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January 26, 2009

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Where's My Virtual Baghdad?

This is fun: I was a guest on the IFC Media Project mini-series. The episode I was in (about the future of news, natch) aired back in December, but sadly, no one cared about the series enough to pirate it.

But, I just got a DVD from Honest Engine, the production company behind the show, so here’s a clip:

The vision is a bit facile, I know — what makes the elf-and-orc games successful isn’t their 3D-ness, really, but their intricately engineered systems of rewards. Even so, I will simultaneously a) admit that I don’t really know how this kind of news product would work, and b) maintain that I really, really want it.

But hey, how about that color and background treatment? I am talking to you from inside an orb of pure thought!

Posted January 26, 2009 at 7:00 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Journalism


Isn't there a Borges story about something like this—a virtual world constructed to match the "real world" object for object, bit for bit? (Or several stories? Everything, perhaps?)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a construct? A Grand Theft Auto that perfectly mimics NYC? The ability to see events happening in a Hyper-DV-R "real time" and not just reading about them?

Wouldn't we be able to know and experience so much more than we do now? Wouldn't we think that we knew so much more than we actually did?

Isn't this all strangely Modernist? (Wasn't it James Joyce who claimed that you could rebuild 1904 Dublin, brick for brick, just by reading his work?)

Is the real challenge of the 21st century the rediscovery and delineation of boundaries of our ignorance?

I want this virtual Baghdad. I want everyone to have to walk around it. I want to have a conversation afterward about what it is that we're still not seeing.

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