we are enemies… secrettechnology

Discovered on a mac forum that I’ve been on for years, and the best game I’ve played in years also, i made this. you play this. we are enemies. And then I discovered Jason Nelson’s website. I think I must have emailed him somewhere in the game… He wrote back asking for a ‘strange story or unusual encounter’. I thought my life tends not to be so interesting so sent him one of the dreams that made ‘alptraum’ in all the people i can remember sleeping with…, the one with the plane crash in the Himalayas where I end up bleeding to death from a bullet in my upper arm. Sometimes why I love art is so clear.

nothing left to do but vandalise shit

For a while I go so into playing Halo, and I mean so into it in the end I had to delete the thing from my hard drive. But that didn’t turn me into a xenophobic, steroid-pumped weapons-crazy psychopathic Master Chief, blasting my way across Melbourne … though everything was a bit pixelated after a 16 hour stint …

So now that the Australian Government Classification Review Board has banned Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, not that I’d probably be able to play it anyway on my old PowerBook, I feel unequivocally compelled to download it illegally, and then go around Melbourne tagging stuff.

Ms Maureen Shelley, when questioned on her decision by the ABC’s Lateline, said she didn’t need proof that video games encourage crime—only that she thought they could.

— WikiNews

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red vs blue

A while ago on one of the net-art email lists I subscribe to, there was discussion about performance in video games, using the game engines to create new worlds, or using multi-player and taking a feed from the screen to edit it. This week, Halo 2 arrived and has made more than $100 million in sales already, putting video games clearly in the same realm as block-buster movies.

Not having an X-Box to play it on, but wanting to see some video from it for a Halo-based performance I’m working on, I stumbled across Red Vs Blue. Now up to episode 43, it follows the dim-witted daily life of Red and Blue Teams as they do battle, learn to drive a tank, and generally wonder what they are doing in the universe. It’s a work of genius, up there with the best of South Park or Beavis and Butthead.

From there, I stumbled over to Machinima a giant site of films made using game engines. From the juvenile Red Vs Blue using QuickTime to view, to Blade Runner done entirely in Unreal Tournament 2004’s Matinee. ALl of this is a world of animation that is daunting in its sophistication, yet often incredibly simple in its piggy-backing on the gaming environments and engines.

great technology crappy game

In a sweatily adolescent application of great technology, Hong Kong’s Artificial Life have just announced the release of a new 3-D game for 3G phones, Virtual Girlfriend, perfect for guys who confuse fantasy with reality, and want their girlfriend to have the responses of a Tamagotchi.

The Virtual Girlfriend is a very innovative mobile game that is based on intelligent animated 3-D characters (avatars) that live in a virtual mobile world. The virtual girls can be contacted and seen using a 3G phone at any time. However, the characters will be involved in different activities during the day, for example, the girlfriend may be in her virtual home or at her virtual workplace or in a virtual bar or restaurant or just shopping with another virtual friend in a virtual shopping mall. The user can watch the characters during these activities and interact with them via the mobile phone. The characters and the game follow a certain daily and weekly schedule which will continuously change and progress over time. The behavior of the virtual characters is based on scientific principles and algorithms inspired by the computer related artificial life sciences and is using artificial intelligence technology to achieve human like behavior and responses.

halo 2 – i love bees

In early 2001, somehow I slipped into the very strange world of A.i. the online multi-player game which was in effect a meme to promote the Kubrick/Spielburg movie of the same name, though had little in common. Over the next few months, I wasted many hours in that world, and in the Cloudmakers Group, trying to follow the game play, reading 100s of emails a day, and somehow as a result becoming totally hooked on web-design or more accurately net-art. I even got a special poster for the game-players with my name on it. Today it started again.

Well a little while ago actually, not like I have checked in to the group for maybe a year or two, but in my trawls across internet-land today, I came across i love bees, which appeared as a blink at the end of the movie trailer for Halo 2, which I was playing until a couple of days ago when 550mhz powerbook just didn’t have the required grunt to keep the fps ticking over, and shortly after having finished all the Iain M. Banks culture books, from which Halo draws many of its themes.

So it looks like the same crew behind A.i., The Beast and The Puppetmasters are at it again. It had an immediately familiar feel, the movie teaser, the hacked websites, even the old crew at cloudmakers are getting excited. If I’m going down the rabiit hole again, it looks like this is the place to go.

unreal tournament presents swan lake

What more can someone do inside a MMORPG (massive multi-player online role-playing game) than just play the game? From the empyre networked discussion list amidst a very long and interesting correspondence on gaming came this question:

“Does anyone know if there are any examples of art events/pieces happening inside these semi-public environments? Has anyone ever done a performance inside Everquest for example?”

