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Outsider philosopher, game designer and author
Recent Activity
May contain ideas some people might find offensive or distressing. As I head into my annual Autumnal Social Media Break, I've already resolved to once again use December for blog letters as I did back in 2017. The last two... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2020 at Only a Game
Thanks for your comment, Ravi! It's certainly the case that its easy to offend those with religious orthodox views - and non-religious orthodoxy too, for that matter! :) Because he can be read as making psychological claims, he works very well for non-religious readers, but I think he also works very well from a religious perspective. He certainly had a huge influence on me in the regard. Stay curious! Chris.
Toggle Commented Oct 24, 2020 on What Did Joseph Campbell Believe? at Only a Game
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Over on ihobo today, the final part of the Game Dissonance serial. Here's an extract: Remember that dissonance will manifest whenever any part of the game fails to align with the player's experience and expectations; this means the game systems... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2020 at Only a Game
In part two of this serial, we explored three examples of the aesthetic flaws of videogames, and showed how each could be understood as a special case of cognitive dissonance in games, and also as a clash between player practices.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2020 at ihobo
Over on ihobo today, part two of the serial on Game Dissonance. Here's an extract: We generally fail to recognise that our engagement with most game systems is in itself a story-generating activity, because all game systems are representative i.e.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2020 at Only a Game
In part one of this serial, the concept of cognitive dissonance was introduced, along with Clint Hocking's ludonarrative dissonance, concluding that it was only a special case of a more general phenomena: game dissonance. This week considers how game dissonance... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2020 at ihobo
Hey Commander Jameson, Definitely agree that people found the concept of 'ludonarrative dissonance' helpful, and that's what allowed it to persist. I shall be arguing within the serial that this 'usefulness' came at a cost, though... I certainly don't expect I'll stop people using the term, but I do hope to have people thinking more deeply about it, and that's good enough. I'm all about the discourse. ;) 'Coherence' is an interesting conceptual opposite to 'dissonant/dissonance' - I think that a good way of thinking about this. I have largely used 'elegant' in a similar role, but I might try on 'coherent' and see how it fits. I also think you are correct that most play dissonances get ironed out fairly easily in production - since we have methods for testing and reacting to these kinds of problems in practice. And don't get me started on monetising frustration - that's a whole other nightmare! Utterly fantastic to hear from you, by the way - it's great to know you're still out there! Chris.
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What is game dissonance and how do you prevent it? This question is not one that game designers tend to ask, and yet almost every effective practice we have for creating games depends upon our intuitive grasp of the ways... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2020 at ihobo
For more than twenty years, International Hobo Ltd has been helping developers, publishers, and researchers understand how and why people play games. We provide fixed-price support with game design, narrative design, and dialogue scripting to both publishers and developers. We... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2020 at ihobo
Hi Korbinian, Yes, you can use the test kit for academic purposes. At PhD level, however, this instrument may not be robust enough for your purposes (there isn't a better option, it's just a flaw in this kind of instrument). Use the contact link to request the test kit - you should get it within two weeks. Thanks! Chris.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2020 on BrainHex: How Do You Play Videogames? at ihobo
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Hi Sophia, It's so hard to tell if your message is spam... I've given you the benefit of the doubt. If you are human, an unambiguous message confirming that would be welcome, as you look a lot like a robot with this message. Well, I'd rather let a few robots through than silence a human, anyway. Chris.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2020 on Immortality at Only a Game
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Over on ihobo today, the start of a brand new three-part serial about cognitive dissonance, narrative design, and the aesthetic flaws of videogames. Here's an extract from the first part: In suggesting that an aspect of what went wrong in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2020 at Only a Game
Hi Bentosmile, No problem 'reopening' an old post... as far as I'm concerned, that's always a live option. And very sorry that you have had a bad business dealing. There's a lot more of this about in videogames than people appreciate. Don't get discouraged - keep going! I'll check out Tanaka's Friendly Adventure when I get a chance, sounds interesting!
Toggle Commented Sep 15, 2020 on The Thin Play of Dear Esther at ihobo
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I do find it sad that we can't just reissue the game, but it is lost in rights limbo forever. Thanks for letting me know about ResidualVM - I hope someday people will be able to play this game without having to tear out half their hair to do so...
