Posts tagged “videogame”

ChittahChattah Quickies

Pigs Playing Video Games = Ethical Farming? [Mother Jones] – Redefining the “consumer” in consumer electronics, an interspecies game developed by a team of Dutch researchers at Wageningen University suggests that livestock may become a promising new market. Perhaps someday we will see the high scores of featured menu items alongside information about their diet and dwellings. This would, of course, suggest happy, engaged and intelligent animals, just as it indicates those characteristics in video-game playing human beings. As researchers, we must consider the evolution of our methodologies to gain insights from the porcine point of view. Kidding aside, though, they’ve produced a short video demonstrating pigs and people enjoying Pig Chase together. It’s certainly odd but also a little sweet. Kind of a high-tech remote laser pointer.

…do take a moment to appreciate this concept in humane farming: As a farmer, you’d get to play video games with your hogs, and the gameplay might actually have the added benefit of making the animal’s life happier and healthier. The system includes a giant screen that broadcasts a swirl of glittering colors and lights next to the pigpen. The human participant controls the wall-sized screen remotely with an iPad, and the pigs react by touching and following the light designs with their snouts. Clement notes that researchers hope that this will all “open up new questions in debates about animal farming and welfare in the digital age…”

State Farm: Lincoln Park’s new neighbor [Chicago Tribune] – I’ve seen versions of this brewing on whiteboards from time to time. In order to provide financial services and education, learn about their more elusive younger customers (or potential customers) and of course create exposure and build brand good-will, State Farm Insurance has built a highly designed coffee-shop/community center with a slick website to match. No State Farm insurance products are sold through the channel. Access to the space, wifi, qualified financial coaches (by appointment or walk-in), classes and other events are free. Coffee and snacks are not free. I would love to know what it took to foster this concept – open since last fall – through the State Farm organization, and how they are measuring and reporting the success of the investment.

Next Door’s financial coaches are prohibited from soliciting products or services. “A lot of people want to get help with their finances and didn’t really know where to turn,” Carter said. “So to have a very unbiased person to talk to who can’t sell you anything, people have been really open to that.” The Lincoln Park location is State Farm’s experiment to gather information about how young people manage their money. On warm days, its windows open to the street, welcoming passersby. Next Door’s casual, modern design gives it a youthful vibe: lofted ceilings with wooden rafters; sleek sofas scattered throughout; cafe treats from local companies such as Kickstand Espresso Bar, Hoosier Mama Pie Co. and Noble Tree Coffee & Tea; dry-erase boards as walls; music pumping throughout; paintings from community artists; and long tables made from 1930s wood reclaimed from a South Side factory…”We check judgment at the door. That is the No. 1 rule. You’re making the first step coming here, trying to fix whatever situation you’re in. We’re just going to help you try to improve your situation.”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Japanese cultural norms – asking about weight – Insightful little culture-clash story; an American working in Japan isn't sure how to deal with blunt (especially from the Japanese!) questions about his increasing weight
  • Clive Thomson on Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, renowned for his use of mathematical game theory models for prediction – Those who have watched Bueno de Mesquita in action call him an extremely astute observer of people. He needs to be: when conducting his fact-gathering interviews, he must detect when the experts know what they’re talking about and when they don’t. “His ability to pick up on body language, to pick up on vocal intonation, to remember what people said and challenge them in nonthreatening ways — he’s a master at it,” says Rose McDermott, a political-science professor at Brown who has watched Bueno de Mesquita conduct interviews. She says she thinks his emotional intelligence, along with his ability to listen, is his true gift, not his mathematical smarts. “The thing is, he doesn’t think that’s his gift,” McDermott says. “He thinks it’s the model. I think the model is, I’m sure, brilliant. But lots of other people are good at math. His gift is in interviewing. I’ve said that flat out to him, and he’s said, ‘Well, anyone can do interviews.’ But they can’t.”
  • New York Times Magazine on the Beatles’ Rock Band videogame – This is a fantastic article that spans many big issues: gaming, music, performance, art, history, culture, product development, authenticity, creativity, entertainment, technology. It's a must-read.
  • Brian Dettmer turns books into sculptural pieces – Contemporary visual artists see opportunity in what many bemoan as the twilight of the age of the book. John Latham (1921-2006), Hubertus Gojowczyk, Doug Beube and others have treated books as sculptural stuff. But no one whose work I have seen tops that of Atlanta artist Brian Dettmer at Toomey Tourell.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Hallmark Cards to feature licensed audio content from NBC Universal – NBC Universal has sealed a new licensing deal with Hallmark Cards that includes the use of the company's film and TV content. Sound cards from Universal films such as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Sixteen Candles" and "Jaws" will be included as well. Ditto "The Office," "30 Rock" and "Battlestar," as well as NBC News archives. Beyond cards, the deal includes "a wide range of social expression products."
  • Escapism in Minutiae of Daily Life – nice NYT review of Sims 3 – It is almost impossible to avoid the temptation to make a Sim version of yourself, either as you really are or as you wish to be. In that sense the game presents basic but important questions: What kind of person am I? What kind of person would I like to become? How do I treat the people around me? What is important to me in life? What are my core values?

    Children usually form their tentative answers to these questions without considering them explicitly. Adults, by contrast, often confront such issues, even tangentially, only in the context of intense emotional involvement, some sort of crisis or high-priced psychotherapy.

    Most video games exist to allow the player to forget completely about the real world. The Sims accomplishes the rare feat of entertaining while also provoking intellectual and emotional engagement with some of life’s fundamental questions. I love aliens and zombies, but a little reality in my gaming once in a while is not a horrible thing.

LEGO Star Wars

Doesn’t the core of Lego’s brand reside in the physical meatspace interaction with the bricks themselves? The tactile, the auditory snik? But this Star Wars Videogame recasts Lego as an aesthetic (granted, something the underground has done for many years), a style of animation, and a proxy for kid-friendly. Sure, it’ll sell a jillion units (as will anything Anakin-tastic these days) but is this good for Lego in the long, long run?


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