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Art 80H - Week 2 Lecture Notes

by: Aubrey Isaacman

Art 80H - Week 2 Lecture Notes Art 80H

Marketplace > University of California - Santa Cruz > Art > Art 80H > Art 80H Week 2 Lecture Notes
Aubrey Isaacman
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About this Document

These notes go over interfaces, university games, virtual reality, and arcade subculture.
History of Digital Games
Henry Lowood
Class Notes
Art, Art History, video games, video game history, virtual reality, university games, arcade subculture, interfaces
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Aubrey Isaacman on Sunday January 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Art 80H at University of California - Santa Cruz taught by Henry Lowood in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 92 views. For similar materials see History of Digital Games in Art at University of California - Santa Cruz.


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Date Created: 01/17/16
LECTURE 3 – Wednesday January 6, 2016 Today: announcements Concepts: Screens, Interfaces, University games from Spacewar! To Pong Galloway on interfaces, theoretical implications Surface vs Logic: “Tyranny of the Screen”, practical implications I. Concepts: Screens and Interfaces  Liminality = “standing at the threshold” I. Liminality at the Interface: screen is between player and what they’re doing; the screen is a boundary  Interface = A surface lying between two portions of matter or space and forming their common boundary I. Place of interaction between 2 systems organizations, etc II. A meeting point or common ground b/w 2 parties, systems, or disciplines III. Also interaction, liaison, dialogue Examples:  Water and oil  Medium (between artist and viewer)  Screens are a kind of interface o Alexander Galloway: The Interface Effect (2012)  Perched on the mediating thresholds of self and world (78-79)  Painting, photography, cinema: the world presents itself to us o “The world no longer indicates to us what it is. We indicate ourselves to it, and in doing so, the world materializes in our image.” –Alexander Galloway “The computer is not an object, or a creator of objects, it is a process or active threshold mediating between 2 states.” –A. Galloway “Interfaces are not simply objects or boundary points. They are autonomous zones of activity. Interfaces are not things, but rather processes that effect a result of whatever kind.” -A. Galloway  Diegetic = of story world  Non-diegetic = NON-story (i.e. menu options: character can’t see those options or the health bar that the player sees) I. Determine what world will be; not part of world but will help you understand it  Immersion vs interactivity I. Immersion: feel surrounded by something  Significant properties = “characteristics of digital objects that must be preserved over time in order to ensure the continued accessibility, usability, and meaning of the objects, and their capacity to be accepted as evidence of what they purport to record.” -InSPECT I. Practical implications: what are the significant properties of an image that you don’t want to lose during a conversation?  What it is we want to keep, we must maintain over time II. BOTTOM LINE: which characteristics (properties) of games are significant (essential) for the preservation of digital games? (this is a practical question)  “The Tyranny of the Screen”  Significant properties – Interaction: Display and Control  TECH: Inventors, Machines, Users  Who invented digital games?  Invention: I. Social Construction of Technology  The linear “success story” only emerges with hindsight  These processes bring out the conflicts, negotiations  Invention becomes a complex, long-term process  Trever Pinch and Wiebe Bijker  Stabilization of the chromosome  William Higinbotham – Brookhaven National Lab, 1958  “Tennis for Two” = tennis programming I. Brookhaven National Lab, 1958 II. BNL Visitor’s Day (Open House, 1958) III. Interfaces – screen and controllers IV. BNL open house, 1959  MIT’s Spacewar! I. How did we get from Spacewar! To Pong?  Mods – people liked programming it more than playing II. MIT – DEC (Digital Equipment Corp)  The MIT campus  PDP = programmable data processor  Linking games and computing: games are fundamentally “problems in adaptation”; computer games specifically address the problem that “is the computer.” I. Brian SuttonSmith, Toys As Culture, p 64  “By picking a world people aren’t familiar with, we could alter a number of parameters of the world in the interests of making a good game and making it possible to get it onto a computer.” – “Slug” Russell  What should a demo do? 1. Demo as many of computer’s resources as possible 2. Be interesting; every run should be different 3. Involve the player in a pleasurable and active way – should be a game 4. JM Graetz, “The Origin of Spacewar!” (1981)  As DEC’s PDP line spreads (Spacewar! -> action games; adventure -> story based games)  Ubiquity of Spacewar! - “Wherever there are graphic displayes, there is usually a version of Spacewar!´- Ted Nelson, Computer Lib, (1974)  From Spacewar! To Pong o Silicon Valley o Ampex: Dolby Labs, Memorex, “Oracle” Project (Larry Ellison) o Atari: Nolan Bushnell, Al Alcorn (tangent: Jobs, Bushnell, Jobs, and Woz – Breakout)  From Computer Space to Atari o Recreational Computer in NorCal o Computer Space and arcades  MIT students had tech in mind; Bushnell had money in mind o TV tech to the rescue!  