Monday, February 28, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
The internet; a weird & wonderful cerebral network, a conduit of concepts, images, brilliant bits, bots and byways populated with wonderful people, great ideas, lucid thinking, funny quips, odd opinion, deep scholarship and a whole raft of varying degrees of intelligence, engagement and expertise. Yet as anyone who has ever suffered from spamming, viruses, phishing, getting flamed on IRC, lists, forums, witnessed or been subjected to Ad hominem abuse in chat rooms or elsewhere, we come to understand very well that for all its openness and stimulation it can prove an unforgiving public parapet from whence to raise one’s head. This is particularly true if we harbor intentions to use it to sell something to someone.
I find network culture debates stimulating and interesting on many levels, in a life of tech, composition and creativity I have been fortunate, entirely blessed to have been involved in the business of entertainment technology and the technological entertainment business for over twenty years now, having started in TV & Video hardware and also written among many other creative pieces, my first text based computer game in 1982. I want to lay out below just a few of my life experiences to elucidate the foundation of my current position for the benefit of just one other human being on the planet. Namely Mr Dave Grey. With whom I have found myself sucked into an exchange on twitter..
Just to let you understand a bit about me Dave, I founded the first and only licensed playstation developer in Ireland in 1996 – in some degree a test bed for the now ubiquitous Havok technologies. I conducted the first ever feasibility study into Interactive Entertainment Software for Ireland’s National Enterprise Agency, conceptualised and managed third level applied research in game technology applications. In the naughties I worked as a program manager for Microsoft game studios and in that time, received production credits on eight or nine PC & XBOX titles, (or about 50+ SKUs) I also sat on various committees and was a member of the IDGA (Ireland) steering committee. I have an intimate understanding of the business, art and science of making computer games, across 8Bit to 64Bit, from small scale indie work to thee largest PC and Console gaming products produced by MS and others.
I'm fortunate to have a whole raft of experience working, earning, managing and risking in the game’s industry at all levels, sometimes my independent actions were rewarded by meeting, engaging in conversation with, and learning from wonderful individuals like Joel Jewett, Yves Guillemot, Chris Deering, Peter Wong, and many others, other times working alongside companies like DICE, MGS, etc Both lists are long and my name dropping stops now. I have worked with over thirty companies operating in the digital creative spaces, mainly as facilitator/consultant. I have had more business breakfasts with developers, enginners, accountants, agencies, experts, investors, trade show participants, companies, than twitter has hashtags. While I have an initial educational background in Engineering, Electronics and Theatre, I enrolled in DMU’s78 MA in Creative Writing and New Media from 06 to 08 as it was obvious to me at that time that digital creative communications in these areas were going to be personally essential to generate and sustain my own critical and creative career momentum.
Now I’ve taken ten minutes out ( its getting longer by the line here) from working on my Doctorate, which is essentially about my love for specifically digital creative possibilities of Language in our contemporary networked culture, because there is something I’d like to put to bed/knock on the head. (if I’m allowed that is)
It began by my tweeting:
detestable neologism that even usurps 'staycation':"gamestorming" brainstorming + game mechanics - I'd call that creatidiotivy
Despite the clearly stated: “100% Averse to supposed internet marketing experts.” on my twitter profile, occasionally someone else's retweet will contain some such selling me something type tweet. A lot of the time I ignore them.. I use twitter for information & banter not self promotion or selling.. The thing being sold in this instance was a book called gamestorming. The underlying concept emanating from a company Xplane was quite simple –game mechanics combined with business based brain storming techniques - retweak some terminology and flog it anew as a brave leap forward in business management techniques, targeted at those seeking to improve their creative productivity or garner new insights into innovation. Hey the above paragraph could almost be used as a pitch…or not.. it was just the word that caught my attention.
Whatever.. or whatever sparks your standbye but I still stand by my initial tweet, cognisant that twitter is called twitter for a reason, it digitally mimics idle corridor banter, water cooler chat and general gossip, So in my own defence why should I be quoting Adorno, Kittler or Foucault since few outside academia actually understand what they were on about and it might make me appear like a smartass, or why not invoke Sternberg, Guildford, De Bono, even Csikzentmihalyi, since I’m fully familiar with most of their works, Well in my experience general twitter interest in creativity is usually prefaced by ‘my’ or ‘me’, specifically when it comes to the aforementioned ‘experts’.
Recently as part of an innovation course I read another couple of books on exactly those subjects: Innovation and creativity. They offer additional perspectives on a field with which I have been involved and which has been very personally fulfilling to me for over twenty five years now. The kernel of any actual definition of creativity falls upon ideas of value. Value is on the whole subjective. Thus obviously what and how a poet may value in terms of creativity will significantly differ from what an executive vice president in charge of corporate creativity might purport to value, its much more complex than cost versus profit centres, outputs and problem solving Techniques, QTC triangles, time and resources allocation, whatever about time, the poet might have more disposable or genuine resources available to him than the VP, since like internet poker the only requirement to be in the internet VP game is a chip and a chair, albeit a silicon chip. But I digress..
