Wednesday, 31 October 2007

A long train ride home

Returning from York to Caerleon from a wedding at the weekend turned into a grim marathon that came close to taking the same time as the flight to Tokyo. Crowded grumpy train almost all the way, but things eased off after Birmingham New Street and a change of trains and I got a chance to doodle. Spent a little time Sunday and Monday putting the doodles into the laptop, and hey presto, one very raw prototype. Again, it is mostly about doing something interesting with mouse control, but I think it has some interesting touches.

It looks like this:

PC only, but sitting here at the minute.

Now I had better get back to all the real work I should be doing. Meetings. Meetings. Meetings.

Monday, 29 October 2007

It's alive!

Bob Rehak's comments on his blog are far more articulate and astute than anything I could come up with, so I'll just redirect you there for the minute. But I do actually have a physical, published material object sitting on my desk, which will come as a relief to the other contributors I am sure, and particularly for any UK academics under RAE stress.

Oh, and of course:

Buy me! and Buy me, I live in the US!.

Thursday, 11 October 2007


Doris Lessing getting the Nobel Prize for Literature quite cheered me up. Harold Bloom's reaction made me laugh. Hiho. Well, I like all her writing, so maybe it's good that I left literature academia.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Newport University Game

I can't knock this, I suppose. Games are everywhere. Games are cool. Games attract teh kidz. So of course my university wants to attach a game to its website.

Funny, really, as I have been using this -- design a web game to provide sticky to the university site -- as a nasty brief (along with the same for the RSPB, BNFL, Bernard Matthews etc. etc.) both in Newport and in Liverpool for years. Maybe I should have thought to send the resulting designs (apart from the Duck Hunt variants for the RSPB) to the marketing guys, because the game on the University of Wales, Newport Site is not exactly stretching the boundaries of original design. Mind you, you can win an iPod, so that's OK. Maybe anything more complex would be counter-productive?

Professional enough, and probably does the job, but maybe I need to start pimping our design skills a little more locally.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Good Things, Good Ideas and Good Games

One for my students, this. Via the Guardian Gamesblog a project brief for a live ARG project, the chance of fame and glory and, far more importantly, the chance to do some real good. Basically a win-win for everyone concerned, which is a game that just has to be played some time.

If you thought those game briefs I set in year 1 were tough, then this one requires and deserves even more thought...

Monday, 1 October 2007

Film or Design?

Apart from issues surrounding games and time lately I have also been thinking about where games are situated in relation to film. Which is ironic as the degree course that I run has just (literally, while I was away in Tokyo) been moved from the Film School into the Design Department. Seems the course is living out that balancing act on the knife edge between one discipline and another.

It really is just a managerial change, and it is not as if we are going to stop working with our film makers, but it does raise some questions in my own mind that might inform my take on the relationship between games and film that I hope will be explored in the DiGRA Film and Games SIG.

I wonder how these look as publications relevant to design:

-----. (2005) “Games” in Reading the Lord of the Rings, ed. Robert Eaglestone, London: Continuum, 151-161.

------. (2005) “Replicating the Blade Runner” in The Blade Runner Experience: The Legacy of a Science Fiction Classic, ed. Will Brooker, London: Wallflower.

-----. (2004) “To Infinity, and Beyond: Dialogue and Critique in Popular Film’s Portrayal of Video Games”, TEXT/Technology 13.1, 32-51.

Does it matter which institutional box I (and the games degree) get put in, I wonder? I knew I should have changed the name of the degree when I had the chance, but Computer Games Design was a bit of a giveaway...