81 Slices
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
Medium 9780892728060

Ever been to this Maine castle?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Quakers and guns, this place has seen it all. With its wide lawn, towers, and fortresslike façade, this central Maine institution has a medieval air about it. It looks as though it could withstand a catapult siege. That’s the first of many ironies about the building, which sits in a village between two of Maine’s largest cities. Though it appears rugged and defensible, the peculiar-looking edifice’s history is rooted in nonviolence. A group of Quakers migrated to this quiet farming community from New York state shortly after the American Revolution, and built a seminary on these grounds in 1848. They built their new school on 330 acres, amid a grove of oaks and overlooking one of the state’s largest rivers, and to this day have an active church in town. Those buildings are long since gone, and in the twenties or thirties, the Tudor-style castle shown here was put up in their place. For the better part of 150 years it was an educational center. It served as a girls academy for a long time, and later became a co-ed, college-prep boarding school. The campus was occupied until 1989, when the school went under and the facility was subsequently purchased by the state and then left vacant for a decade. In 2000, after extensive renovations, it reopened as an academy of a different sort. The property’s Quaker history has proved a bit problematic for this new educational institution, though, because the new school wanted to use guns on the grounds and the Quaker family who donated nearby land to the previous tenant did so under a provision that specifically forbade firearms. The situation has been tricky, but it looks to be sorted out. Check page 100 to see its location.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253017154

4. Henry Lowood: Archiving and Games

David S. Heineman Indiana University Press ePub

HENRY LOWOOD IS CURATOR FOR THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE & Technology Collections and Film & Media Collections in the Stanford University Libraries and a leading member of the Preserving Digital Worlds initiative funded by the Library of Congress. He has long been an instigator and an innovator in the emerging area of archiving games for historical analysis and has both produced prominent scholarship and taken part in groundbreaking archiving projects that continue to shape how we understand the historical importance of video games.

In 2011 Barwick, Dearnley, and Muir published an essay in Games and Culture that offered an overview and analysis of the most recent efforts in digital game preservation, wherein they concluded, “The preservation of computer games at present is based on imperfect solutions – the collection, storage, and display of computer games and paraphernalia, with arguably the more important issue of preserving gameplay being beset by legal ramifications” (387). These problems persist, they suggest, despite efforts by academic institutions, private and public museums, and state apparatuses to overcome them. Lowood’s work is largely directed toward proposing solutions for these obstacles, something he has accomplished by modeling preservationist and historical research that productively interrogates and successfully navigates a variety of academic, legal, and material concerns.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892728060

Have you crossed this covered bridge?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Could this be the covered bridge that Jumbo the elephant once walked gingerly through, testing the timbers to make sure that the lions and tigers and bears of P.T. Barnum’s circus could cross safely? Perhaps it’s the one built under the supervision of Jefferson Davis, before he became president of the Confederacy? Or maybe it’s the span that a Portland film company attempted to blow up during the filming of a silent movie? Of course, it couldn’t be the latter. Pine Tree Pictures was successful in its bridge demolition and the Union Falls Bridge, like more than 100 of the covered bridges once standing in Maine, was blown into the history books. Because covered bridges have been heavily romanticized as icons of a simpler time, they are all surrounded by legends and lore. This one, too, has its own claim to fame — but it involves neither pachyderms nor rebels. It’s the only bridge remaining in Maine to be shingled top to bottom; the others are made of board and batten, lattice, or other types of siding. This span stretches seventy-three feet across Kenduskeag Stream in a quiet section of a town of 2,500 in central Maine whose name alludes to both Greece and a book of the Bible. The bridge is used only for local traffic, one vehicle at a time. There are only nine covered bridges remaining in Maine, which narrows down the odds for those inclined to guess. (As for Jumbo, he stepped lightly across the old international covered bridge between Calais and St. Stephen. According to one report, the elephants were never asked to open their trunks at customs.) To find the location of this storied span, turn to page 98.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892728060

Have you ever sailed to this famed fishing island?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

