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The joy of text – the fall and rise of interactive fiction

Although the IF community first formed around Inform, a tool for creating parser-based games of the popular sort released by Infocom (Zork, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game, and A Mind Forever Voyaging), tools today are numerous, and many of them bypass the compelling but fricative parser language entirely. For example, in recent years, a free text tool called Twine has exploded onto the creative scene, offering entry-level designers…

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What Is Gamergate, and Why? An Explainer for Non-Geeks

I’ve been following the frustrating slow burn that is #Gamergate for some time. I’m planning to introduce it in my online Video Game Culture and Theory class this January. This ground-level introduction will help add context to the mayhem. Until recently, you might have lived a life blissfully unaware of the online #Gamergate movement. But last week, computing giant Intel pulled its ads from an independent game-development site thanks to…

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The magic of words opens a whole new world of fun

Emily Short’s work is always worth seeking out and exploring; she’s been a visionary in the world of text-based games for years and her personal blog is a masterclass in both reading and writing interactive fiction. I’d recommend starting with her short game, made with Liza Daly, The First Draft of the Revolution, in which your choices about how you edit letters between a husband and wife drive how the…

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Has the focus on physical activity ruined playtime for kids?

The researchers found that physical activity is only one part of what kids like about playing, and that regimented physical play built around fitness doesn’t satisfy all needs for many kids, or meet their own definition of “play.” “By focusing on the physical activity aspect of play, authorities put aside several aspects of play that are beneficial to young people’s emotional and social health,” said the study’s supervisor, Professor Katherine…

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Robert Morris University to offer video game scholarships

Robert Morris University’s video game scholarships make exactly as much sense to me as sports scholarships. “It’s a team sport,” Melcher said. “There’s strategy involved. You have to know your role in the game. Obviously it’s not cardiovascular in any way, but it’s mental. There are elements that go into it that are just like any other sport.” Since news of the scholarships broke last week, Melcher said, the school…

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Fantasy football and the cold future of robot journalism

For fantasy football players, the service is a clever added bonus that keeps people on site longer. It’s like having a hometown beat reporter covering your fantasy team: analyzing your draft picks, providing fun recaps of games, and insightful game-day analysis. But Automated Insights, and contemporaries like Narrative Science, are having a major impact outside the realm of fantasy football. Such prominent news organizations as Associated Press are trialing this…