Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Where is Torill?

For the benefit of students and others who occasionally wonder why I am not at the office, and then have figured out that the blog is a good way to find me:
I leave for Copenhagen and DAC 2005 tomorrow morning - staying in Denmark until Sunday.
Monday the Information and media faculty are away from the college and in a meeting all day.
Tuesday more faculty meetings, in Volda but unavailable.

Don't panic until Wednesday.
I'll probably blog the conference, so there will be signs of life.

Gamestudies in Italian

I often wish I could speak Italian - particularly when I am eager or angry, it sounds so much more passionate than being angry in hesitant, slow Norwegian. But there's another reason for it as well, a publisher who works mainly with game studies: Ludologica.

Link in response to my frustrated outburst below, from Luca Rossi, who laughed with me in wicked black humour.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Please, PLEASE stop

Don't write the sentence "There has been very little research done on games" in any more papers or articles or theses and essays UNLESS you also have a full bibliography that cites those few existing works. I don't care how many authorities you cite who may have written those words quite recently. Because yes, gamestudies is a new field, and therefore does not have entire library shelves to themselves, like literary studies. However, if the amount of articles and books you have to read to be able to understand the width of the field is so small, it is pretty lazy scholarly work - sloppy craft, simply - not to have read them all.

So: Either STOP claiming it's a field empty of research, or start citing and listing what exists. Please. Pretty please with sugar on.

Now back to reading paper submissions for a conference.

Oh, and an afterthought: some words to put in here so this post may show up on a search done by your anonymous lazy scholar:
Games, game studies, gamestudies, game scholarship, game bibliography, studying games, computergame study, videogame study, video games, computer games, game media studies, game sociology, game literature, game psychology, game feminism, games and gender, game technology

Please email me with more suggestions.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cyber dissidents

By way of Doctor Daisy, a link to a pdf with a handbook for cyber-dissidents. Practical how-to for getting around media sensorship by using the net.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Blogging the college

I have been looking at the front page of Volda College for years, and never even thought about it. But the information department (with some occasional assistance from media students) keeps a very frequently updated news-service right smack in the middle of the front page, with news relevant to the college. It is so frequently and easily updated, and the news are so important to the community feeling of the college, that one might fit it into the definition of a blog. The posts are unique, easy to link to, it's posted in opposite chronological order, and the posting happens quickly.

I am so proud of the information department, they have just been doing it, no fuzz, no flaunting of fancy new words, but they were right up there before the mainstream discovered blogs.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

sex, cancer and viruses

This is why I love blogs. At the Norwegian meta blog last week the leap was made from publications on weblogs to oral cancer from sex in just one comment. I was impressed with the ability of bloggers to think about sex in all contexts.

Anyway. That made me google "sex cancer virus", and the top story was really disturbing. Now, this may look farfetched, but let me explain: there is a connection between cervical cancer and sex. The human papilloma virus can lead to changes in the cells of the cervix which again develops into cancer. This virus is transferred through sexual intercourse, but can develop very slowly and as the virus is very, very common everybody who have had sex can be carrying it. In most cases it goes away, like any cold or flu. Occasionally it lingers and causes cancer. The study referred to in bloggblogg was a version of this - the virus seems to cause oral cancer as well. This is of course a lot more tittilating, so that makes news.

The sexual practices of adult gay men are, to be frank, not more of my concern than the sexual practices of teenage girls. What shocked me was that there is a vaccine against this virus, but people argue against making it available to the public. Why? Because it may encourage teen-age sex.

Cancer is the big scare today, it is one of the few things for which there is no easy cure. Once it is established in the body it can spread, and your own body becomes your enemy. The imagery is close to horror story material: the alien growing in your body, killing you from within. This ought to keep teenagers morally sound: if social ostracation, economic concerns in the case of unwanted parenthood, physical aggression against abortion clinics and other delightful expressions of the drive to control teenage sex (or any non-conforming sex) was not enough. The way to maintain teenage morals is by refusing to make a vaccine that can save lives - including unborn, future lives - available.

