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  What’s Wrong With the World, Tom Waits?  
 
 
Posted 2008-05-21 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Tom Waits (long-time hero of mine) on Tom Waits (also a long-time hero of mine):
Q: What’s wrong with the world?
A: We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. Leona Helmsley’s dog made 12 million last year… and Dean McLaine, a farmer in Ohio made $30,000. It’s just a gigantic version of the madness that grows in every one of our brains. We are monkeys with money and guns.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Gary Gygax, R.I.P.  
 
 
Posted 2008-03-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Gary Gygax, father of the seminal Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game, has reportedly died. Gygax's D&D is the reason I became a gamer 27 years ago, and why I work in the interactive and gaming industries today.

I started "Dungeon Mastering" a D&D campaign with some friends early this year, and it's a real pleasure to get back to the tabletop again after a quarter-century. Online gaming has its charms, but sometimes you just can't beat role-playing the way it was originally intended: Snacks, polyhedral dice, lead figurines; rulebooks and maps; Led Zeppelin on the tape-deck.

Mr. Gygax, thanks for the positive influence on my life. Your legacy lives on.
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  Roundup: Linden CTO Departs  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-14 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Earlier this week it emerged that Linden Lab and its fourth employee, Cory Ondrejka, have parted ways due to irreconcilable philosophical differences. Here's a roundup of some of the reportage and commentary related to the split:
 
     
 
   
 
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  Humungo-Megalithic Games Company Formed  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-03 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
All the cool nerds are talking about it: Vivendi (publisher, World of Warcraft) and Activision (Pitfall!, Guitar Hero) spent a steamy weekend entwining their glistening tentacles together so elaborately that neither megacorporation could be distinguished from the other. The unholy spawn of this union is to be named Activision Blizzard, a rampaging humungo-megalith The Guardian says will be "the world's largest computer games company" with an annual income of $3.8 billion and an insatiable appetite for fresh babies.

I'm not sure how the merger will produce better games, lower retail prices, or more choice for gamers--but then, there's a lot about the games industry I can't even begin to understand. All I know is that if I was formerly an employee of Vivendi or Activision, I might be concerned for the safety of my job (or even my entire department) next year. Time to trim some excess tentacles.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘GameON: Finance’ Inhospitable to Small Indie Developers  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-23 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
"GameON: Finance," a just-announced Canadian event described by its organizers as an exploration of "financial models for independent games companies," has been scheduled during the same two days as the Toronto Independent Games Conference. The events will overlap on January 17 and 18, 2008.

GameOn:Finance is operated by industry group InteractiveOntario, and will be hosted at a swank downtown Toronto location. Registration starts at nearly $500 CAD. The Toronto Independent Games Conference is operated by a handful of dedicated indie gamers, and will likely be hosted at a local college. Registration starts at $50 for students.

Continue reading: ‘GameON: Finance’ Inhospitable to Small Indie Developers
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  Ring Around The Rosey  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-25 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
A good friend of mine has had two Xbox 360s die in the classic "red ring of death" fashion. The second one was refurbished (not refurbished enough, apparently). Hope the third one's a charm.

Anecdotally, about half of my friends who own a 360 have gotten a dud. Even one of the colleges at which I teach got a red-ringed Xbox. Every time my own console grumbles during DVD playback a shiver crawls up my spine.

Certainly there are far more important things in life to complain about, but Holy Helen of the Hand Grenade, what a wobbly piece of crap the Xbox 360 hardware is. I swear the only reason I bought one was for professional reasons.
 
     
 
   
 
  3 comments  
  ‘LivePlanet’ Bumbles Into ‘Second Life,’ ‘Warcraft’  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-13 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
"Are virtual worlds ready for a CNN to call their own?" The Hollywood Reporter asks, pointing to mainstream media venture LivePlanet which intends to embed reporters in virtual worlds Second Life and World of Warcraft.

Yes, virtual worlds are ready for "a CNN" to call their own--in fact, there has been a thriving "native" media scene inside Second Life for years. Wagner James Au was the first embedded writer in Second Life, followed soon after by myself (less embedded than external) and dishy tabloid The Second Life Herald--we were the first wave of writers alluded to in a recent Columbia Journalism Review article on journalism in Second Life. Since then, a legion of in- and out-world publications and broadcasters have been covering Second Life. It also bears mentioning that nearly every attempt to broadcast regular video reports from Second Life has failed, including the corporate-backed Grid Review. Why LivePlanet thinks it has a chance of success here is beyond me.

Continue reading: ‘LivePlanet’ Bumbles Into ‘Second Life,’ ‘Warcraft’
 
     
 
   
 
  5 comments  
  links for 2007-07-30  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Obey ‘Second Life’ Republic Or Be Shunned  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-17 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I would rather have no justice at all in Second Life than to subscribe to the half-baked, self-appointed Metaverse Republic, a group trying to establish an independent virtual-world legal system "with real powers of enforcement originating in user-created tools, and a democratic parliament." Introduced to me by the Metaversed podcast, and made the subject of a round-table by Virtually Blind, the group's system relies on voluntary, widespread adoption to work properly.

There are a limited number of actions one avatar can take against another without permission in Second Life. The most effective of these, available only to virtual-land owners, is to ban an avatar from entering one's land. It's a good, old-fashioned shunning, and it's how Metaverse Republic plans to "enforce" its laws: Obey the Republic's rules, or face banishment. The good news is that the system only works with a high level of participation, but the bad news is that single avatars sometimes own vast acreage of virtual land. The Republic could be a serious annoyance to those it disagrees with, but it's highly unlikely compliance with its system will reach critical mass.

Continue reading: Obey ‘Second Life’ Republic Or Be Shunned
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  Dell Hell Hits ‘Second Life’  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-17 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Neville Hobson reports that Dell, which has established a presence in Second Life, plans to offer customer service and tech support for 2 hours daily, 5 days a week, (10 hours weekly in total). Who's brilliant idea was this? First of all, service and support issues don't adhere to a schedule. Secondly, there's a decent chance your particular issue might preclude using your Dell computer to log into Second Life. How many Dell users log into Second Life anyway?

It's definitely a problem with many corporate presences in Second Life that there are rarely staff members actually on-hand in the virtual world. But I don't see how 2 hours, split into two 1-hour windows, is going to be sufficient face-time for the few people who are even aware of Dell's office hours--and who can actually log in--to make use of Dell's in-world service and support. Seems like a doomed proposition to me.
 
     
 
   
 
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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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