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.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image. But the Illum’s cutting-edge technology records the direction of these rays, generating […]
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