A few weeks ago, I went to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA with a friend of mine. I had gone to its predecessor in Boston in 1990, The Computer Museum (closed in 1999). While the Boston museum focused on how a computer works, the Mountain View museum focuses on the history and the people of computing. Which, as you can see from the titles of both museums, is a conscious difference of focus.
That particular day I visited the History Museum, a demonstration of the PDP-1 was being held twice that day. I admit that while I knew this was an important device, I was murky at the time as to its exact history. Going to the demonstration made me hurt myself for forgetting. The PDP-1 was the first ‘personal’ computer in the sense that one person could operate the machine rather than a team of computer engineers. This paved the way for the MIT Tech Model Railroad Club to make key software in computer history, including Spacewar!
I have some news that some of you have probably not been looking forward to. GameTap has decided to discontinue the operation of Myst Online: Uru Live.
< SNIP >
Ricardo Sanchez VP of Content and Creative Director for GameTap
I’m upset that the eight year journey has come to a close, but I also think that it’s time for the experiment to come to a rest. Uru was a needed and welcomed experiment in a MMO based narrative, not on combat. The goal was not to level up or defeat the baddie with spells and swords, but to progress and the story line. From this, a very strong and tight-nit group believed intensely in the project and the community they built.
“Funds for this game were provided by The Corporation for Public Gaming.”
When television and radio started, different countries took different choices in how the airwaves would be regulated. In England, taxes are levied on all radios and television sets to fund programming. Some countries have all media run directly by the state. In the US, a free market economy was formulated to let market take charge of content generation; A commercial system. But with the commercial system, there was a call for providing content that wasn’t commercially sustainable but culturally important. Content of instructional, educational, and cultural significance that it’s commercially viable but very important. The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 among others did this for television and radio in the United States. I want to have an additional organization for electronic entertainment media.
Following up from the last post about AT&T, I want to talk about what I want from my cell phone, internet, cable, and the rest of the communication sector: A fat, dumb pipe.
I don’t care about Comcast’s video content. I don’t care about AT&T’s Blue Room or any other crap. I am paying you as a bridge to obtain other people’s content. That’s all I require from you. Why only the fat pipe? Because you suck at content generation. You’re spreading your resources to do something extra and it’s just not working very well.
Thing is, I never asked for you to make your own content. It’s really a non-issue with me. There are millions of other people that can do it so much better and that’s who I want to have access to. I’m paying you to give me unfettered access to other content providers. Is making your own content really helping you out? I would figure focusing on the speed and availability of the content of the Internet would be a bigger drive than your special little video program. I know that on the feature list, saying you have this unique content gives the impression of better value on a flyer.
You know what gets me to stick with your service without disdain? Giving me access to all available content without bullshit. For example, if Comcast spent more dedication and time to improving their horrific customer support, the product would have more value than ‘Channel 1’. Or perhaps finding a better long-term plan to keep the bandwidth infrastructure on par or surpassing the rest of the modern world. Why spend time finding ways to inhibit use of BitTorrent when you can spend that time more productively by improving the network infrastructure.
Please, I don’t care about your content as it is unmatched to what the rest of the world at large can provide. Give me unfettered and uninhibited access to the world, then you have won me over!
Don’t have the time to put in my two cents in on the issue, but couldn’t pass up this opportunity to show you something really ballzy. This is Joel from BoingBoing Gadgets when he was asked to be on AT&T’s technology show.
This morning I finally got around to writing that letter to On The Media (OTM) I’ve been meaning to write about. This week’s show had the first mention of a video game device/game that I recall on the show. The “Death Ray” segment had a commentator mentioning PS3’s Blu-ray playing abilities. I don’t find an issue with that mention. I do find it interesting they didn’t mention Microsoft’s investment in HD-DVD via the Xbox 360 add-on yet quoted Bill Gates on his position that on-line distribution is going to trump physical media.
As for the show in general, there is a void of reporting when it comes to interactive media under the realm of games. Taking a look at OTM’s mission statement:
On the Media explores how the media “sausage” is made, casts an incisive eye on fluctuations in the marketplace of ideas, and examines threats to the freedom of information and expression in America and abroad.
In my view, not covering video/computer games is a huge piece of sausage they are missing. So, it’s concerned audience member time:
There’s something that I find funny about a list of ‘game innovations.’ Are we talking technical innovations or creative design innovations? And is there really a difference to begin with? Or should we even care about innovations?
Case in discussion point: Top 10 Game Innovations 2007 by James Portnow on Next Generation. Right point 10, Mr. Portnow seems to describe his own short comings on the topic by not having the language to describe fl0w by thatgamecompany.
For years as I was going through my undergraduate work at Emerson College, the weekly tradition of watching [adult swim] as my weekly fill of television would occasionally be tainted with a certain advertisement. A certain school with a ‘gaming degree program’ spot starts out with the question about why ‘you’ haven’t made your video game yet. Every time this commercial would show up, I would flip off the screen and think to myself “I’M WORKING ON IT!!!”
Academia for the video game industry is a topic rather close to me. It’s safe for me to say that I created a good chunk of Emerson’s program on game design and writing for I had to make it from scratch. I had a make-your-own major that happened to be degree on the books. Course, I was the first to actually go for a BFA in New Media and to create a curriculum based on design and writing of interactive storytelling. At the time, there wasn’t a convincing curriculum that attracted to me, so making my own program was the only way I could be satisfied.
As to why I’m taking education as my first major post on my Media Blog, it’s the way in which one creates media, in this case video games, that makes my connection. Yea justification!There are many issues college with the in interactive electronic entertainment. These problems are shared between the educational institutions, the commercial electronic games industry, the students, and academic/admission counselors. It takes years for academia to figure out good methods of teaching any subject matter. Only with a careful dance between the industry itself and the academic world can a solid curriculums be formed. Without some form of industry involvement, students will not be properly prepared for the industry. Too much industry involvement and the school produces one-trick ponies.
But what defines the difference? There are obvious bad programs (hint: they air TV ads), but how can we begin to calculate a quality school? No school will be perfect, but what model should students be looking for? The first thing that comes to mine is the scope of the program:
The way I want to start out this blog is to explain why I am setting this up. The idea of making my first post as a meta-post is entirely fitting for both myself and this blog as I like my meta with meta and a side order of meta.
When I left the educational sector in March 2007, I still felt attached to the ball and chain that is academia. Not itching to get back into the classroom as I would rather be employed working in the field of my choice. From time to time however, I still get an itch to talk about the upper level analysis of media. Thus this site is born.
The content I intend to provide is media criticism. This isn’t criticism in a review of a certain entertainment title (though it will happen from time to time), but the analysis of how aspects of media work with each other. Pretty similar to the scope of On the Media as a review of all aspects of media, but with more focus to video/computer games and less on journalism.
As far as this site’s housekeeping is concerned, there will be a lot of cosmetic changes in the next few days and fancy toys such as FeedBurner. I’m going through a few themes and will certainly modify them to a certain extent in making this site my own. Not to mention the About page will go through a bit of rewriting.
There will be plenty of adjustment and tweaking both on content and form. Thoughts, concerns, and other aspects are more than welcomed! In addition to the user system for this blog, you can also use OpenID, which users of AOL, LiveJournal, and a whole bunch of other services use. This way you can manage login information a lot better by using existing accounts.
So add me to your feeds and I’ll be starting regular programming later in the week!