Tag Archives: Allgemein

Hich Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese – An interactive poem

This week we were introduced to the Electronic Literature Collection. A lot of interesting elit works are presented on that website, but the work which really caught my eye was High Muck a Muck by Fred Wah, Nicola Harwood, Jin Zhang, Bessie Wapp, Thomas Loh, Tomoyo Ihaya, Hiromoto Ida, Phillip Djwa and Patrice Leung. High Muck a Muck deals with the troubles of Chinese immigrants who came to North America during the global capitalism of “Gold Mountain”.

This work is introduced as an interactive poem. If you click on images, poems, oral histories and short videos are revealed. In addition to that, Asian sounds and music in the background define the particular Chinese world and atmosphere. The recipient is free in his movements because there is no curtain way of exploring the website which means that there are no regularities for time and order what I really liked. The navigation of this work is easy and self-explaining. After a short introduction you can enter the interactive poem. Then, a text – verse by verse – appears on the screen, so the reader has to be fast because after a while the verses disappear and a game board with Chinese ideographs come into sight. Then, six blue spots, like ink stains, arranges on the board.  Hereafter a hand-painted torso appears with the same ins stains and blue lines on it. On the left corner is a book with the title “British Colombia”, on the left corner one can see the Chinese game board again. You recognize that the body seems to represent a map because if you click on the blue spots names of American cities show up: Pacific Rim, Vancouver, Richmond, Victoria  and Nelson as well as Canada and Everywhere and Nowhere.

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If you click on the lighter spots different texts come into sight, while the dark spots, the cities, new pages show up. Here you can discover more and learn a lot about the life of Chinese people during that time. Either pictures, videos or text are presented to the recipient, which makes the user experience interesting and diverse. Moreover, I really like this piece of art because of its details. One can see that the artists take care and created this work with a lot passion. The hand-painted drawings are accurate and every person and every picture is telling its own story. Below one can see some examples of Chinese people and their hopes and fears:

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All in all I have chosen this piece because you can really see the hard work of the artists who wanted to create a never before seen experience for recipients. Especially because of the use of interactive elements High Muck a Muck becomes a special and important oeuvre to get to know other cultures and learn from history.

If you are interested then check out the website and find out more, it’s totally worth it:  http://collection.eliterature.org/3/works/high-muck-a-muck/

 

Electronic Literature…

A few weeks ago we started to talk about electronic literature (#elit). But what is electronic literature and is it different to normal literature?

Electronic literature gets created on a digital device and mostly you cannot print them, so they were actually also produced just for an electronic device. Now a day books are written on laptops, but they normally get printed, just not if they only get published as E-Books. And also the genres are different. Take for example the genre “hypertext fiction”. The word hypertext gives kind of a big hint. In this electronic literature are hypertext links hidden behind some words or elements of the picture or text. Mostly there is more than one hyperlink hidden. These stories do have more than one way to end. So it depends on the reader how the story continues and ends. You cannot place hyperlinks into a printed book. But you can make some references to other thinks, like pictures or other books directly in the text.

Another genre is called interactive fiction. It is separated from all other genres. In this kind of stories, the gamer or reader still has an influence of the process. And the surrounding in the game is also descripted with words. This genre is splited up into several smaller genres. The most common are text-adventures, multiple-choice adventure and Japans adventure. This types can also include elements of the roleplaying genre.

Kinetic-Poetry is also a genre of electronic literature. It is kinetic because some elements of the text can move. They are sliding from one side to another, or they keep turning. Everything is possible. The only thing which is not possible is that you cannot print them.

These genres and also some more are represented on the website of the Electronic Literature Organisation (ELO).
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This organisation is a non-profit organisation and they have already published the volumes of electronic literature. They have plenty of sponsors, for example the University of Bergen and the University of Dundee supported the second volume. The University of California supported the first volume.

The first volume was published in 2006 and it has about 70 titles. The second was published in 2011 and has about 60 titles. The third and news one hast about 115 titles and got published in 2016.

 

 

So it is perfect if you are interested to get some more information about electronic literature and if you want to read some more.

