Torill Mortensen’s Thinking with my fingers
, a fascinating weblog that talks about and around issues concerning virtual worlds and text-based gaming. Topics include a musing on computer games and the role of the state
: eight million Norwegian kroner have apparently set aside for the development of non-violent or less violent
computer games in Norway (my emphasis), probably in an attempt to avoid situations like this
. We also recommend Mortensen’s essay ‘The Geography of a Non-place
', which delves into the extremely complex and self-constructed world of the text-only Multi-User Dungeon, or MUD. These, the direct descendants of the original adventure games, are populated by a cast of thousands, all playing with altered or enhanced personas, using the anonymity of their computers to explore what are, in effect, artificial societies.
MUDs appear to differ markedly from other persistent online environments – such as Sony’s highly addictive Everquest
or Star Wars Galaxies
. The latter are MMORPGs
, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. Your imagination is still challenged (I’m guessing here, having never entered one), but without the totally limitless possibilities of a text-only interface. That’s not to say that societies, groupings and special events don't take place in MMORGs: One of the most common player-run events on just about any MMORPG is the player wedding… Many players have started to offer their services as wedding planners.
MUDs, like SWG and EQ (see how easy it is to slip into acronyms?), also allow for an infinite variety of personalisation. You also get MOOs
: MUD Object Orientated – ‘the users themselves can create objects, rooms, and code to add to the environment.’ Mortensen talks about the browser as an online 'home', but one which is a 'space of departure rather than a space to dwell'. The essay tackles the geographic precision of Harlequin Romances
(more romance book covers
), the man adrift
at Paris's Charles de Gaulle
airport, online personality theft, and the ways in which virtual characters can be 'dressed up' as expressions - or extensions - of their user's personality. Is the internet a place or a non-place? Does territorial behaviour - such as personal expression - make it the former?
Elsewhere. More about Amazon.com’s
browsable book system, by Gary Wolf
. I’m not sure I agree that Amazon’s ‘online competitors’ are Yahoo
, and eBay
– surely all four provide very different services (with the possible exception of Yahoo and Google)? / Something we never knew regarding McLuhan's ‘The Medium is the Message
’ (via Brushstroke.tv
) / Louis Kahn's Salk Institute
/ A Russian Utopia
, drawings and renders from the golden age of Soviet architecture (most of it unbuilt) / what does the Bible actually say
about being gay? (via the BBC
) / two music sites: do something pretty
photolog, via Jean-Luc at mediatic
, 'communicative display skin' at the new Kunsthaus
in Graz (the first true manifestation of the Archigram
ideal?) / Expressive architecture from an earlier age: the Watts Towers
, huge photos by misterpants
. The towers in context
: 'It's a little depressing to consider that, in today's communities, the Watts Towers would not only be an embarassment; they would be illegal.
' / bbCity
, Laputan Logic
, weblogs. Beverly Tang
, Evenings on the lake
, more weblogs / the sound
of Concorde (mp3). More aeroplane noises
. Neat. Only they misspelled ‘vinegar’ and there’s no mention of the possible legal ramifications
of the sport / crane accidents
, via muxway
/ beanies for sale
: I am so upset that this clown of a woman figured out my SUPER PLAN TO SCAM MILLIONS FROM THE UNKNOWING BEANIE WORLD! I FIGURED I WOULD RETIRE FROM THIS RUSE!
(thanks to tmn
). I'd forgotten quite how enthralling Samorost
was / left shoe fanatic
held in Japan.