Al Alcorn, “Oral History”  Bushnell patented this o Defining the console Cabinet  Configuration o Computer “Brain Box” ?! o TV display o Control panel (console) o Nobody could figure out how to play!  Atari – Bushnell, Dabney, and Alcorn o Alcorn created Pong  “prototype”, 1972  Ralph Baer and Bill Harrison made Ping-Pong on the Brown Box, 1969  They present it and Bushnell signed the guest book!  Atari won the law suit because they had the documented paper work of their patents and Baer and Harrison did not  Revolutionizing Industry o Pong as arcade game  Bushnell and Alcorn argued over adding instructions or not  Good game design means explaining as little as possible – intuitive! (Bushnell)  “Complicated games may work for nerds but not for ordinary people” – Ralph Baer, Videogames in the Beginning, p5-6  A video skill game: design, components, robust qualities  Atari thought of itself as engineers LECTURE 4 – Wednesday January 13, 2016 No Lecture M, no section M or W I. TV!  Newton Mirow  Marshall McLuhan o TV is cool o Global village > virtual community o Hot or cool? Digging Understanding Media  Hot = high definition; authorship does work for you  HiDef, focus on single sense, low participation, excludes o Book o Radio o Factory o Movies o PowerPoint presentation  Cool = participatory  LowDef, multiple sense, high participation, includes o TV o Phone o Speech o PowerPoint presentation o Historical Reversal: the past mechanical time was hot, and we of the TV age are cool o Electrical Age > Global Village TRIBAL - PRE-LITERATE/ORAL Cool participatory Integral local INDUSTRIAL/PRINT Hot Linear Mechanical Intense POV specialist Wasteland (content) or cool, participatory, electri II. Alternatives to TV  Ultimate Display – 1965 essay about virtual reality (vr)  McLuhan meditates on TV, not computer o Alan Kay: computer scientist; came up with idea for tablet  Use VR to simulate other cultures (POV simulation)  3. VR won’t die  2. Good for you (… or not?)  1. It’s the ultimate medium  EXPERIENCE! o VR = computer generated virtual simulation (OED)  Virtual = something that doesn’t physically exist  3 IMs: imaginary, immersive, impractical o Ivan Sutherland  Timeline:  1963: sketchpad – graphics as basis of communication between humans and machines; elements of the imagination: o Extension: the light-pen as input device o Conversation: the human dialogue with the machine o Correspondence: user, screen, memory  1965: “The Ultimate Display” – the vision thing  1968: Completion of eD, HMD system – VR linked to the specialized hardware, work on kinesthetic systems (kinesthetic = tactile, responsive, force-feedback (interact with muscular system))  The computer as space o Sutherland at Harvard 1967-1968 o Program focused on computer graphics o Leads to program at U of Utah (Bushnell and others went there) o The Sword of Damocles – a sword that could fall on you at any moment  people were afraid to try VR because there were a lot of pounds of equipment on top of them if they wore the gear  Natural interface? o Data-Glove  Hand gesture interface; Thomas G Zimmerman  Touch Gadget – Scientific American  VR Day (7 June 1989) – Texpo, San Francisco  The VR Hype Business, 1989-mid 1990s: VR will become an ADDITIONAL reality  Arcades; location-based VR  Virtual worlds o Lucasfilm’s Habitat o Linen Lab’s Second Life (1999)  Immersion or Augmentation? o VR vs mobile (augmentation) 1989-2008  Worth another shot????  Oculus Rift III. Home Console  Ralph Baer (1922-2014), Odyssey, and Atari o 1966: Baer writes down notes on how to use an ordinary TV set for playing games while at a bus stop terminal in NYC  “The purpose of this invention it so provide a large variety of low-cost data entry devices which can be used by an operator to communicate with a monochrome or color tv set …”  The Game Unit #6  #7, aka “The Brown Box” o “A home TV Game product might be the natural province of television set manufactures” –Ralph Baer, Video Games in the Beginning, p 56  Magnavox TV 1967  Magnavox Odyssey (1972) IV. Arcade subculture  Coin-operated machines (1970s) o 1981, Pier 39 o “… a new species of public space…” –David Sudnow, “Memory,” Pilgrim in the Microworld  Instructions were minimalist understatements: “Enough to make sure you know to put in money. Some business this coin-op irony.” –Sudnow  Rewards: Extrinsic v Intrinsic: “at least some of the reinforcement is no doubt extrinsic, taking the form of praise and admiration from peers and other onlookers” – Loftus and Loftus, “Why Videogames Are Fun” o Contrast of arcade and home console? o Flexibility of the medium; play a game at home or in an arcade, by yourself or with others, COMPUTERS!  Santa Cruz Boardwalk, 1981  “[Arcades] are places where social contact is made in a friendly atmosphere and where friendships are formed.” –Loftus & Loftus, “The Arcade Subculture”  Are Arcades a fad? o “People won’t have a chance to get bored with video games… They may not remain in precisely their current form, but rather they are likely to evolve as new developments in the computer/electronics industries emerge.”  NOT a fad!


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