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

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This time I am going to tell you something about the story “Hobo Lobo of Hamelin” which was written and created by Stefan Živadinović. He is fromSan Antonio, Texas, United States.It was published in the year 2011 and you can find it in the third volume of the Electronic Literature Collection. It is translated into English, Spanish and French. It seems like the story is kind of related to the German legend of “Pied Piper of Hameln/Hamelin (Der Rattenfänger von Hameln)”. This legend was created by the brothers Grimm. It says that once upon a time a man in colourful clothes came to the city Hameln which had a huge problem with rats. He made the promise that he will get rid of the rats when he gets paid properly. So he was walking around in the city, playing his flute and the rats were following him. And he killed all of them in a river. But the citizens did not want to pay him anymore when he came back. So he left and after some time, when all the adults were in the church he came back to the city, playing his flute and all the children where following him. He leaded them into the mountains and they were never seen again. Right now the story is about seven pages and each page has several steps. From four until seventeen. With each step the picture moves a little bit more to the right and a new part of the story is shown. Some things are popping up and some things are hidden after the step and the text beneath the picture is changing. To get to the next step you can ether swipe with your fingers across the mousepad or you can press on the numbers on the upper part on the screen. Here you can choose between the single step on the page but also the pages itself. So the first think that you are looking at when you are switching the pages is the comic and afterwards you go down to the text. Than you look up to the pictures again to see how the picture and the text fits together. The keywords for this story are hypertext, HTML and comics.

On page one you get introduced to the city “Hamelin” which has some issues concerning rats. The major is very worried about that especially because of the upcoming re-election. He goes to see a psychic which tells him to hire a professional to get rid of the rats.
The people on the first page are mostly painted yellow and the background is purple. You see kids playing on the street quite next to the rats, which are having arguments and fights.

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On the second page a wolf named Hobo Lobo comes to the city. He is a professional and helps all the citizens of Hamelin to solve their problems. One day the major steps forward and promises him a lot of money if he takes care of rats. The comic is interactive with the story. Especially when it comes to parts when figures are talking. Sometimes you can see what they really think or how they feel better in the drawing than thru the words. The third page shows how Hobo Lobo leads the rats out of the city. This one has some multimodal elements. You have to turn on the volume so you can listen to the song. You also have to do that on the page seven which is not finish yet, like the whole story is still on a progress. At the end of page three Hobo Lobo kills all the rats. On the next page it is shown that the city is free of rats and kind of happy now. Than Hobo calls the major of Hamelin to get his money, but he will not get it. He goes back to the city and tries to talk to the major but he kicks him out of the house. That is already on the page five. On page six you see the major in an interview and he says that the world is dangerous. And you have to take care of your beloved. Hobo is listening to that on the radio. On the last part of the comic you see something like church on the left side and on the right side you see a shadow of a wolf killing a child. Beneath the drawing are the words “more to come…”

As you can see it is kind of the same story so far. But it has a new title, a new layout and it is also turned into a modern way. Especially the text has changed concerning the words which are used.
And this is the link to read the whole story: http://hobolobo.net

 

 

Elit

Time goes by so fast… and here we are: #netnarr part 3 has started – Electronic Literature you are more than welcome! Even if I really enjoined our discussions and lectures about Digital Art and Video Games, I have to confess that I was truly looking forward to this exciting topic.

The reason is simple, because Elit – as it’s also called – is just such an interesting field which combines literary effusions with digital opportunities that make the work of an artist vitalizing and interactive. In short Elit is literature which connects with the computer and network so the recipient has the possibility to interact with the artist’s work. Therefore Electronic Literature has a participatory character, because the recipient has more options to get in touch with the medium. This medium – for example a fictional text or a poetry – has a multimodal expression, because it can be accentuate with graphics, animations other visual elements as well as several sounds as music or voices. These elements can guide the recipient and influence him in a certain direction. Or they can motivate him to explore this work of art individually without or at least with less targets. This is mainly related to the different forms and genres of Elit. One of those are Hypertext Fiction, Generative Fiction, Locative Fiction, Kinetic Poetry as well as Interactive Fiction. Below you can see one example for Interactive Fiction which is called Redridinghood by Donna Leishman from 2001.

