Blogged Out: Seoul, Balls, Art

Welcome to 'Blogged Out', the news report that looks at the world of developer blogging and the conversations being had with the community at large. This week we look at ...
Welcome to 'Blogged Out', the news report that looks at the world of developer blogging and the conversations being had with the community at large. This week we look at Seoul, prototyping, and the marriage of science and art. - Raph Koster is visiting Korea, heartland of the MMO. He's providing regular and amusing blogging to document his experiences. "I spent the evening sitting in between the guy who made Ragnarok and the General Director of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. I signed a lot of books, because every person who came to the reception got a copy of the Korean edition of "Theory of Fun" in their welcoming packet. I spent much of the time discussing how games fit into human culture with the General Director, who is worried that the games programs in Korea are turning out lots of good programmers, but no designer/developers who treat games as a medium of art and expression." Elsewhere on Koster's ultra-prolific blog he talks about prototyping, referencing Gamasutra's own article penned by the Experimental Gameplay students. Raph's own game design prototype kit is well worth a look. - Speaking of experimental gameplay, you should make sure that Jay's casual games review blog is on your bookmark list. The site regularly picks up on the most elegant of online flash games, and might provide a few cues for bored game designers across the world. The most interesting recent review references Balls And Walls, "an absolutely fantastic game designed for the equally brilliant British band Athlete by Mortalbug and Quiet Phil", in which the player has to catch gun-fired balls on their back or risk losing the game. - Elsewhere, out on the fringes of the game blogosphere, where you start to encounter the R&D media types, there are some other cues for game designers, such as the discussion surrounding this excellent New York Times article, which describes some of the possibilities pertaining to collaborations between artists and scientists in the 21st century. A large movement within scientific research now recognises the importance of such collaboration, which is something that game development has had to deal with for a long time now. ""Part of the artist's insight is to be able to interpret the future earlier than anybody,", "We regard the artist as fully equal with any scientist at Calit2." says Larry Smarr, director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, or Calit2, a $400 million research consortium." Are $400m research consortiums closer to the truth about the future than the cheap ones? Joking aside, this article does raise some major issues for the cross-pollination between many different media, games in particular. Games are the crucial meeting ground for all kinds of human enterprise, from hard science to high art, and it pays well for game developers to pay as much interest to what is going on around them as possible. (Although how does that relate to Koster's prototyping list saying "Formal Brainstorming Has a 0% Success Rate"?) [Jim Rossignol is a freelance journalist based in the UK – his game journalism has appeared in PC Gamer UK, Edge and The London Times.]

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