Videogame studies are becoming more popular and that’s a fact. Until now, a big part of the existent research has been related to the neverending debate on videogames and violence. I can certainly understand that humans love their children and would rather have them reading a good book instead of shooting hookers at GTA3. Nevertheless, I cannot understand why people focus their anger on videogames when there is so much evidence about the terrible consequences of “accepted” media. Take the book, for example, a supposedly respected form. How many millions died because of the Bible? That little international bestseller ravaged and enslaved the native population of South America, as well as thousands of Arabs during the crusades and many others in the European religious wars. I have all the documentation about the dangers of the book –not just the Bible, but also other titles such as Das Kapital or Mein Kampf. How many people died because of videogames? 10? 100? 1.000? Come on, guys, burn books if you want, but let us play in peace.
There's an interesting article by Steven Johnson that gives a good overwiew on A.I. and games on the last Wired (paper edition, not available online yet). Somewhere else on the magazine there is a nice piece of information: Will Wright is working on a new Universe simulator. So be prepared to start building your own galaxy soon.
I haven't been posting much these days. The reason is simple: I have been coding like hell for a new game that I am developing for the Cartoon Network. I am a tight deadline: this weekend I am flying to Uruguay, my home country, to work with some people who are going to collaborate on this game. Needless to say, a week of summer sunshine certainly will improve my coding abilities. I also plan to stop by my alma mater to say hi and get in touch with fellow Uruguayan professors and researchers. I have been on this dual industry/academy track for a while now. I certainly do enjoy research and theory, but I guess that if I were 100% involved in academics, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now. It’s not an easy thing to do to combine these two worlds. My research interest on videogames started about 7 years ago as a kind of hobby, I guess. Now I juggle between being a full time producer/game designer at Cartoon with writing/reviewing articles, taking care of ludology.org and attending to conferences every time I can. The fact that Stan, my boss, has always been supportive of my research has also helped a lot. The point of this post is that sometimes I feel –or people suggest- that it is better to focus on one thing. I simply cannot. I could not just concentrate on just theory or practice. So far, I have been lucky, but I am not sure if I will be able to keep up with these two games. Time will tell.
If you are in Rome after April 4 and you are crazy enough to think about anything else but good Italian food, you must definitively check out this videogame exhibit held at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni. "It will focus on the social and cultural impact of video games in the last 30 years and it's the first of its kind in Italy". (grazie Matteo Bittanti)
Ok, another post with a question on it. We are in a industry that clones everything. Since the early days of Castle Wolfenstein, we have seen thousands -and I mean thousands- of first person shooters that look alike. One possible reason is that programmers think it is cool to develop 3d engines, and that's cool with me. The other possible reason is that the marketing guys think that fps sell. However, The Sims has been on the top of the charts for a year and a half and, as far as I see on the racks of my software store, nobody has even thought about doing a clone, or at least some other kind of human simulation. Why? The easy answer would be because the marketing guys don't want to get involved in plagiarisms. But everybody knows that the marketing guys are not precisely choir boys, so I don't think that's the reason. Anybody has a clue about this? Let me know.