This all could have been yours for a pound of tobacco and a gallon of rum. That, according to local legend, is how much was paid for this midcoast island by the Hanover, Massachusetts, deacon who lent it his name. Though its popularity with tourists today testifies to the island’s beauty and charm, you might not have wanted the place back in the eighteenth century. Originally called Newaggin, it was surrounded by small isles known to be popular roosts for pirates, squatters, and assorted rogues. Ghosts, too, supposedly. So maybe smokes and brew were a fair price. Hard to believe so these days, when the roses explode in the bright sun, yachts loll at anchor, and throngs of summer worshipers cascade over the famous bridge here to set up for the season. One of five distinct settlements in a quiet midcoast community — the town itself is said to be home to more isles than any other in the country — the island has a year-round population of about 500 and dangles so far out into the Atlantic people have called it Land’s End. It’s conjoined to another island — they used to be called the Twins — and was only connected to the mainland in the twenties. It’s better known as home to a famous lobster pound than it is for its lobstering fleet, but it nonetheless played an important role in the development of the lobster industry — this is reputed to be where the idea of stringing traps together in long lines was first introduced. It’s also where the sport of tuna fishing began in earnest in Maine, and every July the community still hosts a popular tuna tournament. Deep-sea fishing put this island on the map, and helped it become the popular resort it is today. It might not be the pearl of the mid-coast — that’s a term associated with its twin — but unlike another Maine place with the same name, it’s no mistake either. For the name of this famous island, please turn to page 98.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253012531

9. The Importance of Playing in Earnest · Rachel Wagner

HEIDI CAMPBELL Indiana University Press ePub

Rachel Wagner

THE ERROR PEOPLE TEND TO MAKE THE MOST IN THINKING about games and religion is to assume that the primary opposition at work is the idea that religion is “serious” whereas games are “fun.” I propose that a more accurate distinction is between being earnest as opposed to being insincere in one’s engagement with the ordered world views that religions and games can evoke. The importance of constructing systems or worlds of order into which people may willingly enter is a key feature of both religions and games. The greatest offense in both experiences is to break the rules, that is, to become an apostate, an infidel, a cheater, or a trifler, to fail to uphold the principal expectations about how to inhabit that particular experience’s world view. To fail in being earnest in following the rules is to cause a disruption of order, a breach in the cosmos-crafting activity that both games and religion can provide. Of course, not all experiences of religious practice and gameplay will fit this definition, but many of them do. This, I propose, is a fundamental similarity between religion and games, generally speaking: both are, at root, order-making activities that offer a mode of escape from the vicissitudes of contemporary life, and both demand, at least temporarily, that practitioners give themselves over to a predetermined set of rules that shape a world view and offer a system of order and structure that is comforting for its very predictability. While it is true that games offer such ordered worlds on a temporary basis and religion attempts to make universal claims to such rule-based systems, the root impulse of entering into ordered space reveals a deep kinship between religion and games that is startling and evocative.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892728060

Can you identify this wintry scene?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

The waterfront in this midcoast hamlet is quiet under a fresh snowfall. The pleasure boats are long since gone to shrinkwrap, and only a few working boats remain. It’s a serene scene in the piney inlet as the holidays approach. Like so many saltwater villages, this one is but a single part of a larger town, and people are often confused just exactly which one, the one to the north, which sounds like it’s actually south, or the one below it (whose name might make you think of dragons). And for good reason: the history of all these communities is tightly intertwined. They all used to be a single town of epic proportions, until 1848 when they split. The ink had hardly dried on the maps of these new towns when a bunch of residents in this village wanted to secede yet again and form their own town, aptly called Independence. That didn’t work. So they raised the issue again in 1853, and again in 1856, when they thought the town name Melrose had a nice ring to it. This particular village has been called all sorts of things, from Seal Harbor Island to Lobster Cove Island to Elwell’s, and then by the early nineteenth century it took its current moniker. Turn to page 98 if you think you know its current name.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253017154

3. Eugene Jarvis: Games and Design

David S. Heineman Indiana University Press ePub

AS LONG AS VIDEO GAMES HAVE BEEN A COMMERCIAL MEDIUM, they have appeared in arcades. Their success there has waxed and waned over the decades, and for much of the past fifteen years the arcade business has seen most game studios ceasing production of coin-op games, have witnessed more arcades shuttering their doors than opening them, and have seen their historical role as a primary driver of industry trends shifted toward a contemporary role as a niche part of the video game landscape.

