Two Months With the Other Switch Launch Title

1-2-Switch, Ubiquitous Computing, and Emergent Augmented Reality

1 2 switch header

Much has been made of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Nintendo Switch’s standout launch title. Much less has been made of 1-2-Switch, the ‘other’ launch title for Nintendo’s Switch. Like Wii Sports and (to a lesser extent) Nintendoland, 1-2-Switch offers a tech-demo-as-party-game experience: a simple set of mini games communicating the relationship between software and hardware Nintendo has created for its new console. What is different about 1-2-Switch is that the affordances of these mini games transcend the virtual realm more than perhaps any console up to this point, making the advances of the Switch more subtle, though no less important. The Nintendo Switch advances more of a ubiquitous computing (UbiComp), or calm computing, paradigm wherein computing happens in the background without making intrusive new demands of the user, taking the Switch into an Augmented Reality (AR) paradigm (McCullough 2004, p117, Schmalsteig and Hollerer 2016, loc919). Continue Reading

Designer Lenses

A Review of Jennifer deWinter’s Shigeru Miyamoto

shigeru-edit-2

“Beware of Heroes.”

Frank Herbert offers these words as an overarching thesis for his novel Dune, which chronicles the exploits of Paul Atreides as he rises, unwittingly, to his destiny as an intergalactic messiah, fuelled by prophecies of genocide he can foresee, but can no longer forestall. Continue Reading

Nintendon’t

First Person Podcast Episode 7

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 2.31.28 PM

Instead of examining a specific game on Episode 7 of the First Person Podcast we turn a eye, an upraised eyebrow, and a single tear towards Nintendo and its recent decisions. Four disapointed Nintendo fans look at the many controversies and rumours currently surrounding both Nintendo as a company as well as their current and upcoming games. In this episode we cover the Fire Emblem localization, Nintendo’s lack of reaction to GamerGate, Nintendo firing Alison Rapp, the launch and staying power of Miitomo, and the rumours about implementing a choice between male and female link in the new Zelda game. Beyond this will also discuss larger issues of localization, how sexuality is depicted in games, and wonder how many different varieties of “hard core” gamers we’ve encountered. Continue Reading

“Press A to Shoot”

Pokémon Snap-Shots and Gamespace Ownership

Essay - Pokemon Snap

Drawing from the international popularity of the Pokémon series, Snap repositions gameplay from the role-playing mechanics of earlier games. Due to its in-game mechanics and integrative real-world mechanisms, Snap shifts the definitions of digital subjects and photographers, illustrating the complex relationship of subject and shooter in digital photographic practices. Ultimately, the practices portrayed in Snap prove to be deeply imbalanced experiences in terms of power dynamics, complicated by the popularity of the Pokémon series which encouraged players to “catch ‘em all.” These competitive practices extended beyond digital spaces with the intersections of print and digital photography and the gamification of photographic practices as taught and presented by the game. Continue Reading

The Game Design Holy Grail

How Magic The Gathering & Nintendo Utilize Lenticular Design

Commentary - The Game Design Holy Grail

Two of my favorite pastimes are playing videogames and Magic: The Gathering (MTG). I’ve been playing videogames since I was eight and I picked up MTG at the tender age of eleven. After more than a decade of playing and loving MTG, I can firmly say that the world’s number one trading card game has had a profound effect on how I think about games. Furthermore, MTG taught me many valuable lessons about game design. There are a host of lessons and philosophies I could translate from MTG to videogames and back again, but the philosophy that I find the most interesting at the moment is lenticular design. Continue Reading