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Showing posts from April, 2018

COG II: Whose story is this anyway?? (1)

Caram on Games (COG) is an occasional ramble in which I discuss computer gaming, gaming culture and how I perceive them, in an attempt to talk about a medium that I've always been passionate about, or at least enjoyed. Every part is an exploration of thoughts, meaning that it comes together as it is written- so while they may meander for a while, a point will eventually be reached. Maybe. After a lot of words, and sometimes numbers. You have been warned- there will be a lot of waffle and fewer pictures than befits a visual medium. Now you've been warned twice. Enjoy!
There is a great problem at the core of narratives in computer games: The authors desire to tell a story. On its own, this is not a problem. It becomes thus when confronted with the readers' desire to experience their own story in the authors story. In itself, even this is not a problem- a game's designer can plan many branching strands of a narrative that will accommodate different approaches to the story…

Translating Performance // Republish

This article was originally written in 2013 for the now-defunct platform "Preformance", developed with Noon Enterprises, the Goethe Institute and EPS51. I have removed links where no longer available. 
On the contextual promotion and staging of performances in another culture.The context of a production, and the reception of it, change depending on where it is performed. While this is true of any form of art, there are some considerations to be made when promoting and staging your performative production to an audience with a passing knowledge of the culture it sprang from. In the following, you will find a general outline to making a performance accessible to an international audience and to theatres outside the Arabic- speaking world.
The more specific the play is to a certain location, time and society, the more it becomes a code that needs to be deciphered by the recipient, sometimes even explained to them. A play about Egyptian society expects a fluency in the symbols, th…

Two Minutes: On the Dissident Louk DeSalam

For about five minutes, everyone knew his name. Then they did not remember.

Louk DeSalam, branded a dissident by the state, had, one day questioned the widely accepted wisdom that socks had to be burgundy on Wednesday and be labelled with the day of the week. He had been able to continue his subversive charade unnoticed for years, so the legend goes, by hiding his socks underneath his trousers. The day he finally snapped, fifty guardians had pursued him through the back alleys of the city, the chase ending on Square 83. After a brief, but impassioned speech, they piled on him, pulled the offensive sockware off his feet and led the barefoot anticitizen to Redefinition Context 12a. People posted the arrest on Media, but quickly desisted when they realised Media would not amplify the story- it was unimportant. And so it became unimportant to them.

Though he was forgotten, socks were now puce on Wednesdays. And Wednesday was now called Medwekken, which took some getting used to. And then…

RTLTR V: Kufi and Cigarettes

We are now in January 2018. After soliciting sketches form another graphic designer, the association got back in touch with me, not satisfied with the suggestions they received. My brief changed slightly, to include a graphical element, in addition to typographical branding. "Make it like Bosch, or Siemens". The trouble for me, from a graphic point of view, is that neither Bosch, nor Siemens, has a bilingual subtitle that needs to be included in the branding.
This is a challenge on several levels: the first one being that the client needed to be made very aware that they will be displaying their logo at small sizes and that there are only so many pixels in a logo that is 50px high. The same thing applies to print, though to a lesser degree- tiny print still has a higher dot density than most screens, can therefore smooth a font better. Most of this can be solved with vector graphics, but not all browsers support them.
The second one is that I have done some research into bi…

#nottwominutes: The Problem with Words

I always feel sorry for words- we make them cheap, expensive, world-changing, out of context, perfect, offensive, loving, critical… words must have a huge identity crisis with all the ways they are used. Poor words…

Words can get you in trouble- for instance for writing lyrics that oppose an oppressive regime, or saying something that scares those in positions of power. They can get you beaten up and thrown in prison. And then, most of the time, all other people have left are words of protest.

Galal El-Behairy wrote lyrics for the song "Balaha" (The date) by Rami Essam and was beaten, tortured and imprisoned for those words. They are critical and somewhat insulting, but throwing someone in jail for their words is to criminalise self-expression.

A government has more than words at their disposal to silence dissent. Making use of those powers in such a fashion goes against so many articles of the human rights convention that it is linked for you to make your mind up about whi…

Two Minutes: Missiles

"But sir…"
"Do it. That's an order."
"We'll be laughed out of the international community for this. People will stop respecting our military might"
"I am the leader of this nation, and I am ordering you to drop 107 million in ten Dollar bills on Damascus."
"But…"
"Ten Dollar bills, Schmidtke, ten Dollar bills."

He was impeached two weeks later for his gross abuse of executive power.

//
*Inspired by some current events. Replace name of city and amounts to reflect conflict of your choice.

COG I: Good Game, Long Thought (4/conclusion)

Caram on Games (COG) is an occasional ramble in which I discuss computer gaming, gaming culture and how I perceive them, in an attempt to talk about a medium that I've always been passionate about, or at least enjoyed. Every part is an exploration of thoughts, meaning that it comes together as it is written- so while they may meander for a while, a point will eventually be reached. Maybe. After a lot of words, and sometimes numbers. You have been warned- there will be a lot of waffle and fewer pictures than befits a visual medium. Now you've been warned twice. Enjoy!
Let's start with the basics: 0.What makes a good game?
This question has as many answers as there are ways to make a game, and most of them are subjective, dependent on how the individual gamer experiences their play, how deeply they are willing to delve into the details surrounding a game and how much time this will take, expectations towards gameplay and stortytelling, the studio and publisher, familiarity with…

Two Minutes: Innocent

And she reminded her child "You may believe yourself to be an innocent and speak innocent thoughts. You are the only one to believe that- all others will see you, hear you and believe that you are like them in thought and speech. They will subvert your innocence to fit the way they see the world"

RTLTR IV: December 2017

This time jump takes us a couple of months into the future- it's December 2017. At this point, I've been making subtle, well-recieved hints that the current logo does not represent the association adequately for a while, so I'm a very happy person when the call to get on it comes in.

We know that part of next years' activities will include the design and development of a new logotype for the association, without knowing exactly where that road will lead us. Sometimes, I enjoy this kind of open brief, the kind that gives you the destination, but no map, or landmarks to orient yourself by- it allows experimentation, a lot of which will be done on my own time, and leaves an open question as to the result of the endeavour. It brings with it the risk of a longer than expected development process, many communications and course-corrections, but usually a satisfying reward and the journey, though arduous, is more adventurous.

In this part, I won't say too much more than …

COG I: Good Game, Long Thought (3)

Caram on Games (COG) is an occasional ramble in which I discuss computer gaming, gaming culture and how I perceive them, in an attempt to talk about a medium that I've always been passionate about, or at least enjoyed. Every part is an exploration of thoughts, meaning that it comes together as it is written- so while they may meander for a while, a point will eventually be reached. Maybe. After a lot of words, and sometimes numbers. You have been warned. 
Let's start with the basics: 0. What makes a good game?
This question has as many answers as there are ways to make a game, and most of them are subjective, dependent on how the individual gamer experiences their play, how deeply they are willing to delve into the details surrounding a game and how much time this will take, expectations towards gameplay and stortytelling, the studio and publisher, familiarity with methods of non-linear stories… This answer becomes more complicated from a publication and development perspective,…