August 28, 2014

“Driverless” or “Self-Driving” Cars

from Post Position
by @ 8:04 am

So, I’m not saying they’re a bad idea, but why do these things get called “driverless” or “self-driving”? They are being driven by an immense corporation with the most massive store of data on Earth. They can’t function without this corporation or this store of data. They can’t drive themselves.

I dunno, maybe we should at least notice this sort of — hey! These cars are programmed to go up to 10 mph above the speed limit! Shiny!

(Prompted by Erik Stayton‘s great presentation of his thesis work on this topic yesterday. Erik works as my research assisstant in the Trope Tank.)

Forking Paths and Forest Platformer of Depression

from Post Position
by @ 7:56 am

I’ve revisited two games about depression which seem interesting to compare. One has been discussed more recently, particularly thanks to its recent release on Steam: the Twine game Depression Quest. (It’s also available on the Web.) The other, which is in Flash and on the Web, is the platformer Elude. The latter was developed at MIT, in the GAMBIT Game Lab.

Both of these games have seen plenty of discussion, but I wanted to mention an aspect that make them interesting to compare. Of course, Elude is graphical and played in real time, while Depression Quest is text-based and allows the user to select CYOA-style options. But that’s quite obvious.

August 21, 2014

A New Dave Lebling Interview

from Post Position
by @ 9:47 pm

USgamer features a new interview with Zork co-author and all-around Infocom implementor Dave Lebling. Very nice!

The opening flourish of the article, though, implies that in the days of Adventure, people used either green-on-black or amber-on-black video terminals to access computers, and players would see glowing letters and the “darkness of an empty command line.”

This is actually fantasy, not history. As I’ve written about in “Continuous Paper: Print interfaces and early computer writing,” as others have experienced and noted, and an amazing binder of print terminal output from an MIT student testified to me, a great deal of very early interactive fiction interaction was done on print terminals, including but not limited to the famous name-brand “Teletype.” A few people (including Lebling!) had access to top-notch video terminals, but lots of interaction was done on paper.

Another Thought for the Day

from Post Position
by @ 10:20 am

If I used my Twitter account the way I’m supposed to, instead of as a conceptual writing project, I would have put that last post on Twitter.

Thought for the Day

from Post Position
by @ 10:18 am

If I had a Facebook account, it would be tagged as satire.

August 20, 2014

The Mutable Stanzas

from Post Position
by @ 8:20 pm

Yesterday first-person-shooter Borges, intimate, infinite, and based on prose; today cut-up Spenser, mutable and poetic.

The Mutable Stanzas

This dynamic digital poetry piece, by Stephen Pentecost, is quite compelling. The author writes:

The Mutable Stanzas is a digital poetry installation and deformance experiment inspired by Raymond Queneau’s Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes, by the work by Jerome McGann et al on “Deformance and Interpretation,” and by the work of my collegues in the Humanities Digital Workshop.

The Mutable Stanzas disassembles Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene into its constituent lines, groups lines according to terminal rhyme, then randomly reassembles lines into new stanzas.

August 19, 2014

Senderos que se … Intimate, Infinite

from Post Position
by @ 7:33 pm

Intimate, Infinite by Robert Yang

Robert Yang’s latest is a first-person-shooter version of Jorge Luis Borges’s “The Garden of Forking Paths.” With a lovingly off-kilter translation (befitting its “original”) and with visuals and (quite minimal) interaction that suits the experience, this is an extraordinary set of linked mini-games, well worth the short amount of time it takes to get through them, and worth offering at least a bit for this pay-what-you-will game.

Check out Intimate, Infinite.

Intimate, Infinite by Robert Yang

August 18, 2014

American Antiquarian Society to add Political Cartoon Collection to Metadata Games

from tiltfactor
by @ 9:00 am

We are excited to announce Tiltfactor’s newest partnership with the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), which houses the largest and most accessible collection of printed materials from the United States, the West Indies, and parts of Canada pre-1876.

