Etech Presentation

So, when I first tapped this into Ecto a few days ago, I had just given my talk at O’Reilly Etech on Pervasive Electronic Games. I was burning a few minutes before the EFF presentation and jammed it in, went to upload a PDF of my slides and I couldn’t create a new directory on my server. I tailed /var/log/messages and saw a bunch of disk errors. Erra.. Long story, short ext3 was buoyant enough to keep enough integrity, more-or-less, to keep me humming long enough to do a fresh backup, but I basically spent two days rebuilding my system. Horrid. It’s behind me, now.

(Thank you Timo for the use of a few of your lovely photos!)

The final title that I tossed together shortly before the talk was Pervasive Electronic Games: Theory Objects For Social Play.

Terribly fun presentation to give, if a bit unnerving given the brains in the audience. My main point was to figure out how to describe pervasive games as a way of creating, understanding and researching social interactions and the relationship between we and the worlds we inhabit.

What was I trying to say?

* Games are theory objects that can reveal and shape human interaction rituals

* Games can be an approach to research as a way to understand and create new kinds of social practices

* Games can become ways to knit together, create and play with social formations

* Games are (also) about reworking our expectations about social behavior and conformity

* Games can be casual play

* Games do not have to emphasize complicated “cool”, but ultimately illegible technologies

* Consider it a game design challenge to work below normative, existing technology “high-bars”

* Seamfulness — Matthew Chalmers, et. al.’s approach to confronting the pot-hole strewn mobile networks — is the design approach to consider creating pervasive networked experiences. The frustration induced by but one network failure is enough to sully even the most beautiful game.

* Get us to look at the “real” inhabited world in new ways

* New perspectives lead to new considerations as to what goes on in the world and how
we can make the world more habitable and sustainable.

I demo’d Clckr!..and it worked for a bit, then blew up because I’ve never tried it with more than 2 people at once. But, it worked for a minute, despite the shoddy network at the conference. And when 30 people dialed in, it kinda balked. Given that I haven’t provisioned the tech for more than a few people, that’s actually encouraging!

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