Monthly Archive: May 2015
May 23, 2015
I have killed three dogs in Minecraft. The way to get a dog is to find a wolf, and then feed bones to the wolf until red Valentine’s hearts blossom forth from the wolf, and then it is your dog. It will do its best to follow you wherever you go, and (like a real dog) it will invariably get in your way when you are trying to build something. ... I felt bad each time, while of course fully realizing that only virtual entities were being killed. Surely some of the sorrow I felt was imported from the real world, where I am fond of dogs and do what I can to avoid drowning or burning them. I could not be said to have developed a meaningful relationship with my virtual dogs, but I was pleased to see them each time they caught up with me, and I was a little sad to realize they wouldn’t be getting in my way anymore. I think I was right to feel at least a little bit bad about killing them.
May 14, 2015
Forbes offers 'A More Robust Valve-Is-Evil Hypothesis'. Kotaku responds by suggesting 'Valve understands data. Valve does not seem to understand, or seek to understand, people.'
May 13, 2015
My son Eliot was born in 2004 — the year of Half-Life 2, Doom 3, and the launch of the Nintendo DS. By the time he was born, video games were a $26B industry.
I love games, and I genuinely wanted Eliot to love and appreciate them too. So, here was my experiment:
What happens when a 21st-century kid plays through video game history in chronological order?
May 5, 2015
The pedagogy of simulation games — city simulators in particular — is worth meditating on. They are, ostensibly, about engaging with complex (though still incredibly simplified) models, coupled with rule sets that mark discrete goals. These range from the practicable (make sure there are water lines in your new residential zone so the houses can have plumbing) to the whimsical (call down an alien invasion). By being told to use a set of tools in a particular way, an individual can be taught how to engage with a system — the system that is the game.