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The 3 Scariest Words A Boy Can Hear (“Be a Man”)

Former NFL player and current pastor Joe Ehrmann reflects on the power coaches have over the identities of boys. There’s two kinds of coaches in America: You’re either transactional or you’re transformational. Transactional coaches basically use young people for their own identity, their own validation, their own ends. It’s always about them — the team first, players’ needs down the road. And then you have transformational coaches. They understand the…

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Text Games in a New Era of Stories

Clever NYT writer cleverly notices a genre that’s been around for almost 40 years, and praises as a “first glimpse” a work by an author and designer and ambassador and critic who’s been producing canonical works many of us have been glimpsing (and studying and teaching) for about 15 years. But beware the sentences of Emily Short. Because prose. And pages and stuff. Blood & Laurels made me feel more…

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Blood & Laurels : Emily Short’s Versu launches iPad Game

Emily Short (Galatea, First Draft of the Revolution), formerly employed by Linden Labs to work on the interactive fiction storytelling platform Versu, announces that her Versu game, Blood and Laurels, is now available for iPad. (The Versu team also includes Richard Evans and Graham Nelson.) It’s the eight hundred and twenty first year of the city of Rome, a year of bad omens and unrest. The Emperor is bloodthirsty and…

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Criminal Code: Procedural Logic and Rhetorical Excess in Videogames

Great example of the application of well-established humanities critical processes to the analysis of a technological artifact. Of all the possible options in the real world — increasing funding for education, reducing overcrowded housing, building mixed use developments, creating employment opportunities, and so on — it’s the presence of the police that lowers crime in SimCity. This is the argument that game makes, its procedural rhetoric. Naïve though it may…

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Star Wars: TIE Fighter 20th Anniversary Retrospective

In the Star Wars films, the empire is evil to the core. But TIE Fighter let you see the empire from a new perspective. The game didn’t make you feel like a bad person doing bad things, but like a pilot who might reasonably have believed that what he was doing was in the galaxy’s best interests. | Now, some 20 years later, it’s extremely common for games to let…

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Rediscovering Infocom Games With My Kids

  Call it the Familyhood of the Traveling Interactive Fiction Pants. Even though we all have very different needs, the games fit each of us perfectly. It is not unusual to find all three of us sitting on the sofa, exploring a world and arguing over which direction to go. Every afternoon, it’s like getting to go on a really great family trip except with no laundry to do afterward.…