I can't imagine what the insides of the heads of people who make that type of arguments look like. I don't want to know either. That is where the real cancer dwells.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I am supervising students who have to finish their 20 page papers by Thursday. As the only woman in a teaching position I get a lot of girls among those students. Some boys with blog and world of warcraft interests, but otherwise it's girls. Brilliant, hard-working, intense and dedicated girls*. They are definitely not me as I was at their age, they are smarter, prettier and more dedicated, and I find myself reminding them that they need to breathe. Deep belly breaths, while they look away from the subject they are analysing, and tell themselves this is fine, it will work, and the world will not fall apart if they stop hurting themselves for 10 minutes.

Self-flagellation may seem like an academic olympic sport, but after a certain point it doesn't really make your research or your writing better. Hurting yourself constantly over academic writing can lead the other way: that you remove what made your writing special, different and more interesting. Unless you really like the pain, indulge in your favourite sustenance, lean back and breathe, while you find something to focus on that makes you smile and notice good things. It may let you notice the good things in your own work too.

* The boys are as brilliant as the girls, but for some reason they are not as much into self-punishment and doubt. Good for them!

Do it like a pro

Johnathan Wendel has a job which gives him a flow experience, puts him "in the zone". He is a professional gamer, and the obvious pleasure he gets from doing what he likes is fascinating - as is the reporter's surprise at how a man who makes money on something as cheesy as playing computer games can live a simple or even austere life dedicated to his passion.

Still, the reporter describes a basement room lined with networked computers and filled with other gamers. What is austere about that? To a gamer, that is opulence. Expensive furniture is uninteresting, unless it supports you well through 5 hours of intensive gaming, but a really good monitor - now that is art. It's just a different culture with different values. It may not be the revolution, but something is changing.

Link courtesy of my NYC connection.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Main Tank

OK, I admit it, I play more characters than Agirra, the whimpy shaman orc girl. She's my research character, so she will be the public front. The others will remain nameless here. But one of them is a warrior.

The warrior was created as a companion to a friend who plays a cloth-wearer. For those of you not in the know, that is priest, mage or warlock. A cloth-wearer needs a warrior playing the role of tank to function well: the tank holds the aggression and endures the beating of the NPCs or even PCs for long enough that the magical type people can get their spells organised and do some serious damage. In a team with healers and damage dealers the tank's role is to keep the attention and the aggression focused on her while the rest works, particularly the healer. If the tank dies, frequently the rest of the group will be wiped. The same is true the other way around though: if the healer dies the tank is doomed in 19 cases out of 20.

This leads to a very intense and close interplay between the tank and healer. A good tank needs to be able to not only attack and slash indiscriminately, but also to understand how the aggressive characters will move, where and when. If one or more move to the healer, the tank needs to be there immediately to draw the attention away. If the healer is attacked the healer can't heal, and so the tank dies. The rule is: die before your healer. Die because the mana to keep you alive runs out, not because you ignored your healer. As the guild warriors say it, when I in shaman role have tried to be both healer and hero: "Leave the dieing to the professionals." The warrior is supposed to take the damage, and die if needed. This of course means you have to trust the healer to be there for you, while you are recklessly slashing away.

Similar relationships exist between the tank and the damage dealers: killing a mob quickly with hard-hitting spells is another way to keep the tank alive, and so the group is interdependent. Still, it feels good to be the tank. The tanking warrior is the hero, the front character, the one who saves the day. Turning around even before the healer has time to type "on me" to taunt the mobs attacking and draw them away, distracting as wide a field as possible and living to tell about it: I am starting to understand why the warriors are loud, bossy, yelling players. Last night I was loud and bossy and self-centered, and when I tried to be a democratic leader and asked the others what to do about a certain attack, the reply was "You're the main tank. You decide." It felt good.

