The Esoteric Beat: Launch, Impact, Vogue

Welcome to 'The Esoteric Beat', the news report that provides new and unusual ways to think about games and culture. This week's column looks at critical marketing, socia...
Welcome to 'The Esoteric Beat', the news report that provides new and unusual ways to think about games and culture. This week's column looks at critical marketing, social impact and cyberculture class. Launch Countdown Alert First up this week, we're driven to mention a lightweight (if amusing) article from, called 'Out To Launch'. The concept has the site's writers reviewing many of the console launches from over the past few years, comparing each of them to the current Xbox 360 roll-out. "Assuming Microsoft lives up to its promises, the 360 should be one of the better launches to date. We'll find out, along with the rest of the world, on November 22." Naturally the Dreamcast comes top of the list with its awesome starting line-up and online launch; what a shame that the launch doesn't make the console. Social Impact? Elsewhere, we've uncovered an interesting online cataloguing project called 'Social Impact Games', which works under the mandate (of sorts) created by a Will Wright soundbite: "Many game designers today are looking to maximize the social impact of their work." With that in mind, the site is listing games and gaming events that are specifically designed to talk about social impact. This way of looking at gaming creates a forum for such minor games to find each other, but it does beg the question: what social impact do these obscure titles really have? Aren't the big sellers the ones really having an effect? More discussion on this topic will hopefully be forthcoming. PSP Poses In equally philosophical territory are the works in the PSP sculpture and furniture series (via WMMNA) from the Royal College of Art in London. Created by studying the ways in which people pose when playing on a PSP, the objects are designed specifically for PSP play and will soon constitute a gallery exhibition. If you go along, why not take your John Burgerman enhanced special edition of WipEout Pure to play while you're there? (How much art can you possibly take?) Cyberculture Cyborgs Meanwhile we've discovered that master blogger and cyberculture commentator Steven Shaviro published the syllabus and required reading from the cyberculture class he taught in Seattle in 2003. This constitutes a 'must-read' compilation for an student of cyberculture and the ramifications of life online. Anyone with interest in a serious study of the culture effects of cyberculture and the network society should take a look at Shaviro's recent book, 'Connected'. Classic Advert Showdown Less intellectual diversions this week lead us to this selection of 1982 game adverts on Flickr. Test your age and game knowledge by seeing which adverts and games you actually remember. Oh God, Space Cavern! [Jim Rossignol is a freelance journalist based in the UK – his game journalism has appeared in PC Gamer UK, Edge and The London Times. Please send link suggestions, topics, and feedback to [email protected].]

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