A Mind @ Play Posts

17th January 2007 / / Europe
The EU

On January 1st of this year, under the continuing enlargement plans, Romania and Bulgaria acceded to the European Union. At the same time, the number of official EU languages was enlarged to 23, now including Romanian, Bulgarian – and Irish. The inclusion of the latter might seem to come at an odd time, given that the Republic of Ireland has been a member since January 1st, 1973, and Irish is its official language. Yet it was through English that the Republic handled its application to the Union.

To take some basic figures, Irish is spoken by less than half of the Republic’s population, whilst it is in daily use by only 5% 1A generous assessment, since this figure appears to include schoolchildren who use the language in class on a daily basis.. To put this in some perspective, there may be more than twice as many Welsh speakers, while both of these Celtic tongues pale in comparison to Catalan, for example, with more than 7 million speakers. Ireland’s European commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, insists that Irish is central to Irish cultural identity, and its acceptance into the European fold has prompted calls for the inclusion of other minority languages 2Spain has already requested semi-official status for Catalan, Galician and Basque..

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1. A generous assessment, since this figure appears to include schoolchildren who use the language in class on a daily basis.
2. Spain has already requested semi-official status for Catalan, Galician and Basque.
9th January 2007 / / Criticism
Example student card

How do you identify a student? Sounds like the opening to a joke, and in many ways this isn’t far from the truth. A great number of services and products come with discounts to students, and discerning who is eligible therefore requires a little more care and attention than simply looking out for tousled hair, hangovers, piercings and berets. Most higher education institutions produce student identification cards, which might double as library cards, security cards and/or university credit cards, amongst other things. However, the vast range of designs and stamps means that identifying a student card could prove as difficult as trying to identify a student by the first glance rule.

7th January 2007 / / Economics
Zool: An early example of in-game advertising

We should be clear about one thing. In-game advertising isn’t new. And not just the self-effacing, tongue-in-cheek form of advertising epitomised by the Loom™-toting pirate in LucasArts’ The Secret of Monkey Island. Anyone who remembers Zool from the early 1990s might recall the Chupa Chups sponsorship deal, and the FIFA series has been using advertising on their billboards for many years, though what with ‘image rights’ being big money for clubs and players alike, the football genre could be said to have entrenched itself in the realm of ‘reverse’ advertising.

Nevertheless, the presence of advertising in games has been pretty low key, considering the industry’s growth over the past decade or so. Advertising is not usually so slow to find its way into new forms of media entertainment, Internet advertising being the biggest example of recent times. So the news that in-game advertising rights for Counter-Strike (the ‘big one’ as far as non-MMORPGs is concerned) have been sold to IGA should only come as expected. Previously adverts for Valve’s flagship had been reserved for brief loading screens, an idea which apparently never took hold. Where Internet advertising has had much reaction to the point where many people block out adverts as a matter of course, this will be more difficult to achieve in such a gaming environment, and should it succeed, might result in future games featuring truly hard-coded advertising avenues.

5th January 2007 / / Environment
2nd January 2007 / / Real Life™