At the same time I found myself hopelessly annoyed with the shamans. I have always thought of the shaman as a type of character that only functions well when it serves a group. Totems give abilities to all within range: healing, protection, extra attacks - but you need a group to take advantage if it is to work properly. And so you need to study how the group functions. As a shaman I normally put up a mana totem for the other magical folks at the back, an earth-bind or stoneskin totem to help the tanks, yet another totem to give more or stronger attacks: I play on the strengths of the group and enhance them rather than try to be everything from tank to healer at the same time. But since shamans can be good solo characters, they tend to play selfishly, defining themselves as tanks, healers or mages but with themselves as back up for themselves. This means that as tank, a shaman will mainly focus on doing massive damage, not on saving the healer - because the shaman can heal and even resurrect alone. As a healer the shaman will not worry so much about the tank, as she can be her own tank if needed. The shaman can attack at a distance and distract upcoming aggression through totems, why should a shaman even care about the group?

Playing the warrior has made me a much better shaman, because from this position I see the group interdependence more clearly. It makes it easier for me to take up the healing role without complaints: shamans can be good healers because they are less vulnerable than both priests and druids, and a somewhat inexperienced tank has more time before the shaman is dead than with a priest. It also makes it easier to see how I can use the shaman to tank, it forces me to consider the nature of the spells and weapons in a different context: what will pull aggression, how can I hold it, how can I distract casters, how can I turn the flow of the battle?

But all that intellectual chit-chat aside, I find that I like playing a warrior. I love the way my character throws her head back and yells, and all the enemies turn around and come running. I enjoy pulling them all to me, and physically feel the tension of the quick play needed to control the aggression - the aggro - as well as the relief of a cloth-wearer who finally has time to cast a spell.

How far would you go?

To hear me speak, that is? I asked my daughter if she'd go to New Zealand for a chance to listen to me. Daughters are very good reality checks. Her reply was "Why should I? I can hear you speak as much as I like when ever I like." But like a real nerdy networked family member, she said this from where she is currently studying, on skype, as we were searching through open office manuals in Norwegian in order to figure out how she could use it to draw text-boxes and arrows for one of her papers - which needs to be electronically submitted, and so she needs the boxes to look the same in the receiving end as in her end.

The skype/open office part is an aside though, an attempt to modestly play down the fact that I have been invited to Blog Hui on New Zealand in March 2006. I am absolutely delighted with the thought of going to a place which has a 12 hour time difference - an indication of being at the opposite side of the planet.

So how far would somebody go to speak about their favourite topics? I don't think I can go any further than this and still stay on the planet.

(If I get extra-terrestial invitations, I don't know if I will dare blog it - at least not in advance. And afterwards... well, I guess the implants will tell me what I should or should not do.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Afraid of the dark

My grandmother died when I was seven years old. I had met her once that I could remember: an old woman at the hospital in Oslo. She had a weak heart, and the whole family had been stuffed into the 8-seater Volkswagen to drive down to Oslo in a hurry and visit her. I threw up more than once on that trip, both my parents smoked and my older sisters were knitting, chatting and complaining about the stops needed for me to puke.

That whole trip burned into my memory, but only in weird, broken freeze-frames. I must have been perhap 5-6 years old, and I still remember the smell of the car, teasing my sister who was trying the count the stitches of her knitting, the curlers my mother and sister had put into my hair in order to make me look nice. I was the ugly child, and they wanted to show the relatives in Oslo that I could be cute - with just a little bit of work. I lost a tooth, and got five krone for it, after leaving it in a glass of water over night. We visited some of my mother's aunts, and I got a large, lovely doll with a wonderful purple dress, one I was told to treat carefully and gently. I think her name was Magdalena. My younger sister finished that poor thing off 10 years later.

