Blog entries tagged "entertainment"
Last night I finished reading a 15 (some might argue 16) book series. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. They are children's books (or maybe pre-teen). I bought one (Book the First) when we were first married, and after reading that first one, felt compelled to purchase all remaining books as they came out. I didn't start reading the rest until much later. Generally I would only read them in the evenings while I'm waiting for Maria to fall asleep (thanks to my trusty headlamp with its red filter). Having made it through all of the books, obviously I'm going to have a fairly positive opinion of them. Allow me to continue… Read more...
I'm in total shock to find out that Maria has never read a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I loved those things as a kid, except I totally sucked at them. You say to yourself, “How can you be bad at reading a book where you impact the flow of the story?” Well… it's not that I couldn't make a decision, or that I couldn't read (the latter does not work as an excuse of why you didn't do your homework in the 5th grade, btw). It's that I cheated. I would get to the decision point, and it would tell me to turn to X page if I chose one way, or Y page if I chose the other. Not only would I turn to both of those pages to see how it would go, but I'd follow the page numbers after those, and even after those, until all my fingers were holding various pages. All of this was in my attempts to avoid the inevitably lame ending of “Your head a splode” or something like that. The point here isn't to focus on how bad I was at the books, and spoiling the intended excitement and reader engagement, it's to focus on how deprived Maria is for having never read one. If you, for some reason, still have one of these things around your house, and would be kind enough to alleviate the shame which Maria should be feeling over this hole in her childhood, please send it to
me her. kthxbye
I just finished reading Einstein, by Walter Isaacson. Einstein, as a person, to me is even more fascinating than he was before. My mother gave me the book for my birthday, and I was a little slow in reading it (it was my right-before-I-go-to-sleep book). As a book it was a little slow at times. I don't think it was the topic of the book that caused that, but probably the time of day/night and the amount of incomprehensible physics. I'm not an official on Einstein, nor am I well versed on many historical figures. Much of who Einstein was and his ideals spoke very clearly to me. There were two things (among others) that I feel really did it:
“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.”
I couldn't have said it any better.
One other thing that made me smile was that Einstein named his boat (which he loved to sail), Tineƒ, which is Yiddish for a piece of junk. I loved that. I used to have a car which I fondly referred to as Shania, since the car would (once it hit about 72 mph), shimmy, shake, and make the
earth car shake (don't get it? It's about 3:20 in.). I've named things “dajunx”, “The POS PC”, told people I drive a 1990 POS, and named something “Chibola” (El Salvador slang for "thing"). I'm sure there are other names I've given that are similar. Every one of those names is given with affection.
Anyway, I enjoyed the book and understand that it won't do the same for everybody else. Einstein was truly a fascinating individual.
While playing a video game recently, it struck me that when presented with a new way to interact with a device how we can be surprised and impacted. It's been interesting to play games on Nintendo's two newest systems – the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii. Both systems introduce new form(s) of input available from users. I'm not an expert on the systems or the subject of human & system interactions—just a normal person like most others. It's just been interesting to me.
Between the two systems here are some actions I've made that I don't recall having done previously while playing a game (at least something that was designed to impact gameplay): swung my arm, twisted my wrist, pointed at an enemy, tapped an enemy, drew a line (a circle, a line for direction, to swing a sword), talked to a character, blew out a candle, punched, shook my hand (not in anger ;)… and I'm sure there are others, but these I could think of off the top of my head. How many different opportunities does that open to somebody as a user? How many new ways can that be implemented (within reason) in the design of the games?
Although I've listed a number of new ways to interact with a game, the designers and programmers at Nintendo deserve quite a bit of kudos, since it's all come in stride. It's not like they throw it all at you at once and let you flop around. It's given to you one bit at a time, with room for discovery and experimentation. Both systems have been truly a pleasure to experience and play with.
What impact does this have to you? Possibly not much, but for those of you who impact/influence interaction design, there are two good learning points from these simple video games:
- Don't overwhelm your users with too much new all at once. Nintendo eased all Wii owners by giving them their killer app - Wii Sports. Little did we all realize they were just getting us used to all the new ways to interact with the system.
- Don't spell out every little detail to your users. Leave a bit for them to discover on their own. In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for Nintendo DS the game designers introduce new tools for Link to utilize throughout the game. One of the most impressive tools can be used in at least 5 different ways.
Again, I'm not an expert on any of this, but keeping these things in mind as I move forward will be essential to improving the human experience on tools I develop.
The G2 collection has rolled onward. This time in honor of my anniversary with Maria. Although I started making this particular edition in attempt to meet up with Maria's birthday, I didn't make anywhere nearly in time. This one had a very specific set of music from which to pick and choose. In honor of Maria being a child of the 70's, and me being generally a fan of the 70's, I decided to make this collection entirely out of 70's music – specifically songs from the Billboard Top 100 charts. I made another CD in the G2 series. As usual, I provide the song list more for information rather than input. I'm not opposed to input, but it's not going to change anything (since I've already given it to her). I'll throw out the disclosure on this one that there are more songs on these 2 discs that I would never give to her in all seriousness. If you're saying to yourself, “Whoa… he confessed to giving her that song?” – that's almost 100% guaranteed on there in reference to an inside joke or something along those lines. I'll talk more about the artwork below the song lists. Read more...