When I first heard about the Battlestar Galactica board game I dismissed it as a shameless cash-in; might as well buy a Battlestar themed happy meal at McDonald’s (or, I suppose, a Starbuck themed coffee at Starbucks). I’m a big fan of the show. It was fresh and gutsy and the writing and acting were good enough [...]
Minesweeper is a wonderful game. It’s a beautiful mixture of fast reflexes, quick logic, guesswork, and general problem solving skills. In addition to being a baneful time waster, it really highlighted for me the incredible way that skill-testing games can produce an altered state of high-functioning consciousness. At a certain level of skill and familiarity with the game, it can actually transform from a linear, mechanical process into something altogether more exciting, even trancelike. Play requires all sorts of cognitive abilities from the user: deductive reasoning, spatial awareness, pattern recognition, and intuition, among other things. But the aggregation of these abilities, in combination with speed and a certain quality of – yes – mindlessness, can produce an incredible mental transformation.
Last week, I went to E3 and the differences between the three major console manufacturers could not have been more clear.
Just a quick post today on a recent revelation I had about Monopoly. In one of my earliest posts I wrote about Monopoly as a Parasite-Zombie-Hydra-Vampire-Cannibal and ended that post with the claim that Monopoly is “a shitty game”. Well now I’m not so sure. I may owe a big apology to Charles Darrow and [...]
Apple markets its iPad as “The best way to experience the web, photos and video. Hands down.” But we can do all those things just fine on a laptop, so what’s the iPad’s real raison d’être? The answer, of course, is board games. The iPad seems custom designed to lie flat on a table and [...]
Imagine a utopia in which all human needs are met and all interpersonal problems solved. In such a world, what would we do to pass the time? Three things immediately spring to mind: 1) Sex 2) Art 3) Play Three things immediately spring to mind: 1) Sex 2) Art 3) Play In his 1978 book The Grasshopper Bernard Suits addresses this [...]
Recently, a timeline detailing selected Activision/Blizzard business activities has made its way around the internet, infuriating gamers everywhere. Why?
Last week I briefly described how games and play help explain Jacques Derrida’s post-structuralist theory. This week I would like to continue on that same topic and focus on just one of Derrida’s neologisms (or, I should say, neographisms, because Derrida valued the written word over the spoken word): différance. Derrida claims that différance is [...]
Andrew, chief editor supreme of Little Bo Beep, seated on his gilded bodily evacuation receptacle and perfumed douche machine, opened yet another gaming magazine special issue devoted entirely to his blog. Yawning, he forced the magazine through an overflowing slot in the wall labelled “Celebratory Printed Materials Recycling” and deactivated the automated pedicure device and flowery scented wafting valve. He washed his hands and opened the door to the raised somatic purification facility, but not before winking slyly at the poster of John Tesh pasted on the inside of the door, and stepped down from the facility’s dais to the main floor of the Little Bo Beep headquarters.
i keep my head low when i ride on my own
Last week I discussed how Saussurean structural analysis can be understood in terms of games, and how game strategy can be understood as structural analysis. This week I would like to introduce one of the most influential and controversial philosophers of the twentieth century, Jacques Derrida, and suggest how his notoriously difficult theories can be [...]
Surely Bob Dylan never imagined his classic refrain, “How many roads must a man walk down…” being adapted to the language of video gaming, but here goes: “How many games must a man walk down, before they call him a man?” The answer is probably non-denumerably infinite, but for the sake of brevity I’ll just offer the more reasonable, and decidedly finite, 361! (factorial), which happens to be the number of possible moves extant at the beginning of a game of Go. Now rumour has it that’s a number larger than the total quantity of particles in the entire universe (a figure also exceeded by the possibilities of synaptic combinations in the brain, interestingly enough). What does this tell us?