And in all of this, all I remember of my grandmother was a small, old woman in a hospital bed. She gave me a necklace, a string of wooden pearls. It's the only present I remember to have received from any of my grandparents, and I think those pearls are somewhere in my drawers still. She made very little impression on me, except as a curiosity, the pearls a souvenir from the journey to grandmother, kept to remind myself that I was there, I saw her, she was real.

Grandmother died not long after. She is buried at the same graveyard where her husband rests, and now also my father and one uncle. This meant that the funeral had to be somewhere close, and it was natural that the center of the whole event was her house, which today belongs to my mother and one of her sisters. A lot of people I had never met before and would never meet again were there: she came from a large family, and her in-laws were numerous as well. And so I met uncles who were not my uncles, but those of my mother.

One of them was very good with children. No, this is not a bad story, it is not about abuse or perversion. He was good with children. He loved being with us, the brood running around in that large wild garden around my grandmother's house, and he loved telling stories. I fell in love with him immediately. And in the shadows of the cherry trees he told about trolls and witches, about wolves and bears, about ghosts and the little people. I was fascinated, taken up with his stories, my mind was wide open and my imagination like a sponge. When he left I was unhappy, despite coming from a family of excellent story-tellers he was better. Perhaps that is why I recognized his mastery? It is a nice thought, that I was a discerning consumer of stories at 7. I am not sure though, it may have been just an adult who took time to be with the children while everybody else were grieving and arguing over the inheritance.

After he left, I could no longer be out in the dark. Until that moment the dark had never scared me. Suddenly it was filled with shapes lingering just beyond what I could see. There was life everywhere around me, potential events, things to fear but also to explore. The dark had been populated. My parents were livid with anger at that uncle. I defended him - already then I defended the stories. I told them it was not the stories that had scared me, but the context: the funeral, the dark garden, the isolation from the other adults. That much is certain: at seven years old I was willing to defend the stories that had populated my universe with mystery rather than put blame on any one single thing for my own problems.

I remembered this story today because of the warnings against the newest Harry Potter movie. It seems like children can be traumatised by the movie. I guess they can. But children can be as easily traumatised by loving, well-meaning uncles who choose to spend time caring about the forgotten horde while the others fight and cry. Or they can be traumatised by the fighting and the crying. Or by a mysterious far-away death and a coffin surrounded by grief. Are we to outlaw them all: Uncles, grandmothers, death, funerals, grief and well-told stories?

I am no longer afraid of the dark. I have faced the demons my imagination conjured for me, fought through the maze and seen that there is a way out. There may be new demons, but none of them come from my uncle's stories. I miss that. I wish what waits in my metaphorical dark was that lovely, that exciting and that simple.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Digital Diary Volda/Anadolu

10 students from two college/universities have been visiting each others' countries and schools, and written about the experience. Here's their digital diary.

The Horde wins

I have been in a losing team twice with the Horde, months ago, and all the rest have been wins. Some have been close. I have developed a real aversion to rogues and stealthed night elves and am now making it my business to produce as much cat's eye potion as possible, to last me and some select team-mates through sap-ing and backstabbing while on innocent, peaceful guard duty.

But I am not the only one who is surprised. The long, long streak of wins with the Horde on Argent Dawn has been the cause of discussion in the forums. Some claim the Alliance just does not cooperate with each other, some blame the habit of zerging*, while others claim it's all in the attitude. The posts that most people agree on are the ones concerning tactices.

But Sunday I read a post on the European forums that I have desperately tried to find all morning. It was started by a Tauren who had played Alliance, got tired of seeing the Alliance lose all the time, and switched to Horde to see for himself if the Horde side really was overpowered. His conclusion was that it was all about the way the Horde thinks. The Horde refuses to lose, his words as I remember them "we are bigger, badder and we just have to win". Another comment in that direction was from a female priest, who also plays on both sides and in this case same class: "As a human I heal as an undead I melt faces. Nuff said."