Eugene Jarvis, for all intents and purposes, is the “last man standing” in the arcade business in the United States. Jarvis cut his teeth programming classic Williams arcade games like Defender and Robotron 2084 before working on popular titles like Smash TV and the Cruis’n series for Midway in the 1990s. The company he founded in 2001, Raw Thrills, Inc., is the only U.S. game developer regularly producing new arcade titles. In recent years they have produced arcade cabinets related to the Fast and Furious film franchise, the Terminator franchise, and the Batman films and have developed several original properties such as the Big Buck Hunter series. They have found success in placing their machines in Wal-Marts and truck stops and in bars and restaurants, as well as in many other locations outside of the traditional arcade space.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892728060

Ever given this precarious boulder a good shove?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Don’t mess with a glacier. That might be the story that this rock star would tell if it could talk. During the Ice Age, a sluggish sheet of ice and snow dragged the boulder some forty miles from its home before depositing it in a precarious position, balanced on a ledge halfway up a famous hill Down East. (According to local lore, the granite it’s made of is of a type that can only be found in Lucerne, a village south of Bangor, so everyone supposes that’s where it originated.) In the years since the ice melted, the plucky boulder has become a tourist attraction simply by sitting here and defying gravity. From the road below it seems certain to fall, and soon. (It also seems smaller than it is — a geology professor at UMaine has called it “about the size of my two-car garage.”) But it isn’t going anywhere. A bulldozer has tried to unseat it, as has an entire high-school football team, both to no avail. During the forties, after a local tragedy that made national headlines, a group decided it was best to remove the glacial erratic before it fell on someone’s head. Thus the bulldozer. The football team came later, and many others have hiked up the hill to give the rock a heave. Lucky for these self-appointed Sisyphuses the stone has a very pretty view — at least in their defeat they’ve had something to look at. Another green mound, much like the one on which the rock sits, lies nearby and beyond it, mountains and sea stretch in a paisley pattern off into the horizon. Turn to page 99 to learn more about this dramatic perch.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253012531

12. They Kill Mystery: The Mechanistic Bias of Video Game Representations of Religion and Spirituality · Kevin Schut

HEIDI CAMPBELL Indiana University Press ePub

Kevin Schut

THE VIDEO GAME MEDIUM IS IDEALLY SUITED TO REPRESENT one aspect of religion: the experience of being a god. Game after game gifts players with supernatural powers. From Dust (Ubisoft, 2011) has players take the role of a Polynesian deity that protects The People mostly via reshaping entire islands. The title character of Bayonetta (Platinum Games, 2009) is a witch who can take on and destroy the forces of heaven. The Sims (Maxis, 2000) series of games goes small-scale and gives players the power of a local deity to micro-manage practically all aspects of an individual’s life. But such power fantasies, in the end, represent a rather limited engagement with religion. Imagining what it is like to be a god is an interesting thought experiment, but it does not really get to the heart of the meaning and practice of religion – at least from the perspective of religious adherents. Finding games that really deal with the internal experience of faith and its sociocultural impact is somewhat more difficult, but such games do exist. Historical simulations examine the role of religion in the building of empires, and narrative games engage religion on a wide range of levels. Books like Detweiler’s Halos and Avatars and Wagner’s Godwired: Religion, Ritual and Virtual Reality indicate that scholars are also starting to note the religious implications of both mainstream, big-budget video games and the smaller set of clearly religious games.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892728060

Can you guess the location of this curious cascade?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