(political cartoon in 1836, from American Antiquarian Society collection)

(political cartoon in 1836, from American Antiquarian Society collection)

August 11, 2014

Intro to Game Analysis

from Post Position
by @ 6:29 pm

Intro to Game Analysis, Clara Fernández-VaraJust out: Introduction to Game Analysis, a book that covers many different approaches to understanding games, and particularly (although not exclusively) videogames. (Check the availability of the book online.) It’s by Clara Fernández-Vara, now on the faculty at the Game Center at NYU, who did one of the first digital media PhDs at Georgia Tech and was for many years my colleague here at MIT – I’m glad she was also part my of lab, The Trope Tank, for some of that time. Fernández-Vara is a scholar of games and an award-winning maker of games as well, and in both cases her emphasis has been on adventure games.

Nancy Tovar Collection and Metadata Games

Tiltfactor Lab is pioneering an innovative method for data preservation. Metadata Games aims to be a useful and fun means of preserving archival materials as libraries and museums move into an increasingly digitalized world. Metadata Games aims to be a means to draw in larger communities to help libraries, museums, and archives to augment their records of materials. Through crowdsourcing, the games being developed take advantage of the powers of technology and societal efforts in order to “tag” and code material to represent the content and meaning of media items. The most common and standardized format for the generation of metadata is to create tags, in the form of single words or short phrases. In order to make media items, such as photographs, films, and audio clips, more accessible, those archives must be presented with accurate descriptions and connections with similar work or information.

August 7, 2014

#! Makes July’s SPD Bestseller List

from Post Position
by @ 12:16 pm

#! ('Shebang')I was delighted to see that my latest book, #!, a book of programs & poems, made the July Poetry bestseller list for Small Press Distribution. SPD is the distributor for my press, Counterpath, along with many other fine presses that publish poetry. #! (which is pronounced “Shebang”) came in at lucky number 13 last month.

August 6, 2014

Wikimedia: Monkey Selfie Copyright Would Be Monkey’s

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by @ 11:51 am

A self-portrait taken by a monkey is at issue in a copyright dispute. Wikimedia claims that it would belong to the monkey, if non-human animals could hold copyrights, and because they can’t, it’s in the public domain. The owner of the camera has another idea. Here’s The Telegraph on the subject. Also, the Wikipedia page where the photo appears, and the full-size photo with Wikimedia’s copyright position available via the media viewer.

Public domain (although this status is contested). Photo taken by the pictured monkey.

Listed by the hosting site as public domain (although this status is contested). Photo taken by the pictured monkey.

August 5, 2014

The Call is Out for Electronic Literature Collection 3

from Post Position
by @ 1:03 pm

The call for submission for the Electronic Literature Collection volume 3 has been posted. If you do digital work that has one or more literary aspects (even if it’s more often called art or a game), in any language, please check it out. The collective is an excellent group and the direction for this collection is an exciting one.

August 2, 2014

Rage of Poseidon

from Post Position
by @ 3:44 pm

Anders Nilsen’s
latest Drawn & Quarterly publication is a formidable follow-up to Big Questions. The accordion book holds the human stories of forgotten (and current) gods, told in text and striking silhouettes.

Rage of Poseidon

August 1, 2014

Half of My Two Cents on E-Lit

from Post Position
by @ 12:52 pm

Long ago (well, at the end of 2012) I was asked by .Cent magazine, a free-to-read, nicely designed online multimedia publication out of London, for a few comments about my work and my approach to electronic literature. Amazingly, having recently unearthed my responses, I find that they are still relevant! You can read my answers and the rest of the issue in its full splendor, but, very belatedly, I’ll offer my response here as well:

July 31, 2014

New Report on Nanowatt & World Clock

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by @ 6:45 pm

The latest technical report (or “Trope Report”) to issue from the Trope Tank is TROPE-14-01, “New Novel Machines: Nanowatt and World Clock by Nick Montfort:

