Documenting my (Nearly Successful) Attempt to Location Spoof in Ingress

by Kaitlin O’Brien This past week, I have tried to extend beyond my academic comfort zone to explore new concepts and I feel like nothing showcases this as much as my final blog post. I decided that after my exploration of hacking concepts, exploitation in Ingress and location spoofing, I would try my hand at following a few threads and testing out their instructions to ascertain overall feasibility and to learn the degree of accessibility these location spoofing instructions have. After all, I don’t claim to be overtly tech-savvy but I am open to putting my best foot forward to have my avatar in Ingress show up geographically half a world away. Going into this venture, I wanted to establish...

The Atari 2600 and the Search for Removable Memory

by Kyle Bickoff Hi all, let me apologize for my late posting on Day 3—I felt quite poorly after class so am putting this up a day late. Here it is: Today I’m thinking about what exactly the vintage computers I’m using are helping me to reveal, particularly in regards to my topics of interest: memory, infrastructure, and the blackbox. I worked today with the Atari 2600, specifically, connected to the Spectravision Compumate. Rather than simply inserting a traditional cartridge and connecting a controller via serial port—this cartridge first inserts, and then has three different cables connecting—two of which insert into the controller ports and the third of which leads to the Spectravision keyboard. I’ve never used such a system...

Gaming the Ingress System

by Kaitlin O’Brien While I have not used any type of spoofing software to disrupt or confuse my locational data, I can understand users spoofing their locations not to have an advantage in the game, but to falsify the data records Google is collecting on behalf of Niantic Labs. Giving a corporation like Google open access to the location data being collected on one’s phone is a scary concept because by doing so, one is disclosing areas that are frequented by that person. To make a mockery of the fact that Ingress is in fact a “form of digital economic exchange—one that requires the ‘datafication’ of one’s mobility and communicative action in exchange for the gift of play” (Hulsey &...

Fidelity and Glitches

by Becky Anderson During today’s discussion, Darren asked if a customized, changed or altered NES is still an NES subsequent to the completion of various modifications and, importantly, what do these modifications do to gameplay or how do they then effect player experience? Indeed, these questions are at the crux of what I’ve been thinking about over the last couple of days relative to Turbine’s MMORPG computer game adaptation LOTRO; that is, what does transmedial adaptation do to the parent narrative, storyline or world (I’m deliberately refraining from using “original” here) from which it is derived or on which it is based? Making decisions in the adaption process based on fidelity to the source text is, in my opinion, a...

Cords and Connectivity

by Jaime Kirtz *work in progress* A preliminary search in Google Scholar for the term ‘infrastructure’ yields results from disciplinary journals in computing, communication, law, history, geography and numerous other fields. As a concept, infrastructure’s extensive reach resides in both the intangibility that allows for its flexibility, such as hierarchies of power, and its tangible implementation that quantifies or produces concrete elements like roadways and power lines. As a term, infrastructure originates in militaries and was used to describe the installation of structures, systems and operations (McCormack, 2016). Considering the original use of the term, infrastructure illustrates active elements of its use in current rhetoric that reinforce and legitimate social norms as well as the connections between these norms, governance...

Race, Gender, and Technology

By Ashlee Bird The reading and discussion of Nakamura’s piece today has raised questions regarding the idea of technology as a mode of forwarding or futuring a gender or a race of people. In her article, Nakamura relays the role that the tribe played in acquiring the Fairchild contract, and the impetus for doing so; Though cheap, plentiful workers and tax benefits helped lure electronics companies to the reservation, Navajo leadership helped push the project forward; Raymond Nakai, chairman of the Navajo Nation from 1963 to 1971, and the self-styled first “modern” Navajo leader, was instrumental in bringing Fairchild to Shiprock. He spoke fervently about the necessity of transforming the Navajo as a “modern” Indian tribe, and what better way...

Research Detours

by Bailey Kelley Several of our readings this week have talked about how technological and social development is nonlinear rather than a direct march toward “progress.” Today I was reminded that academic research similarly includes left turns, feedback loops, and hiccups. But what could be (and usually is) frustrating almost always turns out to be productive, as long as we approach research with an open mind and an expectation of detours. If I had come to this project outside of the context of this seminar, I would have limited my objects to the paratexts, or ephemera of early personal computers: user manuals, packaging, marketing materials, and journalistic sources. I could make an argument about how those kinds of texts speak...

Synthesizer-Videogame Mashups

by Aurelio Meza The showcase video Super Mario Spacetime Organ (illucia & Soundscape) by Chris Novello starts asking, “What is a video game?” We could expand the scope of this speculation and ask, “What is an instrument?” (Georgina Born and Joe Snape finish an article on MaxMSP exactly with that question). These two interrogations bring together Max, customized instruments, and video games into the discussion of devices and instrumentality. How devices are operated through a physical interface is central to this discussion. Game controllers, just like piano or computer keyboards, can be defined as boundary objects (after Susan Leigh Star)–surfaces of interaction between an instrument and its user (here I’m using the notion of instrument in a very broad sense)....

“Hacking” as a Multipurpose Term in Ingress

by Kaitlin O’Brien Based on yesterday’s lecture on platform histories that had students code bend Super Mario Bros. on the original console, I have been thinking about how similar strategies could be applied to the augmented reality game Ingress. Through my experience with code bending, I began to think about what I am more familiar with and what I view as similar to code bending and that is hacking. In many ways, Ingress is a display of “urban hacking, and the reappropriation of public space away from an indexical, purely informational, and cognitivist use of mobile computing, and toward the affective and often normatively disruptive acts of distributed storytelling” (Coleman 283). Before I can even begin to explore hacking in Ingress,...

Rom Hacking and Experiential Spatiality

By Becky Anderson Through the duration of today’s rom-hacking Super Mario Bros. workshop I kept asking myself, would this investigation into and inevitable alterations of the binary source code happen to a Tolkien-based game adaptation? I’m assuming that at some point somebody has tried. I think you could certainly modify an early heroic adventure game to reflect the epic quest line of Frodo and friends. Or, while it would take some…or perhaps a lot of work, I imagine you could even code-bend or apply a series of transformations to the Super Mario Bros. source code to reflect a Middle-earth inspired backdrop with the Super Mario Bros. game characters modified to fit those within Tolkien’s Secondary World. Perhaps I’ll consider that...