A Chaotic Gift (for Chris Bateman)


Dear Chris, You have recently returned from paternity leave, and have wit­nessed the birth of your second son, on which again my con­grat­u­la­tions! As you wrote on your own blog, you’d like nothing more from your readers as a gift than an open letter, so who am I to refuse? After I fin­ished reading the final draft ver­sion of your upcoming book, Chaos Ethics, some­where last year, I wrote to you in an email that I thought it would be an inter­esting idea to start a letter series on the topic of Chaos, in the broadest sense. It is not some­thing you touch upon extens­ively in your book—understandably so, since it is about ethics first and foremost—but knowing you slightly, I sus­pect you will have some addi­tional things to say on the concept. […Read more…]

Re: Virtuous Discourse; a letter to Chris Bateman


Dear Chris, It is an honour to be the re­cipient of the first entry in what I hope will be­come a long series of digital let­ters, a re­in­vi­gora­tion of on­line con­ver­sa­tion, rather than the ex­change of only the brie­fest of thoughts and com­ments. That we, and Alan William­son with us, share much of the feel­ings on the cur­rent state of the ex­change of ideas on the inter­net sug­gests to me at most that there is some­thing amiss in our little corner of the web—games, philo­sophy, history—and what we want from it. […Read more…]

The Future of Videogame Logging


In an inte­resting self-reflec­tional turn, blog dis­cus­sions about the nature and future of blog­ging have recently been re­open­ed in cer­tain cor­ners of the inter­net. I con­tri­buted a little bit to the dis­cus­sion with my earlier musing on the nature of online con­ver­sation, and Chris Bateman has sum­marised some of the thoughts ga­ther­ed in our ‘bloot’ (blog-moot) in his wrap-up post. In short: I’m con­vinced that mea­ning­ful online con­ver­sation is pos­sible, about any sub­ject, but that it requires invest­ment of time and atten­tion, as well as con­venient technology.What I want to focus on this time is video­game blog­ging in par­tic­ular. This month’s theme on Blogs of the Round Table (hosted by Crit­ical Dis­tance) is “Blog­ception: What is the future of video­game blog­ging?”. Before I want to say some­thing about the pos­sible fu­tures, we should turn to the cur­rent state of video­game of blog­ging. […Read more…]

On Blogging & Online Conversations


How has the ad­vent of social net­work­ing sites changed the nature of (online) con­ver­sation? A reply to Chris Bate­man, and a rumi­nation on whe­ther or not the pro­blems sur­roun­ding in-depth con­ver­sation have changed all that much. […Read more…]

Ludus Linguarum (This Is (Not) a Game)

It is a dis­cus­sion that crops up from time to time: what is a game? This would be a fairly aca­demic defin­i­tion ques­tion, were it not that it finds a much larger battle­ground mostly out­side aca­demia, where con­sumers and critics of video games are the par­ti­cipants. The direct cata­lyst for the most recent iter­a­tion of this dis­cus­sion was the release two days ago of Pro­teus, a game developed by Ed Key and David Kanaga. This work, as I briefly explained in my piece on Noctis, is all about free explor­a­tion of an island and its flora and fauna, about building a soundtrack by moving around. It is lim­ited in its inter­activity com­pared to many other video games, and this has sparked the dis­cus­sion on whether or not Key and Kanaga are right to refer to Pro­teus as a game. […Read more…]

2012: A Year in Books

Lori Nix - 'Library' (2007)

What did I read in 2012? I’ve found looking back at my last year in books helps me chart some themes and devel­op­ments in my (mental life), so I’ve decided to do it again this year. I read 92 books in 2012, a little fewer than in 2011, but they were bigger books, and my page total ended up higher. This doesn’t count all the art­icles I’ve read, but we’ve got to draw the reading ner­dage line some­where. It’s all slightly arbit­rary anyway. […Read more…]

Science Stories: The Mythology of Evolution


Most people will be at least passingly familiar with the ‘war’ between ‘sci­ence’ and ‘reli­gion’ that has been a central theme in the his­tory of the West in the past few cen­turies. My quotes are inten­tional because each of these con­cepts is far more com­plic­ated than common usage would sug­gest. The problem is: most, if […Read more…]