Thursday, September 29, 2005

Done. All of me.

I just finished an article on role-play I have been struggling with since June. It has been delayed, lost, stolen and now finally finished. I am so done. Now it's up to the editors to say if the like it or not. To my eye it looks fragmented and sparse, as it is at least 5 pages shorter than I had planned. Hopefully it will appear economical and clear. Who knows. In my present state of mind, I don't. All I can think of is that this is the right moment for the bottle of champagne in the fridge, from the duty-free shop in Oslo.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


agirra, originally uploaded by Rotill.

Jill posted about the character on Runetotem, with a pretty little screenshot. But I happen to like the background of the orc better. Red and orange, wartorn and on fire, Agirra stands in the Barrens against a backdrop of blood and smoke, nothing of the cute human order and prettyness. She is fighting for a peaceful slice of the desert: some sand, sun and scorpions for the orcs to live amongst and not be manipulated by warlocks or captured and killed by humans.

And yes, I think the flags and the hill connote the pictures from the French revolution, rising the red flag on the barricades. Makes me like it even more.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Brooklyn Barbeque

brooklyngrill, originally uploaded by Rotill.

I love the way Bay Ridge is informal, surprising and relaxed. It may look a little shabby around the edges at times, but the pace is easy, the people are friendly, and after coming back for so many years, I have a sense of returnng to a neighbourhood. And these guys definitely feel relaxed and casual about the urban setting, on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

State of Play III

I decided to attend to State of Play III, as I am in New York anyway, and the fee is manageable. But I am afraid to say that judging from the program so far, I can't see me crossing the Atlantic for it. I guess I may not be the target group, though, as I am not all that interested in the stock market and the connection to games, I am not invited to any of the workshops, and I heard several of the panelistslast year and in different conferences.

I will still be there though, and I will be hoping for a pleasant surprise, such as a sudden surge in female game scholars and professionals on the panels (to be fair, there is one woman on almost every panel), or that some of the people I have not heard of or heard before can provoke the people I have heard several times now into new thoughts and insights to share with us, the attendants.

Last year was interesting and educating, and this year may prove to be the same. I will let you all know - if they have the same good wifi connection as last year, you will know it instantly if I reach an epiphany during this!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Games and aggression

No strong link seen between violent video games and aggression, according to the research of Dmitri Williams.

After years of arguing against badly designed studies confirming media panics, it's a relief to see somebody claim that their research does NOT show a strong connection to violence.

Thak you.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Yes, I know, I am totally oldfashioned and doing things in impractical ways, but I am only just learning to use Endnote for my citations. If you are as slow as me, and need a walk.through, the University of Queensland kindly provides one.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Me, the other

When I run around inside World of Warcraft, at the moment in Desolace, that harsh and dreary desert, I start considering what kind of person I would be, if I was this total other. An orc is definitely different, but my tools for giving her a personality are limited by my experience and imagination, and aided by the hints given by the game.

Orc is an abused and driven race. They are small compared to the taurens and trolls and even the undead, and female orcs are smaller still. My idea of an orc is something which has survived magic, slavery, betrayal, harm in all ways possible, and clawed their way back out through sheer intensity and numbers. Survival of the fittest, yet strength by standing together.

When I log in, the background screen has nothing but war across it. Agirra stands against a background of fire, fallen banners and sand dunes. Nothing soft, no shelter, nothing soothing. Blood, fire, heat and sand are the aspects of the orc homeland. I read this background as angry and disturbing, but when I try to see it through the eyes of Agirra, I enjoy it. This is the familiar. Cool water, lush forest, rolling meadows: these are dangerous, treacherous places. Only in battle are the sides clear, only fire lights the day enough for an orc to see clearly.

And so, playing, I slip under her green skin, and start seeing the realm through her eyes. I enjoy the open sands and the hard rock. I fear the forest, and despise the water. I do this to the extent that I even feel the vertigo on her behalf. Walking over bridges and climbing mountains I fear her fall. This is particularly strange as I in real life do not feel such vertigo. I only experience it like this, virtually, as I watch my character run along a mountain path, or perhaps over the bridges in Mulgore or Thousand Needles.

And so there is a strange mingling of my conscious decicions (motionsickness when travelling, mistrust of water and growing green things) and the emotional response to my concern for her. The tension of the game draws me into this, not involuntairy, but perhaps unplanned, response to the game actions.

I am trying to position this in relation to what is written about role playing at the moment. Mostly I see it on the background of my own work: the role play chapters of my thesis. We will see where it leads. If you don't hear from me, look for my bones in Desolace.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Politics, aid and need

Erling asked about a political stance on the New Orleans event. I am definitely not going to declare myself on that, as I know way too little about what was going on. But by way of a quote by Francis, I got to New York times, and their headlines today are clearly critical of the way the crisis was handled. What Erling wanted to hear is definitely being said.

Jet lag and work

This household is perpetually jet-lagged, which is why I get along so well with my NYC connection on these trips. At 5 am this morning we were both up, making breakfast, drinking tea and coffee, planning the day. And so I can blog at 7.30 after a couple of hours of setting everything up for an efficient Friday.

Today I am starting the actual writing of an article about role-play and the other. A lot of the preliminary work on that was lost to the person who now has my computer (and may it crash on you), so I have had to start the outlining all over again. One result of that was that I didn't get the right books with me from Norway. So yesterday was spent book-hunting in used book stores for duplicates of books I have in Volda. I found several at Mercer Street used Books and Records Store, nothing at Strand, despite the 18 miles of books, and the last couple of copies at full price at Barnes and noble. Those I will have to donate to some worthy cause when I get home, like the library. Or perhaps leave them here, for later emergencies.

I also contacted Mary Flanagan, who saves me from more book hunting by letting me borrow a couple of books from her, and so the stack has risen to a comfortable height and I feel confident that I get my references right. There is something so very soothing about first-hand references, and not trusting other people's citations. I make enough errors on my own, thank you.


By way of a comment from Thomas, I found Nerd-TV. Isn't this just what we have been waiting for? To have a channel where Douglas Engelbart, Linus Torvalds and Steve Wozniak can answer the intelligent and important questions in life?

I guess I am a nerd, because I love the idea. I just wish there would be more like this: I want nerds of all persuasions to have a channel dedicated to their topic and their gurus.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Idyllic Brooklyn

verrezanoidyll, originally uploaded by Rotill.

I am slowly learning to neglect what the Americans seems to expect: litter, unkept parks and wasted grass, and focus on the good things of walking in the parks in Bay Ridge. And yesterday I got a solid sunburn on my shoulders from almost three hours of walking from the Verrazano bridge in the direction of Coney Island, and then back along 86th street and dinner shopping. It was wonderful, and even the red angry skin on my shoulders makes me feel good.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Finally, warm

I am in New York, me and the new lap-top and a new camera, it's really warm so I can walk around in a T-shirt and a skirt without getting serious infections, and stress is evaporating in the heat. I have been playing WOW with Jill and Hilde, exploring the power of friends to hunt next to, a social experience as well as a powerful one: the group gives confidence.

Now excuse me, I have to start doing some serious playing, thinking and writing. Back later with examples on how the camera works.