I’ve been putting this off; I never know what to write when it comes to stuff like this. In role-playing games where you’re given the opportunity to name your character, I like to think of something that is a reflection of myself. Such pondering has taken longer than I care to mention. No joke.
So I begin this Meet the Mob addition with a little trepidation, but I feel that it would do the community well to put a face to the name.
By far, music has been the most influential aspect of my life that has defined me as an individual. My love affair with music began — like many — during my teenage years when I was a dirty, filthy punk rocker.
I still am to a degree, though, I’ve stretched my ears to enjoy other, even-less-approachable sounds. I’ll always enjoy bands like Crass, Dead Kennedys, The Germs, Black Flag, and Minor Threat.
(An aside — I once ran into Henry Rollins and Ian McKaye in a local D.C. record store. McKaye was very polite and even said, “Hello” as I walked by. Rollins was shorter than I expected yet no less the imposing figure he’s been known to be!)
These early bands informed my tastes greatly, and I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the strange noise of groups like Wolf Eyes, Lightning Bolt, Pissed Jeans, Drunkdriver, Clockcleaner, and Homostupids since.
I’ve always been attracted to the punk aesthetic: the DIY attitude, general inclinations towards nihilism, and the sheer abrasiveness of the subculture. The intensity of the bands; their antagonistic words and actions; and their ability to blur the lines between social norms, values, and mores has always put a smile on my face.
The ugly underbelly of society laid bare in all its wretchedness.
I’m also pretty nerdy when it comes to collecting music. Ever since my introduction to vinyl in college, I’ve obsessively collected records. EBay was a dear friend to me for quite a long while.
I collect records because I enjoy them much more than I’ll ever be able to enjoy a CD or a digital copy. There’s something special about cracking open a musty record sleeve, surveying the wax, placing the needle, and pressing start. Records have full-cover art and large inserts, booklets, or posters, which add to the experience of listening.
Some of my favorite records.
Calling friends over to “listen to records” definitely has more appeal than saying, “Let’s listen to some CDs” or, “Let’s listen to some music on my computer.”
A record also encourages a certain way of listening, and by extension, a certain way of pressing one. A record is analog and generally sequential (the extra effort required to skip tracks, as opposed to a CD or a playlist, makes playing to a record from beginning to end the most convenient), and these qualities will cause the ear to listen carefully to every track in order as intended by the artist.
While music is and has always been central to my identity, it’s not all I am. I’ve been married for more than three years to my wonderful wife, Christina. We’re also adding a little one to the family soon, so expect some articles exploring child-rearing and gaming in the near future!
I work full time as a media research analyst, though, my interests have been swaying more towards the intersection between copyright and digital content. Since picking up Siva Vaidhyanathan’s Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity, I’ve studied the surrounding issues with wide-eyed enthusiasm.
Other primers on this subject that I would recommend are Lawrence Lessig’s Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0 and Vaidhyanath’s The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control Is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System.
You may have already noticed that from time to time I’ll look for a copyright angle on issues surrounding games. I believe that this medium will offer a key insight into how we — as a society — deal with the issues of copyright, ownership, and sharing in the future.
From inception, video games and computer software are the first modern mediums that are entirely digital. This quality means that games operate in a world that is not governed by the limitations of analog content…limitations that are integral assumptions in copyright law.
As we have seen with music (and to a much lesser extent, film), content owners have fumbled in the transition between analog and digital content. Video games are positioned to offer a new perspective on how copyright addresses digital content going forward.
As a way to bring this to a close, I’ve decided to link to several of my articles in order to give a sense of my style of writing and the topics I enjoy writing about. I hope to hear from you, readers, in future articles.
The Influence of Metacritic Scores on Game Sales
In this article, I investigate the relationship between Metacritic scores and games sales for titles released during the month of May, 2009. I aim to answer the question of whether publishers are justified in their reliance of Metacritic scores to judge the commercial success of games.
Of Video Games and Board Games
By far my most popular article to date, I felt I should include it here. In this article, I discuss the merits of board game mechanics and how video games can learn from these ideas by focusing on the upcoming re-issue of the Space Hulk board game.
Edge/Langdell Controversy Articles
My ongoing coverage of the trademark controversy between Mobigame’s iPhone game Edge and Tim Langdell of Edge Games. This isn’t over yet, so expect more in the future.
The “Scourge” of DRM in Gaming
An article on one of my favorite topics: copyright and gaming. Developers’ use of DRM as a technological quick-fix for issues not adequately addressed by law is going to shape how we think about copyright in the future. How this develops will be interesting to watch.
Looking Back on X-COM
The X-Com series, specifically UFO Defense and Terror from the Deep, are some of my favorite games of all time. In this article, I describe what makes the games so compelling to me.
Why Aren’t You Playing Demon’s Souls?
This was my first article and also my current gaming obsession. Quite possibly the best console game I’ve ever played. Demon’s Souls puts the Zelda and Metroid games to shame by outpacing both at their strengths. If you don’t pick up the North American release, coming from Altus on October 6th, you’re missing the game to own on the PlayStation 3.