• "We always knew Magic: the Gathering was a complex game. But now it's proven: you could assemble a computer out of Magic cards." Oh lordy. Via Aanand, this proof that you can make a Turing Machine out of Magic The Gathering.
  • "Perhaps the best Wii idea of all, and one too little copied in other consumer electronics, was that the device itself lit up when something important had happened to it. If a friend sent you a message or if a game needed an update, the system would start emitting a blue glow from its disc drive. You didn't have to turn the Wii on to know something was ready for your attention; the device's light pattern showed it. Most inert consumer electronics do nothing like this, which is a pity. What a disappointing failure that we don't have more electronics that make themselves useful even while they are more or less turned off." Steven Totilo's farewell to the Wii is full of some lovely thought and analysis – as well as great game write-ups – but this in particular bears repeating. (It drove me mad, but, still).
  • "Valve subtly guides the player’s attention toward significant events and objects by using elements naturally found in the game world. This allows the player to retain control of their perspective without getting lost or confused, and contributes to an overall immersive experience." Matthew Gallant puts together a nice selection of screengrabs to illustrate Valve's craft.
  • "There was an implicit value judgement in Greenfield's talk between the "purely sensory experiences" of raves or today's computer games, and the cognitive activities of reading a book or listening to a symphony, which, because they make us "see one thing in terms of another thing", involve a more mature mental engagement. For Greenfield, the Beethoven was a higher experience because it offered an "escape from the moment", where a rave was about losing yourself to the "thrill of the moment". I think that's a flimsy distinction, since both are about submitting to the sensory power of music. I'd like to see the difference in brain activity between somebody "escaping" life's mundanities and another person "thrilling" to the implacable now of the beat."
  • "I thoroughly enjoy the more real time nature of these diary fragments popping up among my friends’ updates. It’s easy to picture @samuelpepys conducting his business and pleasure, travelling around London — from his home near the Tower of London to Deptford to Westminster — when he’s updating you on his progress during the day." Phil on the joy of small updates from things that aren't (quite) people.
  • "Sony acts like a character in a Charlotte Brontë novel–they seem to think they have an entire lifetime to seize the moment."