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1. Communications Forum | Oct 25th, 5:00 PM |
Why I Write Poems
Linda Gregerson

Linda Gregerson will discuss her new book of poems,
The Selvage,
and her calling as a poet and professor of Renaissance literature in conversation with Forum Director David Thorburn and members of the audience.

A 2007 National Book Award finalist and a recent Guggenheim Fellow, Linda Gregerson is the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English
Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, where she teaches creative writing and Renaissance literature. She is the author of four books of poetry and two books of criticism. Gregerson's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, Granta, The Paris Review, The Kenyon
Review, The Best American Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. Among her honors and awards are an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award
in Literature, the Kingsley Tufts Award, four Pushcart Prizes, grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Mellon, and Bogliasco Foundations,
the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Poetry Society of America, and the National Humanities Center.

2. Communications Forum | Nov 1st, 5:00 PM |
Digitizing the Culture of Print: The Digital Public Library of America and Other Urgent Projects
Robert Darnton, John Palfrey, and Susan Flannery

3. October 26                "The Stuff of Romance: Lyric Materialities and the Old French Romance Tradition"
                                      Emma Dillon, University of Pennsylvania
Note: not much info, but refer to

4. Colloquium | Nov 8th, 5:30 PM |
Finer Fruits: Experiment in Life and Play at Walden
Tracy Fullerton
Sponsored by the Purple Blurb series. Note time.

Walden, a game, is an experiment in play being made about an experiment in living. The game simulates Henry David Thoreau's experiment in living a simplified
existence as articulated in his book Walden. It puts Thoreau’s ideas about the essentials of life into a playable form, in which players can take on the role of Thoreau, attending to the “meaner” tasks of life at the Pond—providing themselves with food, fuel, shelter and clothing—while trying not to lose
sight of their relationship to nature, where the Thoreau found the true rewards of his experiment, his "finer fruits" of life. The game is a work in progress,
and this talk will look closely at the design of the underlying system and the cycles of thought that have gone into developing it. It will also detail
the creation of the game world, which is based on close readings of Thoreau’s work, and the projected path forward for the team as we continue our sojourn
in experimental in play.

Tracy Fullerton, M.F.A., is an experimental game designer, professor and director of the Game Innovation Lab at the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she holds the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment. The Game Innovation Lab is a design research center that has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, and The Night Journey -- a collaboration with media artist Bill Viola. Tracy is also the author of "Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games," a design textbook in use at game programs worldwide.
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You're invited to explore the world of games + literature, with Games by the Book.

A new exhibit at MIT's Hayden Humanities Library, it's open to visitors until October 6.

Games by the Book features games and interactive fiction built around classic titles, including The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Great Gatsby, and more.

Learn more at and below...

Games by the Book
September 7th - October 8th, 2012

Curated by Clara Fernández-Vara and Nick Montfort
Humanities Library
14S-200 (map)
Hayden Library Building

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Not my cup of tea, but I know one or two Janeheads (or is that Austenites?)
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Kes: While not an Austenphile myself, I foresee many of my Fb and LJ friends suddenly becoming very very obsessed. Also, this would make a fantastic media studies paper.
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Kes: This is a fundraiser for the Cambridge Boys and Girls Club, but really, I think I know one or two people who are champions in this sport. It also seems like a really good exercise for people who want to design their own games and want to know what gamers hate.

"We Mock So They Can Play!"
Twelve straight hours playing games you hate? Live on Ustream? That's what our GAMBIT Game Lab is putting itself through on the 18th. A marathon of misery: the 2012 Crappy Game Complaining Marathon.


Because we love our local Boys and Girls Club. All the money we raise through our pain goes straight to them.
Donate now!

We ask two things of you...
Donate $15 or more to the Cambridge Boys and Girls Club today.
Watch the complaining live on Ustream on the 18th between noon and midnight. The feed will go live at

We thank you for your support!
Your friends at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab and MIT Comparative Media Studies
How to Part with Your $
The Cambridge Boys and Girls Club puts it to great use, funding youth programs in leadership, the arts, sports, and much more.
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Last week at MIT's Emerging Technology conference, someone presented information regarding a study in which volunteers played Doom using a brain-computer interface
Note the link to a longer Computer World article about the study.
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Kes: And the word of the day is "gamic text."


block quote start

As part of a continuing series on video games generated by the Critical Gaming Project at UW, will discuss, develop, and do close playing.  Like close reading, close playing requires careful and critical attention to how the game is played (or not played), to what kind of game it is, to what the game looks like or sounds like, to what the game world is like, to what choices are offered (or not offered) to the player, to what the goals of the game are, to how the game interacts with and addresses the player, to how the game fits into the real world, and so on.  To engage all of this, we will take 2K's critically-acclaimed
first-person shooter Bioshock (Xbox360, PS3, PC) as our central gamic text (though other supplemental games will be included as needed).  block quote end 
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Vanished: The MIT:Smithsonian Science Mystery"

The Smithsonian Institution and MIT announced the April 4 launch of VANISHED an 8-week online/offline environmental disaster mystery game for middle-school children, meant to inspire engagement and problem solving through science.