Dave Gray (co author of the gamestorming book) responds to me, although I don't follow him and have never heard of him before:
@clevercelt The good hashtags were already taken. If you can get over the label take a look at the content and see if you feel the same way
Ok, although I was specifically referring to that label, his word and how such conflations irritate me, the author invites me to view his content that gave rise to his new word. In normal circumstances I would simply buy his book, as an act of support and also as you may have already guessed, as a writer I love books specifically books dealing with specific or similar subject matter to stuff I'm interested in.. i.e. language and modern technoogy(check just some of them out on my librarything). But the word ‘games’ has been particularly bumped and buffeted of late, getting bandied about a lot by many people with little or no experience of actually making them and even less playing them. Just thinking about games ...confers minimum expertise in thinking... not expertise in games. So I will admit it, from his invitation I now approach Dave’s content with a somewhat cynical eye, particularly when I discovered the Author himself appears bereft of the slightest game making experience. Maybe he had like me, a wasted youth incessantly playing arcade games from pong, through space invaders, galaxian, gorf, spyhunter, defender, donkey kong, etc etc in between reading books, writing and making stuff, but evidence for that was flimsy at best.. maybe a local warhammer gamesmaster.. or a clan leader on WOW.. hows to know... well it would be stated clearly and in plain view if it was true....
I have also noticed that in the last couple of years, the term creative technology has really taken off and entered the mainstream, Citroen immediately spring to mind but I’m also a professional member of a linkedin group bearing that name and I see a vast array of professionals whom the term fits perfectly, yet their traditional disciplines range right across the full creative spectrum. Indeed what unites the group is the technologically based creativity present in our common experiential history. That’s fairly fundamental one would assume. So my cynicism was tinged with respect, maybe apprehension that having been invited into this person’s professional world, I should at least give him the benefit of the doubt in terms of his gaming experience. So I have a quick skim… and satirically respond thus…
@davegray the term 'bandwagon' was obviously taken too... enough already please
Now as in so many other areas of my interest/field, specifically the area of transmedia and transliteracy, digital humanities, electronic writing, digital poetics, etc many of the longer term proponents, practitioners and academics, one might call pioneers (even visionaries like chris crawford, Nelson, Murray, N.K. Hayles, et al) have witnessed a recent groundswell of engagement and renewed interest.
There appears to be a sort of intellectual or commercial invasion going on whereby the relevance of our contemporary digital milieu renders established (though for a long time considered diverse distractions at best perverse pursuits at worst) interdisciplinary digital creative endeavors now entirely relevant to those in search of career renewal or progression. Like my own black dinner jacket casual wear of the 1980’s, classics eventually come back into fashion at one time or another. Years involved with games culture teach us something...
Everyone is and should be welcomed in all such areas of cyclic convergences. Since as death proves, in the relative longer term no one actually owns anything for very long, and in my view obsolete ideas of intellectual ownership have become harmful to wider human prosperity. I have little time for wanton consumerism and less for those who promote or facilitate the commercialization of everything – including expert opinion.
Dave seems like a nice guy but from what I could access of his revolutionary gamestorming book it initially struck me as a sort of recess drizzle, an awkward grafting of distorted play principles on top of a below par understanding of Japanese management philosophy.. with various creative perspectives distilled, filtered and mechanically stuffed sideways into it.. clearly supporting Maslow’s delineating primary and secondary creativity and at that point I knew I was devoting too much of my valuable time to something which I really shouldn’t care that much about… hence my please in the tweet above, I like people, particularly real people, and even more so real well meaning people, and Dave struck me as obviously one of those.. Someone who is passionate about his own creativity. I’m a creative person and when I write or create delusional tripe (like now like now anyone who is still reading this screams at their screen) I simply need to be told, preferably by a friend, but if not by someone who might understand,a understand that an ugly mishapen word can be annoying, particularly to anyone who genuinely loves words, likes people, I’d tell people that if I really had to…specifically if I’m invited to..
@clevercelt If I were to judge you by your name, you'd be the type who thinks he's cleverer than everyone else. Do you think that's fair?
If you are genuinely in business Dave and from the fact that you are trying to charge people for both your supposed expertise and your book that reflects it, I hope that my assumption here has some validity, than you obviously understand that fairness has little to do with business, business is about profit and competition and markets and that elusive concept ‘value’. Fair is utterly irrelevant unless of course your magnum opus gamestorming has somehow now morphed into a social responsibility project or become a ferris wheel in which case the word fair would be wholly applicable, or circus either...
