Hang All The Critics: Towards Useful Video Game Writing

Jonathan McCalmont @ 18-01-2012

 

  1. The Problem

It does not take a genius to realise that the world of video game reviewing is completely and utterly fucked. Their reputations sullied by an endless cavalcade of scandal and stupidity, video game reviewers routinely find themselves in the impossible position of having to balance the financial requirements of their publishers with the (frequently unreasonable) expectations of their audience, all the while striving to be completely objective, irreproachably fair, amusingly articulate and uncommonly insightful. Frankly, nobody could satisfy all of these demands at once — and, even if they could, I doubt that anyone would care. The age of the critic has now well and truly passed. Continue reading “Hang All The Critics: Towards Useful Video Game Writing”


Academia brings Wikipedia in from the cold

Paul Raven @ 22-03-2011

Better late than never – via BoingBoing, The Beeb reports that Imperial College London is finally bowing to the inevitable as it stops warning students off of using Wikipedia for research and instead sets out methods for using it properly:

“The issue of how it’s used needs to be explored, it’s the most widely-used resource among students,” says Mr Patel, a medical student at the university.

“Wikipedia is here to stay – it’s a question of whether we come up to speed with it or try to ignore it.”

Mr Patel says he wants to co-ordinate the way pages are edited by students and staff and to make the most of Wikipedia, rather than pretend it’s not there.

“Students know there is an inherent unreliablity, as it’s open edited. We’re not trying to hide that.

“But it’s a place where you can orientate yourself when you start a topic.

“The quality has improved and the readability is often second to none,” he says.

But Mr Patel says there is a real gap in knowledge about how this free resource is being used.

Rather than swapping anecdotes about the use of Wikipedia, he says his group wants to move to a more evidence-based discussion about the place of Wikipedia in universities.

Evidence-based discussion, eh? In academia? Someone fax the creationist biology departments, stat!

In the meantime, if you’re doing some research with Wikipedia as a starting point you might want to take a look at TheFullWiki, which appears to be an online service that uses Wikipedia as a baseblock for building topic trees and sourcing citations. [via Lifehacker, who are still on linkback probation until Gawker provide links that actually guarantee to take you to the article they purport to describe]


Anthologize: plugin exports WordPress blogs as ebooks

Paul Raven @ 04-08-2010

Here’s a heads-up for fellow webzine editors and publishers, fiction writers publishing their own work online, and other interested (or indeed interesting) parties: the Anthologize plugin for WordPress generates EPUB, PDF and “other mobile formats” from content stored on the blog in which it is installed. Dan Cohen, head of the team that produced it (in just a week, no less, using a funding grant from the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University) explains in a bit more detail:

[This plugin] converts the popular open-source WordPress system into a full-fledged book-production platform. Using Anthologize, you can take online content such as blogs, feeds, and images (and soon multimedia), and organize it, edit it, and export it into a variety of modern formats that will work on multiple devices. Have a poetry blog? Anthologize it into a nice-looking ePub ebook and distribute it to iPads the world over. A museum with an RSS feed of the best items from your collection? Anthologize it into a coffee table book. Have a group blog on a historical subject? Anthologize the best pieces quarterly into a print or e-journal, or archive it in TEI.

[…]

I suspect there will be many users and uses for Anthologize, and developers can extend the software to work in different environments and for different purposes. I see the tool as part of a wave of “reading 2.0″ software that I’ve come to rely on for packaging online content for long-form consumption and distribution, including the Readability browser plugin and Instapaper. This class of software is particularly important for the humanities, which remains very bookish, but it is broadly applicable. Anthologize is flexible enough to handle different genres of writing and content, opening up new possibilities for scholarly communication.

So, obviously intended for a userbase of humanities academics, but this could be a real kick-start for us fiction webzine types to start reaching out to the ereader audiences on a webzine budget*. All I need now is a few extra hours in every day of the week to investigate it further… *sigh*

Hopefully some smart people will retool it for some of the other open-source CMS platforms as well. I could very easily and quickly find a use for a ModX version….

[ Hat-tip to Alex “Xander” Ingram, Third Row Fandom’s in-house ebooks boffin. Big up yerself, Xander, and thanks for the notification. 🙂 ]

[ * Webzine budget (compound noun, colloquial) – (1): small change and used paperclips. ]


New MMO character type: the sociologist

Paul Raven @ 10-05-2010

I’ve been chattering on about the sociology of the metaverse for what feels like yonks (and long since it stopped being a trending topic), but academic interest in synthetic worlds and virtual realities shows no sign of abating, according to Ars Technica‘s round-up of recent MMO-related papers, journals and real-money research grants [via Nick Harkaway].

Give it a few more years, and there’ll be embedded ARG/MMO anthropologists. That’s the year you’ll see me heading back into the education system… 🙂