Toggle Commented Sep 15, 2020 on How to Run Discworld Noir at ihobo
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Just a short post to say that new material is coming, but I have some fraught weeks working on the page proofs for the second edition of Game Writing and wrangling tasks for clients. I am still puttering around with... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2020 at Only a Game
Many thanks for your years of support here, Ian! I feel like we're arguing less these days - that might be because we both have less time, or it might be that we're more in accord. :) Either way, I'm grateful and thankful for your involvement in my blogging. It has been a consistent blessing. Hope you and your family are well! Chris.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2020 on Return to the Green Room at Only a Game
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Many thanks to all three of you, the 'final' visitors to this instalment of the Green Room! (Although the Green Room will be available via internet time travel indefinitely, of course!). dmf: thanks for getting me a text link this time - I appreciate it! And it's Joanna Zylinkska, who I have a history with, since endorsing her Bioethics in the Age of New Media was the first time I was ever credited as 'philosopher'. I've downloaded this and will give it a read soon. Thanks again! Mirage: I try hard when I write philosophy to write it so that anyone who can read a book can connect with it. This isn't easy, and I don't always succeed. But I don't believe in the inherent value of a 'philosophy for philosophers'; we all need to think differently from time to time (even and especially philosophers!). Personally, I feel like #100Cyborgs hit its stride somewhere in the middle, I think it was a bit stiff at the beginning, but it can be fun to dip into. Psuke Bariah: I value your comment the most, since as a lurker it cost you the most to post it - namely your anonymity. This gift is greatly appreciated. Thank you all! Chris.
Toggle Commented Sep 7, 2020 on Return to the Green Room at Only a Game
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Thanks for visiting the Green Room, Chris! It's been a pleasure having you along for this one... I've very much enjoyed our sharing of ideas and challenging each other's perspectives. It's been interesting working on a greater number of shorter pieces (rather than fewer longer pieces). I think previous campaigns weighed in around 25,000 words (not including comments) over a few dozen posts of 1500-200, this one was 500x100=50,000 words, so while each piece was much shorter I ended up writing more. The idea was to cover lots of different topics, of course, and only write enough to lay out a few thoughts as seeds for further conversations. I certainly didn't get a hundred of those conversations, but I was very happy every time discussion did kick off (mostly on Twitter, of course). The next piece I'm working on has a connection to you, actually, since it picks up from what I think might be the first ever post of mine you replied to (over on ihobo). More on this when I get the time to finish drafting it! :) Many thanks for both your opposition and support! Chris.
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2020 on Return to the Green Room at Only a Game
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Back at my desk, but won't make it to Twitter for a while. You can still leave me a message in the Green Room, though!
Toggle Commented Sep 1, 2020 on Return to the Green Room at Only a Game
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Hi there, Since NHK is the public broadcaster for Japan, this is the equivalent of the TV license in the UK, that funds their operations. I don't have a problem with paying for public television this way - mind you, I find it cheeky that having used our money to produce media, the BBC reserves rights on that content and does not provide it to us (who paid for it). But that's a different problem. :) The chief issue with the TV license in general is not the idea of paying for public TV (better this than what NPR does in the States...), but the extent of the prosecution powers applied for non-payment. There was a point in which the majority of women in jail in the UK were there for not paying their TV license. In this regard, the NHK approach actually doesn't seem too bad! All the best, Chris.
Toggle Commented Sep 1, 2020 on Disney Tax at Only a Game
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The epic two year adventure that was A Hundred Cyborgs is now concluded, with just the final block of revisits concluding last week. What a great time to return to the Green Room and have a chat about our adventures... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2020 at Only a Game
What are the behavioural effects of technological networks? What happens if we stop thinking about technology as shiny machines and start looking at other, subtler tools? Can we design technology to have better effects upon humans? These and other questions... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2020 at Only a Game
Just to say, I'm away from my desk next week, which will see my robots run the repeaters for #100Cyborgs numbers 91-100, then I'm opening 'the Green Room' (the traditional bookend post to an Only a Game campaign) in the first week in September - and then, at last, A Hundred Cyborgs will be officially concluded.
Toggle Commented Aug 20, 2020 on Philosophy Books at Only a Game
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Why read a book like The Virtuous Cyborg? One answer is that reading philosophy books is a way of encouraging your own virtues; your curiosity, your flexibility, your moral judgement, and your reasoning - all can be sharpened by forming... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2020 at Only a Game
Throughout A Hundred Cyborgs, I’ve tried to find at least a few examples of technology that encourages virtue - and I can find no greater exemplar than libraries. These astonishing cybernetic networks consist of one or more humans curating dozens,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2020 at Only a Game