On the home stretch

I’m about 3/4 of the way there with the chapter, and the last quarter should come reasonably smoothly tomorrow. It has benefited most, so far, from what is the most extensive culling I have ever done to a paper. I forgot to word count the bits I’ve now excised, but I suspect it’s around four thousand words.

It’s taken on quite the life of its own in a rather scary fashion, and it feels like an snidely different paper from the one I presented in Oxford. Most sadly of all, however, I ended up removing the better part of all my discussion of Latour, but it definitely had to go. There just wasn’t the space – conceptual or numerical – for a thoroughly integrated discussion of ANT or even a cut-rate version of Latour’s basic ideas (the trouble being he doesn’t really have basic ideas, but rather an entire system). I’ve feel like I’ve kept the spirit of Latour in there by talking a lot about specific objects and even though I don’t mention flat-ontology or actor-network theory specifically I think readers familiar with those ideas will notice the influence.

Two last chunks of writing remain for Friday – something concluding and summarising the big middle section and leading into the somewhat more bizarre third section, and a bit more discussion in the third and final section. It’s probably the closest to what I originally had in mind for the paper – emergent ‘mind-community’ which knows stuff, deals with controversies, has some kind of total-community-emergent-authority: some kind of aggregate result of all the best minds thinking about video game criticism all scuffling with each other and having arguments. I’m not sure how convinced I am by my own idea here anymore, but I can at least position it speculatively.

T help motivate myself, I’m going to promise that I can go buy a replacement for my now dead laptop once I finish. I’m probably going to get a MacBook Air. It’s about $600 cheaper than I was expecting, and as it’ll be primarily a portable writing machine I’ll make do with the entry level model. That’s been a great decision with my iPad that I haven’t regretted.

Like Graham Harman wrote about a few months back (which I linked to), if a significant portion of my life and career is reliant on a piece of hardware it’s not a bad idea to treat it as a bit more essential than usual. His point was about having two of them, but I’ll be content with one that just works efficiently and that won’t start falling apart after a few years of hard work. My last Toshiba (a gift from my parents) only lasted a disappointing two years. I did work it pretty hard though, to be fair and the slightly more compact one that my brother got (essentially the same model but smaller) is still going strong like the day he turned it on. It’s certainly running a lot more smoothly than mine has for a long time.

I got my GDC schedule appointments today, and I imagine I won’t be able to cover panels and sessions for Gamasutra on my iPhone or iPad. I did write this post entirely on my iPhone, but as quick as I am (above average quickness I’d say) it’s nothing compared to what I can do with a full ten fingers and a proper keyboard.