Brandon Boyer

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Very much enjoyed this recent column by Chris ‘Save the Robot’ Dahlen on a future of “user-generated, machine-mediated content” in games. Given the examples we’ve seen of the 90-9-1 rule falling short in games like LittleBigPlanet (his implication being that there’s a lot of thumb-twiddling waiting for that top 10 percent to create and share), Dahlen suggests a number of mediated ways to pull recognizably personal content into games:

Ever since Twitter exploded, people have written many programs to parse and analyze and psychoanalyze what people are typing. How about just porting it into a game? In The World Ends With You, players can “scan” the thoughts of the people around them. The canned text written for the game is good, but I’d love to eavesdrop real-time in real Twitter feeds.

– So many games include bathrooms. Why can’t we all write on the walls?

– I’m a sucker for a good Flickr mash-up. If you throw in a few tags and search for photos marked “interesting,” you get fascinating results – for example, my favorite one, Snapp Radio: an Internet DJ plays a song; Snapp Radio looks up the tags for that song on; it uses those tags to find relevant photos on Flickr. Sometimes you get photos of the band, but in one case, I was listening to a Clash song and saw street riots, pictures of George Bush, and awful mismatched furniture – the colors “clashed.” It’s a bit of a parlor trick, but I’d love to see more games use pics this way, for a collage effect or just for a headtrip. I understand Little Big Planet will be able to import your pics by right about now. But I’d love to integrate with Flickr as well. Surprise me.

User-Generated, Machine-Mediated Content [Save the Robot]

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