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TEDxmanchester

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  • 1. Whilst  Susan  Blackmore  provided  an  over  view  of  the  concepts  of  memes  my  aim  in   this   talk   is   is   to   consider   how   we   can   possibly   harness   the   poten:al   of   memes   to   change  society  rather  that  take  on  her  matrix  like  vision  whereby  we  all  take  the  red   pill.  My  proposi:on  is  we  do  this  by  linking  them  with  mobile  and  games   Why  Mobile?   Susan’s  view  of  the  us  becoming  Cyborg  is  already  here  we  are  already  augmented  by   our  mobile  phones.  There  are  currently  over  4  billion  phones  on  the  planet  and  whilst   four  babies  are  born  every  second  there  are  27  new  phones  manufactured   Why  games?   Although   the   economic   significance   games   has   been   acknowledged   many   of   discourses   which   s:ll   surround   them   rests   of   addic:on   and   violence   prevalent   in   certain  genres  whereas  games  have  always  embraced  a  wide  range  of  ac:vi:es  and     play  has  always  been  acknowledged  as  playing  a  significant  role  in  society.  Part  of  the   problem  appears  to  me  as  the  disassocia:on  of  games  and  play.   All   of   us   within   the   games   industry   must   bare   part   of   the   responsibility   for   this   as   we   have   failed   to   engage   effec:vely   in   these   debates   oJen   reveling   in   our   poli:cal   incorrectness  and  have  been  too  insular  and  failed  to  accept  a  broadening  of  games   and  in  some  cases  aKaching  such  ideas   To   this   end   I   have   decided   call   for   a   shiJ   in   the   paradigm   through   an   age   of   Pre-­‐ Raphaelite  gaming   1  
  • 2. Just   to   be     clear   I   was   thinking   of   the   Ar:s:c   Brotherhood   founded   in   1848   rather   than  some  veiled  reference  to  one  of  the  Teenage  Mutant  Ninja  Turtles.     Its  not  that  games  has  always  be  seen  as  separate  from  its  importance  was  realized   through  the  work  of  Huizinga  and  Callois  before  the  advent  of  computer  games.   Indeed   this   representa:on   of   the   mo:va:ons   within   a   Magic   circle   draws   directly   from  this  work.   The  Brotherhood's  early  doctrines  were  expressed  in  four  declara:ons:   1.  To  have  genuine  ideas  to  express;   2.  To  study  Nature  (LIFE)  aKen:vely,  so  as  to  know  how  to  express  them;   3.  To  sympathize  with  what  is  direct  and  serious  and  hear`elt  in  previous  art,  to  the   exclusion  of  what  is  conven:onal  and  self-­‐parodying  and  learned  by  rote;   4.   And,   most   indispensable   of   all,   to   produce   thoroughly   good   pictures   and   statues (GAMES)   These   doctrines   would   seem   a   good   place   to   start   if   we   are   to   allow   games   and   gaming  to  evolve  to  realize  their  full  poten:al   2  
  • 3. These  images  represent  examples  of  the  changing  face  of  gaming  and  each  provides   an  alterna:ve  to  the  cliqued  view  of  the  gamer  on  my  previous  slide.   Persuasive  Games  (Ian  Bogust)   Persuasive   games   influence   players   to   take   ac:on   through   game-­‐play.   Games   communicate  differently  than  other  media;  they  not  only  deliver  messages,  but  also   simulate   experiences   and   rather   than   beingjust   a   leisure   ac:vity,   games   can   also   become  powerful  rhetorical  tools.   Alternate  Reality  Games   An  alternate  reality  game  (ARG),  is  an  interac:ve  narra:ve  that  uses  the  real  world  as   a   pla`orm,   oJen   involving   mul:ple   media   and   game   elements,   to   tell   a   story   that   may  be  affected  by  par:cipants'  ideas  or  ac:ons.   Within  these  examples  I  have  purposefully  avoided  using  the  terms  ‘serious  games’  or   ‘meaningful   game’s   as   I   believe   these   terms   do   nothing   to   broaden   the   debate   and   generally  seem  to  silo  certain  genres  as  being  ‘worthy’  of  academic  study  whereas  I   believe   all   games   should   be   treated   seriously   including   the   likes   of   Call   of   Duty   or   Gears  of  War   3  
  • 4. Whilst  digital  social  networking  is  really  just  a  different  manifesta:on  of  old  behaviour   I   think   its   useful   in   rela:on   my   proposal   to   consider   it   in   terms   of   Social   Capital,   Grooming  and  Gossip   Although   discussions   of   social   capital   are   complex   and   many   defini:ons   exist   here   I   would   simply   describe   it   as   the   resources   accumulated   through   the   rela/onships   among  people.   Researchers   oJen   divide   social   capital   into   between   bridging   and   bonding   social   capital.   The   former   is   linked   "weak   :es,"   which   are   loose   connec:ons   between   individuals   who   may   provide   useful   informa:on   or   new   perspec:ves   for   one   another.   Alterna:vely,   bonding   social   capital   is   found   between   individuals   in   :ghtly-­‐knit,   emo:onally  close  rela:onships,  such  as  family  and  close  friends.     Grooming  and  Gossip  I  would  argue  go  hand  in  hand  with  these  online  rela:onships.   In   social   animals   such   as   humans   social   grooming   is   an   ac:vity   in   which   individuals   in   a   group   clean   or   maintain   each   other's   body   or   appearance.   We   seen   similar   social   ac:vi:es   in   online.   Gossip   is   not   a   trivial   pas:me:   it   is   essen:al   to   human   social,   psychological   and   even   physical   well-­‐being   and   is   oJen   regarded   as   form   of   social   grooming.   4  
