John Walker's Electronic House

Tag: video

The Observer: The Beguiling Nature Of Videogames

by on Mar.21, 2010, under The Rest

Today I am the news. Last week Alec and I were invited to join in a conversation about videogames for the Observer newspaper, in response to an article they are running in the magazine today about a man who spent four years playing GTA and doing lots of cocaine. We were gathered to offer an alternative voice about gaming. The subject was “Are virtual worlds more beguiling than the real world?” We were also given the opportunity to offer a short quote that goes into today’s Observer’s Comment section (not currently online), letting us elaborate on any point we might want to make. I chose to make the point that games in no way need to compete or be compared to the real world. They don’t attempt to supplant it, they are a form of entertainment within it.

Our conversation lasted over an hour, and the edited version is just five minutes, so as you might expect the result is just a few short moments, collated from throughout. So I’d like to say that I didn’t only talk about blubbing at Dreamfall, but I found it amusing that they seemed to just somehow know this was my stereotype moment and picked it out. And heck, it’s one of my most significant gaming moments: no wonder I keep bringing it up. Alec also offered a lot of interesting points, and one of them makes the cut, providing a smart angle on online gaming, and helpfully a more balanced voice that prevents the thing becoming an overly-defensive diatribe. Leo Tan PR Man certainly gets the focus, and deservingly so: that handsome face and accent – who could resist? Also he says smart things. Here’s the video:

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The Merton Phenomenon

by on Mar.21, 2010, under The Rest

While perfectly aware that 90% of those with an internet connection have already watched Merton’s video, I still want to post it here. Thanks to housemate Craig’s spotting it before it had a thousand views I feel some sense of not being the last one to the party. Just the last one to remember to post it. I’m prompted to do so by Ben Folds’ reply video, which is splendid all over again. Both videos contain plenty of swears, petal-eared ones.

I’ve not ventured near Chatroulette, partly because I don’t want to see other men’s winkies, and perhaps somewhat more significantly, because I don’t have a webcam. The idea is lovely (apart from the inevitability of winkies), being randomly connected with a stranger over the internet, and then just chatting about whatever. Random connections, random lines being drawn around the globe. Still, I don’t want to join in. What I do want to do, however, is watch Merton singing improvised songs to the people that appear on his screen, 24 hours a day, for the rest of my life. That this is only five and a half minutes pains me. Although he promises more. And since there’s now just shy of 4 million views on the video, I suspect there’s a lot more planned. Here it is:

Clearly there’s going to be a lot of copycats. Perhaps the best so far is from one Ben Folds. It seems quite a few people have suggested/accused Merton of being Ben Folds, which he very politely points out is somewhat unlikely, what with their having different voices. However, it seems the singer caught wind of this and decided to emulate Merton live on stage, hoodie up, improvising with a live audience. The result is splendid. And once again has had all the penises removed for your safety.

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