geek culture

Give me Gameplay or Give me Death!

by on Mar.03, 2006, under game reviews, gaming, geek culture

As a positively rabid fan of the new Battlestar Galactica series, I was picqued by a mod-team that’s creating an arcade-style space sim based on the BSG universe. Its a natural fit for a space shooter, since the show itself pulls no punches in its attempt to create a truly visceral space opera.

The mod itself uses a very old engine, Freespace, to create the graphics and environments. Thats the thing about space shooters since the dawn of X-Wing and Wing Commander – space is easier to capture in a videogame because you need only create a static starfield for the backgrounds (and the odd nova, planet or other spacey kinda stuff).

I’m an example of an untapped market. I love BSG, so would love to hit a game that lets me experience it in a new way. I’m also an old fan of X-Wing and WC, so a new space shooter is long overdue. So when a new game comes along that promises to deliver on this demand, I’m ready to pay for it. And notice that nowhere do I mention that I’m looking for “hyper-realistic graphics” in this formula. In this way, I don’t care what it looks like! As long as I get to hotdog my way to victory, I’m happy.

Check the video [13mb]. Proof that super-awesome-hyper-real grafix are simply not required. As long as whats there looks correct, its all good. Sometimes I wonder if anyone notices that, too.

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Slashdot Carnival Games

by on Feb.02, 2006, under gaming, geek culture, new media

The wide-roaming and mighty Slashdot Games guru, Zonk, has posted a monthly treasure of blogposts and articles on games. Read ’em on Slashdot’s “Carnival of Games“.

I wish I had known about this in advance or I would have at least tried to compose something of quality and submit it. Note that I said, “tried”. Succeeding is a whole other story. 🙂

In my opinion, Zonk’s doing a good job on Slashdot Games, I say this because Slashdot’s been getting a bit of a bum rap these days. From Diggers who say they’re too slow, and whiners that can’t filter out story dupes. Its good for what it is, a messageboard and meeting place. Like anything else, its what the community makes of it. I try to post regularly to games dot, and even submit a story once in a while. Nothing wrong with that.

Keep on’ keepin’ on, Zonk…

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Hyporreal Audio

by on Jan.31, 2006, under geek culture, new media

Another entry in the audio universe that I wanted to share. If you haven’t heard the recently dugg “holophonic clip” yet, here it is (headphones are required for this). This may not have anything to do with computer games, but it damn well should!

This technology has been around a while, slightly analogous to how holographic images are created out of multiple images. If you’re interested, Wikipedia has a nice article.

Pretty cool, yet I’m sort of surprised that this isn’t used more often (Pink Floyd has the most famous example).

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Music for the A.D.D. Generation

by on Jan.27, 2006, under geek culture, new media

If you are like me and enjoy blippy, boopy, synth-generated music inspired by videogames and sometimes (but not necessarily) sharks, FreezePop might be just for you! Check out their Site and some samples. Their claim to fame is a few game soundtracks, so its nice to see them break out into the analog world.

My favourite of the moment is “I am not your Gameboy” but that may change in the next five minutes.

This is fun music for the distracted. Ooh, love the battery-powered sequencer! 🙂


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Happy Holidays

by on Dec.24, 2005, under geek culture, meta


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

My wishlist this year included, Raph Koster’s “Theory of Fun“, the Half-Life2 development tribute, “Raising the Bar” and a Planetside giftcard. Have fun everyone, and enjoy your time with friends and family!

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Mr. 奇跡 !!

by on Jun.30, 2005, under geek culture, meta

Originally uploaded by Kafka_.

If only they had poster size…

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The Desert Island

by on Jun.15, 2005, under gaming, geek culture

From Wyatt, we have our top 5 Desert Island games.

