- Ludic Cartography. Mapping Gamespaces
- Past Projects
- Preserving Virtual Worlds
- Research and Publication
Robert Ashley, the mastermind behind the marvelous "A Life Well Wasted" blog and podcast, explores the world of collectors and archivists, visiting a massive underground collection of videogames, a vintage pinball museum, and a program at Stanford University that hopes to save the history of online gaming.
The How They Got Game Project at Stanford University is currently seeking papers that explore the connections between mapping, cartographic practices, electronic gaming, and virtual worlds for an illustrated book that will be published in 2010.
CFP: Ludic Cartography. Mapping GameSpaces
Full Name/Name of Organization
Mark your calendar and get ready for Play-Machinima-Law, a two-day conference to be held at Stanford University on Friday and Saturday, April 24th-25th, 2009!
This week, Henry Lowood is traveling to The University of Texas, Austin to deliver a lecture on issues related to preservation and virtual worlds. Here's the abstract of his talk:
"Demiurges of the Digital: The Creation and Curation of Virtual Worlds"
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis, 1:1.
Recent economic doldrums are affecting numerous sectors of the publishing industry. Many large newspapers are folding, and print media in general appears on the ropes. The closing of Electronic Gaming Monthly the other week is probably the most prominent, but certainly not the first, video game publication to succumb to financial malaise. Publishing is always a fickle business, especially in the current moment, and instead of focusing on modern problems, I'm going to steer back to the past. The collection here, aside from the thousands of games, is also graced with computer and game magazines stretching back to the early days of the PC.
Nicholas Werner's, "Assassin's Song" is a new machinima piece that centers on an "assassin's musing on his native city, and the life it leads" and it is based on Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft). The machinima, currently hosted on various websites including YouTube, has already generated hundreds of comments.
This post is an extension of my previous entry on financial games, not because it deals wholly with that section of early gaming, but instead that it highlights a certain perspective that I feel modern games have not adequately addressed; the potential for the medium to inform and shape general perceptions of both complex real world systems, and historical events. I'm aware there are many games that currently deal with both of these concepts, but I have been continually struck by the large range of subject matter present in software from the collection and the utter lack of similar focus in the modern game-scape. The items presented below will hopefully highlight what may be considered a spurious claim, that certain uses of games as communicative devices (both as vessels for history and relevant social issues) have fallen by the wayside in popular game culture.
Stanford Magazine, the publication of the Stanford Alumni Association, provides a nice piece in its November/December 2008 issue on the Preserving Virtual Worlds project. Under the title "Saving Worlds: Preserving the Digital and Virtual," neatly summarizes the project and its work, with quotations from Henry Lowood (me) and Beth Dulabahn of the Library of Congress, as well as a couple of nice photos. By the way, the workshop described in the article was "Preserving Knowledge in Virtual Worlds," put on as part of Media-X' Summ
Back in 2003, Doug Wilson prepared two video loops for the "Fictional Worlds, Virtual Experiences" show I curated with Casey Alt for the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford. This was the first of the exhibitions the project has prepared over the years. More recently, the project has been active in Second Life, particularly through the Life-Squared project with Lynn Hershmann and the "Preserving Virtual Worlds" project.
Looking through boxes and boxes of games all day, certain covers and companies begin to stick out and rise above the tide of their more "normal" and "artisticly void" contemporaries. One such company, Psygnosis, is generally always a pleasure to behold with its colorful complex cover illustrations and equally compelling screenshots. Founded in Liverpool in 1984 by Ian Hetherington and Jonathan Ellis, Psygnosis was known for its intense graphical presentation and technical excellence. The company's logo, a white and purple owl head, became a hallmark of the first generation Playstation and was attached to several seminal titles including the WipeOut series, Destruction Derby, and the less famous Colony Wars.