Games designer/entrepreneur and novelist Greg Costikyan has written a provocative piece about how games and stories fit together. His premise is that games democratize fiction: with fiction, the author tells the audience how the story goes; with games, the story is made by the audience.
Thinking about this recently, and about what Manifesto is trying to do, it occurs to me that the video game industry has, in some ways, betrayed the democratic nature of the form it sells. The game industry, even if the product it promotes is democratic and interactive in nature, is structured virtually identically to entertainment media that predate it. Creators contract with publishers, who do their best to screw them financially; marketing is "top-down," broadcast-style, with a carefully crafted message disseminated via PR and advertising to consumers; publishers, console manufacturers, and retailers jointly act as gate-keepers to narrow consumer options; and gamers are viewed as little more than sheep to be fleeced, induced by a glut of advertising and manipulated press attention to go to the store and buy the next game in the franchise.
Now, let's think about this a little. There are essentially two groups in this value chain who love games: the people who create them, i.e., developers; and the people who consume them, i.e., gamers. Everyone in between is a necessary evil, a means of getting games from developers into the hands of gamers. But it's also everyone in between who basically doesn't give a rat's ass about games, and indeed, would probably be happier selling detergent, or working in film. For developers, and for gamers, games are something special; for the intermediaries, they're just another SKU in a packaged goods industry.
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]
This week’s top deals from the Boing Boing Store range from lobster to wine to desk organization. 1. Get Maine Lobster (50% Off)With these discounted packages from Get Maine Lobster, you can experience the sweet, fresh flavor of world-renowned Maine lobster right at your own dinner table. There are four options to choose from, each at […]