Archive For "News"

Ephemeral Games and Ambiguous Rights at Pause Button

Pause Button is an online publication about technology and culture published by the Milieux Institute at Concordia University in Montreal. The digital magazine aspires to produce high quality writing about technology and culture in a Canadian context, taking advantage of the connections and resources available within Milieux’s various research clusters.

For their fifth issue, Who’s User Experience?, I contributed a short article about the rights of players to own the games in their digital libraries. Entitled Ephemeral Games and Ambiguous Rights, I use the infamous Nostalrius World of Warcraft server as a case study to explore the limits of DRM and how players are negotiating ownership within online marketplaces. I’ve included a short excerpt of my piece below:

Since the advent of digital marketplaces, however, the idea of ownership has become somewhat enigmatic. Although new technologies offer us unprecedented access to game assets and algorithms – something that was nearly unheard of in the hard plastic days – sprawling End User License Agreements (EULA) and stringent Digital Rights Management (DRM) software are contesting and restricting our ownership. Browsing through a games library on Blizzard or Steam feels more like surfing the web than sifting through a collection. Every title has gained an amorphous quality, changing constantly through iterative patches and updates. In many ways we’ve relinquished control over the games we have purchased, as developers can add or subtract content on a whim. This raises a troubling question: do we even own the games that we play?

This issue also features great articles by Maggie MacDonald, Hilary Bergen, Nathalie Duponsel, and Nora Lamontagne. Be sure to check it out!

Montreal Bound

It’s time for a brief geographical update.

After spending the majority of my thirty(ish) years living Toronto, I will be packing up my cats this summer and relocating to Montreal. I have accepted an offer from Concordia’s Media Studies (MA) program, where I will be doing a mix of course and project work with a focus on interactive documentary. I will be studying topics such as game development, journalism, and media ethics, while trying to remember how to write in an academic fashion.

It will be tough leaving the 6ix Torrano Toronto – especially considering all the friends I’ve made here over the past three decades -but I’m looking forward to getting back into the world of academia while exploring a brand new city. I’ll only be a few hours down the highway too – so I’m sure I will find myself back in the city on a fairly regular basis.


The World Is Square?

This place isn’t called The World Is Square anymore.

I know that is a bit of a blunt opening, but I thought I’d just get that main point across right off the top. From now on,, and will all redirect to this website, which will have the root domain Simple!

For many years, I accumulated a weird assortment of arbitrary domains and niche websites. This was done to create some separation between my employment profile and my game design projects, but also because my online portfolio approach has been somewhat haphazard. I really didn’t have a strong plan when I made my first forays onto the web back in the mid-aughts, and I certainly didn’t keep my online presence up-to-date over the past decade.

So, I decided to consolidate: everything about me can now be found on this website. Audio, game design, blog entries… EVERYTHING. Well, except for employment information. I’m just going to let LinkedIn handle that.

It’s nice to finally have my online presence fully united and associated with my name. From now on you can call me “Michael” instead of “that weird dude from The World Is Square” or “that HyperBound guy.”

If you have any questions about the new layout – or you’re having some trouble finding something that was on the old site – feel free to pop me off an email. I’m more than happy to help you out.