
Nick Yee's Daedalus Project, which looks at the psychology of massively-multiplayer online games, gives us a glimpse at social phenomena, character studies, and glitches in the virtual world with two intriguing slideshows: #1, #2. Yee is still looking for more "visual data points" that illustrate player gatherings, character portraits, large-scale and player-vs-player combat, strange bugs, and other interesting screenshots. Details and submission form available here.

I submitted a series of screens from my exploration of a hidden World of Warcraft zone, and if Yee doesn't include them, I'll post them here at Clickable Culture.
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