Archive for April, 2007

World Intellectual Property Day
April 27, 2007

Probably you may not know that April 26th is the day we celebrate Intellectual Property. The date was chosen due to the foundation of the WIPO. And due to the lack of a “Game Developers Day” this was the first time that someone congratulated me on a profession’s date. Not only that: I’ve been kindly invited by the Legal Software entity in Argentina to participate on a panel about IP.

Intellectual Property Panel Debate

That panel was integrated also by creative colleagues such as Juan Jose Campanella, the most prestigious filmmaker in my country (Oscar nominee The Son of the Bride being his most famous film); Oscar Mediavilla, a musician producer that was jury of a show like American Idol in Argentina and script writer Graciela Maglie who worked on important local TV shows.

Without surprise, I found myself to be the youngest member of the panel. And, being a person from the universe of software, the most profoundly affected by the issue of piracy. Graciela and Oscar represent the syndicates that defend the rights of artists like them. Think of them as RIAA-managers kind of people. And just like you would expect, Graciela claimed on her rant that “There’s a dangerous discourse of an apparently ultra progressive, hyper democratizing ideology that blinds creators from their proper rights imposed by entities such as Creative Commons”.

It was the first time I hear the words “progressive” and “democratizing” used in a negative way, and after that reactionary comment from someone who’s just protecting her interests, I became a spokesman of the digital revolution. I’ve tried to explain Graciela how the internet’s revolution permits taking culture onto new unknown layers of expression through the remixing of digital creations; or how information networks permit services of exchange between creators and consumers that it’s better for both parties because we no longer need publishers, distributors and retailers pumping up the value chain.

Still, I wanted to comment to Graciela that 500 years ago, when the Movable Type revolution was beginning, the first persons to claim reactionary thoughts against that where the drama wirters like her, wanting to avoid the distribution of their plays by using big theatre corporations fighting hard against independent authors and printers.

Isn’t it fascinating how history repeats itself ?

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Autopirated?
April 19, 2007

I’ve been feeling a little bit nostalgic lately, and I did a very strange thing: I played my own game, Football Deluxe. It may sound strange, but I think that I haven’t played a full session of that game more than 5 or 6 times in spite of the fact that I coded the whole thing in no-less-than 3 years.

Football Deluxe - Formation
My favourite screenshot of the game.

Games are alive only when they’re being played. And after 3 years of its world release, FD is not being played much anymore. Considering that we live in an era where we can share culture by copying and distributing information to any part in the globe at an imperceptible cost, it seems foolish not to share my own creation.

So I’ve decided to share it. And read me closely: Sharing does not mean pirating. Don’t get me wrong: every time I see someone on the streets selling software or music that was made by other people, I do believe they’re stealing. But if I see the whole world sharing knowledge and culture through a free network and not asking for anything in exchange, I believe we are in front of something big, a revolution that’s just beginning…

So, here are my 2 cents for the revolution: check the ludography section for further details.

Music is Play
April 4, 2007

Maybe you have wondered why I have chosen to quote Louis Armstrong in the headline of this blog: “What we play is life” satchmo said when asked about his jaw-dropping style when it comes to play his jazz. And the key word here, is Play.

If games are art, that’s simply because playing games can bring to the masses the same transcendental feeling that a musician feels when he plays his guitar. The great Jorge Luis Borges once said that “music is the objectivization of the soul.” And the act of playing has to do with toying with the soul-object (and the soul-objects of others).

My friends are aware of my interest in electronic music. Being the child of a postmodern generation that laughs at the old dogmas and grows up surrounded by technology, I find in the tribal tunes of house a spiritual place were I can let myself go by combining the beats with a chemical abstraction of the self.

We must understand that just like traditional games, music evolved onto the digital medium to empower itself and discover new horizons. Last year I got to see Daft Punk‘s portrayal of humanity and technology in a set of musical power that still appears to me on dreams. And I feel sorry for the lack of use interactive designers have done with this magnificent resource of artistic expression. And I don’t mean using it in an ornamental way, but in the very core of what game design is all about. Examples like Rez are worth mentioning, but there’s definitely a lot of territory to be explored here…