No, it’s not Wyman Dam. This little river embankment is not likely to be confused with that monumental waterstop on the Kennebec, but on a fine autumn day, it definitely has a grandeur all its own. If you were a kid in the ’50s, you might have known the pool above this dam as a local swimming hole in a small midcoast city. If you were a duck hunter in the ’60s, you might have known it as a great place for wingshooting. If you live hereabouts these days, on any one of a dozen streets graced with stunning Greek Revival and Victorian Gothic architecture, you might venture down to walk the neat new trail here. The community was established by a colony of Scotch-Irish who emigrated from Londonderry, New Hampshire, in the 1760s. The burg that arose was to be named for that Granite State town, but settlers opted to call it after a city in Ireland. Within the next century it would become famous for shipbuilding, and a century after that for its poultry-processing industry, until in the 1970s the whole area seemed to chicken out. That was about the same time when the surrounding county was subject to a pleasant invasion by back-to-the-landers captivated by the rural countryside and the fine old architecture. (Many of the beautiful buildings downtown went up in the 1870s when the city was putting itself back together after a catastrophic fire.) The dam and this graceful old structure date back to 1888, erected to serve as a reservoir and a pump house, providing the city with its water. It’s maintained for the same purpose today, although it now is a backup to a system of wells that the burg gets its water from. You can’t swim here anymore, nor can you hunt. But you most certainly can enjoy the view. Turn to page 101 to find out where to find it.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892728060

Have you seen the view from this island?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Behold the birthplace of Maine as we know it. Well, that’s what some people say. Many historians think these island outposts are where the first Europeans set up camp Down East, establishing the famous Maine fishing economy long before Chris Columbus ever made his little sailing expedition. Some scratches on a cliff face on the island across the harbor are thought to be evidence of a visit by Vikings about 1000 A.D. There wasn’t much to plunder and pillage here then, but the fishing grounds were world class — the Norsemen must have thought they’d died and gone to Valhalla when they got a load of the local cod. Fishermen from Portugal and Spain were likewise amazed by the seafood, which all but hopped into their boats, and some think they built fishing camps here before 1492, too. Of course, indigenous tribes were here long before that and the island in the foreground has a Micmac moniker. The big grassy rock in the background has a very unusual name for these parts (not to be confused with an island of the same name off Oahu). That island was never settled in any sort of numbers, though it did see some dwellings. The tramway seen in the picture was put in place by the Coast Guard to haul supplies to a fog whistle with national significance — it’s the only one housed in its own tower. No one heard the signal blow more often than Raymond Phillips, who lived in a small shack on the island all by himself from the 1920s to the late seventies. A former food scientist from New York with a degree from NYU, he left the city behind to become one of New England’s most famous hermits, preferring the simple life of a shepherd. Who can blame him, with this kind of view? Turn to page 100 to learn the name of this island.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892728060

Have you motored through this historic mill town?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Without the man this mill town was named for, honest Abe Lincoln would have been minus a vice president. The Civil War-era second in command, Hannibal Hamlin, was the grandson of that early settler, and the veep’s father was the first physician in this riverside community. Hamlin is the most prominent politician associated with the central Maine burgh, but there were many others, from U.S. congressmen to governors. One local family alone produced four Republicans with national profiles. (Of course, the famous folks who once lived here weren’t all politicos — the inaugural graduate of Colby College spent his formative years in town, as did the Civil War hero who lent his name to Howard University in our nation’s capital.) Even the irascible Samuel Adams had something to do with the goings on here — he was governor of Massachusetts in 1795 when the little municipality was incorporated and he gave it his blessing. Like Adams, the first people to put down roots hereabouts were from greater Boston, and they brought with them farming traditions they learned in the Bay State. Apples were once an important crop, and cheese was also a big seller. When the Industrial Revolution hit, the town — like several others on the same river — turned to papermaking, but the mill closed years back. These days, the community is best known for a venerable, open-air museum of sorts — you might even say history lives here. Have you motored through on your way to the western mountains? Turn to page 99 to find out more about it.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253014993