 

This work starts with a red screen with gritty music in the background. The recipient has to click with the mouse curser around the screen to explore more. The first steps are clear, because there is just one possibility to choose. But after that a city with several skyscrapers with many dark windows appears. In one of those windows is light and you can go inside. You can see a girl in a red shirt –  Redridinghood – with another woman who gives her a basket. Then a short movie shows Redridinghood leaving the city and going to the forest, meeting a scowling boy who seems to be the wolf. Another scene appears and you can see the wolf again who is going inside the grandmother’s house. Then Redridinghood is coming to the house as well and finding the wolf laying in her grandmother’s bed. The screen changes and now Redridinghood is laying in the bed with a big belly. Thereupon another man who is holding a gun appears and checking for Redridinghood. Then the screen turns black – so it’s an open end – and the recipient stays in the dark.

I like this new version of Redridinghood, because the story is transferred to the present age with all its realities and uncomfortable truths. The scenery is gritty and kind of ghoulish which is stressed by the music and the characters. Furthermore the recipient can interact with the work and create his own, individual perception of this old, classic fairytale. Especially the exploration in the city makes this version of Redridinghood  new and unique. So if you move with the mouse curser along the dark windows, they become colorful. Some of them are interactive and you can go inside and find out who is living there and figure out the cruel truth that is happing behind closed doors.

In my opinion this work is a creative, unconventional transformation of an old tale and an interesting piece of literature. A lot of the shown scenes are still a secret to me, because it didn’t become totally clear and in the end I have still a lot of questions. Therefore this work is thoughtful and challenging as one expect from sophisticated literature.

„The Sims“

So last week I have told you a little bit about the different gaming genres. Thus, that this week I am going to tell you something about my favourite game and it is called THE SIMS. The game belongs to the genre “simulation”. The publisher of this game is EA Games (Electronic Arts) – one of the leading gaming companies. In this game you can control several persons of every age, only prerequisite is that you must have at least one adult. At the beginning of the game you must create your own “Sim©”. You can for example decide which colours and form his hair, eyes, head and body have. But you could also choose how the character of your sim should be and what his life goal is. After you have finished creating your Sim© you can decide to move it into a furnished house, a non-furnished house or you could buy some land to build your own house on.
It all started with the first version of the video game which was called “The Sims”. It was published in the year 2000 and was almost the first video game of this kind of simulation. Only a few months later EA-Games published the first extension package, it was named “linin´ large”. EA-Gamed published seven extension-packages in only three years. The last one was published in November 2003. But it did not even take one year until the sequel “The Sims 2” was published. That was in September 2004.  The second „Sims Game“ has eight extension-packages, but that is not all. In this version they have accessory-packages as well. In total there are eleven of these packages. A main difference between this two versions is the graphic but the design as well. This you can already see if you compare the two photos below.

But there are also some other functions which have been developed, like the options how your Sim© can look and what you can do with him. This changed again in the year 2009 when “The Sims3” was published. A huge different to the earlier mentioned versions is that you can walk around freely in the city. Normally you always had to take a car or a bicycle to get to a difference place. This version has eleven extension-packages and it also have about nine accessory-packages. But the most special thing about that version is that you can also play it on a PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii and on a Xbox360. You could only play the other versions on a computer. The versions for the different consoles were published in 2010. And then in the year 2014 EA-Games published “The Sims 4”. In this version the producers of the game concentrated on the emotions and expressions of the Sim©. Nearly everything, like environment and the Sim around the main Sim can influence it. This version has already four extension-packages. And it also has a different new feature which is called GamePlay-Packs. This is a mixture between accessory-packages and extension-packages. One special point of the GamePlay-Pack is that you can not buy them in the normal shop. You are only able to download them online.

So, this was a short introduction of the Game-Serier SIMS. If you are more interested in this game, you should check out this YouTube video:

#texttransformations

Last Tuesday our #netnarr class was invited to Mia Zamorra’s installation in the Humanities Library at UiB. The sculptural installation which was called #texttransformations, invited the recipient to explore the development from analogue to digital forms of literacy. For this reason, several items were presented which took the audience back into another time. Into a time where typewriters and card catalogs were conventional objects, which could not be missed in a library. Things which are gone for many, many years, so it is not surprising, if kids from nowadays just know those from historical movies. The reason is simple, because those things were banished by digitalization and the data networks.

