- Half-Real by Jesper Juul. I try hard to read game studies to – at least – understand where this area of research is coming from. Gaming has become vital to new media (and we are seeing its relationship to writing). Half-Real, though, reduces much of this study to the simplistic and obvious. A game is…. Definition is a rhetorical gesture for introduction, but at its most simplistic, it leads to boredom. For such a small book, it is slow reading. The pleasure of gaming is missing. To be fair, I’m not too far into the text; yet Steven Johnson’s understanding of gaming and the complexity of narrative is more appealing to me at this moment….how is the logic of gaming reflected in new types of meaning systems (i.e., that are themselves not games, but the products of new media). As Barthes writes about toys: “All the toys one commonly sees are essentially a microcosm of the adult world; they are all reduced copies of human objects.” The game, as type of toy, reflects the strategies and narratives we generate and encounter daily (first person motivations).
- Close-Up: How to Read the American City by Grady Clay. This is old school new media meets the urban. From 1972, Clay’s book shows its McLuhan influence – in layout, but also in conceptualization of the city. Language, emotion, space (and implicitly, technology) constitute space. “A city’s energies falter or shift gears in predictable ways and places” (42). Yes, they do. And they are unpredictable as well. Urban planning employs economic and rational rhetorics, but is swayed by the non-logical drifts, too, even if it doesn’t realize such activity takes place. Unpredictability is a reading practice too. From page 149,a photograph of a “Mini-sink on University Avenue, Gainesville, Florida.” “One of those fragments of building space exposed to every passing trash-tosser and vandal.”Â Might that be outside The Salty Dog?
November 8, 2006
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