Archive for the ‘people’ Category

Playing at the Flash Mob
November 19, 2006

Last Saturday, the first Pillow Fight Flash Mob was held at the planetarium in Buenos Aires. And it was a genuine generational moment for the online hordes of bloggers from this internetized 21st century.

Each time you interact at an online forum, blog or website you’re abstracted from the fact that probably hundreds of other guys just like you are out there reading your words. As we gain more power to communicate, we are afraid we might lose the pleasure of real face-to-face flesh interaction. Hence: the flash mob movement emerges without any kind of sponsor or institution behind it; and what’s more important: It’s a process in itself. I has no further meaning than the joy of just playing it.

Unlike Woodstock or May ’68, there’s no political statement calling for a fight for our future in the flash mobs. Postmodernism has claimed that paradise can be experienced right now and we return to the beautiful days of our lost paradises from infancy to just keep on playing.

I love to play.

Feeling Postmodern
October 9, 2006

While I was walking to my work this morning, I started thinking about how cool the word “Wii” actually is. The individuality that reigned during the modern era is slowly vanishing to let us enter in a new century where everyone is online, everyone is connected, everyone is sharing.

It’s not longer about Me. It’s about Us: “I connect, therefore I exist”. Think about the word “cell phone”: It’s like if all of us had suddenly became cells of a greater being. We’re getting closer to each other and not only by digital means, but also through an economical perspective where we went from the lonely world of product exchanges to the world of services where we are more interdependent of each other.

Wii: It has that statement of unity, of being one together. And that remixability where words acquire a new style, typical of this postmodern era where we dive in a universe of signs and meanings.

And games are the ultimate and most powerful form of expression for this new world of togetherness. Because no other media demands the involvement of its consumers to become actors like games do.

Katamari Tributes
September 21, 2006

It’s beginning spring in the south.. and to spread the joy of these sunny days, I felt it was a good idea to make a tribute-post to one of the most inspiring games of the last years… Enjoy.

 


I got the privilege to assist to the Game Design Challenge at this year’s GDC. Three game designers had to think about making a game that could win the Peace Nobel Prize. The two american guys came up with nice (but predictable) ideas on games about being in a refugee camp or a game that required social participation and it had a viral effect.

The third guy, was Keita Takahashi, the artist behind Katamari Damacy. All he just said is that it doesn’t matter how the game is, we all know how fun games actually are and the great power they have to let us live our dreams. “But a lot of people don’t have access to computers or even telephones.. So if everyone in the world could have access to play games, then no one will waste his or her time having wars against others. We just need to let anyone that wants to play, to be able to do it. Because games are way much more fun than guns, and can let us share beautiful experiences with anyone in the world!”

Say no more.

Towards Collective Culture
August 12, 2006

I’m posting something that’s not directly related to games, but in my beliefs needs to get spread all over the world so we can understand how our culture is changing and we’re becoming witnesses of a silent revolution.

This is a conference from Lawrence Lessig (Creative Commons evangelist) on how we’re rediscovering culture as a collective work where anyone can have its place to express himself. And in many ways, it’s a talk on how we must fight for our freedom. It’s 45 minutes long, but it’s worth every single minute. Oh, and has spanish subtitles for the hispanic readers of the blog.

Games are clearly the most genuine form of expression of the “remix culture”. The interactive nature of our medium opens its doors to mods, machinima and lots of genres that allow the player become a creator. Talks like these can offer light on the huge future that arises on the horizont for games and digital art.

Bit Generation
April 27, 2006

After this year’s GDC Experimental Gameplay Workshop, my friend Marco asked me if I believed that the brilliant works exposed at that conference had the same feeling of the Renaissance period of pictorial art. The question was quite good, because if you think about it there’s some sort of revival of the classic games of the 80’s at the indie scene, with that same spirit where gaming is what matters the most; just like Europe got to re-discover the great Greek thinkers.

Also, in the mainstream-world, the obsession for hyper-realism in the game industry where there’s a great skill in dominating the techniques behind light and shadows in 3D worlds, has a strong reference to the chiaroscuro and the domination of perspective that occured in the Renaissance period.

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On the other hand, the blog of my friend Patrick Dugan -which also assisted to the GDC- really surprised me when he compared this generation of Scratchware Auteurs with the Beat Generation that inspired America in the 50’s. He organized a clandestine meeting/interview with Greg Costikyan (Manifesto Games), Jenova Chen (Cloud), Chris Bateman (IHobo) and myself. That moment, was to me one of the most inspiring debates about games and it felt the true spirit of the original GDC was in that room.

We are definitely part of a new generation that understands culture in radical new ways. Games and the internet are leading towards unexplored territories, and probably we could be remembered in the future as the Bit Generation.

Different Cultures, Different Games?
August 25, 2005

“Japan would never produce Doom 3

Those words came from an interview IdleThumbs staff made to Ron Gilbert. And it got me thinking if afterall there’s a real cultural identity behind games.

This industry has emerged (as it inevitably should) in the rise of the digital era. That means, the era of communications where Globalization has become the best description to the cultural and economical process the world is suffering.

So, the National Identity of a game, it’s not very discernable. If you think about “Max Payne” being developed in Finland, you wouldn’t notice a single difference with any standard american game. At least: the most classic difference you may establish in the industry is between Occidental and Oriental games (a.k.a. American & Japanese). Some unexplored regions of the world like Latinamerica or even Africa still have something to say in the field of videogames.

Should there be a National or at least Regional identity so we could at least talk about a “French Touch” in games? After knowing that Ubisoft will work for the America’s Army project -what the hell happened with “Liberty Fries”?- capitalism seems to keep erasing the differences among cultures. And games, as the most genuine cultural expression of these days, are a clear reflection of this process.