There are a lot of discussions about horde being favoured, overpowered shamans and shadow resistance. There's a certain writer at Terra Nova who spent a quite a bit of energy at State of Play explaining to me why the Horde will always win, all things being equal. The Guild members who have level 60 characters at the Alliance side do not agree with him - I'd love to see them get involved in a number-crunching discussion about who can do what where when... - I'd get a cup of tea and lean back with a tape-recorder running for later reference.

But no level of imbalance explains why most of the time I find more Alliance players at the top of the kills list, with most Horde players at the bottom. The Horde dies more than the Alliance, and kills less. Still the Horde gets the bases and the points, and thus the wins. It's getting weird - and interesting.

*To zerg: when all swarm over the area in one huge group rather than strategic split forces or using players on defense

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Recording WoW

A problem we (Hilde, Jill and I) have discussed at times is how to record the gameplay sessions in WoW. This was easy with MUDs, but so far we have not known a better strategy than taking screenshots. But, look, people are making movies with WoW! How do they do that?

In a WoW forum there is a step-by-step make you own WoW movie post. The post is great for those who want to make movies, but it also tells n00bs in that field - like me - how you can record what happens in the game.
Fraps (http://www.fraps.com)
Fraps is a good video capture program, with some nice features. The free version is limited to only 30 seconds of recording (including sound) but the full version is purchasable at their website, enabling unlimited recording.

Gamecam (http://www.planetgamecam.com)
Gamecam, like Fraps, is a nifty little capturing program available in two doses, normal and "lite". I'd suggest downloading the lite version, as you get rid of all the pointless bulk that the normal one has. The free version includes quality adjustments and limitless recording, but with no sound and hindered configuration. Setting up takes a bit more effort, too, but a guide on the site explains it easily.

I tried both these out, and found that gamecam was more performance friendly framerate wise, as it kept my FPS intact. Fraps, i think requires a more powerfull computer. Correct me if I'm wrong there.
I think this is brilliant. Now, storing all the material you need for research will crowd a regular harddisk in no time, but thats why the goddes made separate harddisks. I haven't had time to try this out yet, and won't be able to until the weekend, but I will be back with more information once I know. I also don't know how much this may make the computer lag. It may be time for a dedicated game research machine set up somewhere convenient and comfortable.

I wonder if the family will sell my clothes and books and rent out my space in the home if I start another year-long period of game-recording from a work-based machine...

Monday, November 07, 2005


Agirra is a sergeant now. She is big and buff and rides a wolf. When fighting in the Arathi Basin last night Agirra alone would draw 5-6 enemy players in order to kill her - anything less and there would be tactical retreats. I have to admit there would be tactical retreats on both sides, not to speak of evasions and a certain preference for hunting down lone vulnerable stragglers, but you know, that's the game.

The real rush, but also the most draining experience in last night's PVP was however leading the raid. Suddenly I was promoted, the raid started and I was commander. Ooops - a promotion in the field, that one. A quick standard order, fixing the groups, and I could start to look at how the battle was flowing. Any member of a raid can see where the other members are on the map. Arathi Basin has a simple lay-out, and simple objectives, and the strategic options are not that many. The Alliance tends to fight in large groups: once they have taken an area they leave it and attack the next massively. The one time I was in there and the Horde kept losing was when the Alliance left stealthed rogues behind. Clever move, really. Got to remember that one.

Anyway, this leaves their areas vulnerable, and a couple of determined Hordes can attack easily. Even if we lose the place the moment they turn around, it means they can no longer respawn as close to the fighting any more, as you only spawn at graveyards in areas you control. This wins us more precious seconds. Perhaps a whole minute.

We managed to keep them back, grabbed 4/5 areas and got the resources needed almost too quickly. I could resign from my position as commander in chief with my honour intact. We won 5 of the 6 raids I was in last night, and when I submitted the honour badges Agirra gained a level and was no longer eligible to play within that level range. Now she will be playing with more experienced players and powerful characters. I guess I will relearn the position of the graveyards through the next 6-7 levels.