Developed and curated by MIT's Education Arcade (a research group in Comparative Media Studies) and the Smithsonian Institution, VANISHED is a first-of-its-kind experience where participants become investigators racing to solve puzzles and other online challenges, visit museums and collect samples from their neighborhoods to help unlock the secrets of the game. Players can only discover the truth about the environmental disaster by using real scientific methods and knowledge to unravel the game's secrets.

To navigate through the mystery game's challenges, participants will gain access to Smithsonian scientists from such diverse disciplines as paleobiology,
volcanology, forensic anthropology and entomology.

Potential participants can sign-up for VANISHED at
beginning March 21.
[Kes: Although you can currently sign up now ont he Web site to receive notification of when the game officially starts.]
more info below cut )
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Kes: The recording of this should be posted to the CMS site at some point later--I'll post a link to it when it goes online.

Join us today at 5pm for a look at...

Theatre and Videogames as Performance Activities

Featuring Clara Fernández-Vara of
the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab (

CMS Colloquium
02.17.11 | 5:00 PM | MIT Building 2, Room 105

From Elsinore to Monkey Island:
Theatre and Videogames as Performance Activities
with Clara Fernandez-Vara, Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab
What do Shakespeare and videogames have in common?

Clara Fernandez-Vara, a Comparative Media Studies alumna, explains her journey from researching Shakespeare in performance to studying and developing videogames. Applying concepts from theatre in performance illuminates the relationship between the player and the game, as well as between game and narrative.

Videogames are not theatre, but the comparison gives way to productive questions: What is the dramatic text of the game? How does this text shape the actions of the player? Who are the performers? Who is the audience? These questions will be addressed in the context of adventure games, a story-driven genre where the player solves puzzles that are integrated in the fictional world of the game.
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A week or so ago Alexx posted about
a Web game called Echo Bazaar
and how he thought it could be made accessibile with relative ease.

I encourage blind readers interested in accessible games to follow the link to the game's forum and either add your comment or vote up Alexx' suggestion (I found this latter task to be kind of confusing myself but I did add my own comment to the thread's vote).

Also, don't bazaar and bizarre sound almost identical with a screen reader?
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The Gambit Lab at MIT will be the scene of
the 2010 Complete Game-Completion Marathon
to raise money for Partners in Health in Haiti. You can contribute to this weekend-long fundraiser at the
Partners in Health website.
and the marathon Web site includes a Web cam so you can follow your favorite team.
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Jim Fructerman, founder of, posted
a brief commentary on the book _Total Engagement_ ,
contextualizing the psychology of MMOs within the corporate sphere.

block quote start

The thesis is simple. Millions of people pay each month to participate in massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). I've tried them, and I have friends (and kids) that have been totally sucked into them. They punch a bunch of psychological tickets for humans: the game designers know what they're doing. The book discusses how this is done:

* an epic story line(we're saving the galaxy from the Crumlons)clear paths to advancement, with transparency about your skills and performance
* intensely meritocratic societies called guilds that work together in groups to accomplish major tasks
* strong social interactions with other people
* the ability to try, fail and try again rapidly, learning quickly
* the option to try on leadership roles

For many people, these games are where they come alive and truly experience their potential to solve problems, meet challenges and lead a team.

And then they go into the modern workplace, which is frequently as stultifying as these virtual worlds are thrilling. Fail!

Read and Reeves are convinced that at least some smart workplaces of the future are going to adapt some of the ways of the games to more fully engage their employees and become more effective as economic organizations. They don't have a magic formula for how to do this, but do invest a great deal of time ana! lyzing what makes people inside these games tick and how those! concept s transfer to the workplace.
block quote end
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Kes: Although this is a game which features visualizing sound, it's not really accessible to blind gamers, although the soundtrack is pretty creepy
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Because I really think Paul and Storm's Frogger: The Musical
needs to be the soundtrack for
the iPhone game "Hi, how are you"

The chorus to "Frogger: The Musical" also makes a good power chant for a blind person crossing the major streets of Boston, and it's more family-friendly than my traditional power chant: f*ckf*ckf*ck repeated until attaining the other side)
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I read about this on TeleRead
but am confused--does this mean anyone with Scribblenauts also has an ebook reader after installing the app?

Also, I just want to mention: kestrels on Scribblenauts!
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has kestrels.

And steampunk dragons.

But mostly--kestrels!

Alexx and I were playing this on the t last night ont he way home from the Arisia Con Com meeting, which is veeeeeerrrry dangerous, as we are prone to getting caught up in questions such as "Okay, we have gungie cord, what do we attach that to?" (the fire hydrant was not as robust a solution as I had hoped).


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