Matteo Bittanti's blog

"Assassin's Song" by Nicholas Werner

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.

Avatar. The Experience of Virtual Worlds

I am happy to announce that Avatar. An Experience into the Virtual World will open on October 10 2008 at the Museo Tridentino di Art Naturali in Trento, Italy. Curated by Carlo Maiolini, Avatar is a major event dedicated to the art and culture of virtual worlds. If you're lucky enough to travel to Northern Italy this Fall you will find a piece of both How Got Game and the Stanford Humanities Lab in the exhibition. In fact, I had the opportunity to contribute to the production of Avatar together with many Italian researchers, journalists, and curators.

On the importance of history: "Excellence Never Goes out of Date"

Rob Zacny has written a very interesting piece on game preservation and the culture of remembering the past for The Escapist. He writes: "Preserving and promoting classic games is vital to the health of the entire industry. In gaming, as much as any art form, "merit" is not always self-evident. Anyone with a passionate interest in game development should have a sense of what has already been achieved, and that cannot be developed if gamers are only playing "the latest and greatest" titles." (Rob Zacny)

Machinima: Nicholas Werner's Deserter

Stanford graduate and HTGG member Nicholas Werner has recently completed his second major machinima project. Titled "Deserter," the movie is based on the Halo 3 engine, it is 20 minute long and publicly available on the Machinima Archive. The plot: "A veteran soldier deserts his post, as another tries to find him."

To watch the movie, click here.

Essay: Game Capture. The Machinima Archive and the History of Digital Games

Henry Lowood's short essay on the genesis and evolution of the Machinima Archive has been published on the Summer 2008 issue of Mediascape journal.

Metaverse U Conference (Stanford University, Feb 16-17 2008)

Stanford Humanities Lab (SHL) is thrilled to announce the Metaverse U conference at Stanford University. This two day conference will be held on February 16th and 17th 2008 and feature speakers from a range of disciplines spanning industry and academia. Our lab has worked in virtual worlds for some years now and have seen interest in the space grow exponentially in recent years. We believe that the time has come for an event to tell the interesting stories from the evolving metaverse.

Henry Lowood's Game-Face

Henry Lowood talks to German videogame magazine Game-Face about game preservation, game art, and the How They Got Game project at Stanford University. [mental note: Wow, I was able to use the word "game" five times in the same sentence...]

Here's an excerpt:

GameFace: Which basic difficulty do you face, when archiving games?

How They Got Game Workshops

The How They Got Game group is launching a series of workshops on game culture and game studies. Organized by Henrik Bennetsen, the workshops will take place twice per month at the Stanford Humanities Lab (Wallenberg Hall, Building 120, 4th floor) and they will have different formats, e.g. lectures, presentations, and conversations with game scholars, students, and members of the industry. Here are all the details regarding the first two meetings:

PlayStation 3 @ Stanford

"For the most part, it's not that we're looking for a needle in a haystack, but we're looking for broad properties that require good statistics," said Vijay Pande, associate professor of chemistry at Stanford University. As one of the scientists behind the project, Pande is proud to say that Folding@home has actually provided useful information to the scientific community. SETI@home, however, has yet to discover a single alien transmission. (Alex Handy, Gamasutra)

The Legend of Lerroy Jenkins

That Leeroy is the game's biggest failure rather than its highest achiever may explain why he's transcended the self-referential sphere of World of Warcraft and moved into the realm of pop culture. Everyone everywhere has pulled a Leeroy. "There's something more universal about this guy who screws things up for everybody than someone who is the best at something," says Henry Lowood, curator for film and media collections at Stanford University. "If you're not a player in the game, you are not going to be that interested in how spectacularly good a player is.

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