Visual memory

Do an experiment today: write down the posters, pictures, statues or other decorative elements in a place where you go frequently. For instance the corridor leading to your office, the square you run through to get to the bus station, the pub where you like to have a beer, the bank - what ever place where it's natural that there are decorative elements. Then go there and check. How much did you remember? Would you have noticed if one was removed? Would you be able to tell if it was?

Today we were four professors staring at a blank space at the wall. A picture is gone. When did it go away? None of us could tell.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I knew there had to be somewhere to go to for supplies when I need it. Turns out I have to remember to go shopping while in Brooklyn.

By way of Neil Gaiman's blog

Blog your way to the front page

And while we are talking about the media industry's interest in blogging:
A week ago I was asked a few questions about weblogs by a journalist in VG, the Norwegian "popular" news paper. He treated my replies fairly well, for those who can't read Norwegian what I am saying (or think I am saying) is that I am not surprised a lot of Norwegians publish online, as such a high percentage of the population has access, I say that a blog is a part of your personality (ugh - that is not something I would have said if he had let me use more than two lines) and that if you want to make a good blog, write about something that interests you and use links to other people.

But what is really interesting about this are the final lines:
Ifølge Magne Antonsen, som er ansvarlig for blogg-tjenesten på VG Nett, kommer de til å fremheve de beste bloggene på nettavisens forside.

- Dette kan utfordre måten aviser vanligvis drives på. Skriver folk gode blogg-innlegg, legger vi dem gjerne på forsiden, sier han.
What they say here is that weblogs can be a challenge to traditional journalism, and if people write good blogposts, they will be put on the front page of the online paper.

1) Free content for the paper.
2) Some editor will decide what is good.

Where's the challenge?

Not all that hot

With all the buzz about blogging as the new hot thing, it's interesting to see that when you really start asking people if they care about blogs - or even know what blogging is - they confuse it with things like "dogging", which appears to be watching people have sex in cars. I had no idea that activity had a word. Nor that "happy slapping" means assulting innocent bystanders while your friends catch the incident on video and then post the video online.

Sadly, I can't link to the article they cite as the link seems to be broken, but it's quoted by royby and Rob Irwin. Another article which looks pretty identical is posted here.

What really amused me was this quote:
A shaken DDB London planning director, Sarah Carter, admitted: "Our research not only shows that there is no buzz about blogging and podcasting outside of our media industry bubble, but also that people have no understanding of what the words mean. It's a real wake-up call."
Oh wow. Do media people talk mainly to each other and live in their own little constructed world of topics which have been able to get over the news treshold. Who'd have thought. Oh, wait a minute, Galtung and Ruge pointed out in 1965 - that's 40 years ago for us who can still do simple calculations - that foreign news do not depend on the actual events in the world and their importance at an objective scale, but on what reporters think is important according to a certain set of criteria. More recent research only confirms that this is true all the way down to the local newspaper.

When it comes to weblogs, it is certainly true. How many of the weblogs in the world compete with, or even care about, the newsmedia? Still those are the weblogs journalists write about, and that is the way news media define blogs. A small, newsmedia-related part of the universe is taken to represent the whole.

media industry bubble?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

DAC 2005

It is in Copenhagen, and the registration closes November 4th. Did you remember to register? Go, register, and I'll see you in Copenhagen.

Now what?

(If I used categories, this would be under "internal professorial weirdness" or something.)

I thought I hated finishing things because it is hard work. I am starting to wonder if I just hate finishing things because the creative process is so much more inspiring and interesting than the empty feeling of "now what?"

First time I had that feeling was after I finished the master - hovedfag - back in the last milennium some time. I came out after getting the final grade, and looked around for the "The End" sign. Nothing. Just an intense feeling of emptiness, so strong I started to cry. Everybody thought I had failed. I was just so spent, I could barely stand up, and crying.

