October, 2019 | Doomlaser

Archive for October, 2019

Video Games as High Art? Roger Ebert & The Cultural Ghetto

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

I ran across this brief talk today, which I gave at the Game Developers Conference years ago, about video games, Roger Ebert, high art & the cultural ghetto. I think it’s held up pretty well over time.

The quick synopsis of my thesis is, simply, that art is something that people do, and the medium is irrelevant.

With video games, “the artist” is designing a possibility space for the audience—what can happen, and what are the consequences of the player’s decisions.

A video game doesn’t need to have any goal or explicit win-state. We’ve seen that with the rise of walking simulators, which are no different than experiencing a piece of architecture, a garden, or an art exhibit itself.

I’m also the person who prodded Roger Ebert into writing his infamous essay, which he later retracted after a rousing bit of internet outrage from all corners. But when I ran into him and Chaz at Ebertfest in 2010, and reminded him about our exchanges, he shook my hand and was all smiles.

The Museum of Modern Art has had an interactive wing for decades, but now it holds actual video games in its permanent collection so I’d say the question now is pretty much moot.

MoMA‘s inaugural selections, from Katamari to Dwarf Fortress, express a good range of what the what the video game medium has been capable of producing over the course of its first few formative decades.

Check out our video games on itch.io — they’re free

Cursorcerer: Hide Your Cursor at Will

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Cursorcerer is a little tool I hacked together which allows you to hide the cursor at any time by use of a global hotkey. It can also autohide an idle cursor and bring it back as soon as you move the mouse.

The inspiration for this tool is one of my favorite and most utilized MacOS features: the control-scrollwheel zoom trick. I use it all the time to make things like embedded web videos full screen. The trick’s only major downfall is that it’s a constant battle to get the cursor out of the way.

Cursorcerer Screenshot

To install, just double click on the prefpane. Hit control-option-k to zap and unzap the cursor. If you want to uninstall, go to ~/Library/PreferencePanes/ and trash Cursorcerer.

The technique behind this global cursor hiding hack originates in a useful post to the Apple carbon-dev mailing list from Red Sweater’s Daniel Jalkut.

Cursorcerer 3.1 is signed, notarized, and works natively in MacOS Catalina and Mojave, and now supports Dark Mode. You may wish to right-click and select Open on the PrefPane to quickly bypass GateKeeper.

Update: Cursorcerer has been updated to a 64-bit version that runs smoothly in the latest versions of MacOS. The minimum idle hiding threshold has also been lowered at the request of some users. Legacy users can grab the 32-bit version here, or 2.0 here.

Download Cursorcerer 3.1

If you use Cursorcerer, please consider supporting it with a PayPal donation, or say hi on Twitter.