  • 5. Mobile  phones  are  already  a  great  social  device  and  to  get  the  best  out  of  them  for   games  we  must  exploit  the  uniquely  mobile  experience   Ambient  Play   Ambient   play   can   be   considered   as   games   whereby   players   can   act   asynchronously   stepping  in  and  out  of  the  magic  circle  to  engage  in  other  ac:vi:es  without  detriment   to  the  game  itself.   Example  TxtBook   Emergence   An   emergent   behavior   or   emergent   property   can   appear   when   a   number   of   simple   en::es   (agents)   operate   in   an   environment,   forming   more   complex   behaviors   as   a   collec:ve.  If  emergence  happens  over  disparate  size  scales,  then  the  reason  is  usually   a  causal  rela:on  across  different  scales.   Example  Four  in  a  Row   5  
  • 6. Playces   The   big   advantage   with   mobile   is   that   players   we   can   define   new   magic   circles   in   allsorts  of  loca:ons  or  what  my  friend  and  game  designer  Steffen  Walz  calls  playces   Examples  FAM,  PAC-­‐LAN  Tilt  Racer   Intamacy   The  power  of  physical  intamcy  I  would  link  back  to  the  phsycal  grooming  previously   discused   and   whilst   mobile   may   not   immediately   appear   to     support   such   ac:vity     NFC    could  change  this.   Example  Pass  the  Bomb   6  
  • 7. Collec:ve  Intelligence   Collec:ve   intelligence   is   a   shared   or   group   intelligence   that   emerges   from   the   collabora:on  and  compe::on  of  many  individuals.  Collec:ve  intelligence  appears  in  a   wide  variety  of  forms  of  consensus  decision  making  in  bacteria,  animals,  humans,  and   computer  networks.  As  yet  we  haven't  seen  a  good  example  of  this  on  mobile  but  one   can   imagine   TwiKer   could   be   u:lized   to   create   such   a   phenomenon   if   carefully   designed  to  allow  asynchronous  play.   LOLAPPs  and  NANO   LOLAPPS   are   what   I   would   consider   as   an   evolved   form   of   the   internet   LOLCAT   whereby  people  dressed  their  cats  up  in  strange  costumes  and  took  pictures  of  them.   They  main  purpose  would  be  to  make  you  LOL  or  smile  and  are  generally  very  short   lived   pieces   of   entertainment   or   NANOFUN.   The   Apple   App   store   is   heavily   propagated   by   such   applica:ons   which   judging   by   the   volume   seem   to   be   the   most   popular.   7  
  • 8. Serendipity   Serendipity   is   the   effect   by   which   one   accidentally   discovers   something   fortunate,   especially   while   looking   for   something   en:rely   unrelated.   Mobile   phones   offer   a   unique  opportunity  for  crea:ng  serendipity.   Example  Mobslingers   Physicality   Here  I  am  using  the  concept  of  Physicality  to  describe  the  no:on  of  using  a  physical   ar:fact  to  represent  your  par:cipa:on  in  a  digital  ac:vity.   Examples  DS  BuKons,  Wii  BuKons,  3D  Glasses,  Gedda  Headz   8  
  • 9. Whilst   I   have   discussed   many   aspects   of   sociability   both   in   and   out   of   gaming   environments  I  am  conscious  that  as  yet  I    have  not  offered  a  solu:on  so  here  its  is!   Games  as  social  informa:on  appliances  capable  of  suppor:ng  or  genera:ng  memes   which  can  be  harnessed  to  produce  social  change   The   term  informa(on   appliance   (IA)   was   coined   by   Jef   Raskin   around   but   really   came   to  the  fore  in  the  work  of    Don  Norman  through  his  book  The  Invisible  Computer.  The   book   relates   to   the   increasing   complexity   and   bad   usability   of   computers   and   proposes   a   more   user   centred   design   approach   the   main   characteris:cs   of   IAs   should   be:   Simplicity:   The   complexity   of   the   appliance   is   the   task   not   the   tool.   The   technology   is   invisible   Versa:lity:   Appliances   are   designed   to   allow   and   encourage   novel,   crea:ve   interac:on.   Pleasurability:   Products   should   be   pleasurable,   fun,   and   enjoyable.   A   joy   to   use   a   pleasure  to  own.   9  
  • 10. If    rather  than  consider  games  as  isolated  services  where  we  must  supply  or  contain   all  the  social  ac:vity  and  outcomes  within  the  constraints  of  the  game  world  or  games   service  we  should  treat  them  as  social  informa:on  appliances  is  social  capital  which   can  be  fed  into  exis:ng  social  networks  to  generates  memes.   If  the  game  is  designed  cleverly  then  this  can  be  used  to  aid  social  change   In   short   if   we   can   harness   the   :me   and   emo:on   of   people   playing   games   through   mobile  and  feed  it  into  Tim  Burners-­‐Lees  primordial  internet  soup  they  maybe  we  can   change  the  world!   10  
  • 11. SCATTER!   11