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  links for 2007-08-29  
Posted 2007-08-29 by Tony Walsh
  Gambling and Gaming  
Posted 2007-08-23 by Tony Walsh
It was a great disappointment to me to learn, years ago, that the gambling industry calls itself the "gaming" industry, which is too close to "games" industry for my comfort. Obviously there's a lot of crossover between gambling and gaming, what with risk/reward balances, and skill/chance balances--the major difference being the outcome of the activity (you win or lose money when you gamble).

Having spent a number of years in arcades during the 1980s, I recognized a few core similarities to the casinos I visited in Niagara Falls during the early 2000s. Both arcades and casinos use similar tactics to take your money, ranging from facilities layout, to the use of tokens (not all arcades use tokens), to attract-sequences displayed on game/gambling machines.

So, with gambling-gaming intersections in mind, here's a small collection of links I've been squirreling away:[Update: Allen Varney informs me that his Escapist piece "Video Vegas" discusses the growing similarity between video games and slot machines.]
  Child Protection In ‘Second Life’ Isn’t A Software Issue  
Posted 2007-08-22 by Tony Walsh
Sparked by a moral panic earlier this year, two German firms have launched a contest for the creation of software intended to block minors from accessing adult content in Second Life.

Child protection in Second Life isn't a problem software can solve effectively. Second Life, like booze and porn, is meant for adults, not kids. Prior experience tells us kids can't be prevented from getting their hands on booze and porn. All parents can do is raise their children "virtual-street smart," establish and enforce sensible rules, keep their Second Life passwords to themselves, and hope for the best. And, like any purveyor of adult material, Linden Lab has little choice but to make Second Life more difficult for minors to access, even if it makes access by adults more cumbersome.
  Keeping ‘vSide’ Clean  
Posted 2007-08-17 by Tony Walsh
Developer Doppleganger has annexed its original Lounge offering with the newer, larger virtual world vSide, but can the company maintain the same squeaky-clean standards it tried to apply to its initial offering? With a larger world comes a larger user-base, and from what I've read on official vSide message boards, Doppleganger takes an active, hands-on approach to moderating its community. Maybe it's only obvious to me, but hands-on community moderation not only doesn't scale well, but is often inconsistent (moderators don't necessarily share the same standards or opinions).

The User Guidelines for vSide state that users are expected to "be nice," "be respectful," and "have fun," while refrain from "hatin'," "cybering," and sharing personal information. The User Guidelines suggest (but don't state) that the target age for vSide users the same as The Lounge, which was open to users aged 13 and above. What I'm wondering is how long Doppleganger's moderation team can hold out against a growing, hormonal user-base. Will vSide's current User Guidelines and policing strategy work long-term? Only at substantial expense, in my opinion.
  links for 2007-08-12  
Posted 2007-08-12 by Tony Walsh
  Stork Alert  
Posted 2007-07-25 by Tony Walsh
My wife and I are expecting our first baby to be born next week, and by the end of August we will have moved into our new permanent nest. The pending cradle-rat has her own web site already, so if you're looking to follow that narrative (provided I'll have the energy to tell it), click here.

In the short term (at least), you can expect a slowdown in activity at Clickable Culture as I simultaneously adjust to fatherhood while moving house. At this point, it's too early to tell exactly how often I'll be writing, so I recommend you subscribe to the blog's RSS or Atom feed for updates.

I'd like to thank my readers for their interest and support over the years, and hope you'll bear with me while my hip urban lifestyle gets blindsided by tiny pink paws and sacks full of poopy diapers.
  Study: Young People See Technology As Means to End  
Posted 2007-07-24 by Tony Walsh
MTV, Nickelodeon and Microsoft released summary findings today from surveys of 18,000 tech-savvy young people across the globe indicating that technology itself isn't as important as the activities technology facilitates: Namely communication, social networking, self-expression, and entertainment.

The surveys also found:
  • Marketers are as influential and important as friends.
  • Digital communications and social networking compliment, rather than compete with TV.
  • Technology enhances, rather than replaces in-person interaction.
  • Japanese young people generally don't have their own computers until college-age, but do use mobile phones.
  • Chinese young people look to the internet to connect with others, since they have no siblings.
  • Young people of Italy, Brazil and Australia use mobiles to meet up, socialize, and take pictures.
  • Danes "can't live without" mobiles or TV. The Dutch "can't live without" email.
It's worth reiterating that the surveys were conducted with "tech embracing" kids and young people, therefore conclusions like "Young people are now constantly connected," or "There is a powerful link between TV and the Internet," uttered by MTV Network's Fahey Rush are forgone, in my opinion. How would the survey have been different if the other side of the digital divide had been polled?
  ‘MTV True Life’ Seeks Virtual World Fanatics  
Posted 2007-07-18 by Tony Walsh
MTV's True Life hopes to document your adventures in avatarism. A representative of the show's production team asked me to pass on a call-out in the hopes of enticing eligible candidates out of the woodwork:
Does your virtual avatar make you feel confident behind your computer screen? Is there something interesting or unique about your life online? Are you able to lead hundreds of people in games like World of Warcraft but find yourself shy in real life? Did you meet your significant other online? Is your online avatar completely different from who you are in real life? If so, we would love to hear your story.
If you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 28, and live another life on the web, email us at: or with your story. Please include your name, age, location, and pictures of you and a description of your avatar.
Yup, another virtual-world documentary [1,2,3,4] is underway. I think I've spoken to about six producers from virtual-world-related docs for both film and TV in the last 12 months. I don't mean to criticize any of these projects, but I'm concerned that audiences will get burned out on the subject matter by the time two or three of these documentaries are released, which could be bad news for those which aren't first to market.
  links for 2007-07-16  
Posted 2007-07-16 by Tony Walsh
  links for 2007-07-08  
Posted 2007-07-08 by Tony Walsh
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