The Game Fiction Dilemma: Knights of the Old Republic vs The Sands of Time – Expressive processing

What drives players to spend forty, eighty, or more hours with a computer RPG? If we look only at the quest journal, where the operations of quest flag logics are exposed to the player, the appearance is of a massive indulgence in the pleasures of the to-do list. And certainly there is some of that. But, more centrally, KotOR is constantly providing doses of narrative closure and transition — from…

It's never too late to start proofreading.

Today’s schadenfreude comes from WSVN. Several people had the chance to catch this error. It’s not any one employee’s fault, but the school’s reputation won’t exactly be helped.  Further, the school missed the opportunity to make the experience into a teachable moment, and instead apparently chose to make no comment.  (It’s never too late, FCC leaders!)

First Person: Do I know you?

I suppose that my face-blindness has made me the person I am. I don’t much like movies or People magazine, not because I’m above caring about movie stars, but because I don’t recognize most of them. I became an addictive reader, an author and an English professor because, in the world of words on paper, I have no disability. –Lee Tobin McClain, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette I first stumbled across the concept…

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All-text video games make comeback

There’s nothing really new in this story, but it’s still good to see my favorite game genre get some good press. Along with simulated space battles and table-tennis matches, interactive fiction (IF) is one of the oldest of computer-game forms. Though far gone from its commercial heyday in the graphics-impaired ’80s, when it was still called “text adventure” and titles like Zork and Planetfall flew off the shelves, IF today…

R.I.P. Social Media, it was a nice dream while it lasted

For once we had the possibility of a global platform from which we had the power to make those in power listen to us. What we have ended up with is nothing more that a digital Madison Avenue and a whole lot of digital garbage that won’t shut up. I would like to hold out some hope that the original intention of Social Media could make a resurgence. A hope that…

PAX East 2010

One of the many interactive fiction events at this now-even-more-awesome event that I cannot attend. The current plan: the main GET LAMP episode at 9:30, followed by a panel on stage of people interviewed for the film, and then some showings of a few more features of the DVD, including the Infocom and Bedquilt episodes. (Hosted by Jason Scott. Panel: Steve Meretzky, Dave Lebling, Brian Moriarty, Nick Montfort, Andrew Plotkin,…

Family cashing in on 'David After Dentist'

The viral clip has been viewed almost 54 million times and gave rise to the catchphrase, “Is this real life?” It was the second most-watched video of 2009, according to YouTube, trailing only Susan Boyle‘s appearance on “Britain’s Got Talent.” It’s also been an unexpected bonanza for the boy’s Orlando, Florida-area family, who, despite some criticism that they exploited their child by posting his image online, has turned the one-minute,…

Turning Green With Literacy

By the early sixth century, Western Europe had become largely illiterate, its teachers dead, its students on the run, its libraries turned into kindling. Ireland, however, had just settled down, thanks to a tough old bird named Patrick, a Roman citizen raised in the province of Britain who had been grabbed by Irish slavers when he was a teenager. It was after his escape that Patrick resolved to seek priestly…