Gaming & Internet Culture; A Multi-sensory Experience

A friend put it perfectly in a tweet just the other day:

I feel like this encapsulates my feelings towards both of those things. As you’ve probably seen in my past blogs I really like the culture of the internet, even the dark bits of it. It makes for a psychology that’s so chaotic yet colourful and beautiful at the same time. Hence why I enjoy YouTube Poops so much; they offer a succinct, humorous, and accessible way of defining the environment of the internet.

I feel the same toward gaming for similar reasons, yet quite different reasons. Modern video games are a truly magnificent amalgamation of past mediums. Elegantly weaved together they don’t only tell stories of characters, but of entire worlds, and galaxies. They offer a space to explore, not simply a narrative to obediently follow along. Video games create a space for a player to have their own take on the world, or completely submit to it’s rules in an act of roleplaying.

Continue reading

Personalised Newspaper; Pocket

I started using this service earlier in the week, but it ties in directly with some of the stuff we discussed in the symposium, namely Digitalisation, availability of content and the long tail, and hence the negation of scarcity – a recurring theme in the course.

Pocket is simply a service that aggregates media you want to view later. For example, I access 95% of the news I read via twitter. If I see a news report on Australian politics that I want to read later on, I’ll right click the link and add it to my queue of media. I can then access the queue at any time in the future to read at my leisure, usually when I have more time to read the article at a good pace.

This is great news for me specifically, or pretty much anyone to gets distracted easily. Rather than think, “I really should read that news article now, or I’ll forget about it later.” Pocket offers it’s service to bookmark those media in a succinct fashion, which makes it far easier to tuck things away for later.

What this creates is a digital, fully personalised newspaper. I highly doubt any person in the world who buys newspapers regularly reads every single article, commercial, classified, and comic strip. There is always something in the papers that isn’t of interest to that one individual, so those parts can essentially become waste. Being able to pick and choose the media – and I feel I should point out any kind of media, not just print – you want to view is nothing short of wonderful.

This is what Digitalisation of content allows for. Without physical or geographical restraints I end up with a publication of sorts that is personalised, globally aware, and accessible at any time from any place (with an internet connection, which is basically everywhere). As Adrian elaborated on in the symposium, scarcity is an outdated concept when it comes to anything digital so the idea that I have to jump onto an article before it’s sold out is silly; digital media will always be available (given the source is not isolated and not removed entirely).

On an interesting side note Adrian also explained the digital world – namely the internet – is not strictly intangible and in fact does take up it’s own physical space in the form of electrons, where if you weighed the entire internet’s physical electrical presence would weigh about 50 grams or the weight of a strawberry.

Genesis of the Internet

This was quite a humbling piece to read. To think that only 20 something years ago a system that I spend a vast majority of my time engaging with was still a concept being flogged to the general public to be met with some doubt.

I spend virtually (literally) all of my time on the Internet (or the World Wide Web as I believe is properly denoted as) and to see a book written about it’s basic function during a time prior to it’s existence is fascinating. I, somewhat jokingly somewhat seriously, claim the Internet as my homeland because in terms of the eclectic nature of my knowledge and interests I seem most influenced by it’s inter-connected nature as a person. My favourite media is produced solely for distribution over the World Wide Web and I revere it as the most useful tool in my life for essentially any activity.

This reading starts off with a preamble explaining to the reader how to engage with the book in a way that best emulates HyperText (and subsequently HyperMedia) in that it is interconnected. The document states that some readers may not understand it, and some may do, and reading that now sounds very strange indeed. Of course I know how HyperText works (or in a more modern way, Hyperlinks)! Why would I need that explained to me?

This shows the drastic changes in perspective we have in today’s society compared to back then in the late 80’s. How awful it must have been to lack an automatic hierarchy of filing web pages and media over a global network. How terrible to have had to buy music in person and physical form, as well as books, photographs, or any medium! What an absolute nightmare to have had to manually arrange and organise file structures so that another user wouldn’t be hopelessly lost trying to locate a single file (although, that can still be a problem, I don’t get why some people can’t use proper file naming and saving techniques).

In terms of Design Fiction, like the other reading for this week, this is precious context for a network we now take for granted. We expect free Wi-Fi with our large fries or latte nowadays, else find yourself lunching in some primitive food establishment. Of course it doesn’t have quite the same foresight as the 1945 design fiction example, but the ‘what if’ situation of an interconnected network is, independently, a simple concept. Immensely useful, but simple. Fast forward ten, twenty years and the growth is mind blowing.

‘Blogs in Media Education’

Listening music, because what’s a blog without sharing stuff I like. Don’t worry, it won’t always be metal, my musical tastes are eclectic to say the least.

Before I really respond to this particular reading I wanted to remark at how transparent the course’s intentions and material is. Rarely do students even ask (me included) why we study or learn a particular thing, let alone the teacher directly explaining why. I love to see such a straightforward and, really, honest way of delivering the course’s content. Continue reading

I Bought a Communication Device, on a Communication Device

I bought a new mobile phone online last week, as is quite common nowadays. You can buy virtually anything online, given you can afford the extortionist international shipping, and it occurred to me after my lavish purchase that I just bought a device I’ll eventually use for communication, on a platform deigned for communication. It was an odd moment of clarity in the modern world.

It was amusingly ironic, but fascinating at the same time, that we can basically reach out to any built up area of the world and buy something with money that’s now mostly digital in nature (and, really, doesn’t exist in traditional terms, but that’s another discussion for another day). Not only is it amazing, but it’s unbelievably convenient. Harking back to what Adrian mentioned in the first ‘Unlecture’ about how rapidly technology has evolved since the 80’s, we now have a luxury of communication and economy that would have been thought inconceivable 50 years ago. You could have probably ordered for something to be delivered in the mid-20th Century I’m sure, but those purchases would have been much more scarce and much more thoughtful, as opposed to today where I can order a gummy bear weighing 5 pounds<> on a whim. 

You can update your mobile phone credit, organise your imaginary money, communicate, all of that internet stuff. It was really simply a moment of realisation of what it means to live in the modern first world, and how trivial geographic distance is now.