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  Twitter Application For Facebook: I Don’t Care If You’re ‘Twittering’  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-02 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I've been done with Twitter for about 4 months now. It just didn't gel for me. But for some reason, Facebook status updates were easier to make. Thanks to an update to the Twitter application for Facebook, it's possible to update one's Facebook status through Twitter, killing two birds with one stone--perhaps enough reason to twitter again.

The downside is that Twitter seems to think it's important for people on Facebook to know you've posted from Twitter, adding "is twittering" to your status update. Example:
Stowe Boyd is twittering: Lying in bed this morning, before really awake, I had several good ideas almost at the same time. Odd. Good.
What we have here is information overload in a Facebook status update, and a source of potential confusion for Facebook users who aren't familiar with Twitter: Why is Stowe twittering? What's twittering? Why do we need to know he's twittering instead of doing something else? Bad.
 
     
 
   
 
  1 comments  
  I Mull Over ‘Manhunt 2’ On City News Tonight  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-31 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Roving reporter Amber MacArthur is doing a story on Manhunt 2 today, and roped me in for some soundbites. I was able to play about 10 minutes of the ultra-violent game while we chatted. Amber and I were treated to all sorts of Halloweenish sights during the first few minutes of game-play, including needle-stabbings and poop-flinging. Frankly, I was expecting more but based on what I've seen on YouTube, the action gets more disgusting as the game progresses.

If all goes according to plan, you'll be able to catch the segment tonight (6pm and 11pm Eastern, I believe) on City News, provided you're not already needle-stabbing or flinging poop at local kids during their trick-or-treating.
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  ‘Monsterpocalypse’: The Miniature Giant Monster Game  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Back in high-school my friends and I developed a tabletop miniature game involving B-movie style giant monsters. We unimaginatively dubbed it The Monster Game and tinkered feverishly with its mechanics (and creating variants such as Monsterball) for at least a couple years. That's why the 14 year-old in me is giddy as a schoolboy at the news that Monsterpocalypse, a collectible miniatures game involving giant monsters, is planned for release next year by Privateer Press. Obviously there are going to be plenty of crazy-looking, pre-painted miniatures involved (something like 80 in the initial set), but I'm particularly excited at the prospect of miniature destructible buildings. Me smash! Rarrrr!

I'm rather out of the loop in terms of CMGs (collectible miniatures games), but the three things that strike me most about the genre are:
1) Isn't mass-producing these things an incredible waste of precious oil resources?
2) I pity the poor bastards who have to paint those things for my gaming pleasure. Sweatshops, I'm sure.
3) Proprietary, stats-locked systems like HeroClix cramp my style. If I can't tinker with it, I ain't buying it.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  What Is A ‘Game Fan?’  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Today wasn't the first time I've heard someone say they're a "fan of games," but given that I overheard it during a commute, I had a couple dozen minutes to think about what the phrase actually means. The context in which the phrase is usually uttered leads me to believe that "game fans" are casual gamers--perhaps once they owned a game console, but it's now collecting dust or is locked in some musty closet. This person likes the idea of games, but probably hasn't played them enough to become game-literate in any substantial sense.

A "fan of games" is like a fan of books, a fan of music, a fan of sports, or a fan of good cooking. A well intentioned but witless consumer, essentially. I suppose by contrast, I'd consider a "gamer" to be comparable to an avid reader, a record-collector or someone who goes to see live music at least once a week, an amateur athlete, or a person enrolled in night-class cooking school. A producer, not consumer; a practitioner or at least active participant.

I get the sense that historically there have been far too many "game fans" involved in making games and related interactive experiences, and not nearly enough gamers, but this is sure to change over time. It's becoming easier each year for fans to evolve into participants, if not producers, so I hope in the next few years we'll see a lot fewer folks watching from the sidelines and a lot more gamers bringing their unique sensibilities to projects of all sizes and types.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 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  
  ‘Fallen Alternate Reality Game’ Wins Primetime Emmy Award  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Congratulations to Xenophile Media for their Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Television" in recognition of the Fallen Alternate Reality Game. Designed and created with Matt Wolf of Double Twenty Productions, the game was an intensive promotion and tie-in to the ABC Family TV movie Fallen which aired last summer. As part of the Xenophile team, I played a critical writing and design role on the game. Because there's a press release out already, I can finally talk publicly about some participation numbers: 2.8 million visitors to the game's web site, and 250,000 players. Nice!

