The neglected history of videogames for the blind

What kind of a “videogame” has no video? Nomenclature aside, this is an interesting exploration of audio-only games. Playing Real Sound as a sighted player, it’s hard not to be disoriented at first. Its dialogue—better acted than in any game I’ve played—cannot be skipped over or sped up by mashing a button repeatedly. We’re used to visual distinctions between “gameplay” and “cutscene,” where the former requires our active attention and…

Facebook’s Censorship Problem Is What Happens When a Tech Company Controls the News

Facebook makes editorial decisions that affect its presentation of news through its “news” (?) feed. But Facebook is in the business to make money for Facebook, and the trending topics feed is just a tool to keep people on Facebook. Someone needs to assign Facebook a faculty adviser. In the space of a single day, Facebook has managed to: Draw condemnation from a Norwegian news organization for censoring a famous…

The End of Headphone Jacks, the Rise of DRM

When you plug an audio cable into a smartphone, it just works. It doesn’t matter whether the headphones were made by the same manufacturer as the phone. It doesn’t even matter what you’re trying to do with the audio signal—it works whether the cable is going into a speaker, a mixing board, or a recording device. With the headphone jack gone, every other option is controlled by the iPhone’s software. With…

Crowther’s Adventure: Tough Memes to Squash

Will Crowther, an RPG-er, created the first text-based adventure game for computers Colossal Cave Adventure in 1975.6 When Don Woods developed it into Adventure in 1976-1977 he added the Tolkienian elements of trolls and elves. —Helen Young, Journal of Tolkien Research Well, yes, but Crowther had already started with the Tolkenian elements of underground dwarves, magic, and a call-and-response interface that invokes the spirit of riddles in the dark. The…