Latest Blog Posts

by Sean Miller

30 Jun 2015


Biophilia (One Little Indian, Ltd., 2011)

As an app developer, I’m interested, for self-serving reasons, in app design. But as someone with artistic pretensions, I’d like to consider apps beyond good design. What I’ve been increasingly interested in is app aesthetics in the fullest sense of that word. The other day, I did a little poking around on the intertubes in search of, for lack of a better keyword, “app as art”. I was looking for developers who design and publish apps with the specific intention of making them artistic (however they choose to define that loaded term). As it turns out, there’s not much out there.

As you know, smartphones, and accordingly, the software that makes them “smart”, haven’t been around for long. IBM made the very first smartphone back in 1992. They called it Simon. It was clunky, monochromatic, and not all that smart. It sold for US$899. The first smartphone to sell in decent quantities (at least in the States) was the Kyocera 6035, which came out in 2001. The smart part of its functionality was based on the Palm OS. It was basically a PalmPilot duct-taped to a cell phone. Setting the notorious corporate incursions of the “Crack”-berry aside, smartphone adoption didn’t explode into global consumer consciousness until the release of the very first iPhone, back in the Pleistocene epoch of 2007. The first Android device followed shortly thereafter in 2008.

by Nick Dinicola

26 Jun 2015


During Bethesda’s press conference at the beginning of E3, the company announced a free mobile game that would be available later that very day: Fallout Shelter. Set in the Fallout universe, you oversee one of the vaults meant to save the remnants of humanity from nuclear winter.

It’s a “builder” mobile game. Collect resources, collect people, collect money, and use them all in the right way to create a bigger and more complex shelter. I don’t have too much experience with these kinds of mobile games, but I did get very into Tiny Tower for several months. Both games have a similar structure, but they’re driven by very different design philosophies. Philosophies that, I think, highlight the difference between a “casual” and a “hardcore” game. Or to use less loaded terms, the difference between a typical mobile and a typical console or PC game. It all comes down to fear.

by Scott Juster

25 Jun 2015


Recore (Microsoft Studios, forthcoming)

E3 wrapped up last week, and I’m still sifting through all the headlines. As always, there was plenty of excitement, but this year’s excitement felt like the good kind, the kind that makes me enthusiastic about what the industry’s big companies are doing. Part of the reason that I follow E3 every year is for the surprise announcements and big reveals, but over the past few years, it had become a morbid fascination. What sort of train wreck would it be this year? Instead of watching spontaneous disasters, I spent this year pleasantly surprised by what the big companies had to show.

by G. Christopher Williams

24 Jun 2015


Two doors. Two lights. Eleven security cameras.

That’s it. That’s all you have to interface with the world of Five Nights at Freddy’s, a horror game about observation. Indeed, two out of the three things listed above are instruments that enhance observation.

by G. Christopher Williams

23 Jun 2015


Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (Konami, 2014)

I said, ”Footsteps in movies.”
“Footsteps.”
“Footsteps in movies never sound real.”
“They’re footsteps in movies.”
“You’re saying why should they sound real.”
“They’re footsteps in movies,” she said.
Point Omega (Scribner, 2010)

The preceding conversation from Don Delillo’s novel Point Omega occurs between a documentary filmmaker, Jim Finley, and the daughter of a man who is the subject of Finley’s latest documentary in progress, a woman named Jessica Elster. It is probably no surprise that a documentarian would raise the issue of how reality may or may not be successfully depicted in film. Representing reality as authentically as possible would seem to be the bread and butter of most documentary filmmakers.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Fave Five: Alpine

// Sound Affects

"Australian sextet Alpine's newest album is a fantastic expansion of their joyous pop sound, but two members give us five records apiece that helped define their unique musical identities.

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