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But the installation was not only made for our eyes, but also for our other senses. Thus, the recipients got the possibility to interact with the exhibition. Hot spots with QR-Codes, which were spread around the room, could be discovered by the audience by using their phones. These codes could open either videos or text on their browsers. One of the examples one can see below:

 

Furthermore an interesting part of the installation was the decoration with red strings which were hanging above the objects. In addition to that, book cards were hanging from the strings and were also lying on the floor. So the recipients got the impression of leaves which were falling from the trees. They were a perfect metaphor for the whole theme. Literacy is a network which is based on past insights and stories. It connects the past and the future, as well as analogue and digital forms of expression, because if old things go, new things can appear on the surface.

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All in all I really enjoined this interactive experience, especially because we recipients were a part of the installation itself. We had the possibility to tinker a little bit around and explore new things. Beyond that, we had to use our cell phones to find out more, which is an authentic and appropriate medium to represent the impact of digitalization to literacy.  

 

 

Short introduction of some game-genres

The probably most common gaming genres are action, action-adventure, adventure, role-playing, simulation, strategy and sports. Obviously there are a lot more genres, but it would take way to long to list them all. I will give you some main informations about some of the genres in following blog-post.

The first genre I am going to talk about is the “action”-genre. This kind of games promotes physical challenges such as eye-hand coordination. You also need some motor-skills to solve the tasks which are given in the games. Normally the gamer can control everything in the game. This genre covers all games which involves physical challenges.

“Action-adventure” is the second genre that I am going to shortly introduce to you. The aim of this kind of game is to overcome a long-term obstacle. To deal with this you need some skills or tools that you have collected earlier in the game. To overcome the main obstacle you have to deal with some smaller problems during the game. As the name of this genre already says it is a kind of a mixture between action-games and adventure-games.

So I have already started to mention the “adventure” genre. I am going to continue with that one. This kind of games are some of the earlies creations. The genre got his name because of the game “adventure” which was developed in the 1970s. You could easily make the same mistake like I did and think that games like this are similar to adventure movies. They are not. They do not have a real story or content. And they also do not have any reflex challenges or action. Normally you have to solve problems like puzzles or something similar by interacting with people but also with the environment.

A quite common genre is the “role-playing”. Mostly you have to take the figure of an “adventurer” who has specific skills. These skills could be everything. You could turn into a magician or an extreme strong human. But you could also turn into an elf or even into an orc. Sometimes you are able to switch the characters during the game. Through the game you mostly have to fight against some creatures which are protecting places where you have to get to solve the level.

The next genre which I am going to introduce is the “simulation”-genre. As the name simulation already says does this kind of games shows you simulation of the real life or fictional reality. They are also used in the education, for example of pilots or air traffic controllers. They are using the simulations to get used to the situations on an airport or in the air. So this kind of “computer games” has actually a functional aspect for the society as well.

The last two genres I am going to show to you are called “strategy” and “sports”. I think that the name of the genre describes itself pretty good. It deals with different types of sport like soccer, rugby or nearly every other kind of sport. And strategy games are self-explanatory as well I guess. To solve this kind of games you have to figure out which way the best is to get through the game. It is a logical game and you can mostly play it together with other gamers all over the world.

So this was just a short introduction to some genres of games. But if you are really interested in this you can follow the website http://netnarr18.miazamoraphd.com. At the moment wire talking about the history of computer games but also about the different types and a lot more. So feel free to have a look.

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The History of Video Games (Part I)

So now we have completed our second week of video games in #netnarr. Therefore it’s definitely time to take a look at the history of video games*:

  • 1940 – One of those milestones was the first computer which played the traditional game Nim, designed by Edward U. Condon.
  • 1950 – Ten years later Claude Shannon and the famous Alan Turing created the first chess program for a computer.
  • 1955 – With Hutspiel the era of video war games It was a game which was common for the cold war, because the players represented the protagonists NATO and Soviet Union.
  • 1961 – This concept was also used in a computer simulation game of the Raytheon Company, which was first too complex for the consumers, so the company created an easier version, which was called Grand Strategy. Over the next years further war games like Spacewar and STAGE were also able to win the market.
  • 1966 – Ralph Baer had the idea of playing a video game on a television. One year later he developed a game called Brown Box which gave players the possibily to play tennis and other games. Two years later the first home video game system was launched, which was based on his designs.
  • 1972 – The legendary Pong was born. This famous video game was developed by Nolan Bushnell and Al Alcorn, but it was Willy Higinbotham, who invented the first video tennis game, which had a huge impact of Pong. Three years later after the launch of Pong, Atari introduced their first home version.
  • 1977 – Five years later Atari released the first Video Computer System, a home console, which was known as Atari 2600 and included “a joystick, interchangeable cartridges, games in color, and switches for selecting games and setting difficulty levels”. After that one can truly say, that Atari and Nolan Bushnell were the first who made a lot of money with video games.
  • 1978 – Other pioneering video game was Space Invaders 220px-Space_Invaders_flyer,_1978.jpg by the Japanese company Taito. The inventor Toshihiro Nikishikado didn’t want humans to shoot against humans as it was common in the usual war games. So he decided to create monsters.
  • 1980 – Finally the one and only Pac Man was created by the company Namco. The developer Toru Iwatani said later, that he was inspired by a missing slice of a pizza. The game was different than the others, because it was more colorful and not pessimistic like the war games or violent, shooting games. Therefore it was also suitable for girls and  couples.
  • 1981 – The brilliant Shigeru Miyamoto invented Donkey Kong. Moreover Jumpman, better known as Mario, had his first appearance in this game. Later on Mario became a star in his own video game The Super Mario Brothers.

