Homo Ludens Ludens

I had a great time at the Homo Ludens Ludens exhibit and conference at Laboral, in Gijón, Spain. For those of you who can understand Spanish (or should I say Spanish with an Uruguayan accent), I did a short report for my radio column at El Espectador radio in Uruguay. It includes an interview with Laura Baigorri, co-curator of the exhibit. You need Real Audio to listen to it. I'm currently in Murcia, Southern Spain, for the Cartoon Digital seminar. I'll be in Madrid later this week, so let me know if you're around!

The Sims and the multiplayer dilemma

Simspan_2The Sims is now 8 years old and the New York Times has an interesting review of the series. There was a time when no serious newspaper would write about videogames. Now the New York Times reviews The Sims as a major milestone in recent pop culture. Among the most interesting observation from the article is that players see their play sessions as something very personal and private. This is very interesting, even though it may not be true. It may be just a lame excuse to justify the disaster that was The Sims Online, arguing that The Sims just does not work in multiplayer mode. But again, it may be also true (similar to the experience that players had with the Eliza chatbot during the sixties). I'm not sure about it. What I'm 100% sure about is that The Sims Online failed because the designers shifted from third person to first person. The Sims are not and should never be avatars, as they were in the online game. The Sims were born to be surrogate slaves to our dreams and fantasies.

Understanding Videogames

Book_coverI'm happy to report that a new videogame textbook is out! It's called Understanding Videogames and it's written by my former colleagues from ITU Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Jonas Heide Smith, and Susana Pajares Tosca. Over the last few years I witnessed the writing process of this book and read a few chapters. I haven't yet got my hands on the printed version, but it should be a more than welcomed addition to the library of any game scholar or student. You can buy it here.

Learn from the masters

Groupimage1_shortHere's a unique chance to learn from two of today's most talented media artists. There's an open call for projects at MediaLab-Prado in Madrid. It's an advanced workshop where you'll get the chance to work with, among others, Alvaro Cassinelli and Julian Oliver. The workshop takes place from May 30 til June 14th. There is also a Call for Papers for an event taking place the first two days.

About game violence, part II

Diamonddm2703_228x378_2Ok, we all know that we can't trust tabloids. And of course, I can't trust a tabloid that manipulates images for journalistic purposes. And nobody should trust any publication that sucks at photoshop like this. But this is too much: nobody at the freaking website noticed this image? (it has been online for almost two weeks now).
Anyway, the article is, not surprisingly, about how violent games are and how they must be kept away from kids (something that could have made some sense if they took themselves seriously).