Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

Posted on | December 9, 2019 | No Comments

https://vimeo.com/378281756 Hi Everyone, this is my finished video essay! Pswd is FUTURE . Please have a look and enjoy if/when you can. Ended up being longer than I’d meant but that’s because it’s full of a lot of funny/cool/neat footage. I had fun with it. Hope you are all doing well on your break so far!!

Michaela Questions Nov 20th

Posted on | November 20, 2019 | No Comments

1. If ARGs are cultural probes and they can be an inspiration for political agency, if they can encourage political thought and action (also through social media), and this political action can be censored and stopped and policed by governmental agencies due to the access to the data, how can ARGs help re-frame this situation? What networks can be designed for this kind of political action to still be safe? (See the events in Hong-Kong, Russia etc)
2. In ‘Alternate Reality Games and the Cusp of Digital Gameplay’, two of the six guiding principles about how an ARG can operate as a cultural probe are: ‘using dystopian conventions to produce a utopian imaginary’ and ‘blurring boundaries between reality and the game’. On the one hand, these principles can be really effective, on the other, they might lead to skepticism over the impact (such as that their impact might not reach anyone else than their players). In what ways can these two principles be strengthened in order to be more effective?
3. In ARGs and transmedia projects, the ‘rules of the game’ are somewhat deconstructed or lacking (as they are often linear-unfolding experiences), in order for the participants to gain more agency and bottom-top approach, certain rules of the world have to be designed. This also means that the players have too much freedom, which might have ineffective results. The design of strict and clear rules of the world of the experience can make the ‘reality’ seem more logical. Where can we find balance between agency and the rules that might constrain our agency but will make the game more engaging?
4. Another typical aspect of ARGs is their temporal aspect, often they are one-time experiences (this might have been possibly a result from them being essentially a marketing tool to build audience for another medium). What would be the aspects of an ARG that for instance one could join on a online platform but it still wouldn’t lose its ‘event aspect’?

November 20th Qs — Alex

Posted on | November 20, 2019 | No Comments

“I got really into it, probably too into it.” One participant of I Love Bees admitted. Another player supposedly braved a hurricane to recover a clue. Why are people becoming so invested in these games at the expense of their own safety? I wonder if this is not dissimilar to when you get really into a film or a book and accidentally ignore your partner when they try to talk to you—just in a more extreme way.

How do ARG marketing campaigns affect the sale of completely unrelated products? Are players of an ARG going to be interested in playing the videogame/movie/product being advertised if the game/movie/thing has nothing to do with the ARG experience?

“You can describe anything as a game. A court of law is a game. An election cycle is a game. Life itself is a game.” I like this quote from the Jejune reading, but I was wondering if deliberate, intentional participation is necessary for something to be considered a game, or for someone to be considered a player?

The ARGs we have talked about so far have all seemed to be extremely popular and successful. Have ARGs not caught on as a widespread marketing tool due to logistical/ economic reasons, or are there a multitude of unsuccessful ARGs that we haven’t discussed?

Week 11 Questions_Sisi Wei

Posted on | November 20, 2019 | No Comments

1. This week’s reading focuses on ARG, saying that ARG only exists when they are played, the boundaries between reality and the game are blurry and intersect. I don’t play games often, the definition of ARG for me is hard to understand, and what is the difference between ARG and normal computer games?

2. Do all the ARG reflect certain social and political issues, that players feel the game world is the reality, whereas the city is the myth?

3. The book says, every ARG enacts that fundamental political power of bringing many individuals into an articulated organized community. Does that mean all ARG must include all sorts of different online players, instead of single-player game modes?

4. I have friends who play games on their phones and put them into self-playing mode (I don’t know the exact word for it, it’s for players who don’t want to spend time playing the game but at the same time they want to achieve goals and high levels, so the phone plays the games for them). I don’t quite understand the reason why they doing so. Why do some players don’t really bother playing the game, or I’m not sure if they really enjoy playing the game, but they care how much they achieve through the game?

Link: Junko Junsui

Posted on | November 20, 2019 | No Comments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_Lo1GuvY3I

I stumbled upon this video which is a very interesting ARG which went wrong – they wanted to create a ’spooky’ experience, but it went out of hand when interacting with its fan-base.
Enjoy!

