Eugene Howard Fullerton

I wanted to post this here, from my Facebook feed, because it meant so much to me and my family to see all the comments on this message. Clink here to view the original post and comments.

We lost my dad this morning. He was not the kind of guy to be on Facebook, but I will share some thoughts about him here anyway. He was a tremendous guy. Interested in everything, but especially in how things worked. He could reverse engineer anything, understood how it all worked, just by thinking it through. He loved telling stories and knowing the history of everything. He never got a degree, but was the most intelligent person I’ve ever met. He was a real New Englander at heart, but came out to Los Angeles during the space race and was part of a great migration of engineering talent to this area and the aerospace industry. He was an entrepreneur, and started an engineering company with his good friends. He loved to sail and taught us all to love and respect the water. He was a brilliant father. My aunt once told me that when my mom brought him around at first she thought he looked too “hip” to be a good father, but in the end he was amazing. He was caring and smart and loving and gave the best hugs ever. He asked just enough questions but not too many. He told great stories of seeing all the greats sing in the clubs on the Sunset Strip before we all came along. And of exploits with my mom and aunt and uncle when they were all first married and living the hipster life in Manhattan Beach. He taught me to read and to love learning and adventure. He was eighty and had a good life, but we will miss him forever.

Games for Change

Just returned from Games for Change in NYC where I spent four days with old friends and colleagues talking, thinking and interrogating the issues surrounding serious games. The event itself was incredibly inspiring — it is quickly becoming my favorite game conference. But the conversations around the panels are really what I find so stimulating.

Karen Sideman and Frank Lantz led another foray into the unasked questions of the conference. This one, entitled “Resolved: Games are not a Medium” addressed the problematic assumption that games are a medium that can convey messages in the way we expect from media such as books and cinema.

Frank’s contribution to the set up for this discussion included a supremely moving reading of Dave Hickey’s The Heresy of the Zone Defense. This passionate description of the joy attendant in a single, masterful, public, moment of play had some game designers in the audience (myself included) in or near tears. Because seldom is it that we hear so beautifully described exactly why it is that we do what we do. That we love games — not because they might some day be more like other aesthetic forms to which they are often compared, but because they already produce such moments that can not be found in other, non-participatory forms.

The discussion following this reading was abruptly truncated due to the tight schedule, but a number of people felt so strongly about the questions raised, that we stayed to talk about them after the conference was over. As I mentioned above, Games for Change is quickly becoming one of my favorite games conferences. And the reason is, that the issue of games as purveyors of specific rhetoric, as the proponents of change, is absolutely in question.

There is an inherent tension regarding the structure games as an aesthetic form and the program of games making statements regarding change. That tension, that lack of certainty, and the conversations around it, is what makes the conference a place of passionate discussion and discovery. I came back to LA still carrying on an internal dialog regarding those issues and that is the real value of such a gathering. Not to see demos or network, but have oneself jolted out of the everyday experience of what we know and what we do. To listen and argue with ideas that, while they may not be new, are expertly articulated by those we respect, love and quite often disagree with.

What a great time — I can’t wait to do it again.

First Post

So, my intention here is to post about all the fun stuff I’m doing besides work, but since I’m working all the time, it may be a while before I fill it out. At the moment, however, I’m playing GTA IV, working on several new games, and prepping a new graduate design class for the fall. Fun enough? Oh, well, I’ll work on it …