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Fun and Games with Architecture

Feb
20

Some recent links sifted from the great shifting data mass of the Interwebs:

Electronic Playgrounds
http://www.physorg.com/news109517949.html 

What happens when an international playground equipment maker decides to go digital? i.play is supposed to blend together the fun of videogames with the physical activity of a playground. To my mind, what this really does is drastically misunderstand both videogames and playgrounds. Why so? As a game, the scenarios seem pretty routine, a virtual version of tag. As a playground, it's pretty sterlie–not a lot of use participation besides running around (and you don't need a playground for that) and not a lot of narrative content (Why are we running around?).
On my list of things to read, a masters thesis on the relationship between architecture and videogame development. What seems most promising is the suggestion that architectural design and game design share enough connecting tissues to use one to talk about the other. At the very least, the idea of player-centric game design as a way to rethink the ossified method of designing an architectural program is a great idea!

Video Game Spaces: Image, Play, and Structure in 3D Worlds
http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11754

What does architecture have to do with games? For Michael Nitsche the answer is 3D. Plenty of writers have noticed the inherent spatiality of games. But Michael tackles the subject in a manner more useful to thinking about the connection of architecture to games by honing in on 3D games. Sure, there are all kinds of non-3D games. But the market has definitely favored 3D virtual spaces. So, this book is particularly relevant in its analysis of those games spaces. I've read through the introduction (available on the MIT link above) and am looking forward to reading the rest of the book. My big question as I aborb Michae's ideas is this: OK, we can borrow certain forms of architectural theory to talk about game space. But what can we borrow from game space to talk about architectural spaces? See the post above for possible answer!

Also, check out Michael's interview with Henry Jenkins:

http://henryjenkins.org/urban_pl.html



Cluclu Land

There's a lot of great blogs and a lot of smart people. One of my favorite places to find both is Versus Cluclu Land. The topics vary, but the blog never ever worries about coming off too smart. As a result, it always seems to have something that gets you thinking. Recently, a conversation about Wagner, Gesamtkunstwerk and aesthetics has sucked me in!

Unusual Life

In a world of endless weirdism, here's a blog that helps track some of those weird places.

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Architects and Game Designers: Articulate Builders

Feb
17

“Architects are builders who theorize – articulate builders.”

— Mark Wigley, Dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University. (From an interview in BLDBLOG)

Not only do I think this is a tasty quote about the nature of architecture, I think it would serve equally well for a game designer.

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