This is the second major award the game has received this year, and the second Emmy award for Xenophile's lauded alternate reality games. Thanks, Xenophile, for inviting me to write stories and develop game-play on these projects. I love my work.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Happy Blogiversary To Me:  8 Years!  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-09 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I started blogging in 1999 with a personal journal called "Bites," which soon morphed into more of a technology/culture journal--ultimately becoming the Clickable Culture blog you're reading today.

Skimming through past entries, I found the first date with my wife (we were meant to play Frogger on her Atari 2600), a worried post about the Y2K bug, and a startled reaction to the 9/11/2001 tragedy. Things got a lot less personal from around 2002 onwards, when I started writing a lot more about technology-specific issues (such as the perennial bloggers vs. journalists debate). I started blogging regularly about Second Life in 2004, the year that my virtual-world and games writing really ramped up. Today, it's mostly virtual worlds, video games, and how these ripple through our culture.

I'm looking forward to another 8 years of acidic commentary and assorted windbaggery. Thanks for tuning in.
 
     
 
   
 
  5 comments  
  Drowning in ‘Quechup’  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I went offline for four days, and when I got back, my inbox was full of "Quechup," an asinine-sounding social networking system that has apparently been behaving very badly. Screw you and everything that looks like you, Quechup.
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  School’s In  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-04 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
This week I resume instructing classes at two Toronto colleges. I'll be teaching four classes weekly for the fall semester, but thankfully the roster is pretty small (under 25 students between both colleges). I prefer small classes not just because the workload is smaller, but because I get a chance to work more closely with students on an individual basis.

For George Brown College's Game Design Program, I'm giving students an introduction to the game industry, conducting intensive workshops involving hands-on play and modification of tabletop games, and teaching basic Flash skills in the production of an animatic (or motion-storyboard). I teach two more semesters after this, including non-digital game prototyping, and "Games, Culture, and Society."

For Centennial College's Game Design + Development Program, I'm instructing classes on some development fundamentals, such as a game industry overview, workshops on communication and documentation, and workshops on writing for games.

This is my third year as a part-time teacher, a profession I only profess to dabble in. I really enjoy teaching (it's a great way to develop old and new skills), but my other professional pursuits are just far too fun to give up!
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  A Few Cross-Media Pies I’ve Had A Finger In  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-25 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I'm not always able to talk about projects I've been involved with, so when I get approval from clients (which, thankfully, is most of the time), I'm not shy about highlighting some of the outstanding initiatives I've worked on:

1) The Fallen Alternate Reality Game (a.k.a. "Ocular Effect"), to which I contributed story writing and game design (for Xenophile Media with Double Twenty Productions), was nominated for an Interactive TV Emmy Award earlier this month. Earlier this year, the project won a SXSW Web Award.

2) Thursday's Fictions In Second Life launched last month, a project by The Physical TV Company I was briefly involved with earlier this year in Tasmania. Gary Hayes of the Project Factory worked with the team after Tas and co-developed quite a wild-looking environment for the virtual world, involving elements of the Thursday's Fictions book and film. Some really creative effects were used for this, and Gary's posted a meditative YouTube walkthrough for your viewing pleasure.

3) Metaversatility has launched its cross-media game for upcoming movie The Nines. The game touches the web, Second Life and will bleed over into physical space as well. I'm happy to have been involved (even if very briefly) during the conception stages as a design consultant. The game has already made a few headlines, most notably at Variety online.

Hopefully I'll get clearance in the next month or so to discuss a few other fun cross-media projects recently-concluded and ongoing.
 
     
 
   
 
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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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