I haven't done a meme in a while. So, I didn't go too crazy when Sandy Kemsley tagged me for this one. I like her and I like books, so how bad could it be?
Aside ... I traced this meme back two steps from Sandy - to James Taylor and Ken Molay. It was interesting because both James and Ken refer to this as a "blog game". And I thought that was pretty cool.
Anyhoo ... back to the meme. The idea is to quote the 6th - 8th lines on Page 123 of the current book you're reading and then share a bit about it. Right now, I'm reading Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun is Changing Reality by Edward Castronova. I first came across Castronova in a piece in The Walrus called "Game Theories" by Clive Thompson. It was this piece that really opened my eyes to the phenomenal potential of virtual worlds.
From the book ...
Players who have reached higher levels can be assumed to have mastered the basic play modes of the first levels, and can be subjected to new ones. Beyond this, the system can keep track of the player's success with respect to various challenges and begin to tilt the playing field somewhat in the player's favor if progress is slow. Many worlds now allow for a catch-up mode: players who take a breaks from the game -- possibly because of frustration -- gain power and treasure more quickly for a period after their return.
A little out of context :). But, at this point in the book, Castronova is exploring what would happen if we applied one of the core attributes of virtual world games to real life: leveling.
Exodus is Castronova's second book. The first, Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games, is a great introduction to synthetic (or virtual) worlds for anyone looking to understand how multi-faceted a phenomenon it is. What I'm enjoying about Exodus is that Castronova is looking at how the widespread participation in virtual worlds is changing our real-life expectations. Why can't we all have jobs we find fulfilling or roles in which we feel powerful. And what would happen if policy decisions were made on the basis of fun rather than whatever outmoded basis they are made on now. I'm finding Exodus to be a very provocative read!
Castronova is also one of the bloggers over on Terra Nova, a superb blog on virtual worlds and their implications for society. Added bonus link: hear Castronova discuss Exodus with Russ Roberts on EconTalk.
Oh, and instead of tagging someone, I'm including another related bonus link that you should all check out. Julie Wilson has a project called "Seen Reading".
What is Seen Reading?
- I see you reading.
- I guesstimate where you are in the book.
- I trip on over to the bookstore and make a note of the text.
- I let my imagination rip.
- Readers become celebrities.
- People get giddy and buy more books.
Julie has just relaunched her site and now includes an audio version of each post. Very intimate. Seen Reading is evocative and charming and disarming. I love it. She is the master of this kind of meme :)
Photo Credit: Tom Strickland / Chronicle of Higher Education. 2007