Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year 2008!

Stylish and funny advertisements and signs from Lusaka.

"[Death] watch repair" on the wall of a building which was never finished.


At the Photo Space 2000 they do not only take your wedding picture, they also provide a wedding dress (for free)!
Boom is best for Whites [musungu].
Some of you might remember Nokia N-Gage side talking but what do you say about "hair talk"!
Happy New Year! Enjoy and focus on things that matter!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mobile-geeky-localized-immersive entertainment

Nice report from Nokia: Future of Entertainment - global study.

Method:
- 9 000 consumers (16 - 35 year olds)
- 17 correspondents from The Future Laboratory’s LifeSigns Network
- 10 experts

* Data collected July-September 2007
* Report out November 2007

The report has defined and described the trends related to future of entertainment. The future of entertainment is digital, mobile, geeky, immersive, local(ized), ... Actually there are several interesting findings and "most popular" lists for those who are after some views and ideas of the future of (mobile) entertainment. It was interesting to notice that WoW is not on the list of virtual worlds (probably due to Nokia's definition / exclusion) and that Flickr is not until at the third place.

But instead of giving a summary, it would be more useful to read it through from your own viewpoint and draw own conclusions.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

IMGA 2007 awards

IMGA 2007 Nominees has been published. It's good to see positive (graphically, technically, conceptually) improvement in mobile games. Mobile games might not yet be on the same level as for example Silent Hill Origins for PSP which was what I did last weekend. Finns can read my review from Tilt.tv and others should just try it out - it is scary ;) Anyhow, it is excellent to see how mobile phone has more and more efficiently been utilized as a gaming platform.

It is also good to see an "edugame" Doggy Spanish by Come2us on the list.



That game reminded me of Vilja Helkiö's diploma work Katakana Challenge at Helsinki University of Art and Design. Katakana Challenge is a funny game to teach Japanese Katakana words.

Edugames of some sort were weird-marginal-odd sort-of-games for a long time. At first they were about mixing 60% of this (information) and 40% of that (fun) or adding some humorous twist to education. Nope, that did not worked too well. Luckily current edugames (if I can call them that?) are more about putting information into playful (fun, "gamish") frames. It works nicely as you can see from Doggy Spanish or Katakana Challenge. These types of games might be reality in some sort of education already after a couple of years!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Grannies into games in the US

According to an NPD Group study, 63 % of the US population plays videogames. HC gamers are still males ages 18-34 although "casual games" are somewhat changing the focus.

"Of the people who said they played videogames, 30 % claimed to have played more frequently this year than last, with 40 % spending about the same amount of time playing games each year. The majority of gamers claimed that they saw playing videogames as a way to relieve stress. Both "light" and "heavy" gamers valued gaming as a family activity". (From Gameindustry.biz)

I wonder how the definition of a game has changes within few years due to SNS and other internet-related trends, entertaining game-like applications, advergames etc. How should we define or sort games into various categories? Who defines a game; the player or the designer/industry? Hard core or casual gamer? Is this relevant anymore?

What definitely is interesting is that there is not a clear division between serious and fun. Information overflow, dynamic processes and networking has made it a reality that things should be fun and easy. Social networking is networking but moreover about poking and sending gifts. Finding your place in various on- and offline communities. Learning or working in not advancing from A to B anymore, it is about starting with B, chatting with peers about C and F and maybe playing with A after checking out how D looks like. It is about fun, visual or audiovisual, instant and reactive communication with a number of communities and networks. After that it really does not matter if this or that s a game or a non-game.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Mellan moralpanik och teknikromantik"

Swedish Ungdomstyrelsen just published a book about youth and digital games titled "Unga och n√§tverkskulturer –Mellan moralpanik och teknikromantik". The book is based on a survey of 2900 16-25 year olds. Their finding is well in line with VTT's Exergame research (2005-2006). Either Undomstryrelsen's study or VTT's Exergame study did not establish any connection between poor physical shape and playing games.

The researchers also suggest that gamers do not drink as much alcohol and can better handle stressful situations than non-gamers. There are also other interesting notions. The only challenge (or problem if you will) is that it is an anthology, a compilation of different viewpoints and writers' backgrounds. Thus it is up to the reader to comprehend the background of the writers as well as to build up the overall picture of the book. There could be even bigger differences within the articles from real moral panics discussions to positivism if trying to cover the discussion as a whole. Anyhow: interesting book, worth browsing (in Swedish only!).