Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Calling all gamers! Call for papers

The Canadian Games Studies Association is calling for papers for their relatively new online journal, Loading.... This special issue will showcase papers that focus on game controllers (traditional joysticks through to Wii and Air Guitar Hero human-game interfaces). For more on the call, see:

The journal is also calling for new editors and members of the board, so if you're interested, you'll find more details here:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A brief history of manga

Wired has released a nice potted history of manga. Interestingly enough, the text itself has generated interesting discussions about its reading path (which follows the traditional Japanese format of left-to-right and starting at what English speakers would refer to as the "back" of the book/comic), with some people arguing it's a needless affectation for a text written right from the start in English (i.e., not translated from Japanese) and produced for an English-speaking audience. Others argue that reading manga left-to-right and starting at the "back" is now so automatic for them that anything else would be strange. So interesting to see reading paths themselves being so hotly debated!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Two New Books in the Series

We are happy to announce the publication of two new books in our "New Literacies" series with Peter Lang.

First up we have Jonathan Paul Marshall's Living on Cybermind, which is a compelling online ethnography of the Cybermind discussion list.

Most recently we have seen the publication of Margaret Mackey's Mapping Recreational Literacies . The book comprises rich case studies of the meanings made by six adults of "American McGee's Alice".

They are very welcome additions to the series which now comprises 20 titles covering a generous range of new literacies studies. Several more titles are currently in the pipeline and we'll let you know when these come out.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Machinima Awards Europe, 2007

The awards list for this year's European Machinima Awards is out!

Best Story: The Snow Witch by Britannica Dreams (appears as a top-10 must-see video in Hancock and Ingram's Machinima for Dummies)

Best Commercial: When the Postman Spits Twice by SL-Inworld Productions

Best Technical: Machinima Island by la.interactiva

Best Experimental: Cirque du Machinima: Cuckoo Clock by Tom Jantol

Best Sound: Innocent Minds by James Dubose

Best Student: Machinima! with Officer Dan by Amorphous Blob

Best Series: The Grid Review b the ILL Clan

Best Visual Design: Stolen Life by Nanoflix Productions

Best Direction: Stolen Life by Nanoflix Productions

Best Picture: Stolen Life by Nanoflix Productions

My recommendations? "Snow Witch", "Stolen Life," "Cirque du Machinima" and "Machinima! with Officer Dan".

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Donnas play NYC and Sparks flies

Critical theory works in mysterious ways. Some years back I was spending a few days with Peter and Jenny McLaren in Los Angeles, taking coffee at The Bean, watching the Lakers in the days when they last were great, and talking Frankfurth stuff. After a day or so a second house guest, Juha Suoranta, arrived from Finland and matters digital got added to the mix. We've published Children in the Information Society by Juha and colleagues in the New Literacies series, and made a brief trip to Finland a few years back to speak at a conference. It was a great trip.

Not surprisingly, we were thrilled to be asked to go back again to speak at the New Literacies in Social Practices Seminar to be held next week. We figured it would be easier administratively to both fly out of Newark rather than me out of Montreal and Michele out of Newark. Reijo fixed the tickets and the fun began.

Within hours of the trip being planned an email feed from the Donnas arrived in my yahoo inbox announcing the release of their new album and related tour dates. I've wanted to see them play live for years now, narrowly missing them in Oz on a couple of Big Day Out occasions. So I oculdn't believe my luck when I found they were scheduled to play at the Highline Ballroom in New York City the very night before the trip to Finland. It pays to fly out of Newark, the inevitable flight delays notwithstanding. Tickets were bought online in short order.

Driving into NYC from New Jersey is easy enough after rush hour, and we arrived in time to catch the entire second act, an indie band (as the donnas and, it seems, radiohead now are, bless them) we'd not previously heard of: Donita Sparks and the Stellar Moments. Still ahead of their first full album, (we bought the EP meanwhile), they blitzed the ballroom in a kind of Blondie meets the Hives via the B52s.
They played one of the all time great sets, a class act. They were almost too good for anyone who had waited too long to see the Donnas.

Almost. The Donnas arrived right on queue and delivered to the letter. The long wait was over, but the waiting had been worth it. There is something truly uplifting about the indie spirit, and thanks to digits the lid is now off the box in a way and on a scale that are probably unprecedented. Long may it run.

Oh yeah, I got the tee shirt. Pity it's gonna be cold in Tampere.

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