Gamification and satire.

Game theory, along with gamification often yields to very interesting outcomes. For philosophical thought experiments such as the prisoner’s dilemma or the tragedy of commons, a counter intuitive, but sensible response is the outcome. However, in dystopias, this can be a crazy thing:

(strong language advisory!)

Gang life is a lot like school, you learn essential skills that you apply to real life (thought gang activities tend to be a little more dangerous and unethical). So why shouldn’t they have some sort of videogame to supplement learning? As a matter of fact, what if the game itself was the gang’s method of settling disputes? No need to practice with that stolen weaponary, just go to the arcade!

Enjoy the trailer you guys, it’s quite entertaining.

Also a shoutout to XKCD for this sweet valentine’s day dilemma involving game theory.

Perhaps romance needs gamification as well…

Fictional Gamers: Invader Zim’s Gaz

Let me introduce you to Gaz, one of my favorite fictional gamers.


image of Gaz from ZimWiki (click for the entry on Gaz)

You’ll find her in episodes of the wonderful cartoon, Invader Zim, including two video game-centered episodes: “Nanozim” and “Game Slave 2”. The first half of the latter is below (upside down for copyright reasons. Full episodes are available streaming on Netflix).

Virtual Worlds in Novels, Movies, and TV

second life class meeting

Now that we’ve had our class meetings in Second Life, this would be a good time to talk about virtual worlds in novels, movies, and TV (‘cuz that’s how I roll). Long post after the cut.


The kind of video game movie that works

Two recent posts to this blog have talked about video games and movies. One asked why movies based on video games are always bad. Another talked about plans for an Inception game and expressed skepticism about whether it would work as a game. Both movies that adapt video games and especially video games that are based on movies have their problems, at least where quality is concerned (though I would argue that there are examples of both that work–I’ll get to those at the end of this post). Another kind of video game movie that works better is those that aren’t adaptations but feature games as an important part of the story being told.

I’ve been planning to post about video games and movies for a while, so I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I keep coming back to movies like Tron or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as being the best approach to video game movies. These movies are about games (or in the case of Scott Pilgrim, informed by games), but they’re not based on games. When I first decided to post about movies and video games, I asked some friends about their favorites. I also did a search to see what the Internet would bring me. My own choices, my friends’, and this column at the Escapist all pretty much agreed that in addition to Tron and Scott Pilgrim, you can’t talk about video game movies of this type without talking about The Wizard, WarGames, The Last Starfighter, and eXistenZ. I’m going to talk about Tron, WarGames, eXistenZ and Scott Pilgrim in this post, because those are the ones I have watched a million times know best (after the cut. Long post is long. Also, if you’re the TL;DR type, skip to the end for the part about a class poll). Feel free to leave comments about the others.