creativity · play · Social · writing

A Videogame That Teaches You to Write Poetry, Even if It Intimidates You | WIRED

I don’t know if I would find this inspiring or not… thoughts?

Videogames and poetry haven’t always gone hand in hand.

We’re still a long way from Master Chief breaking into a Coleridge soliloquy. But game developers Ichiro Lambe and Ziba Scott have edged us a bit closer to that day with Elegy for a Dead World, a game they Kickstarted in October and released on Steam last month.

Elegy lets players write prose and poetry as they explore distant planets and dead civilizations. The player faces 27 challenges in three worlds, each riffing on a specific British Romance-era poem: “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” by John Keats, and “Darkness” by Lord Byron.

The different challenges find the player in various roles: an emperor rallying his troops before a doomed battle, for example, or a schoolgirl evacuating a city being bombed. Players travel through beautifully designed backgrounds, while on-screen text narrates the story. But much of the text is left blank—that’s when players tap their inner Wordsworths, finishing the tale with their own imaginations.

Throughout their adventure, players are tasked with using several writing styles: Plugging in blanks in prompts like serious Mad Libs, writing poems in rhyming couplets, or going totally freeform.

via A Videogame That Teaches You to Write Poetry, Even if It Intimidates You | WIRED.

behavior · emotion · psychology

The ‘Mood Graph’: How Our Emotions Are Taking Over the Web | Wired Opinion

Happy face high res
Do emoticons box you in or set you free?

 

More analysis and research looking into how we interact with and effect the digital space, and how that space in turn effects us, emotionally and mentally.

[Facebook, Bitly, Google+]… all these interfaces are now focusing on the emotional aspects of our information diets. To put this development in a broader context: the mood graph has arrived, taking its place alongside the social graph (most commonly associated with Facebook), citation-link graph and knowledge graph (associated with Google), work graph (LinkedIn and others), taste graph and interest graph (Pinterest and others).

Like all these other graphs, the mood graph will enable relevance, customization, targeting; search, discovery, structuring; advertising, purchasing behaviors, and more. It also signals an important shift in computer-mediated communication.

But placing a digital mood ring on users also has the power to change us — how we express ourselves. Especially when one considers that the data populating mood graphs comes from our encounters with behavior-altering interfaces packaged as fun little emojis and innocuous, “handy-dandy buttons”…

…drop-down expression makes us one-dimensional, living caricatures of G-mail’s canned responses — a style of speech better suited to emotionless computers than flesh-and-blood humans. As Marshall McLuhan observed, just as we shape our tools, they shape us too. It’s a two-way street.

more via The ‘Mood Graph’: How Our Emotions Are Taking Over the Web | Wired Opinion | Wired.com.

The author of the opinion, Evan Selinger, is a Fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology who focuses on the collisions between technology, ethics, and law.

He seems hell bent against putting a happy face next to his Facebook post, and I hear what he’s saying about the dangers of trying to sum up a concept with a parenthesis or semicolon. And I agree that companies are offering these emoticon options often just so they can collect more data on their users, rather than be focused on helping their customers express themselves more fully.

But, as Selinger also points out, spoken language itself can be nuanced and tricky, in the digital or non-digital world, and it can be nice to have more tools to express yourself in the digital space. People also post songs or pictures in order to share their mood or sentiment with others.

I feel that these are enhancements for people to share more ideas, not have them boxed in. Sometimes creativity is aided with a few rules. All language has restrictions, whether you’re coding or signing or chatting. Yes these restrictions should be recognized, but not

Do you feel that a smiley face or frowny face limits your ability to communicate and express yourself with others online? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.