A Chaotic Gift (for Chris Bateman)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…]