Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Playful 2010 #2

September 27, 2010

Testing skype on tomJust a quick one then. Again, I’m sure I’ll return to some of the ideas I particularly enjoyed in more depth as there was plenty to think about on Friday. But for now a summary of highlights and lowlights by way of brief review and as a mechanism for organising thoughts.

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Simon Hickson

September 25, 2010

I should go to bed or something, but while I’m here…

Sometimes SRS is about ideas we think are going to be cool in the future, sometimes it’s about our own pasts, nostalgia for when both we and our guests were young and everything was fun and silly and simple. We grew up with Going Live and Live and Kicking, and everyone loved Trevor and Simon with their weird sketches and funny wigs. It seems like just yesterday, but you know, it really wasn’t. It was a very long time ago.

Simon is our guest on the latest episode (went up on Thursday 23rd) and we’re not surprised that it has proved a big hit already. He was an absolute joy, really naturally funny and great company. He even wrote a post on his excellent blog about coming on our show and some of the things he talked about (and some of the things we edited out).

On stage at Playful 2010

September 25, 2010

I was asked to speak at the annual London games conference Playful again this year, both with Roo, as “co-pilot of the crazy unicorn” that is our podcast Shift Run Stop, and also to MC the talk of a little girl named Bea.

I really want to talk about some of the other speakers in another post sometime because there were a few things that really resonated with me. For now, a quick line about my stuff on-stage, before I forget.

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Interactive Fiction and The End

September 16, 2010

It’s not really about interactive fiction in the IF Comp sense, but having been invited to contribute by new games editor Peter Law, I wrote a a broad thing for The Literary Platform. It’s about gamebooks and why they are cool and why aren’t there more around. I think it’s the internet’s fault, we’re all full up on hyperlinks now.

The original was ridiculously long, rambly and probably ungood, but if you’re interested in seeing the full unedited thing, it’s cowering over the jump.

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Iron Man

September 16, 2010

I am trying to buy an Iron Man t shirt. I don’t usually wear slogan t shirts these days, but the thing is, I can’t deny it, I love Iron Man! I think he’s the shit!

I like quite a few superhero films, but Iron Man is so the best. He’s not magic (like Superman) or diseased (like Spider-Man), or mental (Batman) – he’s just dead clever. Rich, clever, successful, a bit middle-aged, touch of a dicky ticker, orphan issues, sarcastic, does whatever he wants. Brilliant. I wish I was Iron Man. He’s just amazing. I love both the films almost equally, too. Yeah.

But there are no good Iron Man shirts in women’s sizes. They are losing custom here, potentially quite a lot. Don’t ignore the fact that women love Iron Man and want to be him, Marvel, you’ll pay the price. The second it’s finished, I’m coming after you in my Suit.

The problem is compounded by the fact that I’m picky about what’s on the t shirt. I’m interested in an Iron Man *movie* shirt, or maybe something that makes me look like I might work for Stark Industries (because that’s the goal, really, what my life’s building up to.) Not a t shirt about the comic though. That’d feel like a lie because I don’t really like comics… or at least, I have no idea what to do with them. It took me a long time to realise this, and believe me, I’ve tried. People love them so, I want to feel that passion. But I just can’t do it. I might make an exception for I.M, but still, I suspect film is the best medium for this. What’s the deal with comics anyway? Aren’t comics just storyboards for the, far better, movie*? They’re good as storyboards though. That might be why, of all the films, comic films are the most fun. And of all the comic films, Iron Man is so obviously the best.

I am Iron Man.

* Devil’s advocate. I know it’s a big medium with good and bad in there, and I do LOVE, say Sydney’s stuff. So maybe one day…

Mark, I am your father.

September 4, 2010

Today I thought about how actors have an age, but the character they are playing don’t, and that’s a bit weird.

I mean, a character is meant to have a history and a background, but only to the extent it’s relevant to a plot. A character is of his time. He is a newborn in the year of filming. He is created from the trends and themes of the environment or whatever the TV schedules need that year, or whatever. Characters exist in a space of contemporary creativity. Actors were named and began their formative experiences a number of years ago. Characters have cool names made out of story and nowness, names like Luke Skywalker. Actors have names made out of parents and past, like Mark Hamill.

The million dollar internet

September 2, 2010

Am I weird?

Some days I find almost everything about using a computer unbelievably frustrating.

To make anything happen on WordPress, I now have to engage in an amazingly precise hovering maneuvre that seems to actually time me? And check out the menus…

Hm, what might one expect to find under ‘Pages’? But of course! ANOTHER BUTTON CALLED PAGES. Same goes for ‘Posts’. MAKE IT STOP. Four options under Polls though, I note, which is great because I USE POLLS JUST ALLLLL THE TIME.

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August 31, 2010

Must write up my theory about Jim Carrey films, and further to that, must remember to do a blog post about Christian Bale’s pyjamas.

Also now I’ve watched all the best ones, I intend to blog something like “The Brittas Empire as apocalyptic comedy”, or “The pre-millenial optimism of Brittas Empire” or something.

Circumnavigating the web

August 27, 2010

What would we do, if we couldn’t do things on the internet?

Look at Lewis, who is most certainly a ‘wired’ young man, but who who does things that only quite incidentally use the internet. He plants messages around his home town for people, and uses a URL as a kind of meeting place for the people whose only commonality is finding one of his messages. He uses the internet to encourage total strangers to give him a ring. On a phone. Like in the olden days.

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What is BRIG?

August 26, 2010

Just spotted a very sweet post in which Russell explains what BRIG is, including a great picture in which I am almost visible.

BRIG is a compression of BERG (London) and RIG. BERG I haven’t chatted to much yet; they’re in a special closed-off pen full of beanbags. But I sit near RIG – the guys who make the newspapers, and Chris, Phil, James and James.

Essentially, Russell is Fagin and this is where we all gather to deposit our interesting pickings at his feet. It is a great environment – you know that everyone’s very clever, and working on something very cool. I was writing about Rubik’s this week for WIRED, wrestling with an arrangement of cubes at my desk for a couple of days. I like that I can work somewhere where playing with multiple Rubik’s Cubes, stopping occasionally to draw in a notebook, seems like a normal and valid way of spending time.

I’ve only been here a week and I’ve done loads more work than normal. I’ve written two articles and pitched several more. I’ve booked SRS guests, blogged, emailed, drop-boxed, edited, watched, listened, researched, played – and ingested lots of delicious tea, biscuits and cake. But you know, if you read this blog, that I don’t think writing is something I want to pursue full-time because I’ve glimpsed the joy of Machiavellian Puppeteering. And as soon as the money from the writing is banked, I’ll be launching something that’s not just, like, all a big load of fucking writing. Something involving other humans and their ideas, challenging and unexpected production methods and higher stakes. Something, most importantly, that uses my powers for evil. And hopefully soon.

But Russell’s right – more inter-office promiscuity would obviously be very beneficial for everyone, considering the quality of brains in the building, and the scope of the work that’s going on. I am a bit shy to spontaneously start talking to people in real life, especially the ones I recognise off the internet – and I need a reason to get past that because I’d like to imagine my future might contain collaborations with at least some of these people. Maybe we could have a regular meeting for talking about work-in-progress, or a mailing list or something? Or something? Or… something? I’ll mention it to someone. Just as soon as I’m brave enough.

In other news, Roo and I are now on the Playful 2010 games conference program. We were asked to do “Shift Run Stop Live”, i.e. an on-stage interview, and we have an amazing games-related ex-pat guest lined up who we hope to interview live, by some kind of internet link-up thing.