So, at my own academic peril, I just re-read Ender's Game . A helluva tale, everything you could want in a piece of science fiction and perfect, I think, for middle schoolers. There are two important games in the book. One is a fantasy game that all the cadets in battle school play on their memex-like "desks" which are essentially laptops that you put yourself into, similar to old fashioned cameras where the photographer got under a curtain.
in what can be construed as wark's introduction, he uses the allegory of the cave to describe the lives of gamers inside an internet cafe. he goes on to talk about how beyond the cave, there are only more caves, but he seems to think that this is a uniquely modern phenomenon:
i used to watch south park a lot. it's a pretty smart show, especially when it comes to stuff about the media. i actually wrote my final paper for MS 49 about how south park teaches media literacy.
for those who were wondering whether you can do real bad stuff in virtual worlds: teen arrested for stealing virtual furniture.
i sent links to the "get a first life" page to a couple of my friends. i just had a discussion with one of them about how she met this guy on the subway (in new york) a while ago who was really into second life. some tidbits:
he had surgery, for something i forget, and during his recuperation (he couldn't go to his job) he played second life twenty hours a day.
- "Once encoding in the material base has taken place, it cannot easily be changed. Prints and proteins in this sense have more in common with each other than with any magnetic or electronic encodings." (p.73)
"The immateriality of the text, deriving from a translation of mechanical advantage into informational patterns, allows transformations to take place that would be unthinkable if matter or energy were the primary basis for the systemic exchanges." (p.76)