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As you can see, it took a long time before video games become what they are today. A lot of inventions and ideas were necessary and especially a few brave, creative developers were needed to revolutionize the industry.

* http://www.museumofplay.org/about/icheg/video-game-history/timeline

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Last but not least I want to call attention for the game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, which was presented by my classmate Rikke this week. This game totally changed my point of view on video games. The story of this game was really powerful and emotional and gave you so much more than just enjoyment. It motivated the player to think about schizophrenia and mental disorder, because you truly felt the feelings of the character. You could experience her life instead of just hearing about it. This game is the perfect example of an added value that video games have over other media.

 

Video Games

AAA, RPG, DRM or MOBA – I had no idea what we were talking about, when we had started our second phase of #netnarr. Yes, I really felt like a noob (haha), but for real gamers it was like their second mother tongue. And here we are: Welcome to the next chapter: video games!

„… A game is a system in which players engage in artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.“
–  Salen & Zimmerman, Rules of Play

But even if I’m not a specialist when it comes to video games I think it is still an important topic in the field of digital genres. Additionally, several disciples like the anthropology, sociology, psychology, educational science as well as media and communication sciences have all their own perspective. Therefore it has great relevance in research, although it is heavily criticized in science. Namely, studies could prove that video games cause deadening, overweight, reading and attention deficit, sleep disorder and mental enfeeblement especially to children and adolescents.

Thus, there is always a discussion between researchers, if video games effects violence or not. Despite, or perhaps because of that video games are of special interest for science and research. Accordingly, it is interesting to take a look closer to the impact of video games, because beside the risks of gaming there is also potential.

One of those potentials for educational science for example are learning games which are really popular these days, because children grow up with digital things around them and that’s why there are used to it. Besides, studies could prove that particular games can increase the memory capacity of children, because some games have complex structures where you have to solve tasks and problems. In addition, video games can help kids to read faster, because sometimes you get instructions from the characters in the game. All in all the gamers have to search, negotiate and try different approaches to advance which can improve their planning and problem solving skills.

And also from the perspective of psychology it is interesting to explore this field, because then you have a better understanding for the motifs and needs of gamers. So the question is: What is the motivation? Is it the sense for competition? Gratification?  Or the human urge for collecting things?

Moreover, a researcher from the communication science is more interested in the interactivity between gamers, as one can see online in multiplayer games. How does the communication work? How do the gamers participate? What is the difference between online and offline?

But video games are not only important for science and research. They are also relevant for the whole society, as you can see if you take a look on human history. Humans like to play games and they are willing to pay a lot of money for that as several game productions prove. Therefore video games are no longer just childish free time activities, but a social phenomenon that needs to be explored.

 

#SelfieUnselfie

The first picture is a typical selfie I would post on social media like intstagram. My hair is done, I’m wearing makeup and I’m ready to go out. I’ve used a filter to make the colors brighter and to let me look prettier. I look happy and the picture implies: I will have a good night! And that is how the world should see me. But I’m so much more than this…

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I’m so thoughtful and pensive – sometimes more then I should, because I’m always worried about something. This is what you can see in the second picture that was taken by one of my friends during a hike. I don’t care about how I look like and what other could think about me. I’m just enjoying the moment… this beautiful nature and how lucky I’m to be here.

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