7. Keeping It Real: Sports Video Game Advertising and the Fan-Consumer

Thomas P Oates Indiana University Press ePub

Cory Hillman and Michael L. Butterworth

IN THE UNITED STATES, FEW, IF ANY, CULTURAL ACTIVITIES, products, or experiences are immune to the often unrestrained hands of commercialism, marketing, and advertising in the ambitious and overzealous pursuit of audiences and consumers. Sports are especially subject to these conditions, evidenced by the following examples: advertisers spent approximately $10.9 billion on national sports broadcasts between the final quarter of 2010 through September 2011; NBC paid the International Olympic Committee $2.2 billion to broadcast the 2010 and 2012 Winter and Summer Olympics; CBS and Turner Broadcasting agreed to pay nearly $11 billion to the NCAA for the rights to the annual men’s college basketball tournament. Divisional realignment in college football has also been stimulated by the desire to create “megaconferences” in the chase for lucrative television packages with major networks, and the NCAA’s decision to determine its national champion of college football’s Football Bowl Subdivision with a four-team playoff beginning in 2014 came with estimates that the tournament could be worth as much as $6 billion.1 Meanwhile, fans spent $3.2 billion on Major League Baseball (MLB) team merchandise in 2011, marking an 8.1 percent increase from the previous season, and the typical NFL fan spends approximately $60 on apparel, snacks, and other merchandise during the week of the Super Bowl.2

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892728060

Have you ever found this forgotten fort?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

If you’re like many Maine motorists, you’ve driven within a mile of this old blockhouse dozens of times and never known it was there. Built in 1809 to protect a busy midcoast shipbuilding harbor, the fort sits just off Route 1 on an island few Mainers realize is an island, overlooking one of the area’s largest rivers. The solid little citadel was the focal point of an impressive compound at one time, with heavy bunkers, palisades, and a waterfront battery, and it was garrisoned for much of the nineteenth century, as a 1985 archaeological excavation revealed. And the site saw a few tense moments — it was threatened with bombardment during the War of 1812, and fifty years later the Confederate cruiser Tallahassee passed menacingly by not far downriver. Today the fort still sees quite a bit of action, but its many invaders are armed with nothing more threatening than cameras, Frisbees, and overflowing picnic baskets. (The solitary ranger who now mans the octagonal fort would be instantly overwhelmed if the park’s many day-trippers mounted an uprising.) Home to an interesting historical display, the blockhouse is one of the nation’s best preserved forts from the period and became one of Maine’s earliest state-owned parks, purchased in 1923 from the U.S. War Department for $501. Wide, grassy swaths overlooking the river and views of seals and ospreys have since made the spot popular among locals and those taking the scenic back way to a famous resort harbor not far down the road. Things are totally serene on the scene these days — especially under a fair May sky — but there are a few visitors who wish they could blast an unsightly old power plant out of the view across the river. See page 101 to learn where to find it.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892728060

Can you tell where this museum is located?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

If this romantic scene has you imagining an earlier time, picturing bonnets and buckboards, you’re on the right track. Every October the centuries melt away at this small village in the central part of the state and people cross this covered bridge into the 1790s. Men and women in period dress demonstrate what it would have been like to live a pioneer life in the North Woods, working at a water-powered sawmill or a blacksmith shop, spinning or weaving, traveling by buggy and bateaux, and feasting on bean-hole beans. Even the children are busy, dipping candles, making cedar shakes, and peeling potatoes. With the bridge, the mill, log cabins, trapper camps, and nature trails through the woodlands all around, it’s not a bad way to spend the first weekend in October. The museum here is no stranger to living history, dedicated as it is to telling the story of the long-ago lumbering life of the Maine woods. Every autumn it hosts this colorful event, transforming this community of 1,242 into Township Four, the place it used to be. Have you ever stepped across this bridge and back in time? Turn to page 100 if you can identify the museum or the community it is located in.

See All Chapters

Load more