A conference, on a Greek island. Now I have your attention. While the conference is about Multimedia, Internet and Video technology, they do have a section for "Multimedia Games". So, submit your paper and bring me something nice from Greece.
Games & Culture is the name of the new journal dealing with games, videogames and culture. It aims at bridging "the gap between games studies scholarship in the United States and in Europe". The CFP is up, so start getting those papers ready for submission [via Jonas]
Mohammed Saleem, 18 months, lies dead in Bagdad. This has nothing to do with videogames and it shouldn't. We should be seeing this sort of pictures more in more unexpected places. This is what the fear and the greed of the richest government on Earth leads to. Who is the fucking terrorist here? (picture by Karim Kadim, from AP, awarded the Pulitzer Prize, 2005) . Update: Children malnutrition worse now than with Saddam's, according to United Nations.
If you ever dreamt of putting together a games research lab, well, I am sad to tell you that you are too late. That's because the one and only Mary Flanagan just announced Tilt Factor (tiltfactor.org, a socially oriented software group (which is just a fancy name for games, programming environments and other really cool stuff). The lab is at Hunter College, in New York. You probably know Mary Flanagan, but if you don't, I envy you since you have the chance to discover the amazing work that she's been doing lately. She demoed an early version of Rapunzel while visiting here at ITU last year, a software environment for teaching girls how to code. Expect great things from TiltFactor.
I spent a big part of my youth reading. Not anymore. Well, that's not totally correct. I spent a big chunk of my day reading, online. But not books. At least not as many as before. And certainly, not a lot of fiction. I don't even care about the reason, a small part of myself tells me that I should feel guilty about this, but I am not. At all. The fact is that while in Madrid I grabbed a book, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, by Eco. It's not a page turner, not one of those books that I will read in a couple of days. It's a book about a world that is no more, a world of childhood and books. A world about Salgari and Verne, two friends and teachers that I grew up with. Not surprisingly, these were inherited friends, from my dad and uncle. Fantasy worlds, distant lands, thrills that were not that different from some of the adventure games that replaced by leisure time a few years later. I haven't read Eco's third and fourth novel, but I am enjoying the fifth. Of course, his first, The Name of the Rose is the best. I remember once reading Kusturica saying that people have basically one story that they can tell. Of course, they can tell more, but they have to borrow and later steal from others. Anyway, the rose may have been Eco's true story, but now it's also a game. And I am not talking about The Abbey of Crime, the unauthorized Spanish ZX Spectrum game that followed the novel in glorious isometric graphics (free PC remake here. Nope, now's the turn to a board game. "Mystery of the Abbey". The funny thing is that what attracted me to the lattest Eco novel is that it is a book about lost memories. About the stories that everyday objects hold. I always wanted to make a game about it, digging in the past of objects. Probably some day. Meanwhile, I'll read the book.
Zimmerman and Fortugno have published an article on Gamasutra about educational games. I haven't been able to read it yet, but when Eric talks, you pay attention, so I am sure you guys out there will find it useful.
Just back from Madrid. I had a fantastic time at the Universidad Europea de Madrid (about 40 mins from Madrid, with an impressive new campus, so impressive that it had open wifi all around. It may sound like an obvious thing, but trust me, it's not as common as you would think). The seminar took place on Friday and Saturday and it was compelling. Since it was sponsored in part by the people from the translation department, it had a lot of focus on localization. I learned A LOT about game localization, even though I did my own share a while ago, since I did plenty of localization for Cartoon Network games. The folks at UEM are preparing a full videogame conference for next year, so I am really happy to see that things are happening in Spain. rMadrid, of course, is a fantastic city. I did not get a chance to do any tourism, but I don't regret it. The people were friendly, the food terrific, and I got to talk about games in Spanish for a change. I only wish I could have stayed a few days longer but, on the other hand, it feels good to be back home, too (believe it or not, the Danish winter seems to be gone. Yeah!)