Questions from Deepa- Nov. 20

Posted on | November 20, 2019 | No Comments

  1. Is it safe to assume/posit that ARGs don’t have boundaries? (in reference to Gracia, Neimeyer’s Introduction)
  2. What space does ‘agency’ and ‘embodiment’ have within game design? How can this be viewed in context to concepts such as solidarity and community (or even collective reality), rather than a particular individual with an ARG?
  3. ARG encourages multiplicity and a web-based participatory culture. I’m wondering if there are examples/ critiques that talk about accessibility of such a storytelling method, where the rules/clues and the tech used to disseminate it are in the hands of a puppetmaster.
  4. Is “solving a problem/ finding the treasure/saving the day” the only way(s) to interact collectively in an ARG. What are some other stories that make for an interesting ARG concept? What makes us humans want to participate in them or makes it exciting or rewarding for us?

Week 11 Questions – Matt

Posted on | November 20, 2019 | No Comments

  1. There’s a lot of discussion around things like AR being a way to further shut oneself off from having to interact with people around them, but do we agree with this? I still remember the summer Pokémon GO came out and just how easy it was to meet people doing the same thing and having a blast doing it, and I can’t help but wonder if maybe a little gamification of the modern world could be the key to world peace?
  2. To kind of go along with my first question, it seems like a large amount of AR experiences tend to be licensed ones. Do we think that this is largely a result of available finances and means of distribution? Or is there maybe more of a communal aspect of people wanting to “disappear” into their favorite franchises?
  3. Given the amount of data breaches and loss of use of platforms we see in the modern age when a particular experience is targeted, do we think there’s potentially a way for ARs to be weaponized? What would an AR being turned against its users even look like?
  4. Sorry to piggyback off your last question Grayson, but I too noticed how much AR creators seem to be mythologized in a lot of texts surrounding the issue and I’m trying to wrap my head around it. It reminds me a lot of the “indie bubble” surrounding indie games where creators seem to think said games have a much bigger impact than they do, but I wonder what everyone else thinks?

Week 11 Q’s – Gray

Posted on | November 20, 2019 | No Comments

In what may or may not be a cop out, (I’m leaning towards not, because it’s actually on-topic this week…) I’m gonna re-propose a question we didn’t get to last week re: ARG’s, because I think it might get us to some interesting discussion regarding a phenomenology of expanded cinemas/narratives: How, and to what extent, might we think of ARG’s, and the experiences they create, as “virtual” (as opposed to strictly “digital”)? (19-21)
In their introduction, Garcia and Niemeyer frame ARG’s in such a way as to suggest a space where it becomes possible, through a temporary remapping of environmental relationships/associations, to rehearse a radical politics. Considering this alongside the present political context of broad-spectrum “gamification”, is it possible to consider ARG gameplay as method for the “crossing over” of political strategies/conditions previously confined to (or only possible within) digital spaces?
I can’t shake the idea that there’s something revelatory about ARG’s, insofar as they describe ways of interacting with social/cultural/economic environments that exist separate from, and perhaps counter to, the narratives which typically structure those relationships. Is it going too far to suggest that (neo)liberal democracies (or any other alternative) are simply massive, all-encompassing ARG’s? What do we get from such a framing? How might it reorient the citizen/participant to: the range of possible actions available to them?
What’s up with the seemingly across-the-board mythologizing of ARG creators?

1. In what may or may not be a cop out, (I’m leaning towards not, because it’s actually on-topic this week…) I’m gonna re-propose a question we didn’t get to last week re: ARG’s, because I think it might get us to some interesting discussion regarding a phenomenology of expanded cinemas/narratives: How, and to what extent, might we think of ARG’s, and the experiences they create, as “virtual” (as opposed to strictly “digital”)? (19-21)

2. In their introduction, Garcia and Niemeyer frame ARG’s in such a way as to suggest a space where it becomes possible, through a temporary remapping of environmental relationships/associations, to rehearse a radical politics. Considering this alongside the present political context of broad-spectrum “gamification”, is it possible to consider ARG gameplay as method for the “crossing over” of political strategies/conditions previously confined to (or only possible within) digital spaces?

