Saturday, October 07, 2006

UCLA lectures online / game patches

Recently I came across UCLA Design Media Arts lecture series 'Games People Play'. UCLA has kindly videoed all the lectures and put them to the web. The reason I found that website was (googling and) my interest towards game patches (wads, add-ons, mods, misuse, hacking, skins...). A couple of posts back I wrote briefly about 'lead user/chasm' theories and the ways users' innovativeness has been supported e.g. in digital games.

"Patches range from a simple repair of a programming bug to intricate new game scenarios, replacing the characters, sounds, architecture and/or game challenges in the original games."

UCLA's lecture series is actually about games and art. (In 2005) they had really nice range of artists talking about their game related works. I think game patches can also be a work of art even though Anne-Marie Schleiner or other well known patch theorists/artists were not lecturing this time. Ms Schleiner is one of the 'patch art' pioneers. She collected an online art show of video game patches Cracking the Maze in 1999. ''More and more artists are becoming aware of the tools available to them offered by game software" (Schleiner 1999).

Chris Crawford blame current digital games for their uninnovativeness. Perhaps user innovations and game patches could enrich the scene of commercial digital games as well? And besides patches some sort of demo scene still exists, machinima is an upward trend and mod's are current state of the art. There are also some university seminars where modding has been under the loupe.

In my opinion social media&games and web2.0/mobile2.0/game2.0 what-ever is the future of digital content. I hope web2.0 developers understand the lessons to be learned from digital games. Games have been 'open' and user-created from the beginning. In the 1980s there was a direct connection between game studios and gamers (gamers provided ideas to developers), MUDs were user innovations from the beginning and currently there are various toolkits and editor software available also for non-programmers.

Check Arstechnica's article: Are player-driven games the future of digital gaming?

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