Syllabus – Video Game Culture and Theory

Video Game Culture and Theory In the last decade, scholars have noticed the growing importance of video games among some areas of the population, as a form of storytelling, as a form of teaching, as a form of social commentary, and as a unique cultural practice. Their observations lead to the development of “Game Studies,” which critically examines the history and significance of video games. This course explores the nature…

How Doctors Die

It’s not a frequent topic of discussion, but doctors die, too. And they don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little. For all the time they spend fending off the deaths of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves. They know exactly what is going to happen, they…

The Pump You Pump the Water From

As Christmas Break wanes and my spare dwindles, I’m going to have to say goodbye to my nightly Blender 3D design sessions. But I’m hoping to keep my creative juices flowing, by reserving at least 20 minutes a day for an interactive fiction work-in-progress. I’m at a point in my development where I’ve implemented almost all the plot I’ve written. I will soon face, then, the prospect of having to…

Tales from the Digital Archive

Blogging with an eye towards finding background info for my “Media and Culture” class next term. Once a writer’s archive consisted of letters, badly-typed first drafts and corrected manuscripts. But now they write on computers and communicate by email, what clues to their creative process remain? Archaeologist Christine Finn sets out to explore how the new generation of archive from the digital age will be made accessible to future generations.…

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A Literary History of Word Processing

Pay no attention to the neatly formatted and deceptively typo-free surfaces of the average Microsoft Word file, Mr. Kirschenbaum declared at a recent lunchtime lecture at the New York Public Library titled “Stephen Kings Wang,” a cheeky reference to that best-selling novelists first computer, bought in the early 1980s.”The story of writing in the digital age is every bit as messy as the ink-stained rags that would have littered Gutenbergs…

How to Scientifically Explain Santa Claus to Your Children

You don’t have to get into the curvature of space-time, but you can tell your kids that Santa uses deep scientific knowledge to see a different map of the universe, one that contains roads most people don’t know about. The Jolly Old Elf may have found a way to jump or drop from one house to the next without having to travel along the same line you’d use. If they’re…