Thursday, August 24, 2006

CARU takes on Superman

Although the film was rated PG-13, WB somehow thought it would be a good idea to advertise Superman Returns to the under thirteen set on the Cartoon Network this summer (both companies are owned by Time Warner)...A common practice among film and video game makers that is sometimes disturbingly wrong (aren't the ratings there for a reason?). The US-based Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), the industry's self-regulatory body, is pressing charges, announcing:

"CARU was concerned that airing a commercial for a film rated PG-13 during children's programming with a substantial audience of children under 13 would create an interest in the film by the child audience and send an implicit message that the film is appropriate for all children."

Check out the press release on the CARU website
Read the story on AdAge here.
(Registration may be required to access the article once archived).

In other news, I've finally completed a position paper on play theories that I was writing for a directed reading on play and games with Richard Gruneau this summer. The paper and course readings will lead directly into a comprehensive exam on play, which I will be preparing for this fall. After feedback is received, I'll post it and my comp bibliography.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Suzanne Vega in Second Life

I haven't spent much time in the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) Second Life, but I am becoming increasingly interested in the research that's being done there. I first became aware of the game when researching intellectual property issues in MMOGs, as Linden Lab (the game's creator) was one of the first high-profile game manufacturers to announce that the player, and not the company, would retain all IP rights over her/his in-game creations, avatars, communications, etc. (Link to press release). More recently, I found out that real-life teen clothier American Apparel was establishing a huge presence within the game, just one of many many marketing initiatives to take place within Second Life since its inception (Link to story from MIT ad lab). As advergaming is a research interest of mine, this was particularly interesting - more than, Second Life is integrating important new forms of immersive or interactive advertising into the game environment and game play. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, Second Life was the site of another first for MMOGs - when folk star Suzanne Vega performed "live" at an in-game "studio session"...She sat in her studio and played, and streamed the audio live into and through the game. Other players watched a virtual Suzanne Vega play a virtual guitar, all the while listening to what was in essence a live performance (both in terms of the music as well as the avatar's movements. They've posted the whole event on YouTube - check it out:
SL Suzanne Vega Concert on YouTube

Thanks to Terra Nova Blog for bringing this link to my attention

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Blog Launch

At the request of my supervisor and the suggestion of Richard Smith, I'm attempting to start an academic blog, to keep track of my work and hopefully to share resources with other games and/or children's media researchers. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up with the frequent updates that these things seem to demand, but I'll do my best to post relevant info, sources, etc. as they become available and whenever I have some extra time. Stay tuned!