Just added: 3 great weblogs about gaming culture: New World Notes,Cultural Raven, and TerraNova Wagner James Au (Cultural Maven) , a freelance writer keeps a blog about his adventures in Second Life. (See his report about virtual detectives and meeting a so-called Chinese dancer from the cybersweatshop). Richard Bartle, author, game theorist and designer runs TerraNova (he wrote the influential book Designing Virtual Worlds, which I will surely buy eventually). Cultural Raven, as far as I can tell, writes about game theory and culture, with a slightly Germanic bent (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).
All three have fascinating weblogs, but let me remind the gentle reader that I find many remarkable weblogs during my browsing. I frequently go bananas over a few blogs, without finding any one thing to blog about. For example, writer Clive Thompson of collision detection always wows me with his insights into gaming and culture. To pick a few more examples of blogs I love but haven’t blogged about, GrandTextAuto, is a bunch of literary gamers in academia–great discussion blog. Pseudopodium, a idiosyncratic literary blog run by Ray Davis, is so impossible to categorize (or to link to) that I never get around to actually doing so. Filmbrain writes great reviews of films that never make it to the multiplex (except for Million Dollar Baby, which he properly despies). Mr. Sun writes a humor blog which is unparalleled. Dahr Jamail and Rahul Mahajan write great blogs about international events, This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow (political cartoonist, who I just gave an online tip to recently), Spin of the Day (a great unmasker of Spin by a Wisconsin-based foundation, and 2blowhards, a literary blog (I could go on about the literary blogs in particular, but I wish to finish this post fairly soon).
Richard Bartle on Designeritis, the question of whether the naive audience member is better able to have an authentic artistic experience than a full time artist. He writes:
Suppose you go to see a movie and find yourself sitting next to Stephen Spielberg. Two hours later, when the movie has finished, what could you possibly say to him about it? His knowledge of movie-making is so much deeper than yours that he’ll have seen things you haven’t seen, picked up on nuances that passed you by, understood symbols you didn’t even know were symbols: it’s almost as if you’ve watched two different movies. Yet you may have had the better experience. For you, the magic is still real.
The audience member is a drug addict; the artist is the drug dealer (or more properly, the one who produces the stuff in the meth lab). He knows about the rush, and can appreciate the effort needed to produce it. Far from being alienated from the pleasures of naive enjoyment, he understands how easily the sensory buttons can be pushed and manipulated. The artist gets into the business of production because he wants to understand art’s addictive power.