Welcome back to the internet, feel free to think whatever you like about me, Dave like me, enjoys the privilege of living in an open democracy, we are both free to express honest opinions, well Dave's opinion costs.. mine is free and for the record I don’t think I’m cleverer than anyone else – if I did I would obviously have called myself cleverercelt… I used the ID clevercelt back on geocities and other early internet websites and have been doing so for fifteen years, at no time have I ever attempted to sell anyone anything, or condescend in their direction as you might understand if you visited my site, or tried doing just a little tad of research. Never do I go off on tantrums because someone doesn't like a word I've invented... Look Dave, I write something that lets me directly address you:
Since you've asked: Your central idea for what you refer to as a playbook, (as I would understand it relative to American football tactical plans) designed to corral free thinking sessions and problem solving techniques strikes me as somewhat self defeating if not outright farcical, you want to actually restrict and guide thinking during free flowing sessions.. maybe that works , maybe it doesn’t but what it does suggest to me is that you need to go off and read a bit more of Winnicott, Caillos, Huizinga, or at least some Ian Bogost, Jesper Jull or similar and think some more about the fundamental elements of play, discovery, imagination and fantasy…, or since you’re an expert maybe not, many business game guru’s are already well versed in the latter…
I'm writing the above when I get another from Dave..
@clevercelt assess the content on it's merits, good or bad. Not the name. That's not clever at all. It's just being a dick.
What ?....Erm as I wrote in my first tweet, which was actually focused solely on your newly invented word, your label for your activity, that and that alone, just a basic omment on your word and nothing else, I think it’s an idiotic ugly word, it’s a puerile name, inconsequential in terms of actual creativity and misguidedly mediocre in respect of reflecting understanding of what constitutes innovation, without wishing to offend passionate people who don’t seek payment for their myopic and shallow views…amateurish at best. In my first tweet to my followers, and not addressed to you in anyway, I offered a diluted response to the name/term and nothing else, I said it was a detestable neologism and I'd call the act of artificially associating the two terms an act of creatidiotivy.. to me a throw away witty twitter comment.. basically a self effacing comment, where I ironically mimic and replicate the very action which I claim to detest. In your eagerness to promote your own brand of game based insight /understanding of creativity, you jump on it, miss the point entirely and now you want my opinion on your content or that somehow makes me.. the dick ? Stirring up offense because all publicity is good, it drives sales, its a valid engagement strategy, in the new world of Internet marketing vacuity, its engage with potential customers and listen to what they say, refute those who would not support the product.. oh please... please and please for a fourth time..
So from my simple self effacing comment on a word, Dave is now deciding to tell the 7K people in his twitter stream that I am dick ?
Is that because I have not offered a reciprocal delusional netiquette endorsement ?
And when I tweet back and say I’ll respond in full. Rather than react Dave you have the temerity, the egotistical audacity, the brass neck, the stupidity to tell me that I have offended you ? by Judging you... if you don't want to be judged then keep you mouth shut and stay out of other people's twitter streams when you haven't been invited... or stay at home and concoct more driveling gibberish..
Since you have been tweeting my name repeatedly (5 at last count) and have engaging in what is tantamount to an unsolicited intrusion into my twitter stream, Indeed you have now asked twice that I offer an opinion on your content, ok allow me to finish what was to be a short post by assessing what content I have access to, in order to placate your self inflicted sense of injustice without recourse to having money extracted from me in payment for your insight and understanding.
Indeed consider the below another free review of your work and opinions, you can display it alongside those free ones you've been seeking from those in your twitter stream who have been follish enough to have bought your book on Amazon...
The content I viewed has little if any merit to anyone who has actually engaged in creative problem solving sessions, its awkward re-framing of several old ideas from already accepted formats, embarrassingly rebranded for I.P. reasons and somehow vaguely stuffed full of superimposed myopia about gaming. The execution of the whole concept is a pig with lipstick and eyeliner.. it might hoodwink some people who have no experience in such areas but more seriously it could have the potential to be psychologically damaging to certain would be participants if executed in the shoddy shallow ramshackle manner in which it was conceived.. it is another example of the conflated idiotic net marketing piffle that clogs communication clarity and corrupts and disappoints eager minds, a vertible hotch potch amalgam of cheesy wordplay and uber-management horseshit purporting to be knowledge and wisdom.
Its opportunist bollix, flogged by an inflated ego with little or no experiential understanding of the actual evolution of game mechanics or the nuance of the international video games industry, as a whole, its a shallow mucky, sour tasting text based snake oil blend of business bullshit designed to ride the wave of interest in social gaming and commercially exploit the desire of business to engage in meaningful exploration of creativity and innovation. It’s the worst type of bad business advice available and merely demonstrates the pathetic inadequacies and insecurities that pervade the self-back slapping brigade of internet experts. who lie awake at night conceiving such tripe. Its complete crud of the lowest order. But hey maybe you can come up with a more appropriate word for the sequel …. hows about: dickstorming….