Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

Category: Politics(Page 1 of 5)

Game Makers In Toronto: Attend The ArtsVote Mayoral Debate On Culture

ArtsVote!
The Toronto municipal election is happening next month and this coming Monday there will be a debate between mayoral candidates regarding support for arts and culture. Hosted by ArtsVote at the TIFF Lightbox, the candidates will answer questions from culture leaders in the city.

Each candidate will be able to discuss their plan for the future of culture in the city – and that includes games!

The best part is that the moderator is Damian Abraham from the band Fucked Up!

Date: Monday, September 29
Time: 12:00 – 2:00 PM

Location: Cinema One, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West (map)
Tickets: free general admission seating. Box office opens at 10:00 AM. Doors at 11:30 AM.

More info.

Progress is easy when we’re all working together toward something we all believe in. The ArtsVote community cares about mobilizing our collective talents, ideas, and passions for the benefit of Torontonians – and it’s not hard to see how much energy and enthusiasm the people of Toronto have for arts and culture. You can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and feel it in parks, schools, churches, community centres, alleyways, markets, sidewalks, and all kinds of other spaces around our city. So where do our municipal candidates fit into this picture? Do they believe they have a role to play in growing audiences for the arts, and encouraging cultural participation?

Check out ArtsVote!

Disclosure: I’m an ArtsVote committee member.

The Great War: 100 Years Ago Today

Today marks the 100th year since the outbreak of the Great War and I’ve spent some free time in the last few months looking into the history of the Great War. Relatedly, I’m trying to get some games about the war made. The games I’m designing are about the insanity of war and the outright bizarreness of the First World War. There are so many things about the war that strikes modern minds as outrageous or, more bluntly, stupid.  At the time, the decisions made were sensical. These are the issues I want to address.

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Along with the team at Wero Creative, we’re planning on releasing a couple short games. The first one is pretty much done, Scapa Flow (which began at a game jam), the next will be titled Trench. If possible, I would also like to address the battle of the skies and some of the political aspects of the war.

I studied the war during my undergrad and it captivated me. The mixture of new technology, outdated logistics, old customs, hubris, economic shifts, and bizarre politics created a situation that was rife for conflict. History repeats itself and today we find ourselves in a similar situation (albeit with different roles).

So here’s some research on the Great War I’ve collected over the past few months. This should give you a bit of a primer on the war as a well as good jumping-off points to get more information (this is by no means comprehensive).

Modern context

First, like most big events in history, the war still has reverberates today:

Watch and Listen

For something with a cursory and very, very, very short summary of check this video out:

Multimedia Research and Tools

The wonderful people at Zooniverse are trying their crowdsourced genius at history. They have launched Operation War Diary, which aims to transcribe and geocode the diaries of frontline soldiers.

These diaries contain the thoughts and observations of soldiers on the Western Front. They detail the location, movement and everyday activities of hundreds of thousands of individuals whose stories are otherwise unknown to us. With 1.5 million pages to go through, there are many amazing stories lying in these documents, waiting to be read.

By tagging people, places, and more on http://www.operationwardiary.org you can help our team of historians to begin to reconstruct the lives of the First World War for future generations. This is an incredibly important project and we’re very excited to be working with The National Archives and the Imperial War Museum to make it happen.

Twitter feeds:

@RealTimeWWI
@GreatWar100
@CartoonWW1

Further research

Worthwhile sites to explore for a plethora of information:

Please share more in the comments!

The Great War at Sea

This is specifically research I did for Scapa Flow.

Britain’s Surviving Warships of 1914-1918

The German Naval Blockade of World War 1

The Battleships – Jutland: Clash Of The Dreadnoughts

All About Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite
I finished Bioshock Infinite last weekend and have been thinking about it since. The game is incredibly well put together; the world and the story are both impressive. Just like the first Bioshock, Infinite shows what’s possible in narrative when it comes to the current world of games.

Obviously this post is filled with spoilers, so continue only if you’ve already played the game.

Read More

ARGs and Spying: Worlds Collide

It was only a matter of time that the world of war games delved into the world of intelligence. The American military has now expressed interest in using gaming for figuring out some aspects of human behaviour. Presently, the Intelligence Advanced Research Agency (IARPA) has a request for information for using alternate reality games (ARG) in the intelligence community. From the RFI for their experimental games:

IARPA is soliciting responses to this RFI in order to assess the extent to which Alternate Reality Environments (AREs)i, such as Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), may provide capabilities that allow for high-quality, externally valid social, behavioral and psychological research in near-realworld contexts.

Over at Wired they have some more information in context.

The intelligence community’s blue-sky researchers, the Intelligence Advanced Research Agency (IARPA), announced they’re seeking designers for alternate-reality games, or ARGs. It’s for work, they swear. The project, which goes by the name UAREHERE (as in “you are here”), “may provide capabilities that allow for high-quality, externally valid social, behavioral and psychological research in near-real world contexts,” according to a request for information released this week.

While the ostensible purpose of the game is to research human behavior, the specific intelligence function served here is a mystery. Nor does the agency specify who the players would be: The info request notes that recruiting and screening players will be a challenge. Another: determining whether an ARG would even work as a research tool, let alone how to design an ARG.

Go to the Danger Room!

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