Friday, April 27, 2007

The Icefalcon

She had another name once, another life, but she never suited the expectations connected with it. She wasn't overly smart or delicate, despite her dainty appearance, but she had qualities which put her up front. She was fiercely protective, unafraid and brave, and would rush into conflict head first. The goal would be to keep hurt from those who were hers, as dangerously fierce a den-mother as her little tribe of humans had ever seen. And so she was made part of the guard and given the title "Icefalcon", named for the small but fierce birds hunting prey twice their size in the clean air of the mountains. Soon she was nothing but The Icefalcon, her childhood name lost in the pride of her position, the passion of her responsibility. She lived with that until she died.

Her death was painful and without honour. She had failed to protect the other guards with her, she failed to obtain the information her tribe needed about the curse, the scourge, she failed even to die cleanly at the blades of her attackers. She crawled, like a beast, into the shadows of a once-proud stronghold. The Icefalcon's last living breath brought the bitter taste of shame and failure to her tongue. Then she died, in the ruins of Lordaeron, alone among rotting debris.

It should have ended there. But even the dignity of death was taken from her. The curse of her enemies had embraced her, and made her one of them. Her broken body got up and walked, carried by a will to life which fed the stubborn passion which had made her The Icefalcon. Dead, she was undead.

In this undeath, she found company. Despair and a common enemy creates strange alliances. Her fear and disgust of the rabid orcs, the sly trolls and even the strange animals, the tauren, was no longer important. The only emotion left in The Icefalcon was her own hatred of the scourge and its source. The demonic energies and the putrid pollution which ruined her land and made her what she now was became the main reason for her unlife. Somewhere in her world an icefalcon soared in clean air over white mountain peaks. She had to protect that. It was the last spark in her decayed heart.

And so she passed through the dark portal of demon energy. A slight warrior, too fragile for her blade, too delicate for her shield, but with a total disrespect of these limitations. She made her way towards the source of her curse. This is where we can find her now, scouring the Outlands, driving for the frontier where the pollution can be stopped, the demons driven out of her life forever. There is no way back for The Icefalcon. Such as her have no space in the world she protects. In every battle she faces her own decay, her own rejection of the course of nature. But The Icefalcon never stops to consider this. For her the only direction is a charge into the face of her enemies, until she wins peace for the memory she protects, or until she is, finally and forever, free to soar.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Get ready for the end!

Today's lecture was on semiotics, with Roland Barthes' rhetoric of the image as the main topic. So of course I needed some examples for analysis. I haven't been watching advertising and working with that for several years, but I think I probably should. There is so much going on out there on the web, all in the name of consumption.

Diesel's summer campaign is cleverly taking advantage of the whole global warming issue. With a name as heavily loaded with negative connotations in these fossile fuel crisis, they had to spin it in a daring direction - something diesel has never been afraid to do.

This year the slogan is "Global Warming Ready", and that they are!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

WoW - an anthology!

Jill Walker and Hilde Corneliussen, our hard-working and eminent editors, have just sent off to MIT press a big fat stack of paper with the articles grown from our contacts and network in World of Warcraft. They have done a great job, and so have we all! I am just going to lean back and wait for the release party now!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Blogger is suddenly speaking Norwegian to me. I love it, but I also see some weird results. For instance when I want to publish a comment, and the window isn't wide enough to show the buttons "publiser kommentaren din" and "forhåndsvisning" (preview). So the first shows, but the second is shortened to "forhån". "Hån" in Norwegian means - I don't really have the words in English, but I think something like "spite" or "harassment". "Forhån" is one form of the word as a verb. So, I get the options "publish" or "spite". Weird.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Restaurant Game

Want to be part of creating a game? The MIT media Lab is working on The Restaurant Game, a multi (two) player game where the game is supposed to learn from the players, with the goal of developing a single user game. As they say: Play early, play often, please spread the word.

Health and games

Journalists are great. Good journalists find a whole lot of stuff, and they can only use a tiny portion of it, because they think people really don't want to lnow all the interesting stuff they find. Or their editors do. This means that journalists are really generous when it comes to sharing information, not at all worried when you ask for a link to that research report they are quoting and trying to get you to comment on.

Now, The Truants are great too. Despite being researchers, they share interesting information even more generously than journalists, and they know how to find it fast. So when I got a hint from a journalist about some interesting research, and asked The Truants if they could help me with some search words for the right type of institution, I got it right away! And so I can offer the Scandinavian language readers of this blog a link to an interesting Swedish review of research on health and games.

Enjoy, and think nice thoughts about gift economy networks while you do.

What's nice?

I found the below report by way of a journalist from NRK P3, who asked for a couple of quotable words on the phone. So, I have now (Tuesday april 10th, 13.00) said that multi user games make cooperation, grouping, generousity and sharing an absolute necessity in order to succeed - all qualities which we associate with kindness. In journalist language, that means I have said games make people nicer, no qualifiers, and no matter that "nice" is relative. I don't think gankers are nice AT ALL. The mates of gankers, the people who get more honourkills by chasing down and repeatedly killing some defenseless horde character, I am pretty sure they think ganking is a really nice activity!

Life online: The Web in 2020

Somebody have brought out their crystal balls, and said something about the future of online activities. It's a sober and interesting piece of writing, and it makes me look forwards to 2020, to see just how well the study fits.

Player's Realm

Another anthology is on the market: The Player's Realm with Jonas Heide-Smith and Patrick Williams as editors. It's published by McFarland, and should make an interesting addition to current game literature. It's been a while coming, but it's on topics which should be able to survive the time lag. My article is on the player's situation and connection, placing gaming in a wider cultural field, connecting to a wide range of literature.

I have no idea what the picture on the front page is supposed to relate to though - unless it's that same literary connection: Fantasy and science fiction.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spring, stuff, sick leave

I keep forming blogposts in my mind, about the beauty and the melankoly of really early spring, the light on trash revealed after the winter, dirty flecks of melting snow and the scent of new growth. But I never get around to post those or the pictures, as life rushes on.

I have just operated one of my eyes, an operation I have mentioned before. This means I am on sick leave this week, and I really don't feel like straining my eyesight much for a while now. It will take weeks to heal and longer to adjust and settle. Good news is: I love my new glasses, and it seems like this will get coordinated.

Yesterday I got a phone call from my mother, and she was at the hospital. So my period of sick leave and destressing is suddenly filled with hospital visits, figuring out a way to care for two fat, spoiled tomcats and how to have some easter fun with the family although there will be very little skiing and cabin life. Lucky I have a wonderful family who don't panic at the thought of spending their vacation between Volda, Ålesund and visits to the hospital.

I have to put a lot aside to deal with my mother's weakened condition and my own momentarily slacking health, but it's just one of those things. I have been complaining I didn't know how to say "no" to interesting propositions. This spring is a forceful lesson in priorities and letting go. I still don't know how to do it gracefully though.