Posts tagged “videogames”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • What were arcades like? – This thread is making the blogosphere-rounds. The video game arcades that I and many of the posters grew up with are gone; gaming takes place in the home. But the question has produced a lot of good (if not yet thick) descriptions of the environment, the participants, and the social rules that developed. Personally, "arcade" suggests a dedicated business that would provide video games, pinball and billiards. But in high school, we would typically go to local merchants and hang out. Variety (or convenience) stores were obvious candidates, but we spent a lot of time and money in a laundromat/laundry service place. I opened my first ATM account at the bank next door and would take out $5 and get change from the laundry proprietor and play after school for a few hours. Even though we had computers at home with games on 'em, this was more fun.
  • WonderCon: Comic book subculture now mainstream – "This is popular culture now," said Ferioli, 41, of Oakland, who attended his first comic book convention in New York when he was 16. "Look at Heath Ledger winning an Oscar for playing the Joker (in 'The Dark Knight'). These things that used to be fringe are now icons. It's not a subculture, it's the popular culture."
  • Steve's photos from WonderCon 2005 – There's something utterly delightful seeing an Imperial Stormtrooper at a drinking fountain

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Wired on the big big money being made selling virtual items in online games – With about 30 workers on staff, Liu was able to keep a gold-farming setup running around the clock. While the night shift slept upstairs on plywood bunks, day-shift workers sat in the hot, dimly lit workshop, each tending three or four computers. They were "playing" World of Warcraft, farming gold at an impressive clip by hunting and looting monsters, their productivity greatly abetted by automated bots that allowed them to handle multiple characters with little effort. They worked 84-hour weeks, got a couple of days off per month, and earned about $4 a day, which even for China was not a stellar wage.
  • Wired on Ray Ozzie and cultural change at MSFT: At first, the skunk works-like nature of Ozzie's operation engendered suspicion and resentment – Previously, a big part of any development team at Microsoft was making sure its new product worked in lockstep with everything else the company produced. While that approach avoided annoying conflicts, it also tended to smother innovation. "This philosophy of independent innovation…is something Ray pushed very strongly," Ozzie's approach was to encourage people to rush ahead and build things. Then he'd have a team of what he calls the spacklers fill in the gaps and get things ready for release.
    He spent a lot of time on the physical workspace for his team. He had workers rip down the labyrinthine corridors on one floor and called in architects to create a more open design. Now, walking into the Windows Live Core group is like leaving Microsoft and visiting a Futurama set. Office windows open onto hallways so that quick eye contact can trigger spontaneous discussions. Whiteboards are everywhere. Pool tables, mini-lounges, and snack zones draw people toward the center of the space.


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