3. I can’t shake the idea that there’s something revelatory about ARG’s, insofar as they describe ways of interacting with social/cultural/economic environments that exist separate from, and perhaps counter to, the narratives which typically structure those relationships. Is it going too far to suggest that (neo)liberal democracies (or any other alternative) are simply massive, all-encompassing ARG’s? What do we get from such a framing? How might it reorient the citizen/participant to: the range of possible actions available to them?

4. What’s up with the seemingly across-the-board mythologizing of ARG creators?

“Where does the game end and reality begin?” – Reflections & Questions Week 11/ Nov 20, 2019 (Shabnam)

Posted on | November 20, 2019 | No Comments

Reality, as we know it, is a construct built within the social context.
Q – How does ARG blur the boundaries between make-believe and reality? And if it does so, how is it going to impact the human condition?

“You can describe anything as a game. A court of law is a game. An election cycle is a game. Life itself is a game.” (in the article: Game or Cult? The Alternate Reality of the Jejune Institute)
This statement endorses the concept of alternative reality.

It is intriguing to note the way ARG can be used as a tool for social change (referencing to Cultural Probe).
Q – In the social, political and global context, can ARG be used as a crucial tool for transformative action, over social media such as FB, Twitter, WhatsApp etc? (Or even using social media as in the case of Junko Junsai.)

Q – Do ARGs cater to the essential human need to belong to a social construct? (or cult) Watching the impact of an unknown ‘voice of authority’ on human action is demonstrative of the need to follow a leader. It also signifies the contagion effect – a tendency to imitate (dance, in this context), without understanding why, as seen in The Institute video. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/jp54ky/game-or-cult-the-alternate-reality-of-the-jejune-institute. It also alludes to the mesmerizing effect of mystery that we find attractive, almost like a curiosity to understand the world around us.

The ‘tea ceremony’ (video) is like a guided meditation workshop which is part of the socio re-engineering seminar. I’m wondering if this alludes to the need to be controlled or directed, to be steered towards satisfying an inherent curiosity to understand ourselves better.
The curiosity for a tangible understanding of what is inside our head drives us to engage in risk-taking ‘experiments’. ARG is a potent tool which caters to the human need to be controlled, yet conflicts with need for agency – the illusion of having control.

All these readings and videos, reminded me of a recent short film of mine, titled Kismet: it raises the question of whether the errors in life are a result of the choices we make, or determined by destiny, presumably written by the Sages several years ago. In this context our pre-destined life is represented by the ARG, and we make the ‘choices’ that determine the course of our actions and their consequences. (philosophical!)

If we have time in class, I’d like to share this 6 min short with the rest of you!

November 20 Discussion Questions-Julia

Posted on | November 20, 2019 | No Comments

Q: Do you think that player/participant agency is an important factor for the success and popularity of ARGs? Can you think of any negative factors associated with this agency?

Q: Do you think augmented reality games are here to stay? Or do you think it is just a fade?

Q: Why do you think games are a good vehicle for exploring collaborative intelligence?

Q: Why do you think we are seeing an increase in ARGs? In relation to VR, which do you think offers a more immersive experience?

Reflecting on SEED, it was explained that the participants went through a camp, that took them from the role of players to designers. They learned how to design board games and ARGs about serious social topics. These included gang violence, teen pregnancy, and gender discrimination in the workplace. This helps in proving how ARGs can operate as a cultural probe. I had also read an article by Anne Wollenberg, where she talks about the premise of World Without Oil, an alternate reality game (ARG), which “asked players to react to a plausible vision of the future and find ways in which to solve it.” This was in regards to a possible near-future global oil shortage.

Q: I believe these examples highlight alternate reality’s potential for use as an educational or change-making tool. Do you believe ARGs can act as an alternative way to play with and/or solve real-world problems?

Q:In regards to ARGs, Jeff Hull, creator of the Jejune Institute, states “I hate them. They’re two-dimensional. They’re usually marketing material. They don’t have any higher ambition. I don’t think that ARGs have ever really challenged people.” Do you agree or disagree?

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