The Best Sentence of the Day

This blog is a cut-up of a dissertation in progress. Each day, I will post my favorite sentence that I have newly scribed. Everything out of context, but suggestive. I hope.

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Location: San Francisco, CA

I'm a game designer, a games researcher, and a future forecaster. I make games that give a damn. I study how games change lives. I spend a lot of my time figuring out how the games we play today shape our real-world future. And so I'm trying to make sure that a game developer wins a Nobel Prize by the year 2032. Learn more here in my bio or get my contact information on my contact page.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Best Sentence #70

Here, the authors hedge slightly on the origins and purpose of the game—and with good reason.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Best Sentence #69

Finally, onto the good stuff.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the chapters on alternate reality gaming.


In A Theory of Fun, game designer Raph Koster writes: “Usually our brains have to do hard work to turn messy reality into something as a clear as a game is” (36).

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Best Sentence #68

Whoops! So busy working yesterday I forgot to blog. But don't worry. I didn't dare take the day off... even if it is Memorial Weekend.

Today I am revising chapters 1 - 4 based on feedback from my co-chairs, so I can submit them to my other committee members. I'm working especially hard to clarify organization and to connect the chapters one to another. So my best sentence for the day is one such connecting effort.


Therefore, in the next chapter, I propose a classification scheme that situates ubiquitous gaming in a larger possibility space of ubiquitous play and performance, a space in which design decisions about what should be made ubiquitous, who should play, and to which ends we and our technologies should perform are very much still being made.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Best Sentence #67

210 pages and counting...


Can the aesthetics of spectacle when combined with iconic game structures and imagery in fact be used to organize and to inspire direct participation, rather than to create alienation?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Best Sentence #66

A few sentences today because I have been working SO! HARD!


Is Central Park’s Sheep Meadow necessarily less of a magic circle than a theater? Does situating a game in public and outdoors necessarily mean a rupture of traditional boundaries for play? As a site, I would suggest that Sheep Meadow is not in fact pervasive in the sense of pushing the limits of where and when it is appropriate to play. What is actually pervasive and disruptive about the project's design is not its publicc location, but rather its designed attitude toward the public.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Best Sentence #65

How are these two kinds of identity reticulated through public encounters with city architecture, neighbors and strangers, pedestrian choreography, traffic flows, crowds and abandoned spaces?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Best Sentence #64

I am at some kind of Zen peace today with my dissertation. Having submitted 150 pages, getting ready to submit another 50 pages this week, and feeling like basically all of it is pretty interesting and useful work, I have found a little oasis of dissertation calm.


To have the two separate classes compete with one another would be to imagine a future in which a user must choose between mobility and networkability; to bridge the classes is to imagine a future in which such a choice is not necessary.

Best Sentence #63

The designers apparently anticipate feedback on this low-tech approach; on their FAQ page, they address the project’s lack of actually ubiquitous computing.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Best Sentence #62

This map is another example of the project’s unfulfilled rhetoric of abundant pervasive gameplay.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Best Sentence #61

Not only would this be more physically demanding, it would also require online players to make their strategic voting decisions under a significantly greater time pressure.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Best Sentence #60

So much can get in the way of writing.

Spent the better part of the day in the doggy hospital with Meche... we're home now, but she had a very rough 24-hours of doggy enteritis, which can be really bad news for puppies her age. We've finally stopped the vomiting (I think) but she's still not digesting things properly. You don't want to know how many new carpet stains I've been trying to remove.

So, this has been a lame week. 1) Cell phone stolen. 2) Laptop motherboard fried. 3) Meche sick. But you know what they say about three's, so the next set should be better.

I did submit chapter 3 on Tuesday. Chapter 4 is in great shape -- 43 pages of stuff I basically like that I'm whipping into shape for a weekend submission.

Let's see if I can find a sentence from today's brief writing session that sums up my mood. Oh, who am I kidding. I barely wrote 500 words and not one of them all that interesting.


See, for example, “Pervasive Electronic Gaming” (Julian Bleecker, 2006); “Sustainable Play: Towards a New Games Movement for the Digital Age” (Celia Pearce, et al 2005); and “Locative Media” (Steve Dietz, 2003).

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Best Sentence #i've lost count

The emotional consequences of being replaced in such a potentially meaningful encounter evoke serious questions about the degree to which social relations may not only be mapped onto our technologies, but also relegated to, colonized by and ultimately co-opted by them as well.

a pitiable circumstance

My Sony Vaio laptop died overnight. I am now working from my desktop-replacement laptop, the Dell.

The last time I backed up my dissertation work was 5 PM yesterday. I lost 7 hours of work, which I am now reconstructing. It is painful.

Sadly, I never backed up my works cited for this particular chapter, which means recompiling about 100 formal references from scratch.

I was supposed to submit this chapter this morning. I hope I can repair the damage, redo the work, and get it in.

Never mind that I need a new freaking laptop and haven't backed up anything from that damn machine except the disseration work.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Best Sentence #58

What might be the true motivations of such physically intimate applications, and why is a ludic framework necessary for their success?

Best Sentence #57

Whoops, from yesterday... a bit late.

If ubicomp values material engagement, then the loss of tactile play and the designed relegation of interactivity to the screen together suggest that the colonizing goals of ubicomp research have precluded its games from effectively embodying the technological values of the field.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Best Sentence #56

While the real-world players face potential physical danger, the online players risk rejection and the consequences of being misunderstood.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Best Sentence #55

The toys have literally disappeared.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Best Sentence #54

I am now officially opening the comments for this post to a little guessing game. What number best sentence will I be at when I have officially finished a full draft of the dissertation? (Revisions aside for the moment.)

Anyone who guesses Best Sentence #319 or some other depressing number will be booed.

The game prototype required the local environment to be temporarily modified with a range of embedded sensors and a stronger WLAN. These modifications represent the project’s attempt to emulate the desired future state of ubiquitous computing. In this way, the conference room where the game was played was, in a sense, as fantastic and make-believe as the imaginary archipelago depicted on the PDA screens. It embodied a fantasy of the future of ubicomp technology.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Best Sentence #53

Whenever a collision occurs, the game ends.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Best Sentence #52

The map precedes the territory.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Best Sentence #51

Much like David Blaine, I feel a few minutes short of a full stunt tonight.


In the field of ubiquitous computing games research, these playtests are conducted on site; they are field tests as much as they are play tests.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Best Sentence #50

Back from New York City, where I was able to interview two of the designers I'm writing about in chapter 4.

I've been doing more editing than writing. But here we go, back to generating novel combinations of words. To make up for not blogging for a few days, a few sentences strung together. I won't say which games I'm talking about here, but if you know the area and have a guess...


Note that for both ubicomp games, even as they represent the turn of digital gaming back toward physical reality, the very “reality” of each project’s gameness is challenged. Questions from would-be players--‘Is this a real thing they are doing?’ and ‘When will it be turned into a real game?’--perfectly capture the performative nature of ubicomp games research. After all, an emulation is not really the thing it emulates; it is a convincing, mimetic reproduction. So, too, are the games that emulate the future of ubiquitous computing.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Best Sentence #49

If I don't get out of this ubicomp chapter tomorrow (my self-imposed submission deadline) I am going to go crazy.

It is a tangible act of flag-planting in the name of ubicomp—only in this case, the flags are chips and sensors.