CMS News Archives
March 31, 2010
March 30, 2010
Video: Gambit Game Lab infects thousands with the dreaded PAX POX
This report just in from attendees of the Penny Arcade Expo:
From March 26th to 28th, the PAX POX virus infects over 1,000 people at the 2010 PAX EAST Conference. The virus started at the GAMBIT Island # 1119 is spreading fast but will be cured soon! Today's video is from the first day of the epidemic!!! Video produced by Generoso Fierro
And there's more! Check out Day 2 and Day 3 of the PAX POX!
March 19, 2010
Podcast: Communications Forum: "Government Transparency and Collaborative Journalism"
Linda Fantin and Ellen Miller, with moderator Chris Csikszentmihalyi
In December, the Obama administration directed federal agencies and departments to implement "principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration," including deadlines for providing government information online. At the same time, citizens and journalists are developing new technologies to manage and analyze the exponential increase in data about our civic lives available from governmental and other sources. What new ways of gathering and presenting information are evolving from this nexus of government openness and digital connectedness?
March 12, 2010
GAMBIT staff video podcasts from GDC
The GAMBIT Game Lab is closed this week as the staff attends the 2010 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco--but they haven't been out of touch with MIT, as events coordinator Generoso Fierro keeps uploading great conversations by Gambit staff about the topics coming up at GDC.
March 9, 2010
Podcast: "Robots and Media: Science Fiction, Anime, Transmedia, and Technology"
Ian Condry, Associate Director of MIT Comparative Media Studies and Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, will discuss the prevalence of giant robots in anime (Japanese animated films and TV shows). From the sixties to the present, robot or "mecha" anime has evolved in ways that reflect changing business models and maturing audiences, as can be seen in titles like Astro Boy, Gundam, Macross, and Evangelion. How can we better understand the emergence of anime as a global media phenomenon through the example of robot anime? What does this suggest about our transmedia future?
Cynthia Breazeal, Associate Professor at the MIT Media Lab and founder/director of the Lab's Personal Robots Group, will discuss how science fiction has influenced the development of real robotic systems, both in research laboratories and corporations all over the world. She will explore of how science fiction has shaped ideas of the relationship and role of robots in human society, how the existence of such robots is feeding back into science fiction narratives, and how we might experience transmedia properties in the future using robotic technologies.
March 8, 2010
"China's Cyberposse": CMS grad Jin Liwen in NYTimes Sunday Magazine
Chinese "netizens" have become modern-day vigilantes, revealing injustice and tracking down lawbreakers, according to Tom Downey in this week's New York Times Sunday Magazine.
He writes that "Human-flesh search engines -- renrou sousuo yinqing -- have become a Chinese phenomenon: they are a form of online vigilante justice in which Internet users hunt down and punish people who have attracted their wrath. The goal is to get the targets of a search fired from their jobs, shamed in front of their neighbors, run out of town. It's crowd-sourced detective work, pursued online -- with offline results."
Quoting a 2008 graduate of our S.M. program, Liwen Jin, Downey writes:
Jin Liwen, the technology analyst, came of age in China just as Internet access was becoming available and wrote her thesis at M.I.T. on Chinese B.B.S.'s. "In the United States, traditional media are still playing the key role in setting the agenda for the public," Jin told me. "But in China, you will see that a lot of hot topics, hot news or events actually originate from online discussions." One factor driving B.B.S. traffic is the dearth of good information in the mainstream media. Print publications and television networks are under state control and cannot cover many controversial issues. B.B.S.'s are where the juicy stories break, spreading through the mainstream media if they get big enough.
"Chinese users just use these online forums for everything," Jin says. "They look for solutions, they want to have discussions with others and they go there for entertainment. It's a very sticky platform." Jin cited a 2007 survey conducted by iResearch showing that nearly 45 percent of Chinese B.B.S. users spend between three and eight hours a day on them and that more than 15 percent spend more than eight hours. While less than a third of China's population is on the Web, this B.B.S. activity is not as peripheral to Chinese society as it may seem. Internet users tend to be from larger, richer cities and provinces or from the elite, educated class of more remote regions and thus wield influence far greater than their numbers suggest.
"China's Cyberposse: Human-flesh Search Engines in China" -- New York Times Sunday Magazine
From the Boston Globe: "MIT lab helps designers reimagine video games"
Our thanks to Mark Baard of the Boston Globe, who stopped by Gambit's "Complete-Game Completion Marathon" last week to speak with our then-sleep-deprived staff about the incredible role Gambit plays in developing new modes of gaming.
GAMBIT's researchers, a collaboration of artists, historians, writing instructors, and educators, are mostly interested in breaking away from gaming conventions: the princess who needs rescuing, the shady merchant with the weapon you must get to survive the next chapter, the mushroom power-up.
They are also focused on teaching courses with heady titles like "Making Deep Games'' and publishing papers such as "Bioshock: A Critical Historical Perspective.''
"Everything done in the lab is based on some sort of research interest,'' said Eitan Glinert, who was GAMBIT's first graduate student, in 2007.
At GAMBIT, Glinert created a PC game, AudiOdyssey, in which the player stars as a club DJ trying to get people to dance. The goal is also to avoid getting the dancers so excited that they knock over the turntables.
Glinert said he deliberately emphasized audio quality over graphics, to discover whether "the visually impaired and the sighted can enjoy the same level and quality of game play,'' according to the objectives he listed on the AudiOdyssey download page. Researchers at GAMBIT are also conducting research into how people learn through playing games.
From the CMS archive: "Comics Creator Frank Espinosa Gets Graphic"
As we celebrate the 10th year of Comparative Media Studies, we continue to feature great items from our archives. This week: a feature piece by alum/researcher Sam Ford interviewing comics great Frank Espinosa.
Read it: Comics Creator Frank Espinosa Gets Graphic, November 2006
March 3, 2010
GAMBIT launches new completely awesome video podcast
From GAMBIT Outreach Coordinator Generoso Fierro and Audio Director Abe Stein:
These video podcasts serve to showcase our unique mission to the games industry and to those who still remain unclear as to the nature of video game studies. Our unique methodology is centered around creating video games in a lab setting, to demonstrate our research as a complement to traditional academic publishing. Our hope is for these video podcasts to provide a rarely seen transparency of the research process here at GAMBIT.
This is a monthly series with each episode divided into four parts and released on the last week of every month.
Episode 1 Defining Gambit Research:
The Gambit collection at MIT's TechTV:
Podcast: "Code and Platform in Computational Media"
Computing plays an important role in some types of media, such as video games, digital art, and electronic literature. It seems evident that an understanding of programming and computing systems may help us learn more about these productions and their role in culture. But few have focused on the levels of code and platform. Adding these neglected levels to digital media studies can help to advance the field, offering insights that would not be found by focusing on the levels of experience and interface by themselves. The recent project of Critical Code Studies and two book series just started by The MIT Press, Software Studies and Platform Studies, represent a new willingness to consider digital media at these levels. With reference to mass-market and more esoteric systems and works, ranging from Atari 2600 and arcade games to Talan Memmott's Self Portrait(s) [as Other(s)], this talk describes how looking at the code and platform levels can enhance our comparative media studies of computational works.
Nick Montfort is associate professor of digital media at MIT and has been part of dozens of academic, editorial, and literary collaborations.