• "I like co-op games where the other player gets a beer, not a second controller, but can still be utterly pivotal to the outcome of a game." Yes, that, and indeed, all of this lovely post from Margaret. I should return to FTL – I played a lot of it last year, and loved it, even if it mainly was a game about seeing how quickly somebody would asphyxiate when the Oxygen Machine blew up. Again. Sigh.
  • "The best lectures are also full of what the Elizabethans called ‘lively turning’ – strange juxtapositions, leaps of thought, rhetorical tricks, jokes and the element of surprise." Very true – a nice piece by Joe Moran on lecturing in the MOOC age.
  • "‘In the winter dusk, at successive stations, we peer out to see the wives waiting behind steering wheels, children scuffling in back seats. Daddies descend and are met. Each set of participants knows only of its own little scene … Each welcomed father ought not to learn of the existence of dozens of others along the line, any more than a prisoner should hear of the execution of his fellows.’" Joe Moran on "Notes from Overground". This sounds great.
  • “Cartography used to be both an art and a science. I wanted to return to that.” This was my present to myself, as a souvenir, from SF. Looking forward to reading it properly – especially all the areas I never had a chance to visit – and can already confirm the maps are gorgeous. But really, it's about the whole package.
  • "If thousands and thousands of people are making games, then it's entirely unimportant if 99% of them are absolute garbage. That top 1% will still consist of plenty of games for us to play, and they'll be great." Lots of great quotations in this smart post from Bill Harris; this is just one, but I recommend the whole thing.
  • ""The Iraq War: A Historiography of Wikipedia Changelogs" is a twelve-volume set of all changes to the Wikipedia article on the Iraq War." James is brilliant, but I knew that already. This is quite a thing.
  • "You never see anyone using a slide rule in a film. Matinee idol scientists always work out algorithms unaided in their brilliant minds, or scrawl them manically in chalk on giant blackboards. By the same token that unfairly condemns people with colour-coded ring binders as the owners of overly tidy minds, slide rules are supposed to belong only to the pedantic foot soldiers of science, the plodders who have to show us their workings out. But slide rules are lovely things: pleasingly solid, elegantly mysterious in their markings, the perfect marriage of form and function." Joe Moran on slide rules and scientists.
  • "I suppose this goes to show that, from an anthropological point of view, the truly interesting part of any human encounter is its beginning. I can instantly identify friends and colleagues from the rhythm of their knock at the door, or the slight pause before they identify themselves on the phone – those tiny gestural and auditory signatures, both idiosyncratic and culturally produced, that make us human." Greetings and openings, principally, to do with telephones.
  • Joe Moran on Daniel Miller's "The Comfort Of Things", which has gone straight onto my wishlist.
  • "For instance, when a film critic with a Twitter account says that video games are not art, the natural followup becomes, "Well then… what is art?" And suddenly we're in some goddamn flourescent-lit student lounge, sitting on a nine-dollar couch across from a dude whose shirt is self-consciously spattered with daubs of encaustic, hip-to-hip with the girl who stamped each page of a copy of The Feminine Mystique with an ink print of her own labia, hearing the guy over our shoulder mention Duchamp for the sixth time this week, and it all just needs to stop right now." Well said, Steve.
  • "I missed the selection, the album art, and the dusty trays and hand-written CD-Rs. The absence of the compact disk reminded of another format that had recently gone away: the 3.5" floppy diskette. The Floppy Stereo attempts to recreate that ceremony within a single device. An album's playlist file is stored on a floppy disk, complete with the album art. When it is loaded, the playlist is read and retrieves the songs from my MP3 collection." There's a similar tactility in the 3.5" disk to, say, an eight-track cart. I like that.
  • "The history of roads is the history of ourselves: our desire for community and our fears about its fragility; our natural instinct to expand the possibilities of life set against our premonitions of death, destruction and loss; and our fierce arguments about what is valuable and beautiful about the world. But this history, like the road itself, is full of loose ends and detours, unfinished stories and stalled narratives."
  • "We create physical, social games for public space. Our games get people moving and talking. They stimulate their creativity and get them to connect." Kars has a name for his new venture.
  • "The interesting, or arguably uninteresting, thing about this programme is that it is completely lacking in any sort of narrative arc. All the other programmes on Saturday night are a gift for a narratologist: with their judges’ scores, audience votes and dance-offs/sing-offs, they are all crisis, crescendo and narrative resolution. But Hole in the Wall is different. It’s just celebrities going through these differently-shaped holes in the wall, again and again and again… Hole in the Wall is the groundhog day of Saturday evening light entertainment." Saturday-night audiences like a good plot.