Which produced various replies from friends – the quake episode, where an entire episode of the truely aweful sit-com was reinacted inside an online quake arena…

Is Quake Friends a brilliant critique of the Buddhist nature of online gaming, where all the world’s a stage, and the players get reincarnated continuously to serve their place on the great wheel of life? Or is DeLappe the laziest performance artist in history? Can valid art exist in an online gaming server? What next: UT2k3 Touched By An Angel?

through to the mixed-reality of pus and fester and Eddo Stern who reworks Wolfenstein allowing Israeli players to invade Nazi Germany, and cockfight arena

A one night parade of sweat and adrenaline hopes to reclaim performance art in the age of video games, pitting viewer against viewer in brutal virtual cockfighting theater. Audience volunteers suited up in custom-made wireless game controllers with full sized wings and feathered helmets. Combatants stepped into an arena to control their life size game avatars through vigorous flapping and pecking, competing for blood and birdfeed while rapaciously inflicting onscreen bodily harm in a custom made “joustlike” fighting game.

So, it got me thinking about the project I’m doing at Taipei Artist Village, and suddenly the idea of staging Swan Lake in its entirety inside one of the games I spend way too many hours playing seemed like a good idea.

Hearts of Iron and Ken Park

The story of Hearts of Iron and China’s irony-free Ministry of Culture has been small print for a couple of weeks, and has now become news. The game like all good warfare/strategy games is heavy on accurate super-weapon history-altering blood-splatter and generous in historical adaption, which in their tireless efforts to re-write history with each five-year plan is one giant bug up the Ministry’s arse. Picking up on the story, Wired reports the game is guilty of

“distorting history and damaging China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to China’s Ministry of Culture.

Within the game, territories labeled on a map as “Manchuria,” “West Xinjiang” and “Tibet” are sovereign nations, and Taiwan is portrayed as a Japanese territory.

“All these severely distort historical facts and violate China’s gaming and Internet service regulations, (and) the game should be immediately prohibited,” said a Ministry of Culture spokesman.

The article goes on to outline the usual shutting down of internet cafes and “unspecified punishments” for people who ignore the ban, and Sony’s efforts to get EverQuest to be relevant against such monsters as Counter-Strike. In fairness Wired does point out countries including Australia have banned games, but nothing makes good headlines like a banning of something in China. While Ken Park is available on DVD next to copies of Hearts of Iron in China the moral guardians of Australia with their imagination firmly wedged in the 1950s think Larry Clark is not only not a genius but the number one corruptor of youth and his film remains banned while he is viewed at best as a deranged junkie. For all the hyperbole about censorship in China it sure is easier to lay your hands on a copy of Salo or any other degenerate film.

onedotzero in Beijing + Shanghai

China Daily has a piece on onedotzero the festival of digital film making its way to Beijing and Shanghai in the next couple of days, through the cultural Park n Shop of the British Council who manage to bring more art to China than every other country combined. At the same time, the British Beijing Film Festival is on with a bunch of average films that have been available on DVD for ages and represent the bland mainstream of contemporary British cinema, not a UK Larry Clark in sight. The onedotzerofestival schedule isn’t confirmed yet but includes short films, digital animation, developments in gaming, and other work in new media and music video.

onedotzero’s groundbreaking annual festival, returns for the eighth year with ten days of adventures in moving image. the globally acclaimed festival features new forms of moving image across music video, computer gaming cinematics, architecture, motion graphics, new media, feature films and graphic-inflected narrative shorts and documentaries – with a series of panels, presentations, screening programmes and live events. moving image, design, fashion and architecture have been intrinsically connected from the birth of moving image to the present day. onedotzero charts the current creative crossovers and explorations with focused programmes highlighting the excitement of this convergence.

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breedster

I received an email a few days ago from the click-happy folks at Drunk men work here: Breedster – Fresh Zero Content For Compulsive Clickers.

I have since spent my days as a bright red six-legged insect eating green stuff, shitting red (!) stuff and fornicating with as many as possible of the 575 (and rising) other insects across 11664 tiles of the donut-shaped grid. In 5 days I’ve had 13 partners and 6 children, including my favourite -CoW- Kick de Bom, who is truely the daughter of my heart. Memorable partners include Alison, and queeg, the transgender insect who has fast become a favourite on the grid. I don’t know where it’s all leading – maybe just to tendonitis from clicking too much.

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