After the Volcano

Part of the July Blogs of the Round Table.

After the Volcano Over at Critical Distance, it seems that the bloot on the extinction of blogs struck a chord and pushed the conversation further into the corners of the internet. Their BoRT for July, “Blogception”, is a continuation of the themes that began with “The Extinction of Blogs” and that I summarised in “Bloot Me If You Need Me”. You can find the contributed pieces with the recently-revived drop down box, below (hurrah!).

I particularly enjoyed the tmblr post by rumirumirumirumi that suggests that there probably isn’t actually a problem, since the talking is still going on. Yet I found it rather odd and amusing that I couldn’t actually comment to this post, because tumblr (a format I only discovered this month) doesn’t support it. It drives home for me that while the conversations still occur on the new media platforms, what is actually in danger of extinction is ‘just’ the old form of blogging. But of course, it was this form of blogging (and not just on the topic of games, as others have assumed!) that I suggested was in danger of extinction – and that I don’t want to lose.

Random throwaway conversations may survive, but the blog clusters are dying – and as far as I can tell new formats like tumblr and G+ do not and cannot maintain community in anything like this way. G+, I can now honestly report, reverts to the usenet/forum format for community – with all the disastrous problems this entails. But then Oscar drew my attention to First Person Scholar via a post entitled “Feed-Forward Scholarship” that feels very much like another shot at a Terra Nova-like scholarly outreach community. A definite sense of circles and roundabouts hangs in the air – transformation is certainly afoot, yet there is also a sense of recurrence, of things coming back around.

You won’t care about the extinction of the blog clusters if – like Corvus and others – you are getting your conversational fixes elsewhere. Probably the only people who do care are those of us who benefited from the experimental era roughly a decade hence when the blog clusters dominated digital discourse. These current discussions have left me in no doubt that dialogue does still take place on the internet, but they have not yet convinced me that those of us in the ‘old guard’ have nothing to lose by giving up what we once had. On the contrary, I am more certain than ever that we have already lost what we had. But perhaps this is not as great a cause for alarm as I originally suggested.

Every extinction is an opportunity for that which survives: after the volcano, new life flourishes in the fecundity of its desolation. So it seems to be on the internet. If I cannot keep my blog clusters alive, I must be mindful of how my blogs, survivors of this catastrophic transition, can blossom in some as-yet undiscovered niche.


The Final Winner

Winner It’s with great pleasure that I announce that the winner of the third copy of Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophy is Samantha Blackmon. A signed copy of the book will be winging its way to Indiana shortly! (Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery).

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the Spring Review Drive – you all won a book, so that’s a pretty equitable outcome for all concerned!


Off to Philosophy at Play

I’m away this week giving my first ever philosophy keynote (level up!) for Philosophy at Play at the University of Gloucestershire, so I won’t have time for anything more substantial on the blogs this week.

I am making my way through the manuscript for Chaos Ethics, and hope to resume blogging more seriously by May (fingers crossed). At the same time, I have certain fears that social networks have taken away too many regular players and that discussions of the kind we used to have in the heyday of Only a Game are now impossible. Your thoughts on this, surviving players, would be most welcome!

More soon!


Win a Book in the Spring Review Drive!

Help me gather reviews and you could win a book… If you have read any of the five books pictured below, you could win one of three signed copies of Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy I’m offering as prizes in a special Spring review drive!

Bateman Books A friend recently pointed out to me that I don’t have a great deal of reviews on the Amazon sites, and that it would be good to get the numbers up. To this end, I’m offering books as prizes for three lucky contributors to a review drive running throughout Spring. To take part, you have to have read at least one of the five books pictured above, and contribute a review to either Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (or both – for double the chance of winning!). At the start of the competition, there are 10 reviews for these books on Amazon.com and just one on Amazon.co.uk – surely we can do better than that!

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Write a short review (a couple of sentences will do) for one or more of the books above and post them on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, or both.
  2. Send an email to comp [at] ihobo.com giving your name and address, the review text,  and the website posted to. If you have any special request about how you’d like the book signed, you can mention this too.
  3. If you post the review on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, you can send one competition email for each site, for twice the chances to win!

That’s all there is to it! Each book review on each site is worth one more chance to win, so if you’ve read more than one of my books you can rack up multiple chances to win. (If you’ve already written a review of one of these books for one of these sites, you can still submit that review to the competition).

There will be three random draws for prizes, one at the end of February, another at the end of March, and a final one at the end of April. If you enter before the first draw, you will get three chances to win for each review you submit.

Good luck!

Closing date for entries is 30th April 2013. Prize draws will be held on or shortly after 1st March, 1st April and 1st May. Competition is open to individuals with a postal address anywhere in the world. Multiple entries are permitted provided each corresponds to a review posted to either Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, the text of which must be included with the entry. Reviews posted to the relevant sites prior to the competition commencing are still eligible for entry into the competition provided the relevant email is submitted to the competition address. The same review text may be posted to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, and this will qualify as two entries provided each is submitted in a separate email. Participants may only win one prize no matter how many times they enter. Winners will be determined at random using polyhedral dice rolled by an appointed judge. The judge's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The prize may not be transferred to any other person. No cash alternative or alternative prize is available. Spambots will be shot. All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Entry in the competition implies acceptance of these rules.

This competition is currently open.


Win a Copy of The Mythology of Evolution

Free to one lucky player of Only a Game, a signed author copy of The Mythology of Evolution. Simply send an email to comp [at] ihobo.com giving your name and address. Also, let me know if you’d like it signed to you personally, otherwise it’ll just have my signature on its own.

Good luck!

Closing date is 31st October 2012. Offer is open to individuals with a postal address anywhere in the world. Only one entry per person is permitted. The winner will be determined at random using polyhedral dice rolled by an appointed judge. The judge's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The prize may not be transferred to any other person. No cash alternative or alternative prize is available. Spambots will be shot. All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Entry in the competition implies acceptance of these rules.

This competition is now closed.


Edinburgh Interactive 2012

I’m proud to report I have a gig at Edinburgh Interactive this year with Ren Reynolds, at 2:30 pm on Thursday 9th August. Here’s the blurb:

Are computer games art?

This seemingly obscure academic question can quickly get film critics spluttering, lawyers scribbling, and bloggers, erm... blogging. Why all this passion? Because if computer games really are art then they matter. Not in the sense of computer games being the UK's most successful creative industry where we export products and talent around the world, or games being a massive boost to the British economy. No. Really matter. As a culture that people have to take seriously.

To answer the question once and for all, philosopher and policy wonk Ren Reynolds talks to Chris Bateman about games, art and their intimate relationship. As author of the book Imaginary Games, founder of International Hobo and lecturer, Chris brings the twin perspectives of game maker and academic to this vexed question.

Cross posted from ihobo.com.


June Speaking Gigs

I have a number of speaking gigs coming up in June:

  • Saturday June 2nd I’ll be speaking at St. Barnabas Church in Southfields, London on the topic Videogames: Art or Addiction? Tickets are £5.
  • Sunday June 10th I’m on a panel at the Institute of Art and Ideas' philosophy and music festival in Hay-on-Wye entitled States of Play. On the panel with me are Harry Eyres and Don Paterson, while Felicity Evans chairs. Tickets are £4, £7 or £9 depending upon when you buy them.

More to come later this Summer.