Archive for the ‘videos’ Category

Art + Science = Game
November 17, 2007

It has always been told that games are the perfect marriage between art and science. The best and most simple empirical proof of such statement is made by Helsinki’s great talent Petri Purho with this little game over here. I remember meeting him at this year’s GDC after he made a brilliant presentation on the Experimental Gameplay Project. If you love experimental games, keep a close eye on his blog.

Probably one of the inspirations behind this great ludic idea was MIT’s magic blackboard. An awesome tool that could be applied to teach Maths and Physics in a more interactive way.

The marriage between these concepts -game and educational technology- is the piece of proof I needed for my previous post.  The techniques and ways of thinking from people involved in entertainment industries such as videogames, could shape entire generations if we start using those ideas for making schools a place were students want to go rather than imposing them the pressure of having to go. Education has been stuck in the 19th century for too long…

Communist Massive Games
August 29, 2007

I have a fetish for communist propaganda. It’s simply amazing how fucked up ideologies are. Juan José Sebreli once described his experience traveling to Mao’s China in the sixties as the witnessing of a collosal work of art. He was shown “the model factory”, “the model school”, and “the model hospital” with all the workers cheerfully doing their repetitive job. When he finally assisted a big parade on Tiananmen’s Square, he concluded that totalitarian leaders end up to become -evil- artists that try to make of the whole reality surrounding them, a big façade.

Kim Jong-il isn’t an exception, and he has taken the madness to a magnificent level of artistic genius: Each year, North Korea celebrates their national pride under a massive gymnastic event where almost 12,000 kids transform themselves into pixels and make of the whole stadium a gigantic screen for the enjoyment of “The Great Leader”.

This massive game, not only displays beautiful imagery of the communist ideals, but it also effectively reduces the individual to the collective experience. A complete parade is online in 11 parts at Youtube.

Guy Delisle worte an autobiographical comic about the time he spent on North Korea. For western eyes, it’s certainly a very hard thing to understand such level of oppression. And living in a country where Castro and Chavez are worshiped by some, it’s also scaring.

King of Kong
August 16, 2007

 

Life is just a game -or at least there’s a 20% chance for that to be a scientific true fact. Cheers for all of you out there who are Players.

 

E3 stuff
July 16, 2007

So the E3 was finally held in Santa Monica this year, but who cares about this suit-driven event? Certainly not me. Anyhow, two very interesting news woke me up this morning regarding the former “it” event of the game industry:

WiiFit. A new interface to plug into our Wiis so we can feel the joy of dancing and excercising in front of the TV. I just want to state that I love the fact that it seems that we finally have a massive platform for interactive hardware innovation. The Wii is becoming the one and only place where you’ll want to try out games in a more immersive and phyiscal way. Yet, it’s not that standard considering Nintendo is the only manufacturer of peripherals right now.

Finally, E3 also unveiled another elegant proof that Games-are-art-and-there’s-nothing-you-can-say-against-that. Escher inspired Echocrome plays with your perceptual skills of recognizing perspective. Reminds me of a time in my life when my perspective-recognition skills disappeared for a couple of hours and reality became flat just like in a videogame…

The Silent Revolution: Internet
February 27, 2007

Anthropologist Michael Wesch made a great video with effective educational purposes to those who aren’t familiar with the concept of the web 2.0. This video is a very inspiring piece that gives a grasp of what is the real potential of the Internet and how it is changing our lives.

It’s quite probable that very few people imagined this global transformation through the use of interconnected computers just 10 years ago. A friend of mine mailed me this interesting TV report from 1993 about this thing called “The Internet”.

Finally, with a more commercial approach there’s this Cisco TV spot about the human network.

An old phrase said that “the world is made of stories, not atoms.” Well, please allow me to paraphrase this by saying “the web is made of people, not computers.”

Real Life RPG
January 10, 2007

Nicolas, a good colleague of mine recently showed me these very fun videos of College Saga that are written, directed and produced by Mark Leung. It’s very interesting to see the contrast of old school 8 bit gaming and real life.

I still remember how the simple scripts and interactions that I played 10 or 15 years ago completely stimulated my imagination. That’s the proof that realistic graphics have nothing to do with transporting ourselves onto other worlds. Oh, click on the video and you will find more episodes at Youtube.

Fatality!
December 27, 2006

It seems that I’m doing many posts this end of year, probably because I’m in a very good mood. One of the games that I enjoyed the most in my years of innocence was Mortal Kombat. A complete revolution at its time due to the realistic graphics and the extreme violence it portrayed. This fine video shows all the fatalities of the game:

It’s interesting how violence in its most extreme form has some beauty hidden in it and it can even provokes us a laugh. Makes you think when almost three decades ago a movie like A Clockwork Orange was censored worldwide and today you find kids playing games like these. Kinda of a reactionary comment there, huh?

Well, I constantly receive calls from local media asking me about violence and games, and I always defend our beloved medium. Yet, sometimes it does seem that developers are trying to push the limits in terms of blood simulation, and it somehow those are the same developers that believe games should be about having better graphics rather than better gameplay.

Mortal Kombat had great gameplay, don’t get me wrong. But if we keep our industry trapped in the eat/kill/run dogma, we’re doomed.

A Socialist Game?
December 21, 2006

Two years ago, I’ve made this teaser video for a game project that I had back then. The figure of Che Guevara fascinates me due to his firm beliefs and how he acted according to what he felt was right. He was probably the christ of communism, that atheist religion inspired by the words of a particular Moses named Marx.

The animation has its issues, I’m not a professional animator as you can see, but it was a fun job to do. The audio is a discourse Che gave in the UN back in ’64. The excerpt says:

No people of Latin America is weak, because it is part of a family of 200 million brothers beset by the same miseries, who harbor the same feelings, have the same enemy, while they all dream of the same better destiny and have the support of all honest men and women in the world.

Future history will be written by the hungry masses of Indians, of landless peasants, of exploited workers; it will be written by the progressive masses, by the honest and brilliant intellectuals who abound in our unfortunate lands of Latin America, by the struggle of the masses and of ideas;

Games are quite affected by this postmodern era of dead ideas. But they have a huge potential to test concepts not only through theory but also through artificial experiences. To me, if used right, we are dealing with a very powerful medium to awaken the minds of human beings. I wonder if we’ll see more social games in the future…

Gaming Evolution
November 24, 2006

It’s interesting to see how the graphics of games have evolved during the last 30 years but gameplay has almost been the same during all that time. The fact that “Star Wars” is considered sort of a genre in this video is also quite revealing of how immature the game industry still is.

To me it’s quite clear that we’re still dealing with the equivalent to the silent era of movies, although some light can be seen in the horizon (Wii!). Our technology will some day end up maturing so creating games can start being essentially about shaping beautiful play.

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.