Game: “Glorious Leader!”

Maeve Shearlaw at The Guardian reports on “Glorious Leader!”, a satirical video game on North-Korean regime. She writes “American games developers have announced plans for a controversial new video game pitting North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un against the US army”. The game, Glorious Leader!, is a “retro style run ‘n’ gun” game played over seven levels, which allows gamers to “defeat waves of imperialists, combat over-the-top bosses and ride unicorns”.

Read the the full article at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/14/glorious-leader-us-developers-to-launch-north-korea-the-video-game

Article: Roland Barthes reviews Pac Man

Paul Krumholz on McSweeney’s published “Roland Barthes Reviews Pac-Man”, imagining what the French semiotician would have written about video games. “The Fourth Republic projects an image of the traditional family over the Fifth: Ms. Pac-Man assumes her husband’s phantoms, and Jr. Pac-Man in turn inherits the burden. Jr. Pac-Man is born fractured, his fears and self-doubts already manifest in the apparitions that haunted his parents. One is informed by way of allusion that the holistic identity he seeks is, in fact, a spectre in itself”.

Read the full article at http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/roland-barthes-reviews-pac-man

Game: To Build a Better Mousetrap (Molleindustria)

Molleindustria just published “To Build a Better Mousetrap”, a game premiered last December at FACT gallery in Liverpool along with the article/talk “Videogames and the spirit of capitalism”.
Author Paolo Pedercini writes «I tried to describe To Build a Better Mousetrap as “Richard Scarry meets Karl Marx” or “Information visualization without information” but it’s really a development of the idea of “playable theory”. (…) The result is somewhat cryptic, dry, and against the current trend of narrative indie games, but some players may recognize a cast of classic characters: the Surplus Value, the Reserve army of labor, the Fordist class compromise, the alienation resulting from division of labor, and one of today’s hottest capitalist contradictions: the decline of employment as result of labor saving technologies a.k.a. “the tendency of the rate of profit to fall”».

Play the game at http://www.molleindustria.org/to-build-a-better-mousetrap/

Book: “Storyworlds across Media. Toward a Media-Conscious Narratology” (M.-L. Ryan, J. Thon)

“Storyworlds across Media. Toward a Media-Conscious Narratology”, edited by Marie-Laure Ryan and Jan-Noël Thon.

The proliferation of media and their ever-increasing role in our daily life has produced a strong sense that understanding media—everything from oral storytelling, literary narrative, newspapers, and comics to radio, film, TV, and video games—is key to understanding the dynamics of culture and society. Storyworlds across Media explores how media, old and new, give birth to various types of storyworlds and provide different ways of experiencing them, inviting readers to join an ongoing theoretical conversation focused on the question: how can narratology achieve media-consciousness?

Go to the publisher’s website: http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/Storyworlds-across-Media,675892.aspx

Essay: against the ideology of gamification

Jeff Watson, replying to ‘How does gamification affects learning?’, wrote a strong short essay against its ideology. “When gamification is ‘successful’ (which, to be sure, it often is not), it amounts to a sleazy kind of behavioral control system. Population control is anathema to what games are, or have been, or ever will be”.

Read the full essay at http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/question/how-does-gamification-affect-learning/response/gamification-dont-say-it-dont-do-it-just-sto

Article: To Gamify Means to Make People Play

“To Gamify Means to Make People Play”. Certain words and concepts become fashionable at particular moments in time, and “gamification” is certainly a buzzword in these days. Researcher Oriol Ripoll proposes a very balanced and non-hyped article: good gamification is not necessarily aimed at making users more faithful to a brand, or at controlling their actions. It is simply about making making people play.

Read the full article at http://blogs.cccb.org/lab/en/article_gamificar-vol-dir-fer-jugar/