So the question is: you have no internet, no LAN, no multiplayer, just the plain ol’ PC. Whats your top five? These are not my FAVOURITIST AWESOMEST FUNNEST games ever. They are merely the best single-player games that have tons of replay value for me.

covert.c’s Top Five Desert Island Games :

  1. Diablo II
  2. Jedi Outcast
  3. Age of Empires II
  4. Tetris
  5. X-WING!

It occurred to me, rather startlingly, that most of my game experience in the last ten(ish) years have been devoted almost solely to multiplayer Internet games. If I can’t war against (or with) other people, ya won’t find me…

Its ironic that Half-Life 2 didn’t make the list. Its one of the few FPS games that I’ve played single-player all the way through not once, but twice in row. The feel of the world, the ablities that you have, the diversity…its so good in HL2. Sad, because the single-player version absolutely requires an internet connection to play! Anyone know how to..manipulate it so that we can play it offline?

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Wired 1.3

by on Jun.02, 2005, under geek culture, new media

Digital Anthropology

Wired Magazine, circa 1993. I’m not sure what possessed me to fetch this from my shelf. Looking at it now feels like trolling the depths of an ancient tome. Pages and pages of fantastic art and layout, rife with electronic activism, the odd political opinionati, new music, gadgets, terms… this magazine was the true harbinger of change! The buzz in those pages was palpable, the atmosphere hopeful.

They felt like a nimble and progressive business, publishing email addresses of its writers and staff before anyone else. They even filled the pages with “hot links” that took you to gopher sites and newsgroups. Even before the Mosaic and the WWW, it was a literal deluge of the new, and Wired helped to usher it in.

I kept reading and reading and reading, flipping through the ads, the art, the letters…all frozen in 1993. I wanted to challenge the predictions, seeing if they withstand the test of Now. Twelve years later. Ancient history indeed!!

“Much enjoyed reading your magazine – but I am getting really worried. Who’s going to run the world (or even learn how to run it) with all these wonderful toys to distract everyone from the cradle to the grave? All good wishes.Arthur C. Clarke

Sri Lanka

I liked that, but I’m tempted to respond. There is no question about it, Sir Arthur… but remember that the people that grow up in the culture of distraction grow up with much better filters than you.

I curiously stumbled upon the article, “The Dragon Ate My Homework“. Story of MUDs and MOOs and Mucks and kids who should have been doin’ calculus. My story was that I did have accounts smattered here and there, mostly in the UK (University of Warwick IIRC), using my university’s free connection to my own entertainment. I was more interested in the sociological aspects than I was in the actual games of the time. The mere fact that I was conversing realtime with people around the world was almost good enough. And the experiences with my online gaming buddies shaped who I am today. It was highly addictive. But back then, there were truly stunning game ideas propogated through the hallways of those dungeons, feats of programming and user-created worlds. Where the world would react to you and your deeds. Your reputation and actions, etched digitally into the framework of the server database, allowing the world to shape and bend to your behaviour. Eventually to your desires. Wicked stuff back in the day, and all done with a text UI and a relational database. Certainly not the stuff of worlds today, that remain hopelessly inert.

The story of id Software’s masterpiece, “Doom”. The growth of the Internet. The rise of Quake and Internet gaming. Wired documented and oversaw these truly great things, extolling how they could be done from the so-called “bottom” of the heap. It needn’t be pushed into our worlds by large organizations bent on profit. The Really Good Games (and other forms of entertainment were ostensibly created from a spirit of individuality and unfettered creativity. Not written by a committee. Not approved by the board. They were just done because they had to be. And done by you and me.

Just like Wired.

The first, First Post! 🙂

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Fun to share

by on Feb.23, 2005, under geek culture, meta

From my friend Andy, to his friend, Gillian (whom I’ve actually met), I got this fun little activity :

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open it to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of said sentence along with these instructions.
  5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

So I quickly reached about eleven inches to the right of my mousepad, and grabbed one of my currents :

“As we’ll see shortly, even when these payoff matrices are only a very abstract model of a game, they can be useful in balancing different elements of the design.”

This is from, Game Architecture and Design, by Andrew Rollings and Dave Morris. If you’re interested in game design (I am! I’m currently designing one in my second life), this book is highly recommended. Not only because of what the text says, but because of those little sideways “thought-jaunts” that reading the material will send you on. I love it.

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