Happy Holidays Off to visit family for 10 days – Y…

Happy Holidays
Off to visit family for 10 days – Yipee! So much turkey and stuffing.
Be back in the New Year – hope you get all the games you’ve asked for. I know top of our list is the new (and one year late) Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge game – a favorite movie in our household, we are looking forward to getting to play the skeletal hero Jack (no matter what the review says!).
Have a happy holiday.

Academic vs General Research Over at my WoW guild’…

Academic vs General Research
Over at my WoW guild’s message board, a member posted a link to an article done on the fly to see what type of people/players are playing MMOG’s. Their methodology?

“we decided to spend ALMOST 30 MINUTES compiling the 10 player archetypes that make up the barren husks of human matter behind the keyboard. And trust me, we covered them all. Didn’t miss one. See for yourself!”

Interesting archetypes I daresay with a touch of comedy for good measure … I responded by offering the guild some academic culture with links from terra nova, richard bartle and nick yee (forgive me, my links seem broken from this point of the post on..). I know that what separates academic research and material like this article is methodology. But I guess it kind of bothers me that someone who spends a year of their life (slight exaggeration here for effect) working towards creating a typology of player types in mmog’s only to reach the same conclusion as a bunch of guys who, in 30 minutes outline 10 player types complete with comedic anecdotes and humorous pictures.

Edible bits of WoW Making games fun in the kitche…

Edible bits of WoW

Making games fun in the kitchen. hope you have maxed your cooking skills.
Check out this contest sponsored by Intel and Blizzard.

The baking hats are on as of December 2nd! Pull out the flour, bring out the mixers, and preheat the oven — now is the time for our bakers to shine! We want to see our worlds come alive… in cookie form! Any recognizable bit of the Warcraft, Starcraft, or Diablo universes will do, but the important part is its existence as a cookie. Snap a photograph of your baked goods and send it in. The five best cookies will be awarded a Nintendo DS and a copy of The Lost Vikings Game Boy Advance cartridge for their baking prowess! Get out the mixer; now’s the time to level your real life cooking skill to 300!

Avatar to Avatar Communication Always a little beh…

Avatar to Avatar Communication
Always a little behind the times, for anyone who ever says there is “nothing on games” really need to spend a couple of days hyperlink-surfing (there must be a more technical term for that).. and find out just how much conversation – academic and otherwise – that is out there is quite incredible.

/Ramble Off

/On Topic:

Avatar to Avatar communication, yes … came across this link (from Play On) over at terra nova and it made me think about some of the things I’ve written/thought about in the past. The jist of the post is that avatars dont behave, physically, as humans do in irl, and what can be implemented in terms of animation to make the avatar to avatar communication more immersive.

What I find interesting is their idea of immersion seems to be attached to realism. All of the suggestions made would make the interactions more life like, such as busy signals when a character/player is in several conversations .. like queueing up to talk to one person..yes this would make it more ‘life like’ but does this really add to immersion?

I think we need to separate the differences between RL immersion and immersion found online or in video games. The qualities and expectations are different. What makes online space more immersive for me is the very fact that I can carry on 5 simultaneous conversations and still multi-task blogging or even killing a mob or two while alt-tabbing in and out of the game. Now, this might not be the immersive experiences some scholars talk about – where you feel like you are “in the game”, rid of any interface, but it offers a different type of immersion. Immersion in my digital experience as a whole.

I think we need to understand what makes immersive experiences online … immersive. Understand that mediums are different and offer different possibilities. Not every experience has to be ‘like real life’, and often – that is the very key to their immersive success.

So .. ya. That was one bone.

I appreciate some of the other suggestions, like when an avatar is searching their backpacks, that there should be an animation to match. I agree that this would signal to other players that I am busy (and not simply standing idle), increasing the avatar to avatar communication and offer some ‘body language’ into the game. For all the visual enhancements over the genre of mmog’s, body language, short of /commands that allow you to /rude and /dance – the synchronicity of action and interaction is still off.

Child’s Play Charity For the giving gamer in your …

Child’s Play Charity
For the giving gamer in your life:
Child’s Play Charity.org

A snippet from their site:

“For the past three years, gamers and geeks around the world have raised nearly a million dollars in toys, games and cash for sick kids in Children’s Hospitals across the globe through a grassroots charity called Child’s Play.

Created by Penny Arcade, no “Administrative Fees” or other nonsense is collected; all gifts and donations go directly to the hospitals for distribution to sick kids.This year Child’s Play is expanding worldwide to help Children’s Hospitals across the globe. Below is a list of Children’s Hospitals that need your help. Selecting one will direct you to that particular hospitals Amazon wish list. Any items you purchase from that list will be delivered directly to the hospital you select. Also be sure to choose the shipping address to the hospital instead of your own!

Globalized Technology: Unity & Displacement Much i…

Globalized Technology: Unity & Displacement
Much in the spirit of my earlier post on immersion, travel and day to day reality, I have been thinking about the promise of a ‘unified global community’ that technology offers, and the contradictory feelings of displacement it can produce.

I would never have met my friends in Denmark had it not been for the technological advancements of the internet and global networking. The friendships I have made online have always been ‘real’ to me as they are wrapped up in ‘real’ emotions. Although we met in the game space of EverQuest, the relationships developped ‘in’ that game were (and still are) real.

Many of these friendships have made it through the transition from online to physical space, several trips across the ocean later. I am thankful that I live in a time that allows for such geographically challenged relationships to flourish. But often, I am left with a hollowness inside reminding me that I miss these people. That no matter how many emails and in game chats we have, I cannot simply pop over to watch a movie on a quiet friday night. I know that I cannot do this with my family either, who live 10 hours away, but somehow, using the technology to maintain existing relationships is (to me somehow) different than nurturing ones born through it.

Then I start to question … as my friends have over time; do these long distance friendships inhibit the potential for friendships that are more physically attainable? I know that these questions aren’t earth shatteringly new to anyone who has done any reading surrounding the field of digital studies, but everytime I travel to see my ‘online’ friends, I am left with a sadness that we don’t share each other’s lives on a more regular or rather physical basis.

So is it a blessing or a curse? Until they get around to inventing teletransportation, am I doomed to feel torn between two kinds of friendships, longing for a physical closeness to match the emotional closeness that the internet offers?