Making Virtual Worlds: Games and the Human for a Digital Age (IDEA 2009 Presentation)

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The rise of virtual worlds (World of Warcraft, Everquest) has prompted new questions about the status of games in a digital age. Thomas Malaby’s research at Linden Lab, makers of Second Life, suggests that game design and game development practice are becoming a key part of how some high tech companies operate. Instead of relying on top-down and procedural decision-making, these organizations contrive complex and game-like systems that promise to generate legitimate decisions from the ground up

But there are ideological commitments behind these efforts, with their roots in post-WWII American ideas about technology, authority, and they include even a rather peculiar notion of what being human is all about. In this transformation of the workplace – and our online experience – the human is imagined as a gamer of a particular kind. Malaby considers what this way of thinking about the human, one that saturates many of the institutions currently architecting digital society, tells us about the changing status of technology, creativity, and authority for a digital age.

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Making Virtual Worlds: Games and the Human for a Digital Age (IDEA 2009 Presentation)

  1. 1. Making Virtual Worlds: Games and the Human for a Digital Age IDEA2009 Toronto Thomas Malaby University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  2. 2. Virtual Worlds
  3. 3. 
 World of Warcraft
  4. 4. Second Life

  5. 5. Photo by Shane Willis
  6. 6. “I was always struck by the expressive and, not so much societal elements…I didn’t go in feeling like we’re going to make people’s lives better. But I did go into it feeling like none of it was interesting unless there were a lot of people involved.” - Philip Rosedale, Founder of Linden Lab
  7. 7. Playing and Making the World
  8. 8. (pre-D7UX ;) )
  9. 9. 
 Norbert Wiener & Socio-Technical Systems
  10. 10. Stewart Brand & The Whole Earth Catalog

  11. 11. Ken Kesey & The Merry Pranksters
  12. 12. Games, Mastery, & Complex Systems
  13. 13. Homo Ludens - Man the Player
  14. 14. Homo Fabricans - Man the Maker
  15. 15. Homo Creans - Man the Creator
  16. 16. Homo Creans - Man the Creator _________________ Homo Fabricans - Man the Maker Homo Ludens - Man the Player
  17. 17. Designer/Developer _________________ Player/Users/Content Creators
  18. 18. Constant and his New Babylon -- http://members.chello.nl/j.seegers1/situationist/constant.html
  19. 19. Thomas Malaby University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee malaby@uwm.edu www.uwm.edu/~malaby Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life (June 2009, Cornell University Press)

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