July 29, 2014

Do Bots Need to Sit Down?

from Post Position
by @ 7:49 pm

(My Philosoraptor question for the day…)

Check out Tully Hansen’s riff on one of the poems from bpNichpol’s First Screening – authentic or not …

This New Book by Sawako Nakayasu Is Formidable

from Post Position
by @ 5:06 pm

The Ants

July 24, 2014

Values at Play in Digital Games is released

from tiltfactor
by @ 10:17 pm

Our lab director Mary Flanagan and her long time collaborator Helen Nissenbaum are proud to announce the release of Values at Play in Digital Games, just published by MIT Press! The book starts from the idea that human principles, or values, are already embedded in any game. They then present a practical framework for not only identifying values in games, but guiding designers to design for values in their work.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 22.12.33

Inspired by the Value-Sensitive Design community and critical technical practice proponents, the authors started this values-centered game design movement with the Values at Play project, which features a curriculum, video interviews with designers, free design tools, and more.

July 21, 2014

Tiltfactor Selected for Missouri Botanical Garden’s Purposeful Gaming Grant

from tiltfactor
by @ 6:00 am

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) was recently awarded a $449,641 grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to research and test new means of using crowdsourcing and gaming to support the enrichment of some 40 million documents from the BHL. We are excited to announce that as part of this grant, Tiltfactor has been selected by BHL consortium member, the Missouri Botanical Garden, as the designer to develop games to aid in the verification of transcribed field notes and other documents in BHL’s vast collection!

July 16, 2014

UK Invasion!

from tiltfactor
by @ 5:01 am

We have great news for Tiltfactor fans in the UK! Our games Buffalo and Awkward Moment are finally shipping to the UK with the online retail partner Uncommon Goods!

buffalo!

The games are incredibly popular! Thanks, fans, for making it all happen!! Now, along with our new games (hush hush!) and nifty research, getting our games to the Continent is our next priority. We receive many many requests for games, including Grow a Game, all across Europe, and we know shipping is a real bear. We’re hoping to make this easier soon!

July 14, 2014

Stalking the Wily #!

from Post Position
by @ 9:05 pm

If you’ve been looking for my latest book, #!, and are looking to buy it online, check isbn.nu. At the moment of posting, it’s available from three sellers, one on pre-order. Barnes & Noble is the bookseller with the lowest price and fastest delivery; Amazon.com offers to get it to you 3-4 weeks later.

In Cambridge, I have yet to see the book on shelves, but I know copies are at least on order (if not readied for purchase) at the MIT Press Bookstore and the Harvard Bookstore. And, Grolier Poetry Book Shop also had a few copies.

July 13, 2014

10 PRINT in Clock 52

from Post Position
by @ 4:29 pm

Clocks are great machines to design, at least from my perspective as a designer of software machines. My classes have had unusual clock design as an exercise; time-telling systems are not interactive, provide a lot of freedom to the designer, and yet require programmers to develop general functions that work for any time of the day. I know that Michael Mateas and Paolo Pedercini have students program clocks, too. I’ve appreciated software clocks by John Maeda and others, and it’s nice to have a clock as a standard example in Processing.

The Facepalm at the End of the Mind

from Post Position
by @ 1:30 pm

I can no longer keep myself from commenting on the Facebook “emotional manipulation” study. Alas. Here are several points.

  • Do you want your money back?
  • Don’t we only know about this study done on 689,003 people because it was written up and reported on in a prestigious journal?
  • Could it be that other studies might have been done, or might be going on right now, or might happen in the future, and we might know nothing about them because their results will be kept as proprietary information?

July 11, 2014

This Interview with Harry Mathews

from Post Position
by @ 6:52 pm

…is really excellent. Anyone interested in Harry’s work, or, more broadly, the Oulipo, should read it. Thanks, of course, to Barbara Henning for doing the interview and EOAGH for publishing it.

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