I have finished things since then. I have a habit of finishing stuff, even if I have to do it in spite of my own sabotage strategies, but it still is intensely uncomfortable. Yesterday I finished one more thing. Suddenly I discovered that I am not writing any articles for anybody at the moment! Of course, I am giving a lecture next week, waiting for the papers for a hiring comittee I am on for another college, considering a small article for a magazine, planning reviews of the education, teaching, been appointed to a comittee working to find better solutions for educational qualification work for the college staff, planning a seminar for my fellow teachers and planning a book on computer games, but that's just "stuff". All the things which were pressing me all last year are gone. I have finished them or they have been delegated to others.

I realised this after I started asking myself why I was suddenly so intensely unhappy yesterday afternoon. Once I figured that out, my mood changed in seconds. It feels good to have finished something. Good, good, good.

An ongoing struggle

Almost 20 years ago, a female American tourist asked me what Norwegians thought of the abortion issue. It was rather surprising, because I was working as a guide in a museum at the moment, and we had been discussing the relationship between the Scandinavian countries, the "400-year night", unions with Denmark and later Sweden, and had stopped around 1905. I did not see that question coming.

I answered then, as I would have answered now: Women in Norway have the right to choose if they want to carry a fetus to term or not. I also added then, and this would have had a stronger emphasis now: Norway has good support systems for single mothers, if you want to keep your child you can still do that and have education and a career, and thus be able to support yourself and your children as a single parent.

But it made me aware that not all the world is like that. Even America, which all Norwegians in the 60ies were brought up to think of as the ultimate free democratic society of the self-made wealthy and happy masses, had blind spots.

One blogger who exposes those blind spots relentlessly is a favourite of mine. If you are interested in these issues, go read Bitch PhD's post about current planned parenthood politics in the US.

Next week in Trondheim

I will be speaking at a conference for Norwegian Librarians thursday November 10th. The topic is Myter, misforståelser og moro med dataspill - "Myths, misunderstanding and fun with computer games" - and I'll talk about media panics, the current state of research and the player experience in online multi user games. And I am certain I will be showing scenes from WOW.

But I am starting to feel I should play more online games. Perhaps WOW will work like that on more people, and be a locomotive to pull new groups into online gaming? That would be fun, and the opposite of the muttered concerns that WOW is bad for the industry because it takes all the potential customers. That, however, is not on the agenda for Trondheim.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Journalism and bloggers again

Go read Lisbeth's post from the Online News Association's conference. She says what I have been trying to say, only she says it better and with passion:

Citizen journalists, be it bloggers, activists, independent reporters or Mr. Smith with a mobcam in his hand, are not the major threat to the world of news, though the content they contribute can certainly be a very interesting supplement to the news produced by the media themselves. The major threat (in my humble opinion as an academic, who is a sucker for quality content on the web) is the conservatism and lack of boldness of traditional media when moving into the new media scene. What I don't get is that if all the big players on, for instance the US newsscene, are so afraid of the bloggers and corporations like Yahoo and Google stealing away the text-based (cum video)online newsscene, why don't they use some more of their money to hire dedicated webjournalists and programmers who can produce unique, interactive news and commentary for the web combined with the solidity of documenting and reporting, that I still believe trained journalists' are the best at doing?

Hear, hear!

We won!

I never cared much for team sports. I enjoyed to play in bands and orchestras, to work with others to create music - perfectly happy to play second cornet or trumpet and be woven into the fabric of sound and harmony growing around me. Competitions were just not my thing.

This may be why I am not really into PVP (player versus player) in WOW (World of Warcraft). But last night I went into Arathi basin, ended up by some fun quirk of fate in a group with nothing but shamans, and was part of a raid group that really kicked Alliance #¤¤ (as the profanity filter says it). We won four sets before I was exhausted. And you know what? I loved it. It may be because Agirra is now level 49 and it was a 40-49 group, but I felt like I had made progress and made a difference to the whole raid group.

This is of course exactly what team sports and games are supposed to teach. It works online, too!